2012 Victory® Cross Country Tour

Text: Florian Neuhauser • Photography: Barry Hathaway

When Victory® introduced its newest touring model, a simple intro ride wasn’t enough. To truly appreciate all the Cross Country Tour has to offer we rode almost 1,000 miles through four states for a long distance evaluation. Along the way we encountered every type of road, just like any touring enthusiast would. I even rode to Wisconsin for a Shamrock Tour®, racking up 3,598 miles in less than two weeks. Just call me an editor on the run….

Polaris® has grown significantly over the past couple of years, mostly because of an increase in Victory sales. The 2011 Cross Country was its best-selling model ever, and riders around the globe are discovering its capabilities. Polaris recently acquired the iconic Indian® Motorcycle brand, which it will handle as its own entity. A lot is going on at the Minneapolis-based company, making it even more impressive that Polaris releases a new model every six months.

Engine and Chassis

The 106-cubic-inch engine (1731cc) lies at the center of the CCT. The robust mill is used in all of Victory’s touring models. The 4-stroke, 50-degree, V-Twin engine is air- and oil-cooled, with single overhead camshafts with four valves per cylinder. Best of all the self-adjusting cam chains require no extensive work and maintenance. This engine is truly built for the rider who tours. After the initial break-in period, the CCT’s acceleration easily allows for passing maneuvers, even on curvy mountain roads. It’s one of the smoothest motorcycles out there. Throttle response, handling, and brakes fulfill their duties well, which often leads to very spirited riding. The large six-gear transmission is clunky, but that means there is no backlash in the throttle.

A low seat height of just 26.25 inches makes it accessible to every experienced rider. Slightly lighter than its closest competitor, the Harley-Davidson® Electra Glide® Ultra Limited, the CCT weighs in at 845 pounds, dry.

The front suspension is made up of an inverted cartridge telescopic fork with 5.1 inches of travel. The rear uses a single, mono-tube gas shock out of cast aluminum with constant rate linkage providing 4.7 inches of travel. The rear is air adjustable. First, remove the cover in front of the right saddlebag to locate an air valve. Then hook up the air pump, which can be bought as a separate accessory and one that I highly recommend, and follow the instructions on the inside of the right saddlebag. During my test ride through the Rockies I scraped the floorboards on some tight curves, but after pumping up the rear suspension to 45psi there was no more scraping.

Brakes

For 2012, all Victory touring models are equipped with ABS. A dual 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers in the front, and a 300mm floating rotor with a 2-piston caliper in the rear make up the conventional braking system. The brakes are not sensitive, and a good, old-fashioned squeeze is needed to bring the bike to a stop. The ABS is welcomed, however, and if you have the urge to do a burnout thank the engineers who allow the rider 30 seconds before the rear wheel stops spinning.

Features and Ergonomics

Victory Edge consists of five components: performance, styling, comfort, reliability and storage. The CCT certainly fulfills these requirements.

The Comfort Control System utilizes upper and lower vents to direct air to the rider’s head, chest and legs, and it works well. On extremely hot days I discovered it was better to close the lower vents so heat from the engine stayed off my legs. The seat made my 300-plus miles a day easy, although the support cushion put some pressure on my lower spine. It would be great if Victory would cut a V into the rear part of the seat and support cushion for maximum comfort.

Standard features include heated grips and a heated seat for rider and passenger (which can be a bit tricky to reach with gloves on), radio, and an iPod cable in the left glove box. The passenger floorboards can be adjusted by 2 inches vertically and 10 degrees rotationally. Long rider’s floorboards made it easier to move my feet around during long days in the saddle. There was no need for highway pegs because I could completely stretch out my legs, but I could also position them right underneath my body. The appreciated absence of the heel shifter gives the rider a lot more room. The CCT has a combined 41.1 gallons (155 liters) of storage space. The topcase easily swallows two full-face helmets. The tall windscreen provides exceptional protection, and even for my tall frame I experienced no buffeting.

Flo’s Lowdown

The CCT is a smooth criminal. It’s so smooth on the road that you’ll have a hard time ignoring that little devil on your shoulder urging you to twist the throttle harder. It’s a blast sweeping the motorcycle around curves, and its stability and balance impressed me. Even riding 80 mph in long, open sweepers the bike holds steady – no wobble. However, the fuel gauge does drop to E very quickly, which can be unsettling while riding, especially if you can actually still ride another 30 to 40 miles. And although the handlebar controls for radio and cruise control require quite a bit of stretch to operate, this ultimate touring machine is a complete package, requiring very few add-ons. It could use a GPS or maybe a magnetic tankbag, but all the other important comforts are already in place. There is even a ,000 discount for military personnel, and with an MSRP of ,999 the CCT has a lot to offer. Find a Victory dealer near you for a test ride.