Tag Archives: Motorcycle

Triumph Tiger 800XC Bike Test

One of the perils of this job is falling in love with a motorcycle which, luckily, doesn’t happen all that often (at least to me). “They” say that love conquers everything but, since my love for the 2013 Triumph Tiger 800XC doesn’t seem to be able to conquer the lack of funds in my checking account, I am forced to conclude that “they” are lying through their teeth.

After about a week of riding the Tiger 800XC my friends started commenting on the permagrin etched on my face whenever I rode the bike. After two weeks they grumbled about the exuberant way I’d talk about the bike every chance I got. I can’t tell you how they felt after week three because, by that point, they had stopped talking or hanging around me. I didn’t care though because I had my little Tiger 800XC, my best mate, my (to steal a line from Ted) “Thunder Buddy” and I didn’t need anyone else.

So what about the Tiger 800XC made Cupid want to smite me with his arrow of love? To be quite honest I’m not entirely sure. I’m not an off-road kind of guy as my last off-road adventure ended with me having a concussion, nerve damage and a broken engine case on a borrowed Husqvarna. I’ll go off-road onto some gravel or hard packed dirt roads but I don’t live for those excursions and I’m never truly comfortable when I’m on them. I’m much more of a on-road hooligan kinda guy which it the polar opposite of what this bike is made for.

So why did I fall for the Tiger 800XC?

When I first picked-up the Tiger 800XC I was let down by the seeming lack of power. To be fair I had, literally, just stepped off the Triumph Trophy which, even though it weighs as much as a Freightliner, has the grunty 1215cc triple giving it some mojo when you twist the throttle. The 800cc triple in the Tiger 800XC seemed anemic and woefully underpowered by comparison; even though Triumph claims 94bhp and 59 lb.ft. of torque. Of course I soon realized it was my expectations and the way I was riding the bike that was the issue and not any real lack of power.

Riding the Tiger 800XC like one of Triumph’s liter class triples and you’ll be disappointed. You’ll also be disappointed if you ride it like its smaller cousins, the 675cc triples. The bigger triples produce plenty of torque at low rpm; the smaller triples produce lots of hooligan-inspiring hp at the top of the rpm range; but the 799cc triple in the Tiger XC likes to be right in the middle – it’s the perfect Goldilocks motor. Once I started riding the bike with that powerband in mind I immediately started to enjoy myself.

Whether you are on a back road or the interstate (80mph in 6th gear = 6000 rpm)keeping the bike right in the mid-range will reward you with plenty of power for just about any situation you may find yourself in. That lack of top or bottom end, combined with the Tiger 800XC’s gearing, meant that I, being somewhat wheelie-challenged, was unable to loft the front wheel. My inner child threw a temper tantrum every time I tried and failed.

Connecting the motor to the rubbery round things is a 6 speed transmission that is, quite honestly, the best transmission I’ve ever used. People always talk about “snicking” into gear but until I rode the 800XC I’d never truly experienced a “snickable” transmission. Up and down shifts are accomplished with so little effort that they almost seem to happen before you physically move your foot to make them happen. Every other manufacturer needs to buy a Tiger 800XC just to take the transmission apart and copy the magic.

The last participant in the “putting the power to the wheel” menage-a-trois is the clutch. The Tiger 800XC clutch is light but with good feedback and progressive take-up and a friction zone that is easily modulated.

Sometimes a bike whose suspension is made to tackle the humps and bumps of off-road travel wallows through paved corners like a fat hippo in a puddle of mud. Somehow the Triumph engineers have figured out how to create a suspension that is both forgiving off-road and confidence inspiring on road. Yes the tall 21” rim means that handling is a bit deliberate and slower than you’d ideally like if you were tackling a road like Deal’s Gap. And yes if you decide that you are going to muscle the bike through some tight left-right (or vice versa) transitions you will slide the skinny 90/90 series front tire. But slow your brain down a bit, relax your grip on the bars, act like the bike is just an extension of your body, ride smoothly and you will be amazed at the fun you’ll have.

Not being an off-road kinda guy I decided to test the bump absorption abilities of the Showa 45mm upside down forks and rear Showa mono-shock the best way I knew how; speed humps. I figured that with 220mm of travel in the front and 215mm in the rear, taking those annoying speed humps at speed should be no problem for the Tiger 800XC. So I went over at 25mph, then 35mph, then 45mph, then 55mph. At that point I figured that I should probably wait until a later hour to try higher speeds since I was in a residential area with a speed limit of 25mph.

Once darkness set in I took the Tiger out on the prowl for some speed humps to ingest. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice it to say that the Tiger 800XC can handle speed humps at speeds at least up to 80mph; which is where my welcome ran out and I had to vacate the area. One downside I found is that the bike exhibits the same ultra-light throttle spring that I’ve found on other Triumph’s I’ve tested this year. That light spring makes it difficult to maintain a steady throttle over bumps and results in some jerkiness when bumps are encountered.

I was quite impressed that the bike would handle hitting those big speed humps (not the little bumps but those “tables” they like to use in residential areas) at speeds around 80mph and not exhibit any form of shake or wobble or nastiness. I was really impressed that it could do this and be smooth and controllable in the corners without any sort of adjustability to the front suspension.

As with any motorcycle, the first thing that catches your attention is the looks. You can create the best bike in the world but if you style it like Grandma’s bedroom few people will want to buy it; unless your target market is motorcycle riding Grandmothers. Some liked the styling of the Tiger 800XC, with it’s angular bodywork, black rims with silver spokes, and strong “Roman nose”; others disliked it because of it’s angular bodywork and woodpecker beak (some called it “Woody”…which is ironic as that what the bike gave……oh forget it). I personally like the styling a lot and wouldn’t change a thing.

Another nice feature of an adventure bike is comfort. While the seat on the Tiger 800XC could be better, the seat to pegs to bar relationship is perfect. Triumph helps make those dimensions fit you perfectly by making both the rider’s portion of the seat and the bars adjustable. I left the bars alone in the position they were in when I got the bike and raised the seat to it’s higher position and was perfectly happy with the bike. Slap a slightly bigger/better shaped windshield on there as well as a better seat and you could ride this bike on the interstate across the USA with no problems.

Of course you’ll have to buy a throttle lock since Triumph doesn’t put cruise control on the Tiger 800XC. I know that sounds like a minor complaint but after riding the Trophy, Tiger Explorer, and Victory Cory Ness Cross Country Tour within a few months of the Tiger 800XC I’ve become accustomed to cruise control; go ahead, call me spoiled. Of course with a 5 gallon fuel tank and the fact that I was averaging 39mpg from the bike, you’d be stopping every couple of hours to get gas so maybe cruise control isn’t that important. And since Triumph puts these little nubs in the fuel filler neck to keep you from sticking the end of the fuel pump nozzle into the gas tank, your fuel stops will take longer and your right wrist will have time to recuperate.

Triumph does equip the Tiger 800XC with switchable ABS but, just like on Tiger Explorer, it’s a real bear to turn on and off. Please take note Triumph; going through a half-dozen steps to switch off (or on) the ABS system is both ridiculous and silly. One button is all that is needed. Paved road suddenly turn unpaved? Hold the button down for 3 seconds (or so) and the ABS is off. Back on a paved surface? Press the button one time quickly and the ABS is back on. And no need for a bright yellow light on the dash to light up when the ABS is off as having ABS OFF light up in red on the speedo or tach would suffice; and not be so bright as to distract you at night.

As you can see, the Tiger 800XC is a fine motorcycle but hardly the fastest, or best handling, or most comfortable, or best looking bike out there. So why did it tug at my heart strings so strongly? I honestly don’t know but I can tell you that the Triumph Tiger 800XC is one of those rare bikes that is far greater than the sum of its parts. Don’t believe me? Go to a dealer demo day and take one for a spin; just don’t blame me afterwards when your wallet becomes a little bit lighter.




Engine and Transmission
Type Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, in-line three-cylinder
Capacity 799cc
Bore/Stroke 74.0 x 61.9mm
Fuel System Multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection
Exhaust Stainless steel 3 into 1, high level stainless steel silencer
Final Drive O ring chain
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Gearbox 6-speed
Oil Capacity 3.7 liters (1.0 US gals)
Chassis, Running Gear and Displays
Frame Tubular steel trellis frame
Swingarm Twin-sided, cast aluminum alloy
Wheel Front 36-spoke 21 x 2.5in, aluminum rim
Rear 32-spoke 17 x 4.25in, aluminum rim
Tire Front 90/90 ZR 21
Rear 150/70 ZR 17
Suspension Front Showa 45mm upside down forks, 220mm travel
Rear Showa monoshock with remote oil reservoir, hydraulically adjustable preload, rebound damping adjustment, 215mm rear wheel travel
Brakes Front Twin 308mm floating discs, Nissin 2-piston sliding calipers, Switchable ABS
Rear Single 255mm disc, Nissin single piston sliding caliper, Switchable ABS
Instrument Display/Functions LCD multi-functional instrument pack with digital speedometer, trip computer, analogue tachometer, gear position indicator, fuel gauge, service indicator, switchable ABS and clock
Dimensions and Capacities
Length 2215mm (87.1in)
Width (handlebars) 865mm (34.0in)
Height without mirrors 1390mm (54.7in)
Seat Height 845mm (33.2in) – 865mm (34.0in)
Wheelbase 1545mm (60.8in)
Rake/Trail 24.3°/95.3mm
Fuel Tank Capacity / Efficiency 19.0 litres (5.0 US gals)
Wet Weight (ready to ride) 215 kg (473 lbs)
Performance (measured at crankshaft to 95/1/EC)
Maximum Power 95PS / 94bhp / 70 kW @ 9300rpm
Maximum Torque 79Nm / 58 ft.lbs @ 7850rpm
Fuel Efficiency 41 MPG City / 63 MPG Highway *Estimated from fuel economy tests on a sample motorcycle conducted under ideal laboratory conditions. Actual mileage may vary based upon personal riding habits, weather, vehicle condition, and other factors.
MSRP $11,999 (with ABS) *Price is MSRP, and excludes tax, title, license, options, handling, pre-delivery, and destination charges. Specifications and MSRP are subject to change without notice. Actual price determined by dealer.


Bell Rogue Helmet Review

Let’s be honest; the Bell Rogue is not a helmet that appeals to everyone. When it showed-up in our office our Managing Editor, Bryan Group, took one look at it and started screaming and flailing his arms about. He claims it wasn’t caused by the helmet but because a bee had apparently gotten into his shirt during his morning ride into work; we’re not sure we believe him. I, on the other hand, kind of like the helmet.

It’s not just people in our office that had that type of response either as most people I met who saw the Bell Rogue either liked it or hated it; and there weren’t many who fell in between those two extremes.

Bell seems to make two helmet shapes; their full face helmets are built for a long-oval head shape while their Custom 500, half helmets and the Rogue all lean more towards a mid-oval head shape. This becomes important if you own a Bell Star/RS-1/Vortex and decide that you like it so much you’ll buy a Bell Rogue to wear while riding your new cruiser; may not fit you as well as your Bell full face.

The Bell Rogue looks like a ½ helmet but offers a comfort level more in line with a ¾ helmet due to a foam pad that extends out below the rear and sides of the composite shell. That shell comes in 4 colors, btw; Solid Matte Black, Solid Black (gloss), Solid Army Green and Solid Gunny (a tan/khaki-ish color). I wouldn’t say that the Rogue offers the same levels of protection that a 3/4 helmet will because those foam extensions are softer and don’t have a “hard candy shell” protecting their soft innards.

All this is interesting of course but the calling card of the Rogue is the detachable muzzle. Why a detachable muzzle, you ask? Looks? Protection against flying debris? Protection from inclement weather? Looks? Wait, did I say looks twice? Yeah my guess is that, for all their talk about protection from the elements the Rogue muzzle was mostly a designer’s wet dream that went into production. And that’s not a bad thing. I wish more companies would let their designer’s have free reign to design and build what they want….the world would be a more interesting place.

The muzzle attaches to the helmet by something called the “Fidlock Magnetic Connection”. What the hell is a “Fidlock”, you ask? Don’t feel bad as I had to Google it myself. Turns out that Fidlock is actually the name of a company that makes some unique fastening systems for different companies. In the case of the Rogue the connector is magnetic and holds the muzzle firmly in place. As a matter of fact the magnets are strong enough that if you get the male end close enough to the female end the magnets attract strongly enough that the two ends just click together.

To remove the muzzle all you need to do is slide it up and the magnetic connection is broken. Since the muzzle isn’t intended to provide any protection at all if you dismount and bash your face into the ground, having it only held on by magnets isn’t a negative. Also the muzzle straps are adjustable for both length and angle so you should be able to find a fit that works for you.

The first time I put the Bell Rogue on and tried to fit the muzzle into place I looked like I was trying out for a sequel to Aliens; lots of grabbing and twisting and pulling and tugging on this thing that looked attached to my face – just like the Alien eggs/cocoons/whateverthehelltheywere attached to the peoples faces. Eventually I figured out how everything went together and from that point forward it was pretty easy to get the muzzle attached to the helmet while wearing it. Here’s a hint: One side at a time makes the process much easier. Just click in and go.

After getting it on my face and doing the obligatory 5 minutes of “Luke, I am your father” (yes I know that is not exactly what Vader says….it’s poetic license so give me a break) until someone threw a stapler at my head (I think it was Mr. “There’s a bee in my shirt!”) , I headed outside to get a feel for what it was going to like wearing the Rogue while riding. Actually I’m a bit ahead of myself as right before I went for a ride (but after the “Luke, I am your…..HEY NO THROWING STAPLERS IN THE OFFICE!!! incident) I realized that the muzzle was very uncomfortable. I tried adjusting it a bit more, then a bit more, then bit more before realizing that the part that was pressing into the bridge of my nose was removable. Yes the muzzle has a removable inner liner that would be great on colder rides but which I could never get to stop touching the bridge of my nose and driving me insane. Since it is held in with Velcro it’s easy to remove; which I did. Problem solved and off to ride I went.

I’m not sure what I expected the Bell Rogue to feel like when riding but I’m happy to report that it was pretty uneventful. There is no buffeting caused by the muzzle nor does it funnel air directly into your eyes. If anything I found less air hitting my eyes with the muzzle attached than I did when I rode with it off. I enjoyed the fact that with a simple slide up I could remove the muzzle and get some more air on my face whenever I chose. I ride with a full face helmet so often that I forget how enjoyable it is to feel the air on your face that comes with wearing ½ and ¾ helmets.

I think the only thing that would make the Bell Rogue even better would be a slide-down visor; preferably in dark smoke. Not only would that look insanely awesome it would also provide wind, rain and sun protection for your eyes. And did I mention how cool it would look?

The Bell Rogue has an MSRP of $249.95 which may seem high for a 1/2 helmet, or even a 3/4 helmet but you are paying a premium to look cool. And to be able to walk around saying “Luke, I am your father”. Which, when you really think about it, is the exact opposite of cool.

To purchase your own Bell Rogue and support 2WF.com please click here: http://www.motorcycle-superstore.com/3/11/98/56287/ITEM/Bell-Rogue-Helmet.aspx?SiteID=IA_2wf&WT.mc_ID=54011

For more information on the Bell Rogue click here: http://www.bellhelmets.com/powersports/helmets/street/rogue


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 7th 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. 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 1st 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 1st 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.



  • Engine

    Battery 12 volts / 18 amp hours
    Bore x Stroke 101 x 108 mm
    Charging System 48 amps max output
    Clutch Wet, multi-plate
    Compression Ratio 9.4 : 1
    Cooling System Air / oil
    Displacement 106 ci / 1731 cc
    Engine Type 4-stroke 50° V-Twin
    Exhaust Split dual exhaust with crossover
    Final Drive Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt
    Fuel Capacity 5.8 gal / 22 ltr
    Fuel System Electronic Fuel Injection with dual 45mm throttle body
    Oil Capacity 5.0 qts / 4.73 ltr
    Primary Drive Gear drive with torque compensator
    Transmission 6-speed overdrive constant mesh
    Valve Train Single overhead camshafts with 4 valves per cylinder, self-adjusting cam chains, hydraulic lifters


    Front Suspension Inverted cartridge telescopic fork, 43 mm diameter, 5.1 in / 130 mm travel
    Rear Suspension Single, mono-tube gas, cast aluminum with constant-rate linkage, 4.7 in / 120 mm travel, air adjustable
  • Chassis

    Dry Weight 845 lbs / 384 kg
    Ground Clearance 5.8 in / 148 mm
    GVWR 1360 lbs / 618 kg
    Length 108.1 in / 2747 mm
    Rake/trail 29.0° / 5.6 in / 142 mm
    Seat Height 26.3 in / 667 mm
    Wheelbase 65.7 in / 1670 mm


    Brake System Type Conventional w/ ABS
    Front braking system Dual 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers
    Rear braking system 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper

    Wheels & Tires

    Front Tire 130/70R18 Dunlop Elite 3
    Front Wheel 18 x 3.5 in
    Rear Tire 180/60R16 Dunlop Elite 3
    Rear Wheel 16 x 5.0 in


    Colors Gold Digger Pearl w/ Ness Graphics

– See more at: http://www.victorymotorcycles.com/en-us/2013/touring/cory-ness-cross-country-tour/specifications#sthash.rZgVsub5.dpuf

Visual Tour of the AMA Races at Mid-Ohio

Please sit back and enjoy the photos taken at the 2013 AMA Races at Mid-Ohio. Once again our hardworking and talented friend, Darin Smith of Mile High Photo Studio, has captured images that are sure to delight your ocular nerves. Please note that excessive drool can damage your keyboard.

Kawasaki Z1000 Review

Prose and descriptive terms by Mike Pham
Eye candy provided by Larry Rivera

Z1000 1Not being able to ride can really put a dark cloud over one’s outlook on life. I don’t mean having a bike in your garage and being too busy to ride, I’m talking about being injured seriously enough that your doctor won’t allow you to ride. However, my spirits were lifted when the doctor mandated motorcycle abstinence period was over and I was finally cleared to start riding again. Especially when my partner-in-crime for the next few weeks was going to be the 2012 Kawasaki Z1000.

Do you know how some bikes are instantly recognizable? I’ve felt this way about the Kawasaki “Z” machines for many years. The Z1000’s have always had very aggressive styling with sharp angular lines that create the look of a fast machine even when it’s parked. The 2013 Z1000 continues that styling trend but takes it to an even higher level of sharpness and design.

Starting with the front forks, which are shrouded in plastic, the bike appears to be taken straight from some futuristic sci-fi movie. Someone in Hollywood must feel the same way because the Z1000 will be used in the upcoming RoboCop film; although only the fork shrouds will be recognizable. I’m pretty excited to see what they do, style-wise and action-wise, with the Z1000 in the film.

As I’m rolling the bike out my garage the paint begins to shimmer in the sun and I can’t help but stop moving the bike, take a step back from it and allow my eyes to take in all the details. I get chills down my back looking at the Z1000 knowing that this orange bike is going to bring me my “high”. I wasn’t too fond of the orange color when I first saw it but after spending some quality time riding around and looking at it I grew to like it. The color changes from burnt orange in the shade to loud, bright orange in the sunlight. The orange color looks great coupled with the aggressive styling and it makes me wonder why they didn’t offer it again in 2013.

The five spoke wheels look fantastically stylish and similar in design to OZ’s Piega rims. Sure they weigh a little more than the OZ’s, but if the cost of saving that weight isn’t in your budget you won’t be disappointed by the stock wheels; every time I glance at the Z1000 the wheels grab my attention – they’re that good looking.

The shortened exhaust stacks on either side of the Z1000 blend well with the styling and are made possible by a pre-chamber underneath the bike. Those exhaust stacks are different than the “quad” exhaust cans on the first “Z” but still serve as a reminder that style is always first and foremost with the Z1000’s. This latest “Z”, like its ancestors, relies on its aggressive styling, and not stickers and badges, to be its calling card.

Once you are sitting on the bike you’ll notice it’s quite narrow and, with the low slung 32.1 seat height, shorter riders (like myself) will have no problem feeling secure when at a stop. Many manufacturers have been raising the seat heights on their sportbikes for better ground clearance at the track but the Z1000, with its more relaxed ergonomics, is a willing steed for everyday use. No matter if you are short or tall, fat or thin, the Z1000 inspires confidence as soon as you throw a leg over the seat.

Looking down while sitting on the bike you’ll see the bulge of the metal tank (a metal tank means no issue with ethanol swelling) and not much else – it’s as if your legs have disappeared. The lower part of the tank is slim enough to allowed my knees to clench firmly and securely to it for those spirited rides through the twisties. Other than the wide upper part of the tank the rest of the Z1000 looks and feels slim.

The chassis of the Z1000 displays quite a bit of Kawasaki’s technological advancements. Taking design and engineering cues from the near-winning WSBK ZX-10R, the aluminum chassis cradles the engine from above and uses it as a stressed member of the frame. This design keeps the area beneath the tank narrow and contributes to a secure feeling while riding. Seeing advancements like this on a street bike makes me want to pay more attention to WSBK; you never know what’s going to trickle down to us mere mortals next!

kawasaki Z1000 DashI really have to give kudos to Kawasaki for the LED display and the gauge cluster in general. Even in the middle of a bright Southern California day, I had no problem seeing all of the information on display. The orange-tinted LED display gives you all the information you need at a glance and once you get used to the layout you are set. One nice thing to see on the Z1000 display is a fuel gauge – which by now should be standard on all motorcycles. Kawasaki designed the Z1000 gauge cluster to be neat with everything nicely tucked away; you won’t see any wires sticking up here and there – its all very tidy. It’s little touches like this that make the gauge cluster, and the all of the Z1000, such a pleasure to look at.

The reach to the bars, for most riders,will be natural feeling and not aggressive at all. What makes a naked bike like the Z1000 so enjoyable is that there is the possibility of real comfort to go with the serious power; you can play in the twisties all day and not feel completely wrung out.

Starting up the Z1000 fills the air with a faint burble as the bike is very quiet at idle. My personal bike is an Italian V-twin and I kept thinking about how quiet the Z1000 was at stop lights in neutral – something I’m not used to obviously.

Another area where I couldn’t help but compare the Z1000 against my bike was power delivery. Even though I’m used to a V-twin I was impressed by the low-end and mid-range pull from the 1043cc engine in the “Z”. The throttle response was a bit abrupt, most noticeable when shifting gears, but the power delivery was almost instantaneous. The Z1000 is certainly no slouch and pulls hard, making good power, throughout the rpm range.

Z1000 ride 1I had to constantly check the digital speedometer because I’d find that I was going much faster than the sound, or lack of sound, from the engine would imply. The smooth engine is another contributor to the “it’s faster than it feels” deception. What this engine may lack in character though it makes up for with function. You can sedately commute and cruise all day long on the Z1000 or grab some throttle and let the engine scream; it’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde in modern day motorcycle form.

The Z1000 is a joy to ride around town not only due to the ergonomics but also because the transmission shifts so smoothly. I never had a problem with a missed shift or finding neutral when going from 1st to 2nd.

Take the Z1000 out on the freeway however and it exhibits the same shortcoming that all naked bikes have – a lack of wind protection. This was the only area of riding that I felt any fatigue throughout my time with the bike. For some of you the lack of wind protection is something that you are already, or will quickly become, used to – the rest of us would probably be looking at aftermarket windscreens.

To be honest, once I got cleared from my doctor, I felt that being back on any bike was a small victory in itself. After riding the Z1000 though I starting thinking that “victory” may not be the correct word. The bike started waking my inner hooligan and the last thing I wanted was another quick ride back to “Recoveryville”. Luckily the brakes fitted to the Z1000 were always up to the task of slowing me down and keeping me out of the doctors office. Equipped with 300mm front rotors and 4 piston radial mounted calipers, the brakes on the Z1000 deliver the goods. A few times I noticed the front brakes weren’t as progressive as I would have liked, but a lever adjustment or more time on the bike may solve that.

Kawasaki Z1000 ride 2When I picked-up the Z1000 the suspension was set-up to be very stiff; I felt everything from the road and experienced some harshness. Since the stock suspension has a fully adjustable 41mm front fork and a rebound/preload adjustable rear shock, I’m sure I could have tinkered with it and found a nicer plush commuter setting had I wanted to.

Compared to some other naked bikes in the segment, the Kawasaki Z1000 is a bargain at $10,599. You get near superbike levels of power but with practical, everyday comfort and aggressive styling; a combination that never failed to put a smile on my face. Daily commuter, track day weapon or canyon carver – the Z1000 gives you all three in one package and is a good choice in today’s motorcycle market.

I’m pretty sure my doctor wouldn’t have prescribed spending the time I did on the Z1000 but, honestly…….screw him!

For more information please visit: www.kawasaki.com


Engine Four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, four valves per cylinder, inline-four
Displacement 1043 cc
Bore x Stroke 77.0 x 56.0mm
Compression Ratio 11.8:1
Fuel System DFI® with four 38mm Keihin throttle bodies, oval sub-throttles
Ignition TCBI Digital Advance
Transmission 6-Speed
Final Drive X-Ring Chain
Frame Type Aluminum Backbone
Rake/Trail 24.5 deg. / 4.1 in.
Front Suspension / Wheel Travel 41 mm inverted cartridge fork with stepless compression and rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 4.7 in.
Rear Suspension/Wheel Travel Horizontal monoshock with stepless rebound damping, adjustable spring preload / 5.4 in.
Front Tire Size 120/70 ZR17
Rear Tire Size 190/50 ZR17
Wheelbase 56.7 in.
Front Brakes Dual 300mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston calipers
Rear Brakes Single 250mm petal-type rotor with single-piston caliper
Fuel Capacity 4.0 gal.
Seat Height 32.1 in.
Curb Weight 481 lbs.
Overall Length 82.5 in.
Overall Width 31.7 in.
Overall Height 42.7 in.
Color Choices Candy Burnt Orange / Metallic Spark Black
Warranty 12 months
Good Times™ Protection Plan 12, 24, 36 or 48 months

Sale of Husqvarna Motorcycles to Pierer Industrie AG

Sale of Husqvarna Motorcycles to Pierer Industrie AG

Munich. The BMW Group is realigning its BMW Motorrad business. In the context of changing motorcycle markets, demographic trends and increasing environmental demands, BMW Motorrad will expand its product offering to exploit future growth potential. The focus of the realignment will be on urban mobility and e-mobility. By restructuring the segment, the BMW Group will concentrate on expanding and utilising the resources of the BMW Motorrad brand. Therefore the BMW Group signed a purchase agreement with Pierer Industrie AG (Austria) for the acquisition of Husqvarna Motorcycles. The acquisition will proceed subject to approval by anti-trust authorities. Both companies have agreed not to disclose the purchase price. 

Expanded offering for urban mobility and e-mobility

BMW Motorrad achieved a new sales record in 2012. With the realignment of its motorcycle business, BMW Motorrad aims to maintain profitable and sustainable growth over the coming years. Its current core business consists exclusively of premium vehicles in the categories “Tourer”, “Enduro”, “Sport”, “Roadster” and “Maxi-Scooter” from 650 to 1600 cc. BMW Motorrad entered the urban mobility segment for the first time in 2012 with the C 650 GT and C 600 Sport maxi-scooters. The next step in the expansion of the product line-up in this segment will be the series launch of the “C evolution” electric scooter in 2014. Further innovative vehicle concepts are also under consideration. Drive trains will include both environmentally-friendly combustion engines and pure electric drives. This move by BMW Motorrad reflects the BMW Group’s overall focus on early identification of trends, such as megacities and traffic density, as well as environmental issues. Corresponding products and services are already available for the Automobile segment.

Continuation of product offensive

In addition to the expansion in the field of urban mobility, core segments from the 650 single-cylinder entry-level bike to the 6-cylinder luxury tourer will also be selectively expande

Indian Motorcycle Unveils the 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition


Limited Units Available of Special Highly Collectible Model Designed to Commemorate the End of One Era in Motorcycling History, and the Beginning of Another

International Motorcycle Show, Long Beach, Calif. — December 8, 2012 — Indian Motorcycle, the original American motorcycle company, today announced the 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition, the final version of the Kings Mountain era of Indian Motorcycle, which is available in very limited quantity. The new model year 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition was unveiled before a gathering of the motorcycle industry press from the floor of the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, California, which takes place December 7th through December 9th at the Long Beach Convention Center.

This announcement marks the end of the Kings Mountain era of the Indian Chief, and signifies an important milestone in the 111-year storied history of the Indian Motorcycle brand. With a paint scheme emulating the iconic Indian Chief on display at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York, the stunning new collectible 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition is a fully accessorized motorcycle that befits its place in the history of motorcycling. The extremely limited number of these bikes available is sure to excite collectors and pave the way for the new era in Indian Motorcycle under the leadership of Polaris Industries.

The 2013 Indian Chief Final Edition comes fully loaded with the World’s Fair-inspired paint scheme of Indian Red, Thunder Black, and Gold Pinstripe; auxiliary driving lamps; black leather solo seat with included detachable passenger seat; windshield; black leather saddlebags; chrome grab rail; leather fringe; engine guards; and chrome fender tips. Powered by the PowerPlus 105ci engine, this historic 2013 model will be manufactured in an extremely limited run and wears a custom-designed, numbered emblem on the frame to commemorate the brand’s historic achievements.

“We are working hard designing and building the new Indian Motorcycle, but we knew it was important to honor and celebrate the long and proud heritage of Indian Motorcycle, and the Kings Mountain era played a key role in that continuing history,” said Steve Menneto, Vice President of Motorcycles at parent company Polaris Industries. “When we acquired the Indian Motorcycle brand in 2011, our strategy was to retain the existing design, quality and high level of detail for which Indian Motorcycle has always been known, while making significant detail improvements in order to satisfy the continued demand from Indian Motorcycle dealers. The Final Edition is an acknowledgement of our gratitude to the team at Kings Mountain for sustaining the Indian Motorcycle story and its heritage as America’s original motorcycle brand.”

The Kings Mountain, North Carolina assembly line was transitioned to Polaris’ Spirit Lake, Iowa production facility in 2011. The line was transported and returned to full operation in an astounding eight weeks, and continued to produce new units for the Indian Motorcycle dealer base. The state-of-the-art Spirit Lake plant also manufactures Polaris Rangers and Victory Motorcycles, though each brand is built on its own dedicated assembly line.

Pricing and Availability

The 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition is exclusively available for purchase in North America with a MSRP of $37,599 and $39,599 in Canada. Interested parties are encouraged to contact their local Indian Motorcycle dealer as soon as possible due to limited availability. Log on to www.indianmotorcycle.com for dealer and model information.

Indian Motorcycle Makes New Sounds At Long Beach


New ‘Indian Motorcycle Experience’ Includes Custom Sound Booth Where Attendees can, for the First Time, Hear and Feel the Sound of Future, A Completely New Indian Motorcycle Engine

MEDINA, Minn. — December 3, 2012 — Indian Motorcycle, the original American motorcycle company, today announced its plans for the International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, California, which runs December 7-9, 2012 at the Long Beach Convention Center. At the show, the company will make a number of significant announcements including the reveal of a limited quantity, model year 2013 Indian Motorcycle that pays tribute to the Kings Mountain era motorcycle, and an all new Indian Motorcycle display. Indian Motorcycle will participate in the show Media Day on December 7th with senior managers from parent company Polaris Industries in attendance.

In celebration of the 111-year history of the legendary American brand, Indian Motorcycle has crafted an all-new, specially-themed show presence called the “Indian Motorcycle Experience,” which will debut at Long Beach, and will carry through to additional stops on the tour. The exhibit highlights important milestones, achievements, and historic moments from the past — many of which are considered turning points in motorcycling. It also features a custom-built sound booth where, for the first time ever, attendees can experience firsthand the sound and rumble of the upcoming, completely redesigned, all new Indian Motorcycle engine. Host Mike Wolfe from the HISTORY Channel’s “American Pickers” series will guide attendees via video as they hear and feel the excitement of what’s to come later in 2013 with the highly anticipated reveal of the new Indian Motorcycle Company under Polaris Industries ownership.

The Long Beach display will include legendary vintage motorcycles including the original Burt Munro 1920 Indian Scout that broke the under-1000cc land-speed record in 1967 at the Bonneville Salt Flats as famously portrayed in the movie “The World’s Fastest Indian.” A secondary exhibit at the show will also include the fully-restored 1935 Indian Chief featured on the HISTORY Channel’s November 5th broadcast of “American Pickers.”

“The Indian Motorcycle brand is steeped in a heritage of industry firsts, awards, and classic models that represent key milestones in the history of motorcycling, and many of those iconic moments and memories will be on display in Long Beach at our new interactive exhibit,” said Steve Menneto, Vice President of Motorcycles, Polaris Industries. “In addition to a retrospective and nostalgic look back, the IMS show marks the date when we’ll start talking about the present and the future of this legendary brand, so we look forward to sharing that information with members of the press and our loyal fans throughout the event.”

Indian Motorcycle will also display its exciting line of apparel for men and women, including jackets, gloves, casual wear, and more — much of which will be available for purchase by show attendees.

Consumers are invited to take part in the “Indian Motorcycle Experience” at Long Beach, or at upcoming International Motorcycle Shows in Minneapolis (January 11-13), New York (January 18-20) and Chicago (February 8-10). For tickets and more information on specific shows, log on to www.motorcycleshows.com.

Indian Motorcycle, a wholly-owned division of Polaris Industries Inc. (NYSE: PII), is America’s original motorcycle company. Founded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle has won the hearts of motorcyclists around the world and earned distinction as one of America’s most legendary and iconic brands through unrivaled racing dominance, engineering prowess and countless innovations and industry firsts. Today that heritage and passion is reignited under new brand stewardship. To learn more, please visit www.indianmotorcycle.com.

Polaris is a recognized leader in the PowerSports industry with 2011 sales of $2.7 billion. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality motorcycles, off-road vehicles including all-terrain vehicles and Polaris RANGER® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles and on-road electric/hybrid-powered vehicles.

Polaris is a global sales leader for both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles, and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory and Indian Motorcycle brands. The company continues to invest in the global on-road small electric/hybrid vehicle industry with Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) and Goupil Industrie SA, as well as internally developed vehicles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships.

Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “PII”, and the Company is included in the S&P Mid-Cap 400 stock price index.

Information about the complete line of Polaris products, apparel, and vehicle accessories is available from authorized Polaris dealers or by visiting www.polarisindustries.com.