Victory’s Cross Country offers a cosmic counterbalance—a yin to the yang, if you will—to iconic Harley-Davidson touring bikes. But rather than go the metric route of one-upping the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, establishment with water-cooling and sport-bike-derived technology, Victory plays the game using the very tools that Harley has spent the last century perfecting: combining a large-displacement, air-cooled V-twin engine with creature comforts intended to make the miles melt away.
The Cross Country’s sand-cast aluminum frame helps attain an 800-pound wet weight Victory claims is best in class, and the bike’s 26.25-inch seat height is also said to be the lowest of its touring-oriented competitors. Weatherproof hard cases have a 21.3-gallon capacity that beats Harley’s Street Glide and Yamaha’s Stratoliner, and standard amenities include forged-aluminum highway bars and cruise control.
On the open interstate, the Cross Country’s smooth ride and easy acceleration make it a worthy companion for state-hopping excursions, and it has surprisingly willing handling given the bike’s plus-size dimensions. But the Victory is not without its drawbacks, among them a windscreen that’s a tad low, an AM/FM iPod-ready stereo that could benefit from more clarity, and a pillion seat that feels awkwardly positioned for some passengers. But the Victory Cross Country’s outsider overtones exude a certain attraction, and its $17,999 starting price makes it a tempting alternative to that other American motorcycle manufacturer. (800.POLARIS, www.polarisindustries.com/en-us/victory-motorcycles)