Long-Term Bikes | 2011 Victory Cross Roads

MSRP: $15,999
($17,349 with paint, Cruise, Backrest)
Caretaker: Cherney
Measurements: 5 ft./ 160 lbs./ 30-in. Inseam
Odometer: 4596
Miles Since Start: 1596

A few months back, outfitting the Cross Roads for cold-weather touring in the Pacific Northwest was at the top of my list-in mid-November, you tend to plan for the worst from Old Man Winter. On the advice of Victory's Manny Pandya, I figured I'd hedge my bets with a Heated Grips Kit from the Victory catalog, supplemented by a set of wind deflectors to block Oregon's usually icy January winds. Thing is, somebody forgot to give the NOAA the memo-winter up here has turned out to be a cakewalk, with temps in the 40s and virtually zip in the precipitation department. But it's not quite t-shirt weather, and things can change in a hurry when you're crossing the Cascades, so the chill-killers still made the cut (as did the tall windshield it came with).

The wind deflectors (Victory calls them Lower Air Controls) were a breeze to mount to the forks with just an Allen key, and have done a standout job of deflecting wind and road debris from my legs on longer hauls. Manny also suggested a pair of Tubular Close Outs-basically flaps of coated vinyl fabric that slip over the highway bar to get a better handle on wind management. This simple little add-on handily blocked most of the wind and rain coming directly at my feet, plus they're easy to slip off if you don't need 'em. The Close Out/Deflector combo proved surprisingly effective at extending my time in the saddle the few times the weather turned nasty.

With the odometer quickly approaching the 5000-mile mark, a first service was also in the cards. After two hours at Polaris of Portland (the first service is essentially an oil change, but service manager Brent also had the heated grips and switch kit installed), me and the 'Roads rolled out on 100 mile cruise to the coast to check out the whole set-up.

With their hi/low/off settings, the Grips gave me just enough warmth to keep digits in the comfort zone. The Grips were routed to the Auxiliary Switch Mount, which lives under the gauges near the triple clamp and holds the control switch for convenient access. With the breezes now busted and fingers optimally warm, I'm looking forward to planning longer trips into the outback on a more regular basis, forecast be damned.

Of course, by the time next issue rolls around, I'll be ready to swap all that stuff back out to reclaim the lost airflow. But at least there will be options.

Victory Heated Grips Kit: $199.99
Chrome Auxiliary Switch Mount: $29.99
Tubular Highway Bar Closeouts: $99.99
Victory Lower Air Controls: $299.99
Total: $629.96