Victory Cross Country | Short Shift

The Other Patriotic Way to Get Around

By Zack Courts, Photography by Kevin Wing

They say: “A bold bagger that has it all.”
We say: “A cruiser with long-distance potential.”

When an American company starts building large-displacement, air-cooled V-twins and wedging them into cruiser, bagger, and touring chassis, there’s really only one comparison to draw. We need not say the “H” word; just know that Victory Motorcycles has, in fact, stood toe-to-toe with the competition, American or otherwise, and created a market for itself.

Introduced in 2010, the $18,999 Cross Country slots into the Victory lineup above the non-bagged cruisers and below the more expensive touring line. Floorboards, hard bags, and a sound system all speak to touring, whereas no top trunk and a lack of fairing lowers all suggest cruiser. The Cross Country is the middle of the Victory road, if you will.

Swinging a leg over the CC, it’s hard to believe that it’s the middle of the line. No matter how you slice it, 796 pounds with a full tank makes for a hefty motorcycle—yet Victory has sliced it pretty well. The Cross Country comes up off the rubber-padded kickstand willingly, and the low, 26.3-inch seat lets the immense weight feel manageable.

The 106-cube Freedom V-Twin comes to life calmly, with the feel of a massive flywheel but only a heavy whisper popping out of the pipes. The clutch requires a heavy pull, but friendly fueling and predictable throttle response make the Cross Country’s mammoth engine easy to control at low speeds. Maneuverability is hindered a little by the handlebar, which is a long, rubber-mounted affair that feels somewhat like a tiller from a small sailboat.

On the open road the Cross Country comes into its own, with a heavily scooped seat that’s all-day comfortable and a sixth gear that feels ready to go, well, across the country. With a wheelbase of nearly 66 in. and trail greater than 5.5 in., the Cross Country is far from nimble, but fear not a twisty road, as long as you’re not in a hurry. If you do get in a little over your head, triple disc brakes with ABS provide confident stopping power.

Waterproof hard bags will hold 21 gallons of gear, locked or unlocked, and they load from the top (why aren’t all bags like this?!). The fork-mounted fairing gets a thumbs-up for simplicity, though the stubby windscreen creates quite a bit of buffeting in the cockpit for taller riders. No fairing lowers along the sides mean heavy wind (or water) blast to your lower legs, but we do appreciate the long floorboards that allow foot position to vary from under the knees to the full “highway peg.”

We have minor gripes. The cruise control seemed to hunt for the appropriate speed sometimes, while the bar-mounted controls for cruise (and audio) are mounted nearly out of reach and look like an afterthought. The quiet pipes are refreshing, but some staffers wished the motor was more audible, if for no other reason than to drown out the rattles from the dash.

If $19K sounds steep for a touring cruiser, you haven’t been watching the market; that’s the going rate for a full-size, American-made bagger. Victory is certainly a viable alternative to the, umm, “competition.”

Tech Spec

Price $18,999
Engine type a-c 50-deg. V-twin
Valve train SOHC, 8v
Displacement 1737cc
Transmission 6-speed
Frame Aluminum backbone
Front suspension KYB 43mm fork
Rear suspension KYB shock with air-adjustable preload
Front brake Dual Nissin four-piston calipers, 300mm discs with ABS
Rear brake Nissin two-piston caliper, 300mm disc with ABS
Front tire 130/70ZR-18 Dunlop Elite 3
Rear tire 180/60ZR-16 Dunlop Elite 3
Seat height 26.3 in.
Wheelbase 65.7 in.
Fuel capacity 5.8 gal.
Wet weight 796 lbs.
Contact www.victorymotorcycles.com
Verdict 3.5 out of 5 stars
Very good at what it does, cruising for long distances, but could benefit from a bit more refinement.

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