Ringleader: Aaron Frank
MSRP (2010): $17,999
MPG: 41 mpg
Mods: Pure Victory Gear saddlebag lid rails, wind deflectors, tall windscreen, heated saddle, heated grips, highway bar closeouts, Powerlet 12V accessory outlet
Powered by a fused lead that connects directly to the battery, Powerlet's accessory outlet
All those thousands of bagger buyers might be on to something, judging by how quickly my Cross Country is collecting miles. In addition to the expected two-up day trips and a few multi-day randonnées, the XC has proven a useful utility vehicle, able to carry a week's groceries, 60 lbs. of grass seed, five years of baby clothes bound for Goodwill or any other bizarre load I've hauled with it recently. I've even been riding it to the airport with an overloaded Ogio rollerbag lashed across the passenger pad, using Victory's optional saddlebag lid rails ($349.99) as tie-down points.
With another Wisconsin winter looming, I looted the Pure Victory Gear accessories catalog and ordered one of everything that would keep me warm and extend my riding season as long as possible. Step one was to enhance wind protection, starting with a pair of fork-mounted lower wind deflectors ($299.99). These re-direct windblast around my legs, with the added and unexpected benefit of eliminating high-speed buffeting caused by wind bouncing off my knees and up at my helmet. I also installed Victory's optional tall windscreen ($349.99), which extends almost 5 inches further upward than the original to better block cold headwinds.
As expected from a company that got its start building snowmobiles, a full selection of heated accessories is available. The heated touring saddle ($599.99), with separate high/low toggle controls for the pilot and passenger areas, is almost too powerful even in the low position. I suffered a severe case of sweat-induced monkey-butt the first time I tried it, paired with flannel-lined riding jeans on a 50-degree day. I'll no doubt appreciate those extra BTUs once temps drop below 40 degrees, though. No such complaints about Victory's excellent, two-position heated hand grips ($199.99), operated by a convenient dash control, which even cut through thick, winter-weight riding gloves.
Victory's tall windscreen delivers excellent protection, though the top edge sits just abo
Though they look like something for a utility ATV, Cordura-and-vinyl highway bar closeouts
The XC comes with a 12-volt electrical outlet on the dash, but the long cockpit made reaching this with the cord for my electric vest literally a stretch. A nifty Powerlet accessory outlet ($59.99) conveniently locates an additional 12V socket on the primary case, just below my left knee. This is an easy reach for the vest lead, and leaves the dash outlet open to run a radar detector or GPS. As currently equipped, the Cross Country is the most capable cold-weather cruiser I've ever ridden. I might even keep riding year-round. Can you stud street tires?