No matter how fast I went I couldn't get the forged aluminum highway bars on the Cross Country to provide lift for the frontend.
No matter how fast I went I couldn't get the forged aluminum highway bars on the Cross Cou
When Victory Motorcycles introduced its new touring model, the Vision, the company proved to the entire motorcycling community that it wasn't afraid to push the boundaries with the bike's futuristic design and styling. While the Vision may have been somewhat polarizing to the average American V-Twin traditionalist, Victory had done its research and had a specific target audience in mind. Well, once again, Victory has thoroughly studied the market and it's pretty evident with its two newest models the Cross Roads (CR) and the Cross Country (CC), that the company has set two specific target audiences in its sights that Harley has owned for years.
While the CR and CC models might not be as futuristic looking as the Vision, that doesn't mean Victory held back in the overall design of the bikes. Under the skin the Cross models are based on a hollow, sand-cast aluminum frame that not only acts as the sub structure, but is the airbox as well with an inlet built into the top of the backbone. The hollow design of the two-piece frame helps lighten the overall weight of the bike while still providing a solid chassis. The dropped seating area and rear suspension design puts the rider in a lower center of gravity for better control and that "in-the-bike" feeling. Cradled between the frame is the rigid mounted, 106ci, SOHC, 50-degree, Freedom V-Twin which acts as a stressed member of the chassis. Backing up the engine is a six-speed overdrive transmission, while on the left side is a gear-drive primary setup with a torque compensator to help reduce drilveline vibration. The bikes feature electronic fuel injection, with dual 45mm throttle body, and split dual exhaust with a hydro formed crossover and collector, which according to Victory aides in a balanced exhaust flow.
Suspension for both bikes includes 43mm inverted telescopic cartridge style forks with just over 5 inches of travel up front while at the rear of the frame is a single mono-tube coil/air shock vertically mounted between the swingarm and seating area. The rear suspension provides a little more than 4 1/2 inches of travel and can be adjusted for rider/cargo load via the Schrader valve hidden behind the cover on the right side. Rollers include, 18x3-inch front and 16x5-inch rear wheels with black finish and machine-cut accents. Both are wrapped in Dunlop rubber-a 130mm front and 180 rear. Keeping things in control are dual 300mm floating rotors and four-piston calipers on the frontend while a two-piston grabber bites on a 300mm floating rotor in the rear.
In the skin, both models sport a newly designed 5.8-gallon gas tank that stretches back into the seat pocket for a smooth streamlined look. On top of the tank a flush-mounted, locking gas cap is slightly offset to the right side to make it easier to fill the tank. Aerodynamics, balance, and performance were integral concepts when Victory designed these bikes, therefore they placed the battery up front and behind a chin fairing that acts as structural reinforcement. Placing the battery up front allowed for better weight distribution, low center of gravity, and the packaging of the rear suspension. The finned chin fairing also allows air to flow through to the oil cooler hidden behind it. The oil cooler comes standard on both bikes. At the rear of the bikes, are weather sealed, lockable, quick-release saddlebags with a storage capacity of 21 gallons. The saddlebags are made of glass-filled nylon, which Victory states was the strongest moldable material they could find.
With ample storage, I was easily able to make the saddlebags look like my bedroom floor.
What's the Diff?
So with all this being the same on both models, now lets get into some of the differences. The Cross Roads features a triple clamp-mounted Lexan Windshield with extended sideburns running down just past the lower triple clamp on either side. Victory spent hours conducting wind tunnel testing for aerodynamics and water shedding with its windshields and fairings and found that the extended sideburns aided in both. The windshield can quickly and easily be installed/removed with the four mounting fasteners. Instrumentation includes a single center-mounted gauge on the handlebars that houses an analog Speedo, a small digital display odometer/trip meter, and a semi-circle of indicator lights at the center of the gauge.
The Cross Country features a fork-mounted fairing that incorporates a bevy of information from a digital centerpiece that displays time, temp, gear, and trip meter, to the display just above it that shows turn signals, Neutral, oil, and low fuel indicator lights. Right below the digital info center is the radio display. The AM/FM/weather band radio is iPod, XM, CB/Icom, GPS ready and the stereo kicks out sounds to two speakers mounted in the outer wings of the fairing. Surrounding the info center are white-faced analog speedo, rpm, fuel, and voltmeter gauges. At the ends of the bars are the radio and cruise control buttons, radio controls on the clutch side and cruise control on the throttle side.
A real rider's perspective of the Cross Country cockpit.
While both bikes sport long floorboards with adjustable foot controls, only the Cross Country has passenger floorboards as well-the Cross Roads comes with rubber covered foot pegs for the passenger. Speaking of foot pegs, both bikes offer highway pegs as optional accessories but the difference is how they mount. The Cross Country has an aerodynamically designed highway bar made of forged of aluminum. It kinda looks like an airfoil, but Victory states that the design allows for cleaner mounting of driving lights and highway pegs. That's not to say that mounting pegs or lights on the traditionally bent round stock highway bar on the Cross Roads will mug up the bike, the design on the Cross Country just does a better job of hiding the mounting hardware.
Lastly, the other similarity/difference between the two models is that they are both offered in solid black or solid Midnight Cherry, however, the Cross Country is also offered in Black and Graphite with Skulls throughout.
So What's it all Mean?
After putting some miles on each bike, ripping up the back roads of central Texas' Hill Country it's hard to say which bike I liked best. But I guess since I spend a lot of my seat time on a Road Glide, I would say I was more partial to the Cross Country. The stereo, cruise control, and info display in the fairing of the Cross Country is really nice. While I ride with earphones plugged into my iPod, it is good to know there are tunes available if I forget my iPod ((note - iPod accessory allows iPod stowage inside bag with operation via external controls on the bar and song titles displaying in the dash). The fairing is a really sharp looking piece, it's stylish and aggressive. As for handling, both dipped in and out of wide sweepers, tight S bends, and off-camber corners with ease. Maybe too easy, because the more I rode the more confident I felt in the turns which meant increasing my speed and pushing my limits, yet the bikes held their lines, tight from tire to tire with no shimmying or shaking from the backend. Acceleration and power is good; it's not going to snap your neck coming out of the hole but the 106ci Freedom engine will get you and your passenger and all your gear up to speed with ease. Shifting through the six gears was smooth and the overdrive Sixth really did make highway cruising much nicer. My one hang-up on the drivetrain is that is has somewhat of a hollow/tinny sound to it. I know the noise regulated stock exhaust makes a big difference with overall sound, and I have heard other Victorys with aftermarket pipes that sound really good. But from the saddle, with the stock setup this hollow sound just sticks in my head.
First there were the classic Buicks, Cadillacs, and Lincolns. Now Victory has staked its claim with distinctive rear lighting. This super-bright LED setup is found on both models.
First there were the classic Buicks, Cadillacs, and Lincolns. Now Victory has staked its c
Overall the bikes are pretty calm at speed, but being that the engine is a stressed member of the chassis there is some vibration that can be felt in the floorboards, but not so much that it becomes an annoyance. Actually one of the really nice things about the bikes is the extra long floorboards. They provide plenty of room to shift your feet around on long rides and are set up so that they don't affect the lean angle too much.
I like the versatility of the Cross Roads with the ability to quickly and easily remove the windscreen. However, I feel I would spend more time riding without the windscreen. I really don't like looking through windscreens and often feel that no matter how tall or short they are, I always experience some buffeting or the top of the screen often ends up right in my line of sight. If I am not on a bike with a fairing, I'd just rather be in the wind.
One of key points Victory wanted to address with these bikes was storage and making sure that for these to be true touring bikes people could shove a ton of gear in the bags. I will say that I did like the storage with both bikes, unlike the Vision's side opening saddlebags, which can be a hassle to deal with, the top opening saddlebags on both bikes were very easy to use and did hold quite a bit of gear.
Like I said, I enjoyed both the Cross Country and Cross Roads and really look forward to getting both in house so we can really put some miles on them and give you an even more in-depth evaluation.
Like a piece of skinless chicken, you can get a look at what's underneath all that fat.
Behind the shield. Personally I would probably ditch the Lexan windshield on the Cross Roads.
Behind the shield. Personally I would probably ditch the Lexan windshield on the Cross Roa
What the Numbers Say...
|ENGINE BORE/STROKE (INCHES)
||29 degrees/5.6 inches
||29 degrees/5.6 inches
||5.8gal (1 gal. reserve)
||5.8gal (1 gal. reserve)
* Black 49-State Bike (CA + $250)
** Black 49-State Bike (CA + $250)
*** Solid Midnight Cherry 49 State Bike
**** Black & Graphite w/Extreme Skulls 49 State Bike
***** According to Victory literature