Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour

29 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour

Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour

Words and static pictures by Kenn Stamp

Action pictures by Mark Frankenfield

Before we get started with the meat of the review I want to give you a bit of a warning (and spoiler alert). Some of what you are going to read may sound like I didn’t like the bike and that’s true in one respect – I didn’t find the “Cory Ness” part of the Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour to be particularly appealing. I did, however, find the “Cross Country Tour” part of the Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour to be immensely appealing…with a few quibbles here and there.

The first thing that grabs your attention isn’t the design of the bike it’s the color. Yellow. Yellow to the left, to the right, front, back…..yellow as far as the eye can see. OK that may be a bit of an overstatement but looking at the 2013 Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour, one cannot help but think “man, that is a lot of yellow”.

I usually don’t mind yellow but in this case I didn’t find it appealing. I quickly learned to avoid school bus stops after I had 4 sleepy 7 th graders try to climb on the bike one early morning thinking it was their school bus.

Victory calls the yellow color applied to the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour “Gold Digger Pearl” which sounds great and all until you see it in person. In the direct sun there was some subdued metallic sparkle to the paint but the moment you were in the shade or any indirect lighting the paint went flat.

On one overcast day I had use the flashlight app on my phone just to convince a couple of passersby that it was indeed metallic paint. “Custom” paint should “pop” and let you know that some extra care was taken when it was applied. And a manufacturer can’t use the “mass produced” excuse because Harley Davidson seems to be able to create “custom” paint on their CVO line that actually looks custom.

A motorcycle as big as the Cross Country Tour, dressed all in yellow just screams “ pay attention to me. ”. In other words this is a bike that is custom made for the “15 minutes of fame”, reality TV crowd. With all the stares I was getting it felt like I was riding around on Kim Kardasian the entire time. Wait, that didn’t sound right.

While the Cory Ness treatment wasn’t my cup of tea apparently quite a few people actually found it to be quite appealing. Obviously Cory Ness is onto something but what that something is may be open for debate. Love it or hate it you can’t deny that the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour is an attention grabbing bike.

My plan with the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour was to do a 2-up ride down to Homestead and parts of the Florida Keys during a long weekend. I also wanted to do a 2-up day trip over to Clearwater, FL to see their Sunset Festival. I figured a full dress touring bike would make both those trips much more enjoyable.

The first fly in my trip-planning ointment was the stock windshield on the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour. As I quickly found out on my inaugural interstate ride home it was the perfect height to cause someone, who is 6ft tall, unbearable turbulence at interstate speeds; I had new found empathy for bobble-head dolls after about 5 minutes of riding. Obviously this wasn’t going to work and a solution would have to be found, pronto!

After a quick search on the internet I found a local Florida business called Madstad Engineering (www.mastad.com ) that makes windshields and brackets for numerous bikes. A quick email to them and I had one of his 11 inch windshields and adjustable brackets on the way. I’ll be doing a full review on them shortly but I will say that the man is a genius and if you are in the market for a new shield and/or adjustable brackets then check out his site (he makes brackets and shields for numerous bikes).

A few days later I found myself on a beautiful evening sitting 26.1 inches (seat height) above the asphalt aboard all 108.1 inches (overall length) of the “Great Banana” as it battled its way down the Florida Turnpike against a moderately strong headwind; which I felt not at all thanks to that freakin’ awesome Madstad windshield and adjustable brackets. Of course the windshield did nothing to increase the fuel mileage which ended-up averaging 33mpg for both trips.

You can thank having a heavy bike, headwinds, big motor and my heavy right wrist for that pretty crappy number. For those of you who pay attention to such things, the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour is almost 10 inches longer than a Harley Davidson Ultra Classic. Ten inches.

Maybe that’s why all those women seemed to like the bike.

There are many reasons why people buy full dress touring bikes but comfort has got to be at, or near, the top. Even on a semi-custom touring bike like the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour, comfort needs to be a priority. To meet that goal Victory put this really cool, deeply dished seat on the bike. Why is it so cool?

Because it’s covered in suede. Yes, suede. Which is cool right up until the moment it rains. Then it takes about 15 years to dry. But I guess there are concessions to be made in the name coolness.


Oh and the seats are heated too. And you can’t deny that heated, suede seats are cool….unless they are wet.

My favorite thing about Victory touring-series bikes are their ergonomics, especially in the leg department, due to long floorboards. Knowing this was a “custom” bike (it’s numbered and everything!) I was afraid that Cory Ness would put some silly little floorboards that were more in line with being “cool”. I needn’t have worried as Victory put their usual floorboards on the bike.

They work great too as you can slide your feet between a mid-mounted control position to a forward control position. If you really want to stretch out you can straighten out your legs and rest your heels on the front of the floorboards and pretend you have highway pegs. Having the option to move your feet and legs around so much really makes long rides on the Cross Country Tour a real pleasure.

The Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour also has the heel shifter removed to give you even more room.

Another draw with full dress touring bikes is sound. Not the sound from the motor but that sound that comes from those things that most lesser bikes don’t have; speakers. The speakers on the Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour are plentiful and provide sweet quadraphonic sound. OK it isn’t really surround sound like like a true quadraphonic system would be but the system is absolutely incredible.

Kicker makes the speakers and the system seems determined to be louder than the paint. If the bike’s looks don’t get you noticed the sound system certainly will. One of the secrets to making this system sound great is that the rear speakers port into the trunk so the bass response is much greater than one would expect out of 4” speakers. Plug your iPhone in to the plug that resides in the left lower fairing pocket, and jam to your favorite music.

And yes this was the part that I missed most about the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour when I had to turn it back in. As an aside, the photographer taking the action pics said that he had an easier time judging when I would be coming into view around the corner on the Victory (than he did on the Tiger 1050 Adventure we were also shooting) due to Victory’s “Mobile Concert Series” stereo system.

It is an unwritten rule that when you travel you must take stuff with you. If you are riding a Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour then you can take lots of stuff with you. Victory claims their bags lead the industry in interior size and I have no doubt this is true (41.1 gallons according the Victory).

I have a 17” laptop that I carry in a backpack and I had a plethora of options of where I wanted to put it. I could fit in the left bag, right bag or trunk and have room to spare in all of them. Victory also provides two large, but not laptop large, pockets in the lower fairings that are closed with plastic doors. The only downsides to these fairing storage pockets are that they don’t lock and therefore leave their contents susceptible to thievery (locks are optional).

Actually the trunk lock isn’t very secure either as it allows the lid to open enough that a screw-driver could fit in the gap and be used to pry the lid open. Then again it is a motorcycle so the whole thing isn’t exactly secure so this is a slightly moot point.

If you’ve read any of my other Victory reviews you’ll already know that I like their motors, a lot. That doesn’t change with the motor in the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour. The only downside is that there isn’t a lot of oomph since the bike itself weighs as much as Liechtenstein does and that’s a lot of weight to ask a motor to move around; even a 106 cubic inch motor. There is enough power to move the bike at a decent clip even fully loaded 2-up but not as much power as I would like.

Victory Cory Ness Cross Country

Of course I come from the Jeremy Clarkson school of “More Power!” so I may have a slightly skewed outlook.

A downside to a big motor is heat. Most companies combat this by water-cooling their motors but Harley and Victory are currently sticking with air cooling to maintain that certain look. Unfortunately, that means that on a full dress touring bike the heat from the rear cylinder has only one place to go; the place where you are currently sitting.

I made the mistake of going to South Beach on the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour and, by the time I got there, there was so much heat coming off the bike and the speeds were so slow that I was soaked with sweat and the bike was making all kinds of interesting sounds as the oil was broken down. Even with the little flaps open in the fairings the heat was unbearable and not something I would try again.

The bottom your right leg gets so hot that you expect to see blisters there when you get done riding. I did actually burn my leg on the right exhaust at a stop even through my jeans and the heat “shield” over the pipe itself. I have a feeling that the fuel mixture is set VERY lean to meet emissions requirements which increases the heat from the motor.

If you don’t sit in traffic and you always ride faster than 35mph you’ll be fine.

The Cory Ness Cross Country Tour, like all Victory’s, comes with a 6 speed transmission that, like every transmission hooked-up to an air-cooled big twin, is a bit clunky going into 1 st gear from neutral when stopped. Once you get moving that clunkiness goes away and the transmission offers firm, yet smooth, engagements between gears. Victory also installed a neutral “helper” system on the bike.

Go less than 5mph and lift up on the shift lever from 1 st gear and you’ll find neutral every single time. As is the norm with cruisers and big twin touring bikes, the Cross Country Tour has a final drive belt for ease of maintenance and longevity.

You battle physics to get the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour moving and then you must battle it once more to get the bike to stop. Victory installed dual 300mm floating rotors with 4 piston calipers on the front and a 300mm floating rotor with a 2 piston caliper on the rear to help you in your battle. They system works well and is easy to modulate but the front brakes require a strong right hand to access their full potential.

Victory also installed an ABS system that works well in case things go all pear-shaped, as they often do, out there on the wild streets.

You may be surprised to find out how well the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour handles when those wild streets start to zig and zag around. For such a big, heavy (845 pounds dry!), tour-oriented bike, the Cory Ness handles the curves very well. Push the bike hard, nope harder than that, and you’ll find the floorboards touching down first. But it takes much more lean to get them to scrape than you would expect, or maybe even feel comfortable with.

This is a character trait of all the big Victory touring bikes I’ve ridden and it is one of the biggest selling points for me. This handling prowess is due not only to chassis design but also to the suspension that Victory puts on the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour; 43mm inverted forks up front and the mono-shock with constant rate linkage in the back that is air adjustable.

As usually happens my plans didn’t turn out quite the way I had planned as my trip down south turned out to be a solo trip instead of two up. Sometimes bikes with trunks but no passenger exhibit a bit of wiggle at highway speeds from the wind hitting the trunk and moving the rear of the bike around. I never noticed this with the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour either with the stock windshield or the MadStad windshield.

I did however feel like the bike was forcing its way through the air at highway speeds; like it was fighting for every inch of interstate it was passing over. Putting a passenger on the back for the ride to Clearwater eliminated this feeling almost completely.

I guess the thing I disliked most about the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour was that it seemed like a lot of money for very little to no gain. In fact, in some instances it actually felt like you were paying more for less. To be fair, once I checked Victory’s website and tried building out a Cross Country Tour to include things that I would want I came up to almost the same price as the Cory Ness version….it just wouldn’t be yellow.

If you are looking for a big touring bike that handles better than it should, looks different than the other big touring bikes on the market and offers high levels of comfort, then the Victory Cross Country Tour is the bike for you. If you have roughly $28k burning a hole in your pocket and you want a semi-custom touring bike, hate the thought of actually having to put some thought and effort into picking out your own accessories then maybe the Cory Ness Cross Country Tour is the bike for you.

Just don’t leave it out in the rain uncovered…or ride near school bus stops. If you like riding in the rain and your routes take you near school bus stops then I would heavily recommend checking out the standard Victory Cross Country Tour as that would be my personal choice.

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