Filling the Gap
Over the past decade Victory Motorcycles have grown from the woods of Minnesota to a genuine world-class motorcycle brand. This ascension is unmatched in the motorcycle world and even more so in the fad-filled and fickle American bike market. A strategic decision was made that Victory would do things differently than the rest, instead of copying the machines of their competitors. Equally bold was the slogan: The New American Motorcycle Company.
Two years ago Victory unleashed the Vision on the masses. It was a bike that polarized the public due to its unique and bold styling. It's a fabulous motorcycle that eats up the miles, is arguably the most comfortable American touring bike with power and handling to match. For some it was just too far out of the norm of what people expected from a homegrown motorcycle.
Through extensive research from the riding public as well as lessons learned from the Vision platform Victory is back at it again with two new models: the Cross Country and Cross Roads. The Cross Country features a fork mounted fixed fairing while the Cross Roads is a windshield-equipped version. Although features of these bikes are reminiscent of other offerings in the market Victory again did it their way. These new machines fit in between the more traditional Kingpin Tour and the flagship Vision models.
The chassis is similar to the Vision's yet new and was designed and engineered to optimize the performance of the new models. The two-piece frame is fabricated from sand-cast aluminum and doubles as the airbox. This frame design adds rigidity while being light and offers a handling friendly low center of gravity. Out back a single shock working through a patent pending suspension linkage and traditional swingarm handles the bumps. A very stout 43mm inverted cartridge fork setup resides on the front that also holds two four-piston brake calipers that clamp floating rotors. To attain the lightest bikes in their class the Cross models roll on new, hollow spoke Roulette wheels wrapped in radial tires.
Returning is the impressive Freedom 106 engine that spins a true overdrive six-speed transmission. The 50 degree air/oil cooled twin features four-valve heads with an overhead cam atop each cylinder. The Freedom motors are incredibly torquey and bulletproof producing over 90 hp and 109 lb-ft. Two throttle bodies get the gas and air into the motor while a new split dual exhaust system expels the combustion byproducts.
Each of the new Cross bikes have 5.8 gallon fuel tanks that should serve the touring rider well in terms of distance between stops. The top-opening hard saddlebags are rated to hold 25 pounds of gear and are claimed to be 25 percent larger than H-D's hard bags. Each of the lockable bags can be operated with one hand and are easily removable for cleaning or service. Exterior mounted hinges and hardware mean the inside of the bags are easily accessible without any obstructions.
Victory put its engineering prowess to work on designing the new Cross Country fairing. In addition to blocking wind and rain it's home to all of the instrumentation and audio system. Computer modeling and windtunnel testing were used to optimize the size and shape of the Cross Country fairing. A ridge on the fairing deflects rain to the sides of the rider's hands while a small channel at its base allows air to reach the rider. The multi-function display includes speedometer, tach, fuel gauge, and battery voltage. An LCD screen displays a clock, gear indicator, odometer, trip meters, range, and miles per gallon data. An AM/FM radio is iPod and satellite radio compatible.
On the Cross Roads the Lexan windshield was also tested for optimal riding protection. Its extended lower sections, called Sideburns, improve the aerodynamics while minimizing wind buffeting. Removal of the shield is easily accomplished by removing four fasteners. A single speedometer keeps the cockpit uncluttered and has the usual warning lights as well as trip meter and low fuel light.