Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley. The Classics never seem to lose their appeal and when it comes to motorcycles, timeless classics reappear each year. This year, Victory introduced to their lineup the limited edition 2012 Cross Roads Classic LE – a traditional looking bagger with modern technology.
The LE was my third Victory model that day and I think I even called it a Cross Country at one point but when you are switching bikes on a ride, it is hard to keep the names straight. Even though the 2012 Victory line-up shares the same engine, I had three completely unique rides.
Stopped at the Okanagan Valley lookout above Osoyoos, the temperature was rising and the clouds were non-existent. It would be at this point that I would surrender the Victory King Pin for the Cross Roads Classic LE and put it through the tests of back to back hairpin turns as we descended Highway 3 to desert bottom below.
The styling of this model draws you in the moment you look at. The two-tone black/cream colour with red tapered pin stripe detailing on the tank and fenders makes this bike stand out from the pack (you can buy a Cross Roads in black or red but it is only the limited edition that has the two-tone vintage accents). Add chrome spoke wheels accented with front and rear fender bumpers and a pair of soft leather saddle bags accented in chrome sides and holstered in chrome supports and you have a crowd of curious on-lookers wherever you go. With each bag offering 17.4 litres of cargo space, you will be watching the numbers roll by on the odometer whether you are the lone rider or are carrying a passenger.
One of my favourite visual vintage styling details is the baseball stitching on the leather. The saddlebags and the seat both share this design as well as chrome stud detailing for added effect. Victory claims the look is designed to ‘remain loyal to the days when riders saw the world in black and white.’
The seat on the Cross Roads is the most comfortable stock seat I have ever parked my back side on when behind the bars. It is absolutely perfect with respect to shaping, softness, comfort, sturdiness and back support. Inverted cartridge telescopic front forks with 43mm diameter and 5.1”/130mm travel, and single mono-tube gas rear suspension with 4.7”/120 mm travel absorb the bumps in the road adding to the comfort of the ride.
Pair that with slight forward controls, tilted floorboards, and pulled back drag bar style handlebars and the rider triangle is complete for putting on the miles with a lot less breaks than your average machine.
Off the lights, the 106 cubic inch, 1731 cc, air and oil cooled, fuel injected, four stroke, v-twin is delivering ‘109 ft. lbs. of hole shot torque.’ The power is delivered smoothly and consistently through the six speed overdrive transmission. Riding along Hwy 3 – the Crowsnest Highway in Southern B.C., speed limits are up and down constantly as the highway changes back and forth from single to double lane and you pass through a variety of communities. Add varying elevations, hill climbs and descents and then throw in a few hairpin turns and still I couldn’t find anything to complain about on this cruiser.
Smaller riders are in for a treat when shopping for a new bike as even though the Cross Roads Classic weighs in at 772 lbs./350 kg, the weight is distributed in such a way that the bike maintains consistent balance. Pair that with the low seat height of 26.25” (667mm) and this bike is a model specifically designed for everyone to enjoy.
During our Victory ride, there were several other riders, all different sizes, that rode the bike before it came to me and all were singing it’s praises.
Both models have a large front headlight flanked by two smaller side riding lights. This widens your view on the road after dark and makes you more visible to oncoming traffic. Most riders make every effort to get off the road as the sun goes down because of wildlife encounters but if you end up still on the road after the sun has dipped below the horizon, more light is never a bad thing.
Should you happen to have an encounter with wildlife, you have some peace of mind knowing that the Cross Roads comes with ABS brakes. The beefy Dunlop tires are stoped by dual floating 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers in the front and 300 mm floating rotor with 2-piston calipers in the rear. Consistent, even braking strength is key in an emergency situation and could make the difference of staying upright or laying the bike down.
The split dual exhaust with chrome pipes finalizes the bagger look without the decibel rising. For comparison purposes, my best guess is that Victory is directly going after Harley-Davidson. The HD model that comes to my mind is the Softail DeLuxe that I rode through Kootenays last Fall. Similar looks, style, size and price but Cross Roads beats the Deluxe for me as I find the Cross Roads a smoother, more comfortable ride. The Deluxe has more of a vintage appeal with its white wall tires and detailed split single/dual seat but the Victory has saddle bags and a windshield that is standard equipment.
If your looking for a vintage styled cruiser, ride them both.