The 2012 Sturgis Rally was the ideal place to test the 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour. It remains the one rally the majority of bikers still ride to, and true to its name, the combination of rider amenities, handling, and storage make Victory’s tourer a very capable long-range mount. Besides providing a variety of roads to test the bike on, Sturgis also gave us an opportunity to have a little fun riding wingman for Victory’s latest spokesperson, R. Lee “The Gunny” Ermey.
As a South Dakota thunderstorm with golf ball-sized hail painted the horizon purple in the distance, we used the power of the Freedom 106 engine to put distance between us and a pummeling by Mother Nature. The air and oil cooled powerplant put out almost 94 lb-ft of torque @ 3700 rpm when we dynoed it earlier this year, albeit in a slightly different state of tune because it was mounted in a Victory cruiser. In the Cross Country Tour, it will quickly get riders up to highway speed and drums along efficiently at 2900 rpm in sixth gear at 75 mph, the overdrive gear still with plenty of roll-on power beyond that.
As we chased the sun in the distance on our way to the Badlands, the wide front fairing, tall windscreen and Victory Comfort Control System provided a fantastic buffer from the elements. The windscreen sheltered my face from rain, even with an open-face ¾ helmet on. The lower air controls have a convenient new handle that is easier to use while in motion and directs wind mid-shin when fully open. The upper air controls mounted at the base of the fairing can be adjusted to divert air completely around or directly in the chest of riders.
With a two-piece, sand-cast hollow aluminum frame and an engine serving as a stressed member of the chassis, the Victory Cross Country hugs the twisting road leading into the Badlands. Victory’s tourer feels solid and holds its line true when banked over. Its suspension has plenty of travel, 4.7-inches on the air-shock equipped rear which rebounds smoothly and makes for a comfortable ride. ABS assists the dual 300mm disc front brakes and single 300mm floating rotor rear while the overall system has good feel and strong, even braking power. The ABS is pulsy unless you really mash on the brakes but it saved our bacon on a prior trip so we can vouch for its effectiveness in a true emergency situation.
The 41.1 gallons of storage, world-leading if you listen to the peeps at Victory, was a bonus at the rally. We could stash riding gear, a helmet, and cameras easily in the topcase alone. That’s without even using the big saddlebags or the one gallon of storage in each cubby hole in the lower fairings. The amount of storage will spoil a rider, as will the heated grips, heated seats, standard cruise control, and big floorboards. The passenger floorboards are even three-way adjustable and can be tipped at a 10-degree angle.
As we dodged bats taking flight in the Badlands when dusk settled in, we appreciated the wide, deep pattern of the headlights. According to our video guy, it is very visible from behind at night, too. After a week in its saddle, the Victory’s combination of a torque-laden V-Twin, a chassis that hugs the pavement, suspension that soaks up all the road throws at it and class-leading storage, the 2013 Victory Cross Country Tour impressed our “riders on the storm.”