Ever have a friend you really liked, despite his or her many quirks? You know, that good buddy who always had your back but owned the most irritating laugh in town and somehow always avoided picking up the check?
If so, you can probably understand the affection we’ve developed for our long-term Cross Country. In the nearly 6000 miles we’ve racked up so far, it has delivered great open-road cruising, days-on-end comfort, superb backroad handling (for a 770-pound cruiser) and the thunderous torque of a big-inch V-Twin. But it also can annoy the crap out of us with clunky shifting, whiny gear noises (Victory made the six-speed box quieter for 2011, but it’s still not quiet), inaccurate instrumentation (nonlinear fuel gauge, optimistic fuel-mileage readout and other LED-panel oddities) and saddlebags that clatter noisily on bumps. And the same steering geometry that makes this bike so agile also results in awkward balancing at walking speeds and a touch of straight-line nervousness on the highway. Still, in overall performance and inherent character, the CC is so rewarding that we love riding it anyway.
Though we were content with the sound and performance of the 106-inch V-Twin, we tried a set of Victory’s accessory slip-ons (part #2878037), which, like the stockers, are concealed beneath chrome beauty covers. The $699.99 muffler “kit” includes a freer-flowing air-filter element and a one-time-only EFI remap that has to be performed by a Victory dealer. Figure about $250 in labor for the complete installation.
Victory’s P.R. reps claimed this upgrade would give the engine a deeper exhaust note but do zilch for performance. They weren’t lying. On the CW dyno, our stock CC managed 87.7 horsepower at 4750 rpm and 101.9 foot-pounds of torque at 4400; post-modification, hp increased less than 1 to 88.5 and torque soared a whopping 0.6 ft.-lb. up to 102.5. The exhaust is more soulful and doesn’t offend the noise nazis, but $950 is a pretty steep buy-in for such a small improvement.
The big Vic’s brakes were a bit wooden, so we switched to a set of Z Plus pads (part #7175 front, 7176 rear; $49.95 each) from Lyndall Racing Brakes (lyndallracingbrakes.com). Even with the OE rotors, that simple drop-in gave the stoppers noticeably better bite and feel.
We’ve got more equipment lined up to try on our fun and funky Cross Country; we’ll let you know how those worked out in our next update.
|Maintenance costs (including tires):||$212.72|
|Average fuel mileage:||39 mpg|
|Price as tested (2011):||$20,499|