Ringleader: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2010): $17,999
Average Fuel Mileage: 40 mpg
Accessories & Modifications: Pure Victory Gear iPod connection and extension cord
It's been a long time—like never—since I've had a V-twin cruiser in my garage. But after spending a month lost in bagger-land preparing this month's comparison test, I came to appreciate the combination of comfort and versatility these gentle giants offer. Sure, a sport-tourer offers the same attributes in a more athletic package, but after two years on a Honda CBR1000RR I was ready to slow my roll. I decided to bag a bagger for my next long-term bike.
Victory's accessory iPod cord mounts in the saddlebag and links your iPod to the on-board
My compadre Tim Carrithers already engaged Harley-Davidson's Street Glide a few years back, so I selected Victory's Cross Country, our Alternative Take for 2010 Cruiser of the Year. With a stiff aluminum frame and full-travel rear suspension, it seemed the better choice for long-distance travel. I've already ridden it from Milwaukee to Mid-Ohio twice, and so far I'm satisfied. It's hard to argue against a bike that can carry race leathers in one saddlebag and three day's gear in the other. On the Interstate it's hard to beat. The Freedom 106 engine barely turns 2000 rpm at 75 mph, and a supportive saddle, effective fairing and cruise control help the miles fly by.
The only addition so far is a Pure Victory Gear iPod connection ($99.99) and extension cord ($49.99) so I can hide my music player safely in the right saddlebag. Having my entire music collection on-board and instantly accessible via handlebar controls is priceless on long rides. Except for the antenna going AWOL somewhere west of Bucyrus, Ohio, my first 3000 miles have been trouble free. Victory supplied a replacement antenna with a revised spring-washer that should prevent that from happening again. I'll have to hit the road to test that claim-I'm planning a lap of Lake Superior next.