I had the opportunity to ride several Victory motorcycles when I was in Laughlin, NV, for the Laughlin River Run. There were only a few manufacturers who showed up for the rally, and only Victory was offering demo rides. So I spent a lot of time at the Victory tent.
The five bikes I rode were three touring bikes, the Cross Country, the Cross Roads, and the Vision 8 Ball; and two cruisers, the Kingpin and the Hammer. I’ll give my appraisal of the tourers here, and follow up with an appraisal of the cruisers.
The Victory tourers are nothing if not visually imposing. They look like very large, very heavy machines. I know from experience, however, that a well-designed motorcycle may look and in fact be large and heavy, but once it is in motion it can feel as light and nimble as a bike half its size. The Cross Country did not disappoint me.
My legs are short, even for my 5-foot, 8-inch stature, so the reach to the floorboards was a bit far, but acceptable. The seat was broad and comfortable. I like having a fairing or windshield but I had to wonder if the low-slung fairing would be sufficient. Out on the road my assessment proved correct, as my helmet suffered considerable buffeting. The power from the 106-cubic-inch v-twin was solid but not awesome.
What sets the Cross Country apart from some of its brothers is the extras that come standard. It has a fully equipped sound system with controls on the left grip, GPS, and a lot more. All in all, it’s a very nice package if you have the money and you’re into that sort of luxury.
The Cross Roads is essentially the same machine as the Cross Country with several important differences. First off, all the price-increasing gee-gaws are absent, with an instrument cluster consisting solely of a speedometer. Not even a tach. Additionally, the fairing has been replaced by a windshield that is higher, and which for me did a much more effective job of blocking the wind.
Taking off from a stop, the Cross Roads seemed to exhibit more muscle than the Cross Country, although that could have been just the difference in two machines. They share the same engine and I doubt the 40 pounds the Cross Roads sheds from the Cross Country would make that much difference.
Handling of the two bikes was very similar but for my biases the Cross Roads was preferable. Your results may vary.
Vision 8 Ball
When people think about Victory motorcycles they frequently think of the one model that stands out as absolutely unique in styling, and that would be the Vision. If the Cross Country and Cross Roads look big, the Vision looks huge. But once again, good design is key and the Vision is amazingly agile.
Like the Cross Country, the Vision is loaded with extras and the full fairing did a better job of blocking the wind than did that on the Cross Country. And more than the others, the seat was deep as well as broad, offering some very welcome lumbar support. However, the very large mirrors vibrated so badly that they were almost useless.
The bottom line here is that the guys at Victory are no slouches, and they’ve put together some very nice machines. And they’ve offered a variety of choices, so one size need not fit all. I’m sure you could ride comfortably all day on any of these three. But hey Victory, do something about the mirrors on the Vision, OK?Get the Motorcycle Examiners widget and many other great free widgets at Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)