The touring motorcycle market is taking off in Australia and the bikes are running out the door and dealers can’t keep up. It wasn’t always this way and it was only a couple years back when Australian’s (particularly young Aussies) would turn their noses up at the Tourer and the Tourer/ Bagger was a bike was for the grandfather biker and the biker fraternity opted for the more, let’s say naked models.
The past few years things have changed and the Tourer is now looked at in a different light with the vast majority looking at the Tourer as a credible motorcycle especially for the biker who puts in the miles. The Bagger/ Tourer with all its electronics, storage and customising potential are enjoying resurgence with the consumer but are still limited because of its cost.
As with cars you can save a dollar by using your head and buying smart and one way of saving a dollar is by buying superseded models. Many of the dealerships have superseded or demo bikes which are still regarded as a new motorcycle - only you can save thousands.
I recently had the privilege of loaning one such bike, a 2012 Victory Cross Roads. Now these bikes were relatively new to Australia back in 2012 and not a lot known about them so there were are few floating around and over the years the number of bikes has drizzled, there is still a few available as new bikes for the run out price of $20,990 (Imperial Blue only).
The first Victory I had ever ridden I was rather impressed with the price and look of the bike and most importantly value for money.
The Cross Roads is all that, whilst being a rather large motorcycle to look at with its pronounced goose neck frame (somewhat of a Polaris trademark) and large head light shroud giving the bike a much longer length than the bike’s 104.4in/2652mm. This is in no way short and the large 5.8 Gal/ 22Ltr fuel tank and overhanging rear guard and 21 gallon of storage in the side bags the bike weighs in at 745lbs / 338kg which whilst looking large puts it on par with many of its rivals and the bike’s surprisingly nimble and is at home in narrow and congested streets of city living as it is with country touring and the Cross Roads is the perfect crossover a Bagger and commuter.
The nimble handling of the Cross Roads is partly contributed to the inverted 43mm front forks, the single mono-tube air adjustable rear suspension which gave the bike a firm and controlled response particularly when braking and the riding position.
The seating position is comfortable for rider and pillion and the standard floor boards have plenty of road clearance in cornering and are big enough to accommodate the largest feet without impeding access to the road when stopping and comfortable access to foot controls (gear selectors and brake pedal).
The layback handlebars are comfortable and allow easy access to the hand controls. The instrument panel is a cluster of fuel gauge, gear selection and oil light, engine management lights inside the speedo housing and the view down across the sharp lines of the impressive large fuel tank and past the large headlight shroud from the riding position gives the rider a somewhat grandeur feeling of the size of the bike, particularly when cornering.
This standard model of the Cross Roads is fitted with removable leather saddle bags with fibreglass inserts and leather straps with quick release latches.
The rear guard is reminiscent of a 1940’s Cadillac or the like with its long overhang and art deco inspired tail light. (Polaris is quick to admit much of their styling inspiration came from modes of transport around that era).
The 106ci / 1731cc V-twin is smooth and responsive, especially in the higher range and the six speed gearbox whilst a little noisy when selecting engages quite well.
As with the Cross Roads competitors due to Australian Standards the bike’s standard exhaust is very quiet and restricting so I suggest to anyone thinking of buying a bike, factor in a decent exhaust and breather when budgeting for your dream ride.