Some bikers may still view Victory motorcycles as the new kid on the block, but the motorcycle division of Polaris Industries celebrates its 10th Anniversary this year with new models, including two Ness Signature Series Limited Edition bikes: an Arlen Ness Vision Street model and a Cory Ness Vegas Jackpot custom bike.
We’ll deal here with the 2009 Arlen Ness Signature Series limited edition custom. Each bike comes with a numbered metal plate featuring the Arlen Ness logo and facsimile of Arlen Ness’s autograph. My test bike was #2. The bike is Black with special graphics designed personally by the master of custom bikes himself. The tribal graphics are sprayed in fogged metallic Blue and Mauve with Silver striping on the fairing, tank and hard bags, with a matching logo on the rear fender, above the taillight.
The Ness logo also appears on the EFI cover on the right side of the engine, and Arlen Ness Signature Series appears on the radio display screen when switching on the ignition. Many features are blacked out, which adds to the bikes wicked persona. Getting the blacked-out treatment are: the center console, handlebars, dashboard, passenger handgrips, front access panel, inner fairing panels, side covers, grille border and tip-over protection extrusions.
Other Ness touches include: machine-knurled handgrips, engine covers and foot controls, a custom Ness shorty windshield with electronic height adjustability and a custom stitched leather seat that places the rider 1-inch lower than the stock Victory Vision seat.
The Ness Signature Series Vision Street is powered by Victory’s Freedom 100 – 1731 cc, 106 cubic inch, SOHC, 8-valve, 4-stroke 50 degree, air/oil-cooled V-Twin with electronic fuel injection. The motor generates 97 horses and 113 lb.-ft. of torque. Motive energy reaches the rear wheel via a 6-speed overdrive constant mesh transmission, with wet multi-plate clutch to the primary drive gear with torque compensator and final drive carbon fiber reinforced belt.
The engine is engineered as a stressed member of the aluminum frame, whose main structure consists of two hollow cast aluminum members — the air box casting and the rear frame casting. A unique feature is the built-in “tip-over” protection in the form of integral cast extrusions on each side that protect the bike’s bodywork. In the event of a horizontal mishap, the bike doesn’t go all the way down, but rather rests on the stylish extrusions. Fuel capacity is 6 gallons in two fuel tanks with a crossover for an extended cruising range.
Braking chores are handled by hydraulic dual 300 mm floating rotors with 3-piston calipers forward and a 300 mm floating rotor and 2-piston caliper out back. The front (hand) brake control activates only the front brake, while the rear (foot) brake engages both the rear and front brakes. Tires are Dunlop Elite — 130/70 R18 front, and 180/60 R16 rear mounted on special 5-spoke billet “Hot Rod” alloy wheels.
The Victory Vision is outfitted with a host of outstanding standard features that make for a comfortable and pleasurable riding experience on short or long jaunts. The floorboards are huge and cushioned, foot controls are adjustable fore and aft, and the seat is exceptionally low for a low center of gravity.
The batwing-style fairing is highly protective, even with the shorter windshield while fold-out lower deflectors cut down on turbulence, and the rear preload is conveniently adjustable. Hinges, latches and fasteners are hidden and the lighting is flush-mounted, which combine to improve the aerodynamics and the visual appeal.
The instrument lighting features a blue display. There are two trip meters with a range setting for fuel consumption. The headlamp is HID with a Flash Gordon image, giving extra illumination.
SUMMARY: My test Arlen Ness Signature Series Victory Vision (base price $24,999) was visually stunning and the riding experience was stellar. I’m generally a cruiser who rolls down the road within the speed limit most of the time, but the Vision makes 85 mph seem casual, even with heavy crosswinds.
The big custom cruiser is smooth and well balanced with a pleasingly broad torque range, even in 4th gear, allowing one to roll on the throttle to pass without shifting. Gear changes are quiet and smooth, and the bike accelerates in effortless fashion.
The Victory theme with “V” cues is evident throughout — especially in the V-shaped fairing and taillight assembly. Bags are even fashioned to facilitate the futuristic flavor of the Vision, without sacrificing functionality (all are lockable).
The Vision from the new American motorcycle company is a great luxury cruiser, bringing value and style to the table. Striking out across the country on either the Ness or stock version Vision guarantees a pleasant journey. Add Pure Victory Gear heated accessories and even winter rides become comfortable. More than 72 Victory Vision accessories are available, and the Ness model can be accessorized with a reverse gear, GPS, XM satellite radio and helmet communicators, a trunk and more.
The Tour model is obviously capable of hauling more gear, but the Street model packs more visual appeal in my opinion. This Victory is a solid, showroom custom Vision of the future.
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009