Bryan Harley, Cruiser Editor

All new year, all new bikes

Victory Motorcycles broke wraps on its 2012 lineup, a 15 motorcycle combination of tourers, cruisers and factory customs. Spill a little wine for my friend I rode to Sturgis last year, the Victory Vision 8-Ball, because it got the ax. Trumpet the introduction of one new model, a full-boat touring version of the popular Cross Country, appropriately dubbed the 2012 Cross Country Tour. The CORE Custom Program is back once again, and Victory continues to use its Freedom 106/6 V-Twin across the platform, albeit in two different states of tune. The primary focus of Victory’s 2012 effort centers on improving the touring experience and boasts that its newest addition has the most storage space of any stock motorcycle in the world, capable of holding 15 small clowns and one circus donkey. Wait a minute, I think I’m confusing that with a show I saw in TJ. Victory does claim the 2012 Cross Country Tour comes with a whopping 41 gallons of total storage space, though.

The Freedom 106/6 V-Twin will continue to power all models, but comes in Stage 1 for its touring motorcycles with power numbers claimed to be 92 hp and 109 lb-ft, while Stage 2 is bumped up a bit for use in its cruisers, good for a claimed 97 hp and 113 lb-ft. It’s a counter-balanced V-Twin with both air and oil cooling, as crude circulates through the jackets to help cool things out. It has a self-adjusting cam chain tensioner and a gear-driven primary mated to Victory’s 6-speed overdrive transmission. The tranny was extensively reworked last year as Victory tried to make it easier for riders to find neutral with a new neutral assist. They also worked hard to reduce driveline lash, noise levels and gear whine.

Victory once again enlisted the services of the famed Ness family to customize three models this year. Victory first convinced “The King of Choppers” to put his spin on one of its bikes back in 2004, and since 2005 the company has given Arlen and Cory free rein to pick a bike and work their Ness mystique on it. Last year, Arlen’s grandson Zach joined the party. Surprisingly, all three Nesses elected the same platform to customize as last year, with Arlen opting to alter Victory’s big luxo-tourer, the Vision, while Cory chose to pimp out the Cross Country once again. The youngster Zach uses a Victory Vegas as his 2012 customizing palette. And on that note, let’s take a gander at the 2012 line of Victory Motorcycles.

2012 Victory Cross Country Tour

For 2012, Victory took its popular bagger, the Cross Country, and gave it full-on touring credentials, adding a big topcase, fairing lowers, and a taller windshield, much like Harley-Davidson did last year in the form of the Road Glide Ultra. The only all-new model of the 2012 Victory lineup is built upon a sand-cast hollow aluminum frame and features an aggressively styled fork-mounted fairing and a Freedom 106/6 in the Stage 1 state of tune.

The 2012 Cross Country Tour features a new wrinkle called the Victory Comfort Control System. It consists of Upper Air Controls, which give riders the ability to control the volume and direction of airflow to the upper body. They are mounted at the base of the bike’s protective fairing and pivot to control wind flow. There are also a set of Lower Air Controls that allow a rider to control airflow to the legs. They are mounted in the middle of the hard lower fairings and allow riders to regulate the channeling of wind to the legs. Victory states both controls can be adjusted easily, even with gloved hands.

The hard-fairing lowers have lockable storage compartments with one gallon of storage space per, an iPod cord in the left hard lower and a 12V power outlet. The lowers are mounted on chrome tubular highway bars which provide tip-over protection. The 2012 Cross Country Tour also has rear tip-over protection in the form of frame-mounted bars that run along the bottom edge of the saddlebags and are built so that they touch the ground first instead of the bags.

Victory claims the Cross Country Tour has more storage space than any other bike, a total capacity of 41 gallons between its trunk, saddlebags and forward storage compartments. The Lock & Ride Trunk can be removed quickly without tools, and the lockable, weatherproofed bags have a claimed 17.7 gallons of storage space. The unit also provides a passenger backrest and has two speakers mounted in it to boot. What I thought was pretty cool are its passenger floorboards, which have three different setting for height and can be moved up or down two inches, while the floorboard surface angle can be adjusted at a range of 10-degrees.

To make the long haul more comfortable, the motorcycle’s list of creature comforts includes heated grips and seats with separate controls for rider and passenger. Its rear suspension is air-adjustable and has 4.7 inches of travel. ABS is standard on all Victory tourers, the Cross Country Tour included, a non-linked system with sensors on each wheel that monitor speed and sense wheel lock or slippage. A healthy 5.8 gallon tank provides ample range, and its chiseled looks are one of the bike’s strongest features. A brilliant HID lamp lights the way, while the fork-mounted fairing contains both entertainment and instrumentation, including an AM/FM stereo, analog speedo, fuel gauge, odometer, trip meter and indicator lights. A low 26.25-inch seat height keeps riders comfortably planted behind the controls of the pullback bars while healthy floorboards allow them to stretch things out. It lists for $21,999 – $22,499 depending on which of the three colors you choose: Solid Black, Imperial Blue, or Sunset Red over Silver. There’s a growing list of accessories for it, including a trunk cargo rack, KICKER premium speakers, a passenger armrest kit and more.

There’s also the standard 2012 Cross Country, too. It’s still highlighted by cool air-foil highway bars, hard bags, and an angular fork-mounted fairing. Its padded seat is designed more for the solo rider but easily has the capacity to bring a friend along for the ride. A quick adjustment to its air-adjustable rear suspension and you’re good to go. Available in Solid Black, Imperial Blue or Sunset Red over Silver, the 2012 Cross Country has a sticker price of $18,999 – $19,999.

2012 Victory Vision Tour

Victory’s avante-garde luxury-touring motorcycle returns in 2012, now sold solely in its touring version. The 2012 Victory Vision combines a motorcycle that handles surprisingly well with a capable engine and a plush riding experience. Though it doesn’t quite have the gaudy storage numbers as the Cross Country Tour, its lockable trunk and side storage compartments provide a claimed 29 gallons of storage space in their own right. Its electrically adjustable windshield is a handy feature, as are its heated seats with individual controls for rider and passenger. Heated grips are a bonus, too.

A 26.5-inch seat height helps riders keep two feet firmly planted when the bike sits at rest and provides a low center of gravity when it’s rolling. A six-gallon tank gives it excellent range, while standard ABS sheds the speed. Its audio system features speakers in the fairing and on the front face of the trunk so you can enjoy your favorite tunes from the AM/FM radio or mp3 player. A large display screen conveys audio mode, radio station, and playlists. It comes in a trio of colors – Sunset Red and Black, Imperial Blue and Super Steel Gray, and Bronze Mist with Sandstone Metallic – and has an MSRP of $20,999 – $21,799.

Victory’s other member of its Cross family of baggers, the Cross Roads, also makes a triumphant return in 2012. Along with it comes the return of the Victory CORE Custom Program as well, a program that allows owners to customize the bike to their liking before it leaves the dealership. Riders choose color, saddlebag style, highway bar style, and windshield with 48 possible combos in all. Options include two colors, Solid Sunset Red or Black, two saddlebag styles, softer leather or hard composites, highway bars (which come in forged chrome or tubes), and the choice of mounting it with or without a mid-height windshield. The 2012 Victory Cross Roads is built upon Victory’s standard two-piece, sand-cast hollow aluminum frame and runs a Freedom 106/6 Stage 1 V-Twin, a 6-speed transmission with overdrive, ABS and cruise control. The 2012 Cross Roads is available in Solid Black or Sunset Red for either $15,999 or $16,499 respectively.

2012 Cross Roads LE

For 2012, the Cross Roads is also offered in a limited edition version. The 2012 Cross Roads LE is a numbered model that includes exclusive paint, graphics, pinstriping, a classic leather seat and saddlebags with custom stitching, wire wheels, a different windshield, cool chrome light bar, fender bumpers and saddlebag rails with tip-over protection. A list of Pure Victory accessories can take it to another level of custom and add extra levels of protection and comfort. Windshields, touring seats, backrests, heated handgrips and cruise control are but a few of the aftermarket upgrades already available for the 2012 Cross Roads LE. The Limited Edition treatment kicks its sticker price up to $17,999.

2012 Victory Cruisers

Victory introduced its 2012 High-Ball in New York City back in January. We got a chance to take it for a first ride during Daytona Beach Bike Week and came away impressed with Victory’s factory bobber. It hangs riders up high with its factory ape hangers and has a little old school cool with its whitewalls and recessed tank, which is accentuated even more by the matte black paint that surrounds it. Its bars are two-way adjustable in case riders are more in the cruising mood and adjust without affecting the controls or cables. The 2012 High-Ball rock and rolls courtesy of its Freedom 106 with Stage 2 tuning good for a claimed 113 lb-ft of torque. Did we mention its dark disposition? The High-Ball’s handlebars, headlight bucket, triple trees, frame, fender struts and cylinder heads covers are all black. It has a raised spine running down its fenders and tank, a la the Vegas. Best part is, it’s a deal for $13,499.

Speaking of the Vegas, it is back for another run in two guises, the 2012 Vegas and the 2012 Vegas Jackpot. It maintains its signature styling trait, the raised spine that runs the length of the bike. It’s tall up front with its 21-inch front hoop and wide out back at 250mm. The Victory Vegas also continues to feature a scalloped fuel tank with a split tail. A 25.5-inch seat height situates riders down low and two-inch pullback handlebars are within easy reach. The 2012 Vegas Jackpot is the most affordable of the two at $14,499 and has two color options, Imperial Blue over Pearl or Sunset Red over Pearl.

The 2012 Vegas Jackpot, the factory custom version, is one of our favorites. Tall up front, fat out back with wicked wheels and crisp two-tone paint, from the headlight housing to the color-matched frame. The billet wheels are mounted between the legs of a chrome fork teamed with chromed triple trees. Its Stage 2 Freedom 106 is capable of easily roasting the 250mm rear tire. Available in Black/Pearl White with Extreme Graphics, Fireball Red Paint/White Scallops and special graphics on the side covers, and Solid Black, prices range from $18,499 – $19,999.

On the more conservative side is the 2012 Kingpin. The cruiser continues to don a classy, classic look, highlighted by long, flared fenders and a scalloped tank. The Freedom 106 V-Twin is tightly packaged in the cradle of the frame and feeds the bark coming out of the staggered slash cut dual pipes. Floorboards, pullback handlebars and a solo saddle slung low at 25.5 inches comprise a comfortable, upright riding position. If you’re interested , hope you like it in Pearl Over Vogue Silver because that’s the only color it comes in for $15,299.

For more Type A personalities, it’s Hammer time, Victory style. The 2012 Hammer S is the company’s representative in the power cruiser division. The racy muscle bike sets its blacked-out components off against race stripes. Its back fender sits high to show off the 250mm chunk of Dunlop Elite 3 rubber. The rear cowl comes off for two-up. The 2012 Hammer S is fed by the Stage 2 version of the Freedom 106/6 and is a prime candidate for the boost a set of Victory’s aftermarket Stage 1 X-Bow Exhaust could provide. Stopping power for the front comes in the form of dual 300mm floating rotors with 4-piston calipers. The princely sum of $18,499 will get you the keys and a chance to chose between Gloss Fireball Red/White Lightning or Matte Indy Red/Black.

2012 Victory 8-Balls

Victory has been blacking them out since 2005. They keep the tradition alive in 2012 with two more blacked-out beauties, the 2012 Vegas 8-Ball and 2012 Hammer 8-Ball. The 2012 Vegas 8-Ball is the most affordable of this year’s Victorys at $12,499. At that price point, it leaves a little jingle in the pocket still for customization. It’s black from head to toe, from its tank, fenders and frame to its engine, headlight, handlebars, exhaust ,wheels, belt guards, side stand and covers. The 2012 Hammer 8-Ball is a bargain considering you get primarily the same performance and engine as the Hammer S minus the glitz for a few thousand dollars less at $14,499. A blacked-out engine and pipes give the Hammer 8-Ball some serious attitude.

Ness Signature Models
Victory first convinced custom builder extraordinaire Arlen Ness to weave his magic on a Victory motorcycle in 2004, a Vegas model with paint and accessories chosen by the master. The relationship between the two has only grown stronger over time as Arlen’s son Cory would come on board the next year, followed by Cory’s son Zach, who customized his first production Victory last year, a Vegas 8-Ball. The Ness triad lent their skills to the Victory platform once again in 2012, with Arlen tackling the Victory Vision as his project for the second consecutive year.

Crazy new paint makes it look like a fireball. Seeing how wild it comes across in pictures, I can’t wait to see it in person next week. The diamond-cut engine is complemented by Flamed Ness engine covers. Hot Rod Ness billet wheels, Ness flamed chrome billet grips, and flamed billet shift and brake pegs are part of its conversion. KICKER speakers will pump up the jams out of the Ness radio while you’re kickin’ it in the styling leather stitched seat. Its exclusivity comes with a commemorative plate on the engine stamped with the motorcycle’s production number, an Arlen Ness logo and a copy of Arlen’s signature. Signed, sealed and delivered for $27,999. And Arlen will come to your house for dinner one night. Okay, that’s not in the package, but it sounded like a cool proposition, right?

2012 Cory Ness Cross Country

Cory Ness’ Cross Country got rave reviews among the press last year as the cream of the crop among 2011 Victorys. With accolades like that, upstaging it is a daunting task. But this didn't prevent Cory Ness from trying to create an even more spectacular version of the slick bagger. This year’s version is done up in a Boardwalk Blue and Black paint job accented by Ness graphics. The chrome grips, custom mirrors, billet passenger pegs, chrome shift and brake pegs, and oil line cover are premier Ness products. Its Freedom 106 V-Twin is also diamond-cut and dolled up with Ness engine covers. Limited production, numbered and stamped with Cory Ness’ approval, rolls out the door for $24,999.

2012 Zach Ness Vegas
Mechanically, it’s identical to a stock Vegas. Zach’s influence comes in the form of a Ness handlebar crossbar, custom billet wheels, mirrors, Holeshot billet handgrips, footpegs, and engine covers. A custom stitched solo leather seat upgrades its status as well. Suede Titanium Metallic paint dresses up the bodywork and is paired with a matte Titanium metallic frame and swingarm. To get a bike designed by the budding skills of Zach Ness for $16,999 is a rare opportunity.

Victory’s featured accessories for 2012 include a fairing kit for the Cross Roads, a fork-mounted, bolt-on job. The Hard Lower Kit as featured on the new Cross Country Tour is available, too. Of course, they can only be used with Victory’s Tubular Highway Bars, which are sold separately. Victory’s aftermarket exhausts we’ve sampled in the past always add to the sound and power of the bikes. The Stage 1 Tri-Pro Exhaust, a 2-into-1 set of matte black pipes, fits the Vegas, Kingpin or High-Ball. The Victory P&A department also offers a Klock Windshield straight from the innovative minds over at Klock Werks. Designed for the Cross Country and Cross Country Tour, the aerodynamically designed windshield is a bit taller than the stock version and, knowing Brian’s past work, provides great protection.

Motorcycle USA heads to Park City, Utah, next week to sample the 2012 Victory Motorcycles lineup and ride to Sturgis on the new models. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our first ride impressions.