First Ride: Victory Cross Country review

A luxurious trip to a café in Dungeness

Dungeness is a funny old place, imagine a wasteland dreamt up by Playstation's best game developers, always windy and overcast littered with derelict huts and a host of makeshift sheds, all sitting on miles upon miles of rust ridden shingle. In the distance you can hear a deep hum from the nuclear power station whilst eerie distant loudspeaker announcements can be heard echoing around the heavy oppressive air.

Dungeness does however have a more idyllic side. Aside from being a huge nature reserve it also features a miniature steam railway, an old lighthouse, a Smokery and the unnaturally warm waters on the beach are a mecha for beach fishing. It even has a café that serves a reasonable breakfast and it’s this café that I choose as the destination for a very windy but dry Sunday jaunt on Victory’s massive Cross Country.

To be honest my relationship with this bike didn’t get off on the best foot. Any speed above 60mph and the half-length screen generates so much wind turbulence that your head is hit with an unimaginable amount of buffeting. The old reliable “stretch up and duck down” methods of avoiding the wind didn’t work and eventually my brain was shaken so badly it may has well have been through a B&Q paint mixer. This is a well-documented issue with this particular model. The screen is low enough so as to give you an uninterrupted view of the road but unfortunately it produces huge amounts of air turbulence. I’ve chosen to put this point to one side though because other than that the Victory Cross Country is a great bike. With an aftermarket screen (available from all dealers), with a simple fitting of four screws and it’s on, the problem would be completely resolved.

The Cross Country is a massive bike, It’s the slightly less faired version of the Victory Vision and that’s an absolute bus of a bike. Needless to say with all this scale you get huge mounts of storage, I managed to fit five Sainsbury’s bags of shopping, eight bottles of Amstel and a takeaway curry for four all in the two side panniers and top box with a 21 Gallon capacity. You also get loads of room to get comfortable and your pillion gets a backrest, hugely padded seat with leg rest and footplates as big as saucepans.

I’m used to talking about handling, cornering ability and feel from the brakes but with the Victory Cross Country all that seems pretty pointless. All I can say is that brakes feel up to the job, it goes round corners and the overall the ride is very smooth, I would more than happily ride to the south of France on it and think it would actually make a pretty good companion.

A first for me is listening to the radio whilst cruising down the motorway holding on with just my left hand, yeah that’s right, the left hand. The Cross Country has cruise control and using it has to be one of the most anti-instinctive feelings I have ever experienced. Get up to speed, turn it on and press enter when at the desired speed. The bike will cruise away to its hearts content, accelerating seamlessly up hill, backing off downhill all to keep you at a steady speed. And whilst this is all going on you can listen to up to seven preset radio channels or, connect your MP3 Player and as in my case, burble down the road with Seasick Steve and the Last Po’Man blasting out of the four stereo speakers.

The engine used is Victory’s all encompassing 1731cc V-twin with a six-gear overdrive. The motor pulls hard and lets out a beautiful loud but inoffensive exhaust note but for me the joy with this engine is that overdrive. Get up and running knock it into sixth and the revs drop to something like 2000, if you let off the bike will just run on with minimal engine braking, fuel consumption is at its most economic at this point and you can glide along all day long.

My short time with the Victory was certainly an experience. And if it came to buying one the £15,995 price tag wouldn’t put me off. It can be compared against the Harley Davidson Electra or Streetglide and they all start at £18,000+

Overall if you’re looking for a bike to cover some distance in comfort and style, with the contents of your house on board, the wife and maybe the dog then the Victory Vision (with a different screen) is for you. To see or book a demo ride on this bike or any other model from the Victory range check out P&H Motorcycles in Crawley they have it all there.