Both the futuristic-looking 2010 Victory Cross Country and the art deco-styled 2009 Star Stratoliner S look at home in the trendy Costa Mesa district of Southern Cal.
cruiser and touring motorcycle segments. The creation of Victory Motorcycles itself was experimental, as its parent company, Polaris Industries, was already established as a manufacturer of snowmobiles and watercraft before it took on the task of developing motorcycles for the street. Polaris started out in the ATV realm in 1984, but wouldn’t introduce “The New American Motorcycle” until 1998. Since its inception, Victory has continued to create ripples in the industry and in 2008 created quite a stir within the luxury-touring market with the release of its futuristic-looking Vision Tour and Street models. It is in this spirit of pushing the envelope that Victory introduces its latest neo-styled cruiser touring motorcycle, the 2010 Victory Cross Country.
With its distinctive angular fork-mounted fairing, a sleek, sculpted tank with a raised spine, and unique foil-shaped crash bars made of forged aluminum, the 2010 Victory Cross Country doesn’t look like an old man’s bagger. Add a host of touring amenities like mondo-sized saddlebags, cruise control, and some of the longest stock floorboards around, and you’ve got a modern bagger that looks to sway a percentage of the market that might otherwise opt to buy Harley-Davidson’s classic-styled fork-mounted touring bike, the Street Glide. The fact that the Cross Country looks right at home whether you’re cruising Sunset Blvd. or chugging up I-5 should make it more attractive to the younger demographic that H-D is trying so hard to tap into.
The 2010 Cross Country brings baggers into the 21st Century and has fresh styling that should attract a younger demographic than the standard cruiser crowd.
So when looking for an opponent to measure the merits of the new Victory touring motorcycle against, the 2010 Star Stratoliner Deluxe looked like the perfect candidate. Yamaha’s cruiser division, Star Motorcycles, has also been keeping its eyes on the market for what it deems ‘casual full dress touring’ machines, so it introduced its new cruiser-based touring motorcycle this year as well, the 2010 Stratoliner Deluxe. With a hard-shelled, fork-mounted fairing and hard saddlebags, the Deluxe was our first candidate when it came comparison time. Bad thing is, the most well-intentioned plans don’t always come to fruition, and no ’10 Stato Deluxes were ready when it became test time. But Star offered us the next best thing to conduct the test with, a 2009 Star Stratoliner S. The Strato S has its own touring accoutrements in the form of leather-covered hard saddlebags, a front windscreen, and a passenger pillion complete with a small backrest. Dynamically, from its big 1854cc engine to its aluminum frame and controlled-fill swingarm, the engine specs and the chassis dimensions of the Stratoliner S and 2010 Deluxe are the same.
Head-to-head, the 2010 Victory Cross Country and the 2009 Star Stratoliner S both feature air-cooled V-Twin engines with a comparable bore/stroke, both feature electronic fuel injection, have belt drives and dual disc brakes. They both ring in right at 800 lbs full of fluids and each has a single shock smoothing the ride on the backside. Enough in common to conduct a little cruiser comparo? We’d like to think so.