Ready, Set, Ride

Tested

2013 Victory Cross Country

Let’s face it. Baggers are what’s hot in today’s V-twin world. With enough room to pack a passenger with all your gear and hit the open road for thousands of miles at a time, there’s no mistaking the allure of the B-A-double-G. More and more people are also packing more and more tunes into the confined spaces of the two-wheel world and baggers offer the most housing for the jams.

Victory took notice of this and has even taken it upon itself to release a whole series of baggers, including several limited-edition models for consumers to be able to jump with both feet first into the hottest trend. The 2013 Victory Cross Country is a box-stock-hit-the-road-long-hauling machine and only needs gas to kick off the party.

Upon first glance of the motorcycle, the Victory Cross Country looks like something that both seasoned and greener riders would appreciate. The upswept top fairing with its blacked-out headlight trim is a nice addition that comes standard on certain Cross Country models. Inverted front forks house an 18x3.5-inch wheel and dual floating 300mm rotors and are a nice marriage of black and polished metal that blurs the lines between custom and factory for sure. Also, the braking department features standard front and rear ABS.

The blacked-out split dual exhaust with crossover features dual slip-on mufflers with just the right amount of contrast against the machined fins on the cylinders and heads of the Freedom 106ci V-Twin. The 106 is quickly becoming a favorite motor of any make and inspires the confidence to pass slow-moving traffic on two-laners; the type of confidence that might have those on the fence about such a maneuver overlook the potential danger/risk. Even at loose-your-license speeds there is still more power to tap. With the Cross Country, you look forward to those opportunities to pass big rigs, almost like a game of chicken, and because the amount of power is so immense the bike really comes alive throughout the entire power band. Even better, acceleration can still be had in Sixth, to the point where you almost wonder if the frontend might point toward the heavens ultimately taking flight.

The engine and six-speed transmission are a great representation of how the 106’s power is delivered to the rear wheel. And in conjunction with the wet, multi-plate clutch, the shifter pedal glides through the gears seamlessly from First all the way to Sixth. Thankfully, finding the green light of Neural isn’t as much a chore as it was in prior models. All V-Twins need to be uncorked and the exhaust could be opened up a bit more to let the inner caged lion roar louder than he’s able to in the stock version, nothing that a set of aftermarket slip-ons couldn’t fix. Overall, the powertrain department exceeds expectations. And its black with machined highlights are visually appealing and eye-catching.

Handling characteristics of the Cross Country are as brilliant as the rest of the Cross models in Victory’s lineup. A monoshock rear suspension and an inverted front fork linked up to the two-piece cast aluminum frame work well in soaking up the bumps and when cornering. Cross clearance is not — nor has ever been — an issue thanks to the 4.7 inches of rear wheel travel and 26-1/4-inch seat height.

The Cross Country was built for delivering the creature comforts for trips from the local store to another state. A massive 21-gallon storage capacity comes via the hard, with lockable saddlebags. Standard cruise control, a kickass stereo system with upgraded Kicker speakers in the fairing, a saddlebag-equipped iPod cord is ready to blast your favorite tunes during the ride. Long driver footboards and a toe-only shifter help avoid the bulky and cramped feeling your foot.

Overall, the Cross Country gets an A in our book. It features just the right amount of bling, a hearty and powerful motor and smooth-shifting trans that delivers said power, and because of the time Victory spent engineering the suspension across the Cross platform, the dressed-up Cross rides exceptionally well. HB

Specifications

Powertrain Engine Type Four-stroke 50-degree V-twin

Transmission Six-speed overdrive constant mesh

Brakes

Front ABS, Dual 300mm rotors, four-piston calipers

Rear ABS, 300mm Rotor, two-piston caliper

Exhaust Split dual exhaust with crossover

Fuel Capacity 5.8 gallons

Color Sunset Red

Color Choices:

“The Victory’s Freedom V-twin delivered its power smoothly with a force that can best be described as linear: no sudden rush or hit, just constant acceleration”

Harley Camilleri

Being the absolute largest rider in our group, standing in at 6-foot 3 inches tall, I found the Cross Country’s ergonomics to be more suitable to my size. Spacing between the fairing, bars, seat, and floorboards provided a much more open and comfortable feel than I am accustomed to on other motorcycles we test. The Victory’s Freedom V-twin delivered its power smoothly with a force that can best be described as linear: no sudden rush or hit, just constant acceleration. After a bit of mixed riding, I came away impressed with the Victory Cross Country as a whole, with the most glaring point of contention being the overly quiet factory exhaust note, but that is also the easiest glitch to remedy.