The Rider’s Compartment
To say the rider’s compartment on the XCT is well engineered is an understatement; it is outstanding, and is another area where the bike really shines. While I typically do not like looking through a windshield on a motorcycle, and the XCT windshield is not adjustable, it is optically clear and without distortion with the exception of the very slightly curved outer edges, and there the distortion was minimal. It does require making a minor change to viewing angle to avoid the slightly distorted areas when looking through corners, but it was easy adjustment. The caveat here is that after a day’s riding, when the windshield got dirty (read: bugs) and while riding directly into setting sun, visibility was seriously affected.
The Victory’s “Comfort Control System,” a combination of the front fairing and wind-shield, the small adjustable clear integrated lowers on the forks, as well as the adjustable lower wind deflectors kept airflow controllable at all speeds. The integrated lowers and the large lower vents pivot open and closed, and the vents can be reached from the rider’s seat by leaning forward (or using your feet for the lower deflectors). Once you get accustomed to where the lever handles are positioned on the lower vents, you can adjust them without having to take your eyes off the road. While this may be something that would be more safely accomplished while stopped at a traffic light, some very good thinking went into designing the bike here. Adjusting the vents as I liked, airflow was there when I wanted it, and wasn’t when I didn’t.
With the generally “closed” rider environment - the front fairing and windshield, wind deflectors, hardbags and trunk, I did find that the engine and hydraulic lifter noise is more channeled up to the rider. Adjusting the audio system to a louder volume to try to mask engine noise became something of a distraction. The solution was to use a set of earplugs to block the higher frequency noise of the engine. While I could still hear the engine’s lower exhaust note, the audio system remained clearly audible, making the rider environment almost as quiet as a car with a radio on. On the XCT, (as with riding any motorcycle), using earplugs is clearly the way to go.
In addition, no matter where the lowers or the large vents were positioned, there was no wind buffeting on my helmet and head. Except for one experience riding the bike on the interstate in strong crosswinds, the wind noise behind the windshield was essentially non-existent. The excellent sounding audio system can be more fully enjoyed because it does not have to overcome wind noise around the helmet, and for all practical purposes, this eliminates the need for headphones or helmet speakers for a single rider. As previously stated, wearing earplugs does contribute to the nearly noiseless riding experience, but all things being equal, I do not think that I have ever ridden a motorcycle where wind protection was better. The one caveat here is that I am not a tall rider, so those over 5 feet 10 inches may have a slightly different experience, but for me, it was the quietest riding environment of any motorcycle I have ever ridden; compliments to Victory on this one as well.