2010 Victory Cross Roads Review

9 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on 2010 Victory Cross Roads Review
Victory Cross Roads
Victory Cross Roads

2010 Victory Cross Roads Review

Victory’s Cross Roads and Cross Country models are new for 2010, but some of the components may be familiar to people who know the company’s product line. The cast aluminum backbone frame is similar to the one found underpinning the Vision, and the Freedom 106 engine is essentially the same as found in Visions and other Victory models.

No harm there. Both of those fundamental elements have been found to be very good at what they do. Other than that, the bikes are all-new, and they were subjected to a long and exacting development process, including protracted testing with shaker rigs to determine when and where material fatigue and failure might occur.

According to Victory, the new structure broke the shaker rig before anything failed on the bike itself. And the Cross Roads we rode from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back certainly felt solid in every respect. The stiffness of the backbone frame system can be detected in the way the bike handles.

Any deflection in the frame makes a bike’s steering and stability feel loose and vague, and the Cross Roads is nothing if not accurate and predictable.

A model-specific inverted fork up front has 43mm stanchions and over five inches of travel, and it feels really sturdy in operation. The rear end has a suspension unit based on the one in the Vision, and boasts an air preload system to maintain the desired ride height under varying loads. I pumped 15psi into the shock to reduce sag and maintain ground clearance, and never had anything touch down.

Granted, I wasn’t trying that hard on the mostly freeway route I picked for the trip, but the prospect of the Cross Roads’ very solidly mounted highway bar banging down in mid-turn engendered a degree of caution. Having said that, there were times when the bike was banked over to fairly extreme angles (for a bagger) without any noisy touchdowns.

The guys at Victory rode their prototypes a long way during development, and one of the results is a surprisingly decent stock seat. Although its stepped design doesn’t allow a huge amount of variation in where you sit, the shape and padding is such that gas stops came more frequently for me than a burning need to get off.

Long distance comfort is helped by the 18-inch floorboards, which let the rider shift his boots around a fair amount, and a riding position that doesn’t ask much from either the stomach or back muscles. Admittedly, that would likely be a different case without the generous windshield fitted to our bike. Attached by just four fasteners for quick removal, the windshield keeps most of the wind blast off your chest.

Unfortunately for tall riders like me, it isn’t quite high enough to prevent helmet buffeting at high speeds. That left me with the option of staying down in the seventies and having everything from 18-wheelers to ancient Hyundai Accents blow by, or run in the eighties and have my dancing glasses whip frontal vision into a froth.

Sure, my vision has image stabilization. It just burns brain energy at a huge rate to keep it working. On the other hand, it requires no energy to allow Victory’s big 106-inch V-twin (that_s 1,731cc in European) to tug you along. Even in the very tall overdrive sixth gear, the big Freedom twin has enough torque over 100 pound-feet between 2,000 and 4,700 rpm to canter along at high cruising speeds.

When you need more, a downshift or two brings the motor to a 92-horsepower boil for strong and sustained acceleration.

With its overheads cams and four valves per cylinder, this is a modern and sophisticated engine, with fuel injection that proved pretty flawless throughout the trip. It’s kind of a Jekyll-and-Hide thing, because the engine feels lazy and slow at small throttle openings, then turns angry and insistent when you screw it on.

Apart from the windshield turbulence, aero performance is pretty good. Victory undertook quite a bit of windtunnel study, and I’m grateful for that, because it was blowing a gale in some parts of the desert. Sudden gusts would  steer  the front end slightly as they hit the big screen, but none of the bike’s movements were unsettling.

While the sound of the wind snapping at the windshield was a little disconcerting, the Cross Roads did little more than shrug and move on.

Victory Cross Roads

The other big factor in long-distance travel is, of course, luggage, and here the Cross Roads claims the biggest hardbags in the business, with 21-gallon glass-filled nylon cases rated for 560 pounds. Dunno how you_re going to get all that weight in those things, because the openings and basic interior shape is a tad narrow for a TV set. But isn’t it nice to know they’re strong?

If you buy one of these bikes, get the optional liner bags. You can pack a surprising amount of stuff into them and then just pop them into the lockable hard bags. They have integral handles and zippers, so you just haul ‘em out at journey’s end and schlep them up to your hotel room.

If you need even more stuff, a backpack will rest comfortably on the elevated seat behind you.

The bike proved wholly suitable for my trip, with enough comfort, performance and stability to provide relaxing travel. I found the tripmeter particularly useful, because it toggles (at a button ahead of the left-hand switch cube) between two trip odometers, the overall mileage, the length of time you’ve been on the bike, a fuel gauge, and a digital tachometer. The latter is quite a novelty on a bagger like this, and I was amused to see that most of my travel was at about 3,000 rpm, and that the bike hits its limiter at 5,200 rpm.

Because I rode up the infamous Interstate 15, apparently the choice of cranked-up slot freaks on their way to The Strip, I was more or less forced to use a pretty high speed. The result was fuel consumption a fraction worse than 40 mpg. The bike will doubtless do better than that at a more relaxed pace.

And speaking of fuel, I found the offset (to the right) filler cap on the 5.8 gallon tank a major pain when refueling from the right-hand side. The pullback bars got in the way, and the entire process seemed awkward and poorly thought out. Then I read that the filler was designed to be used from the left.

Doh! I suppose it makes sense, what with the kickstand being on that side and all. Hey, maybe they ought to put a sticker on the tank for dopes like me.

Our Midnight Cherry Cross Roads is priced at $16,849, some $600 more than the same bike in your basic black. As usual with these things, there is a raft of accessories available in the showroom when you pop down to take a look. Among them are replacement exhausts, nav systems, chrome pieces, passenger backrests, and heated seats.

The Cross Roads fraternal twin the Cross Country features a handlebar-mounted fairing with power sockets, a stereo system, and various other extras. While you’re down at the showroom, take a look at that one too.

Victory Cross Roads

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