2012 Victory Cross Country Tour | First Ride

Tour America on American Iron

By Ari Henning, Photography by Barry Hathaway

Most press launches see attendees ride a few hundred miles tops. That's enough seat time for most motorcycles, but when the bike du jour is a full dresser-one with the word "Tour" in its name and lots of features and accessories - a longer ride is needed to get fully acquainted. Thus for the debut of Victory's new Cross Country Tour, moto-journalists embarked on a multi-day, multi-state adventure that started in Park City, Utah and ended in Sturgis, South Dakota-site of the 71st Annual Black Hills Motorcycle Rally.

Victory's new luxury-tourer is based on its Cross Country model. A top trunk, lower fairing and a taller windscreen ready the bike for extended expeditions, while heated handgrips and seats, anti-lock brakes, stereo and cruise control ensure you remain comfortable, safe and entertained along the way. The CCT's massive, 17.7-gallon top trunk and 10.7-gallon side cases push total cargo capacity to a class-leading 41 gallons, meaning the CCT will hold more luggage than Delta Airlines would let me bring on board. Two glove boxes are accessible while riding, and the left compartment contains an audio cable for hooking up your iPod or MP3 player to the powerful four-speaker stereo system.

The 106-cubic-inch Freedom V-Twin jumps to life at the touch of a button and settles into a loping idle. The CCT weighs nearly a half-ton fully fueled, but the engine's claimed 109 lb.-ft. of torque help it get up to speed fairly quickly. On U.S. Highway 40 west of Vernal, Utah, the Victory's overdrive sixth gear puts just 2500 rpm on the tachometer at 70 mph with the faintest shuddering sensation evident through the handlebar. Acceleration at freeway speeds is decent, but passing typically requires a downshift or two and a fistful of throttle.

Rider and passenger accommodations are on par with the best of the breed, offering comfort comparable to your living-room recliner and plenty of room to move around. The shoulder-width handlebar extends almost horizontally out of the fairing, and the massive floorboards let you position your feet almost anywhere you want. The plush seat, smoothacting cruise control and crisp, clear sound of my favorite tunes made the first day's 360 miles en route to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, melt away.

Our destination that night was the 118-year-old Hotel Colorado, a National Historic Landmark and supposed home to several otherworldly guests. I wasn't disturbed by any apparitions, but a fountain outside my window coupled with passing freight trains convinced me we were in the midst of a thunderstorm. What a relief, then, to awaken to benign clouds and a breathtakingly scenic road stretching before me.

The weather was cold, but the CCT's windscreen is 8 inches taller than the standard model's and provided excellent protection from chilly morning fog and the occasional oversized raindrop. As the Rocky Mountains receded behind us and we descended onto the Great Plains, the temperature climbed from the 50s into the 90s. Adjusting to such large temperature swings is what the Victory's fairing vents are all about. There are two adjustable louvers in the lowers plus wings outboard of the turn signals that direct airflow across your legs and torso. The temperature peaked at 102 degrees outside of Custer, Wyoming, but with all the vents open it was bearable.

Comfort controls are spread around the bike. The switch for the heated grips is on the dash, while the toggles for the seat heaters are awkwardly positioned behind the left side cover. The upper air wings are easy enough to reach while riding, and the lower louvers can be manipulated with your feet if you're dexterous.

The roads through the Black Hills National Forest in South Dakota flow over and around rolling mountain ranges peppered with historic attractions like Mt. Rushmore. Despite the CCT's size and the considerable weight bolted to its fork, steering is fairly light. With the air pressure in the rear shock properly set, cornering clearance is ample and the floorboards rarely drag. Stability is exceptional at the posted speed limit, but push the bike toward triple-digits and that fork-mounted mass begins to swing back and forth unsettlingly. Stopping power is adequate, although the front brake lever exhibits some squishiness upon initial application. Like all of Victory's 2012 touring models the CCT comes with ABS as standard, and the system worked well during simulated panic stops on wet pavement.

Standard features like ABS, cruise control and a kicking sound system, plus numerous power outlets, adjustable passenger floorboards and front and rear crash bars make the Cross Country Tour a capable longdistance steed. At $21,999 it's pricey, but no more so than its closest competitors. It also handles well and is comfortable enough to get you to your destination rested and ready to enjoy the local happenings. Take my word for it: I rode the Victory over 1100 miles. Talk about a test ride...

tech Spec

Evolution
The Cross Country bagger outfitted with even more long-haul accoutrements.
Rivals
Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic Electra Glide, Honda GL1800 Gold Wing, Kawasaki 1700 Voyager.

tech
Price $21,999
Engine type a-c 50-deg. V-twin
Valve train SOHC, 8v
Displacement 1731cc
Bore x stroke 101.0 x 108.0mm
Compression 9.4:1
Fuel system EFI
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Transmission 6-speed
Claimed horsepower 92 bhp @ 5250 rpm
Claimed torque 109 lb.-ft. @ 2750 rpm
Frame Aluminum backbone
Front suspension Kayaba 43mm fork
Rear suspension Kayaba shock with air-adjustable preload
Front brake Dual four-piston Nissin calipers, 300mm discs with ABS
Rear brake Two-piston Nissin caliper, 300mm disc with ABS
Front tire 130/70R-18 Dunlop Elite 3
Rear tire 180/60R-16 Dunlop Elite 3
Rake/trail 29.0˚/5.6 in.
Seat height 26.3 in.
Wheelbase 65.7 in.
Fuel capacity 5.8 gal.
Claimed dry weight 845 lbs.
Colors Black, red, white
Available Now
Warranty 12 mo., unlimited mi.
Contact Victory Motorcycles
2100 Hwy. 55
Medina, MN 55340
800.765.2747
www.victorymotorcycles.com

Verdict 4 out of 5 stars.

A full-featured and exceptionally comfortable alternative to the ubiquitous American touring bike.

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