Cruising -- or touring bikes -- seem to represent the fastest growing segment in today's motorcycle marketplace. Yes, sport and superbikes are fast and loaded with the latest technology, but they don't really cut the mustard in terms of comfort, especially where covering long distances are concerned. In addition, the bulk of sportbikes generally offer limited, if any real storage at all for those longer rides.
Joining the futuristic Victory Vision cruisers for 2010 are two new Cross series cruisers: the Cross Roads, and the Cross Country. The Cross Roads bike comes with hard sculpted bags, forward crash bars and a windshield, while the Cross Country cruiser substitutes a fork-mounted fairing with a "shorty" windshield.
Both the Cross Roads and slightly more upscale Cross Country are exceptionally pleasing to the eye, and are less radical or futuristic in their appearance than the somewhat larger Vision models. There is no wild graphic application for the Cross Roads models, which currently comes in Solid Black or Solid Midnight Cherry metallic. The Cross Country is available in the same two colors, but adds a Graphite metallic version that features a custom skulls graphic pattern on all bodywork elements. Large floorboards are provided for the rider, with pegs for the passenger.
The Cross series bikes appear as highly customized turn-key units right off the showroom floor. This new cruiser series features a center character line that runs the entire length of the bike from the front composite fender, through the headlamp and fuel tank, and continuing through the rear fender to the stylized "V" taillight and running light with chrome trimmed "V" rear directional light assembly.
Power for both new Cross models comes from the same 1731 cc (106 ci) SOHC, 4-stroke 50-degree Freedom V-Twin with dual 45mm throttle body, electronic fuel-injected motor that develops 97 horsepower while generating 113 lb.-ft of torque. Exhaust exits both sides through dual exhausts with angled tips. The final drive is a right side carbon fiber reinforced belt. The gearbox is a smooth six-speed constant mesh manual unit.
The Cross Roads rolls on Dunlop Elite 3 rubber -- 130/70 R18 up front and 180/60 R16 aft -- mounted on 6-open, painted/machined-spoke alloy wheels. The suspension setup consists of front 43mm inverted cartridge telescopic forks with 5.1 inches of travel and a single rear monotube gas shock, with a cast aluminum, constant rate linkage swingarm with 4.7 inches of travel.
Braking prowess is provided by conventional hydraulic forward dual 300mm floating rotors with 4-piston calipers and a single 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper out back. The seat is a low set (26.25 inches), comfortable one-piece affair ideal for vertically challenged riders, with a stepped up passenger pillion with a strap grip for the passenger.
My test Victory was a Cross Roads model with a base sticker set at $17,249. The Victory Cross Roads serves up a dramatically pleasing visual presence, with the styling cues easily rivaling the appeal of a custom Harley. All the angles and contours flow harmoniously, with the 106 cubic inch motor displayed in the frame as a jeweled focal point.
The motor not only looks good, it delivers the mail with gusto. If there were a downside at all, the stock exhaust note, though pleasing, would benefit from a little more thunder. On the up side, it's also less likely to offend neighbors when fired up.
The riding position is exceptionally comfortable on a well-balanced cruising machine. Everything works well from the handlebar and floorboard positioning to the well-padded seat. The suspension travel smoothes out rough road surfaces for more pleasant riding conditions. Bottom line, Victory's new Cross series bikes provide another strong element in what now seems to be a complete lineup, with a variety of models that offer something for every rider.
Copyright © 2010 Motor Matters
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