Friday night at the Ace Cafe seemed like a great antidote to enduring a week without the Victory. Hinckley dealer Windy Corner had discovered a stone wedged in the drive belt while changing the tyres after the bike suffered a puncture. It had lacerated the Kevlar-reinforced belt badly enough to need replacement at £250 for the belt and £90 to fit.
Well done Windy Corner for spotting it, but while it was away I missed the bike like mad. So, straight after work on the Friday after I got it back, it was down to the Ace. On a beautiful, warm summer's evening it was well worth the 170-mile round trip.
The bike's a breeze on motorways now, with its optional higher screen doing a fine job, while the big, grunty 1731cc V-twin makes rapid progress effortless. Luxurious comfort meant I arrived at the Ace cool as a cucumber, but things soon hotted up as the night went on and darkness fell. The general bike-related tomfoolery escalated, to the delight of myself and the good-natured crowd. It's the first time I've been to the Ace and it was a real buzz.
On the way home up the M1 in the dark, I tried out the cruise control. I've used it on a car before, but never on a bike. The controls below the right-hand bar are simple and easy to use and I soon set my cruising speed. It took a while to get used to one aspect of it, though. The system has to increase revs going uphill and decrease revs going downhill to maintain the set speed - and as this happens, the throttle grip rolls back and forth accordingly. It's like there's some spooky hand on the throttle, which added a spooky spice to my midnight ride home.
I got back around 1am. Tired but feeling good. And already plotting my next long-distance outing on this great beast.
Victory Cross Country
Power (claimed): 89bhp
Torque (claimed) 113ftlb
Dry weight: 345kg
Fuel economy: 45mpg