You stand impatiently waiting, slightly nervous, filled with anticipation. It’s not your first date, you’ve been out with this gal plenty of times—you acknowledge her qualities and accept her quirks. But tonight… tonight is special. It’s your anniversary. And when she hits that platform at the top of the stairs, resplendent in a sexy black number, high heels and the exact amount of proper jewelry, you remember all the reasons you fell in love with her in the first place. That experience is similar to riding the 15th anniversary edition of Victory Motorcycles’ Cross Country Tour—a special date with a familiar partner.
I had my first fling with this model back in 2011, flying into Utah for a major press launch of the then brand-new Cross Country Tour that had been designed to up the ante on the company’s Cross Country model introduced to the lineup two years prior. Once I straddled my new ride, I spent three delightful days on the road riding to South Dakota and the Black Hills Classic. And then… they let me keep the machine for my entire stay in Sturgis. To say I was smitten by the time I kissed her goodbye at the Rapid City Airport would be an understatement. The bike wowed me then. And little has changed in the wow department since that time. She’s just a little more gussied up for the anniversary.
The Cross Country Tour is nowhere near 15 years old. But Victory Motorcycles is, starting with the original V92C that was often compared to farm equipment. But after a decade and a half, Victory has refined their entire product line with the Cross Country Tour finding its niche as a serious touring machine. That being said, not much in the way of performance upgrades will be found on the company’s 15th anniversary edition. But the bling and eye candy is in abundance.
Power is still supplied by the proven 106 c.i., eight-valve Freedom motor with a 50-degree cylinder configuration delivering 106 ft/lbs of torque and one of the smoothest rides available from a big-inch V-twin. When coupled with the 6-speed overdrive constant mesh transmission, a long wheelbase, cast-aluminum frame, monotube gas rear suspension and a 43mm inverted cartridge front end set at 29 degrees of rake, the Tour maintains its status as a luxury touring machine that will satisfy the discriminating tastes of the most demanding long-distance rider. And coming equipped with full floating 300mm rotors in front and rear (dual 4-piston up front and a single 2-piston on the back) supported with conventional ABS, the Cross Country Tour’s 845-lb. dry weight can be hauled down safely even during road hazard-induced panic braking. The 5.8-gallon gas tank provides an extended range of riding, while the heated seat and handgrips allow the operator to last as long in the saddle as his supply of fuel. So, since nothing fundamental has changed, let’s talk about what has.
Commemorative paint is the first eye-catching feature of the Anniversary Edition with an Antares Red over a Gloss Black that’s been accented across the entire canvas with gold pinstriping. Starting with the fairing, down across the gas tank and ending with the saddlebags and tour trunk, the arch and flow of the contrasting red and black united by that one thin stripe of gold makes for a most attractive color combination. An abbreviated smoked
windshield takes the place of the standard taller, clear version. Custom billet wheels replace the standard cast/machined units and add to the bike’s extensive list of 15th anniversary chrome. Metal trim embracing the leading edges of both the front and rear fenders had this rider puzzled at first, until I realized they act as bumpers, guarding that Antares Red finish from any accidental bruising while parking in crowded conditions. That and they’re chrome, a theme repeated over and over including engine and sprocket covers and even the handlebar control buttons.
Although the Cross Country Tour offers 41 gallons of protected cargo space (more than any other production motorcycle), there are those of us who insist on carrying more gear than makes sense. Victory has catered to our obsession and added an elegant luggage rack to their formidable and spacious tour trunk. Space age in appearance, the rack offers ample surface area while not detracting from the contours of the box. Complementing the trunk rack is a set of chrome saddlebag rails that feature the same styling. Removable saddlebag liners and a removable trunk liner are included in the Anniversary Edition.
A Garmin GPS unit comes standard on the model and is located in a convenient docking station on the left handlebar. Along with the standard fare of maps, directions and services, the Garmin is preprogrammed with the complete Victory Motorcycles dealer network. The sound system features XM radio, Kicker speakers and iPhone integration. Badging is abundant with the 15th Anniversary logo emblazoned on the fairing, carved into the seat and displayed right behind the windscreen with an anniversary numbered dash badge. Only 150 of these limited editions will be produced. I was aboard #150.
The ride of the 15th Anniversary is identical to the one I encountered during my original date, an outstanding mount that distinguishes itself in all conditions. Not a cheap date, the Anniversary Tour carries a MSRP of $29,999. And while the color and extra splash of chrome garner quite a bit of additional attention, it’s still all about the ride. In that regard, the Cross Country Tour is one gal worthy of an extended relationship.