Sailing the Hills of TX Aboard the SS Cross Country Tour: A Review

Discussion in 'TheVOG.net News' started by NickJ, Apr 15, 2016.

  1. NickJ

    NickJ Administrator Staff Member Moderator

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    Victory Cross Country Tour

    Springtime in Texas means a thing or two to residents. For some, it's time to gather the family, drive down major motorways, stop and snap a photo of the family laying in the wild flowers of the bar ditch. For others, it means that they will no longer be breathing out of both nostrils at the same time, or at all for the next month and a half. For me, it's riding season, and time to slap a helmet on to enjoy some of the most amazing roads that CenTex has to offer.

    It also means that almost every weekend there is something motor-related happening in Austin. A few weeks ago, I utilized our long weekend to go out and put some quality miles down on two wheels out in the Hill Country. The reason for the season was of course Easter, and the event that got me out of the Austin city limits was the Giddy Up Chopper and Vintage Motorcycle show down in New Braunfels. I needed to spend a little more quality time atop the Victory Cross Country Tour, a bike that I rode back in Sturgis last year, but I was awash with stress during that event, so I wasn't able to give it my full attention. Now, here in Texas, I was able to give it the attention it deserved.

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    Initial Impressions
    Jesus, this thing is big when you walk up to it. Full fairing, lower fairings, hard bags, top case, the whole damned thing. I am not a big guy in the least. Weighing in at around 175-180 and standing every fraction of 5'10" tall, I am just about average for an adult male in every way. Bikes like this can be very intimidating at first and any time you haven't ridden one in a while. It has been months since I first rode this beast in the Black Hills of Sturgis, SD, so I felt ready for it's size and weight, but I was still apprehensive.

    Swinging a leg over this thing made me wish that I had spent the last several months stretching instead of drinking beers, but I was able to get my leg over the thing without scuffing the vinyl, or kicking the top case. Once aboard the SS Cross Country Tour, the saddle was quite comfortable and the bars had a nice pull-back to allow me a nice and neutral riding position. No hunching like a Cro-Magnon simian for me.

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    Time to sort out the music. You see, this machine has a set of speakers in the fairing firing back at me as well as a set firing forward from the rear top case. I ride with a full face helmet, so sometimes onboard music is lost on me and I have to resort to helmet-mounted, or single ear bud audio. The CCTour allowed me to roll down the road at highway speeds with music, my full face, and the ability to hear traffic as well. Sort of a win-win-win situation.

    I tucked my phone into the lower left fairing, plugged in to the 3.5mm jack that will accommodate any sort of audio device that will fit in the cavity. I do wish that the cable was longer, oh how I wish it was longer... You have all of about 12 inches of total cable available (if I were a good journalist, I would be able to give you a real measurement), which, in my professional, motorcycle journalist opinion, is not enough. With the phone plugged in, I had to bend down and turn the phone awkwardly to get a peek at the display. Just give me another foot of cable Vic. I will handle the rolling it up part.

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    The Ride
    Once the music is sorted and the ride is underway, this thing is quite nice on the road at byway and highway speeds. The engine settles into a nice even cadence along the road and does not vibrate away between the knees like an over-excited hummingbird, nor does it sound like it may have left a few parts behind at mile marker 82 with a lazy potato-potato-potato. The 106 offered enough of low-end torque in the twisties that I was able to leave it in 2nd or 3rd, even on slower Hill Country hairpins.

    All of the handlebar controls were easily accessible, but I really only played with the cruise longer than just a cursory system check. I wish that I could have been able to control the aux music further than just volume, but a super solid road trip playlist would remedy that in short order.

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    We were off to get lost in the hills on the way down to the Giddy Up. I was riding with a group of folks on bikes ranging from full customs, stock Harleys, to a couple European and Japanese ADV and sporty bikes. The big Vic was able to keep formation with every one of the bikes and only showed its weight under 20 miles an hour. Even here, at the slow speeds, the bike was predictable. After a few hours in the seat, I was used to the weight and able to confidently waddle around parking lots. Oh, I suppose that I need mention that the Tour ended up being the travel locker for no less than 5 people once we got to the show. Needless to say, it has room for stuff.

    I absolutely hate being able to report on the ABS system, but unfortunately, I am able to. It saved my bacon. ABS is a good thing, and the ABS system on the CCTour works like a charm. Myself and Dom, who was along for the ride aboard his Ness Cross Country, were cruising down the road and just enjoying the day when, without notice, a truck a few cars ahead decided that he needed to make a u-turn in the 2 lane road. This lead to brake lights, and very little room to react. Luckily, after some panic braking, both of us were able to pull down from 55 and stop safely. Once stopped, we had a laugh about the ABS system saving both of us from an accident. I'm a believer, 100%.

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    Later on, one of the female pillions abandoned her perch aboard a black Harley Road King and climbed aboard the SS Cross Country Tour because she wanted to try the backrest out. Later, when that part of the group left the show early, she was bummed that the CCTour was staying longer than she was. If that doesn't tell you something, I certainly can't tell you anything.

    The Ride Home
    The ride out was during a beautiful day in the Hill Country, and we were able to check out some fantastic sweeping roads. After spending the day gawking at some amazing bits of painted and chromed metal and listening to the amazing Texas Tornados, the sun had sunk out of view and darkness had fallen. Time to hit the road for the hour-long trip back home from New Braunfels. The best route was going to be the highway for a straight shot, and also an opportunity to see how the bike does in such a situation.

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    This bike likes the highway. Once up to speed, the bike seemed to settle in to its happy zone and run down the road with no drama at all. The tall windscreen offered no buffeting over my helmet, even with the visor up. The relaxed rake and trail meant that I could offer the bars only light input when necessary and a few miles without my hands on the bars at all. The suspension sucked up any and all bumps without surprise or offering anything but a plush ride.

    Rolling back up to Austin in the cool springtime air was just what I needed to assess my days aboard the SS Cross Country Tour. This bike is a workhorse that is able to get you from point A to point B in a very efficient manner. The styling is a bit dated but, I'm glad that they have gotten away from the lime green paint jobs and opted for a more subdued approach. Everything that you need has been offered by the CCTour for years, and through iteration, it has become a great touring bike.

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    It has only been recently that the other guy with the shield and bar caught up to this 'ol ship. Vic has been offering tremendous value for money in the touring category for some years now. I would be hard pressed to overlook the Cross Country Tour at $21,999 and wander down the road to spend another several thousand dollars for a comparably equipped bike.

    Gripes
    • That Damned Aux Cord
    • Fork Mounted Fairing Can Act as a Sail in Cross Winds
    • Older Styling

    Raves
    • Value For Money
    • Engine Power
    • Heating and A/C via Vents in the Lower Fairings

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  2. NickJ

    NickJ Administrator Staff Member Moderator

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    Last edited: Apr 15, 2016
  3. 4Nines

    4Nines Administrator Staff Member Moderator

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    Sounds like you had a great trip on the Vic! The passenger test speaks volumes about just how comfortable this bike is.
     
  4. They Call Me Bruce

    They Call Me Bruce Member

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    Yes, everybody raves about the CCT passenger backrest. Everyone loathes the CC backrest. Too much recline to it to be comfortable. When are they going to fix that? You would think alternative or adjustable angle pads could be easily incorporated. As it is, I'm probably going to have to go to a custom seat builder to make something that will make my wife happy and maintain the aesthetic. Come on Ma Vic, wake up!!
     
  5. SubDude

    SubDude Well-Known Member

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    Great review Nick, love the old Indian shots as well.
     
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  6. WpgRider45

    WpgRider45 Active Member

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    Great read, I can't wait to get on my CCT.
     
  7. VicVisionBulldog

    VicVisionBulldog VOG Police Chief

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    Nice review and it sounds like a fun time.

    Im not sure the bike deserves a knock for the length of Aux cable. You can pick one up on Amazon cheap and get them as long as you want.

    I have a little kit I take on fishing trips, rides, vacations, etc. It has a external battery, 3.5 audio extension cable, USB to Micro USB cords and other similar stuff. This way no matter what I need I can hook it up and keep the party going. A audio extension cable is cheap and easy to keep in you gear.
     
  8. 1stVictory

    1stVictory Well-Known Member

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    Nick,

    To retain the music control functions on an iPod from the handlebar switch, a cheap $10, 30 pin extension cable or 30 pin to Thunderbolt® connector won't give it to you. You need the more expensive Apple® brand cable to retain control. Don't know why - they look the sam but aren't. Using a plain MP3 player gives you just volume control. Get an older iPhone or iPod from some family or friend's kid or a pawn shop, load music on it and get full function entertainment control.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
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  9. Roughrider

    Roughrider Active Member

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    Great write up and photo's.
    Happen to own the CCT in the same colors.
    And you remind me how blessed I am to reside in the Texas Hill Country (Born and Raised).
    Take care!!
    V CCT 2015 H.jpg
     
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  10. victory_wayne

    victory_wayne Member

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    CCT owner for almost 4 years.. Love the bike every time I get on it..I just smile at my Harley buddies issues.. Just add gas to my vic and ride.. Thanks for the article..
     

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