New Bike Evaluation: 2012 Victory Cross Country Tour

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Before I get started on this motorcycle evaluation, there’s something I need to get out of the way: The new 2012 Victory Cross Country Tour has a Best in Class 41.1 gallons of storage space — if you take into consideration the lower fairing space, trunk and saddlebags. Whew, there, done. If Victory media reps had their way, that would be it in a nutshell. They sure did beat that fact into our skulls at the 2012 press event in Park City, Utah. I’ve been told that sometimes, late at night, I bolt upright in bed from a sound sleep and shout, “The new 2012 Victory Cross Country Tour has a Best in Class 41.1 gallons of storage space!” And then fall back into bed mumbling something like “Please, don’t hit me again.”

The cargo capacity of the Cross Country Tour is important, true, but it’s not the whole story. From here on out, I’ll bring you up to speed on the rest of the bike, but I’ll ask you to excuse me if I have a knee-jerk urge to blurt out “The new 2012 Victory Cross Country Tour has a Best in Class 41.1 gallons of storage space!”

Having logged time on a Victory CCT not only at the press event, but also for a two-day ride to Sturgis and also back here on our home turf with a loaner bike, I can say that the aforementioned storage capacity is nice to have, but there are many other things about the CCT that I admire more. We’ve been a fan of the Victory touring bike platform since its release. You’ve seen plenty of images of Victory Cross Roads and Cross Country bikes in our tour stories, thanks to the generosity of Victory’s press fleet. And that’s not going to end any time soon. When we need to go on a long journey and a Victory is available, the decision is easy. We know the bike is up to the task. The Cross series of bikes has undergone consistent mechanical improvements and expansion of its product line, and with the addition of the Cross Country Tour, Victory has built on that platform to give the touring rider more of what he needs. With this iteration of the Cross Country, Victory rolls out the red carpet, outfitting this model with the ultimate wish list in longhaul traveling equipment.

VictoryCCT-2While it appears 12th on the list of features on Victory’s web site, I’m more than happy to tell you that a HID headlight comes as standard equipment on the Cross Country Tour, and only the Cross Country Tour. This upgrade comes in at number one on my list. This important safety feature adds not only better road visibility for the rider, but increases the bike’s conspicuity when compared to other vehicles on the road. The fact that it’s a touch of highend equipment, which elevates the CCT from minivan status to Mercedes, is also a perk.

VictoryCCT-3The next most important feature which differentiates the CCT from a standard Cross Country is the Victory comfort control system, otherwise known as “fairing lowers.” The Cross Country Tour bypasses the standard Cross Country’s squared-off, castaluminum highway bars and utilizes its sister ship Cross Roads’ tubular steel highway bars wrapped in an attractive set of plastic bodywork to help direct air away from the rider. If you’re worried about hot weather riding, I say, don’t. At shin level the Cross Country Tour has dual fairing vents (as well as storage boxes to help achieve a Best in Class 41.1 gallons of storage space! Sorry). I heard some picky types complaining of heat blast, but I found the venting on the lower fairing effective even in the Plains states in the heat of August. Better yet, when the vents are closed for protection from the cold or rain, the rider is treated to a high level of added protection. The generous, adjustable winglets on the lower side edges of the upper fairing add to the effect.

I like that Victory left a vertical portion of the highway bar exposed. Looks like the perfect place for some bolt-on highway pegs. Not that the massive floorboards aren’t big enough. The standard tall windshield requires the rider to look through it, rather than over it, but as long as I’m not staring directly at the upper seam of a windscreen, I’m okay with it. And this windshield provides plenty of protection from bugs, rain, debris, and wind buffeting.

Behind all that protection come some creature comforts in the way of heated seats for both rider and passenger, with easy access to the control switches on the left side of the seat. Heat level is two-step adjustable; low/high. And while Victory media reps tried to talk me out of it, I wish there was at least an indicator light on the dash to let you know when the heat was on, let alone at what level. It’s a shame to have a high-end option that doesn’t seem fully finished. The standard heated grips are two-step adjustable as well and while some luxury touring bikes offer more adjustment than just low or high, these worked just fine.

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The Cross Country tour has a low seat height of just 26-1/4″, allowing excellent control at stops. The passenger floorboards are easily adjustable, with 2″ of vertical and 10 degrees of rotational adjustment. There is an iPod accessory cable in the storage compartment of the left lower fairing, a 12-volt socket in the upper fairing for powering accessories or charging your phone, and cruise control is standard.

Power comes from Victory’s workhorse, a 106″ Freedom V-twin with six-speed overdrive transmission. The beauty of this combination is its silence. It’s smooth running and doesn’t have a “potato-potato” lope. ABS is standard on the Cross Country Tour (as well as the Cross Roads for the first time, by the way).

About the only other CCT-exclusive detail is the chrome rails encompassing the 21.3 gallon capacity hard bags, providing style as well as tip-VictoryCCT-4over insurance. Should you not need it, the top case is removable by loosening just two hidden bolts. Truth be told, I had no problem filling all the cavernous cargo compartments to the brim on my ride, and I was riding solo. So it’s nice to know the Cross Country Tour was designed to carry more than others in its class. But as one staffer pointed out, if you really want to carry the actual kitchen sink with you, better get a trailer. RB

Story By Steve Lita Photos By Barry Hathaway

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