In contrast to the usual celebrity flash surrounding custom builders, Cory Ness is a soft-spoken guy for whom building customs is the family business.
Son of motorcycle legend Arlen Ness, Cory has moved out of his father’s shadow as a well-respected custom bike builder.
There aren’t many people that can say building custom motorcycles is in their blood. But when your last name happens to be Ness, you can stake that claim. Cory Ness carries the torch ignited by his father, Arlen, but don’t think he’s ridden his father’s coattails. Cory is a respected bike builder in his own right and his business smarts have helped the Ness empire grow to worldwide acclaim.
To say Cory was raised around motorcycles would be an understatement. Growing up, the family’s living room was an assembly shop, their garage a paint booth. Cory was bitten by the customizing bug at an early age. At only 10 years old, he disassembled his bicycle, painted it, chromed-out some of its parts and entered it in the Oakland Roadster Show in the bicycle category. He would make the transition to motorcycles a couple years later. The first motorized machine he reworked was a wrecked CB350 he picked up cheap. After building it back up, Cory sold it before even getting a chance to ride it. He was 14.
While Cory does make some one off customs it isn’t his sole job in the family business. Cory is in charge of the day-to-day business and designing accessories.
Cory has developed his custom building skills over the last 30 years and his work has graced the covers of numerous top motorcycle magazines. In 2004, he even earned family bragging rights by defeating his father in an episode of the Discovery Channel’s Biker Build-Off.
Today Cory is the chief designer behind Arlen Ness Enterprises where he runs the day-to-day business. In between designing new parts and accessories, he still finds time to wrench on custom bikes periodically.
Cory is also the driving force behind the Arlen Ness Parts & Accessories Catalog, a slick publication chock full of aftermarket creations like Ness Big Sucker Air Filter Kits and Ness-Tech Velocity Stacks. Reaching a worldwide audience through a mail-order business was Cory’s brainchild and the Ness catalog is an industry standard and business model other custom shops aspire to duplicate.
The partnership with Victory has opened up a new channel for Cory and Arlen to offer their custom creations to a wider audience.
Cory also lends his creative talents to Victory Motorcycles. Every year since 2004, Cory has been commissioned to choose a Victory model and put the Ness mojo to it where it is then offered to the public as a limited edition production model.
Cory Ness can truly be said to have been “raised in steel and chrome since birth.” And it doesn’t look like the custom bike building gene is going to stop there as Cory’s son, Zach, has also been honing his own talent as he carries on the family tradition in true Ness style.