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2010 Arlen Ness Victory Vision Quick Ride

Friday, March 19, 2010


Victory Motorcycles made a savvy marketing move in 2004. It enlisted the services of the Zen master of custom bike building, Arlen Ness, and his son Cory, an accomplished builder in his own right, and gave them free rein to select two Victory models each year and overhaul them with Ness mojo. For 2010, Arlen selected the street version of the Victory Vision, a cruiser he not only customized for a limited edition production run but a motorcycle I’ve seen him riding personally on more than one occasion.
 
With two days to utilize the bagger as we made our Bike Week rounds, we couldn’t think of a better motorcycle to cruise down Main St. in Daytona Beach. It’s hard not to get noticed when you’re riding a motorcycle with avant-garde styling and custom treatments by master custom bike builder Arlen Ness. The bike is visually striking, with its futuristic-looking
Arlen and Cory Ness
Every year since 2004, Victory has enlisted the services of Arlen and Cory Ness to apply their customizing skills to two of its motorcycles. For 2010, Arlen chose the Victory Vision.
front fairing spreading like large, wind-deflecting wings and side panels that flow seamlessly into the combination faux fuel tank and bridge console while simultaneously sheltering a rider’s legs from windblast . The wide padded leather seat, with four inches of foam padding and lumbar support, sits invitingly between the rounded humps of the hard saddlebags as the swept-back bars disappear into the vast front bodywork. All fasteners, hinges, latches and welds are tucked neatly out of sight. Tall and regal up front and wide and rounded out back, even the distinctive V-shaped taillights add to its unique character.

Like much of the Vision’s engineering, the fairing’s job is two-fold. Besides aesthetics, it conceals the three-piece cast-aluminum frame that lies underneath while supporting the stylish canvas of bodywork. The front fairing not only provides a sweet pocket of rider protection, it also covers the forward-mounted fuel cells mounted high on the frame on both sides of the bars. Situated just below the headlight is a big 11-liter airbox that channels wind through the casting that serves as the bike’s backbone. Its design not only increases the airflow to the engine, but it also cools the oil flow, allowing Victory to use a fairly small oil cooler. You won’t find a downtube either because the engine serves as a stressed member of the frame while supporting the upper casting.

The Freedom 106 cam-driven engine used in the Arlen Ness Victory Vision does an admirable job of propelling the 804-lb (claimed dry weight) motorcycle quickly off the line for a bike its size. Get it into its meaty midrange and the surge is even better. With six gears at the disposal of its constant mesh transmission, by the time it hits sixth gear, the Victory
The tribal graphics and paint scheme on the Victory Vision was created by the master himself  Arlen Ness.

Victory's Freedom 106 engine, a 1731cc V-Twin, has no problems launching the big bagger off the line. With styling cues from the Zen master, the Arlen Ness Victory stands out even when sitting still.

The Arlen Ness Victory Vision stands out even when sitting still.
Vision settles sweetly into overdrive for plenty of comfortable, low-vibe highway miles. Gear engagement is solid and reliable with a deliberate ‘clunk’ noticeable in the first few gears, but overall it pops into gear noticeably quieter than its American counterpart but not quite as smooth as some of the Japanese competitors. With a 45mm throttle body and four-valves operating within the 101mm bore, fuel delivery from the electronically fed V-Twin is spot-on. The only occasion it became a bit choppy is between 0-1500 rpm in the first two gears. Though we didn’t have an opportunity to put the 2010 version of the Vision’s Freedom 106 on the dyno, our previous test registered power numbers of 84.4 hp at 5300 rpm and 94.9 lb-ft of torque at 3100 rpm. The Vision’s large front fairing and airbox design also cut down some of the engine noise we noticed coming from the mill of the 2010 Victory Cross Country.
 
It didn’t take long in the saddle to remember how friendly-natured the handling of this big cruiser is. It dips into turns with an ease that belies its size. Its out-of-plane rear suspension allowed Victory to drop the saddle to a low 24.5-inch seat height and a low center of gravity contributes to its nimble feel at the bars. It’s also refreshing to ride a big bagger that isn’t constantly grinding floorboards. On the contrary, the Vision can be tilted at a generous lean angle thanks in part to its healthy 4.8-inches of ground clearance. The motorcycle’s impressive handling is complemented by its well-sorted suspension. The 46mm telescopic fork never reached the bottom of its 5.1-inches of travel during our time in the saddle and in combination with its single spring and constant rate linkage on the rear, the tandem provides a plush ride. Victory makes it easy to regulate the mono-tube air shock for load by installing a pump-adjustable Schrader air valve within the left saddlebag.

Cruising on the beach at Daytona during Bike Week aboard the 2010 Arlen Ness Victory Vision.
Where else can you cruise along the beach but Daytona? White sand, the smell of salty sea in the air, and plenty of sunshine add up to rider nirvana.
The Arlen Ness Victory Vision features a linked braking that provides much better feel than the company’s standard package. It’s linked one way, back to front, and only engages when you need it the most during heavy braking. A little more bite from the dual 300mm floating discs with its 3-piston calipers would be beneficial, but the rear’s 300mm floating rotor with a 2-piston caliper helps compensate. Victory offers ABS for its Vision Tour, but it’s not an option yet for the Arlen Ness version.

Though not exclusively a touring bike, the Arlen Ness Victory Vision is decked out with enough touring amenities that it easily can be loaded up for a long haul. Capacious hard saddlebags, a push-button adjustable windscreen, cruise control and a six-gallon tank mean it’s more than equipped for highway miles. The cockpit is attractively layed out with its easy-to-read analog speedo and tach sitting just below one’s line of sight. You also can’t miss the large digital gear indicator smack dab between the two. An odometer, two trip meters, a clock, trip riding time, air temp, average speed, current mpg, average mpg, and fuel range remaining complete a cool list of instrumentation. Big mirrors integrate cleanly into the cockpit and provide a great field of view. Controls for the Vision’s audio system are built into the bridge console on the back of the tank, but volume and system toggles and push buttons for its electronically controlled windscreen are conveniently located on the left handgrip. The right handlebar houses the bike’s cruise control and is easily operable with gloved hands. The knurled hand controls come straight from the Ness collection are some of the grippiest around.

You’ll find Arlen’s influence everywhere on the bike. Its big V-Twin is decked out with diamond-cut heads and billet engine covers. The Vision’s custom wheels, knurled hand
The 2010 Arlen Ness Victory Vision was the perfect bike for cruising around and even on Daytona Beach during Bike Week.
The 2010 Arlen Ness Victory Vision was the perfect bike for cruising around and even on Daytona Beach during Bike Week.
and foot controls, and custom-stitched leather seat have also been given the Ness touch. Throw in custom tribal graphics and a paint scheme designed by the man as well and you’ve got the makings of a production bike that’s the next best thing to a one-off custom built by the hands of the master himself.

The limited-edition Arlen Ness Victory Vision is the total cruising package – striking good looks and big power in a bike with rider-friendly handling that’s loaded with touring amenities. And while attaching Arlen Ness’ name to a bike could sell bikes by itself, Victory didn’t settle for that. The 2010 Arlen Ness Victory Vision is injected with the best technology the Minnesota-based manufacturer offers, and runs as good as it looks.
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2010 Arlen Ness Victory Vision Specs
Roomy hard saddlebags  a push-button adjustable windscreen  cruise control and a six-gallon tank mean the Visions more than equipped for highway miles.
Engine –Four-stroke 50-degree V-Twin
Displacement - 106 cubic-inch 1731cc
Bore/Stroke - 101 X 108mm
Compression Ratio – 9.4:1
Fuel System - Electronic fuel injection with dual 45mm throttle bodies
Transmission - Six-speed constant mesh
Clutch – Wet, multi-plate
Final Drive – Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt
Rake/Trail – 29-degrees/5.4 in travel
Front Suspension – Conventional telescopic fork, 46mm; 5.1 in. travel
Rear Suspension – Single, mono-tube, cast aluminum with constant rate linkage; 3.65 in. travel
Brakes – Dual 300mm floating rotor with 3-piston caliper
Rear - 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
Wheels – Front - Dunlop Elite 3 130/70R18
                   Rear – Dunlop Elite 3 180/60R16
Seat Height – 24. 5 in.
Length – 103.5 in.
Wheelbase – 65.7 in.
Ground Clearance – 4.8 in.
Weight (claimed dry) – 804 lbs
MSRP - $24,999 

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Comments
gammaqueen -lady rider  September 24, 2010 08:06 PM
I bought the 2009 Ness Vision, not for looks, but for the ride. I fell in love with it a couple years ago at demo days and finally gave in and bought one. I LOVE this bike!!! I still have my Sportster, though. LOL.
mars6969111 -harley owner  May 17, 2010 09:29 PM
im looking to buy a second bike, iam the the proud owner of a full custom harley and i was looking at a victory tour for long trips are they any good?
Ray Jensen -Victory needs to wake up soon....  March 25, 2010 04:22 AM
I did buy a Vision Premium. There are some great things about it like the floorboards and foot controls,which are the best ever. The seat...is the only "factory" seat that is any good....BUT.....unless you live in Antarctica....THIS BIKE THROWS OFF HEAT...LIKE A BLAST FURNACE! The guy who wrote that there is "no heat"...must have been riding in a snowstorm. Read the forums. The heat from this motor is un-liveable. I sold my bike because of it. Have your passenger actually sit on a Vision, and if they are under 5 ft.6" tall....the backs of their legs will be "cut" all the time by the tops of the saddlebags. Stupid ergonomics...for the passenger. No fix...until they re-design the back end of this bike after this production run...hence...the totally different Cross Country model's bags. Much bigger...and MUCH better.
The radio....sucks. Enough said. The worst radio that I've ever had on any bike. JUNK. (It also IS NOT compatible with the PRESENT Ipod.) Go figure.
So..."other than that, how was the play....Mrs. Lincoln?"
Unfortunately, I initially really did like this bike. I love the styling. It's got a LONG way to go...at $23,000 and up however.
One last thing: Customer Service...with VICTORY...is 100% NON EXISTENT. Try contacting them yourself. I did...numerous times. NO REPLY. NONE. I REALLY wanted to LOVE this bike. These items ruined it for me. It's really a shame. This bike...could be a winner if Victory didn't cut so many corners and make it so ridiculously expensive....to compete with Harley.
Sport -Obsessed rider  March 24, 2010 03:24 AM
Response to Tom on weight. This Victory is designed not to tip all the way over. And if it does fall to the handle bars, the fulcrum points are such that it's not too bad to bring it upright. Ask the dealer to give you a demonstration...
Zippy -if dropped  March 21, 2010 06:19 PM
Would likely look better if it was dropped. Could not be any worse than the dollar store stickers. Man, this is one ugly bike!!
Dan -Tom  March 21, 2010 11:47 AM
Actually it's not too bad Tom. The roll protection system keeps the Vision from falling on it's side if it's dropped. The angle and lower center of gravity make it much easier to pick back up and best of all, no scratching the body work.
Tom -804 pounds!?  March 21, 2010 08:51 AM
God help you if you ever tip your $25,000 beast over.
baddad -ugly painting  March 21, 2010 04:18 AM
Nice bike, but painting looks like 3$ stickers. Ugly
Skipper -Bad Paint  March 20, 2010 06:42 AM
Nice Bike - Terrible Paint Job!!!!!!
Vic -Victory - Nice Ride  March 20, 2010 06:40 AM
If I was in the market for an American built touring bike the Vision would be my ride. I have test ridden both the Vision and the Ultra. The Vision has the Ultra beat hands down. No engine heat, no vibration, lots of power. The Vision is light years ahead of the Harley Ultra. I also will be taking a Cross Country for a test ride this Spring. Of course is I bought a Victory Vision I would not be able to buy a t-shirt, nose picker gloves, do-rag, ash tray, clock and jacket with Victory on it. Harley has the Victory beat hands down there.
victory fan -ah  March 19, 2010 07:30 PM
The vision is one butt ugly, sweet ride. I can't wait until the rumors about Harley are confirmed. Good old fashioned push rod underpowered iron. I only hope the new owners do better than AMF did.
Desmolicious -Hypocrite? Moi?  March 19, 2010 04:55 PM
Bryan. The standard Vision, while not a looker, looks much better than this version with it's nasty graphics.
And the saddlebags are TINY!
I liked the bike I rode and would have picked it over the old Eglide (but not the new one with the improved chassis. In that quote that you chased down the new gen Eglide had not been released), but this one really was made worse, unless you think something that looks like it has peel and stick graphics is worthy of a 'custom' label.
This bike IS a touring bike, and the saddlebag size is inexcusable. Which is why Victory made sure not to make that mistake again on its new Cross Roads and Cross Country bikes.


Matt -Mix up at the paint shop?  March 19, 2010 03:12 PM
Love or hate the body styling, the Vision is a bike you almost have to ride to believe but I have to say this is my least favorite Ness signature treatment of all the model years. The main issue being the paint scheme witch appears to resemble large decals. Not an aesthetic you want for a modern styled premium tourer. That being said the upcoming signature Cross Country is likely to be one of my favorites. Guess I better start saving now.
bryan harley -desmo-hypocrite  March 19, 2010 03:04 PM
I hate hypocrites.

"Having owned/ridden all three of the big tourers (Wing/Electra/Vision), and written about it elsewhere on this forum, I'd pick the Victory Vision if I was in the market for this type of bike,' quoted Desmolicious in the Motorcyle USA message boards.

Here's the link.
http://forum.motorcycle-usa.com/default.aspx?f=25&m=411235

And yes, capacious. Roomy. I didn't have any problems getting my backpack and camera equipment in there. I didn't say 'Best in Class' but there's still enough room to pack enough gear in there to get you by. And I stated it's not a pure touring bike.
Slipmonkey - -Funny  March 19, 2010 02:54 PM
Strange that some many Harley-Davidson riders get off on dissing the Vision. Really - who cares? Just ride your own bike and quit whining abut other rides! Personally I don't give a crap about what you ride - I just wish more people would ride. As for bag capacity, I borrowed a Vision Street for a weekend, and it held plenty of stuff. I'll agree that the outside is misleading - but so is the outside of a Harley. I mean it does have an engine, so you would expect more than 65 horsepower. At least the Vision engine is quick enough to blast away from the cud-chewers.
Desmolicious -Say whaaaaaat?  March 19, 2010 01:48 PM
"Capacious hard saddlebags", "striking good looks"..
It's like this ride report never happened and someone just photo-shopped your image onto the bike...

Excellent styling effort by Ness. If you like the 'I bought some stickers from AutoZone and thought they'd look good here' effect..
Susan -great work Arlen!  March 19, 2010 01:23 PM
I love what Arlen can do with any motorcycle. I do not care for the Vision as stock. What he did to his own and how he customized others' Visions is amazing. I love that guy, His company and the family is first class! Good move bringing the Ness family on board!
dunky -Wow  March 19, 2010 01:23 PM
I just took some LSD and it's the best looking bike I've ever seen. I hope it can fly.
TLC -Vision  March 19, 2010 11:19 AM
This bike is butt ugly…but at least it is not butt ugly AND low tech like the Harley. $25K is ridiculous and who cares if the Nesses put their “personal touch” into the bike it doesn’t make the bike any better or more enjoyable to ride. It’s like buying a T-shirt for $27.00 because it has the Nike swoosh on it, as if the T-shirt is better now and worth the extra $15.00 over one without the branding.
Mark -Nice  March 19, 2010 10:02 AM
Great looking bike, great tech, rides great. Best tourer out there.
Jaime Cruz -Touring Rider  March 19, 2010 10:00 AM
Capacious large saddlebags?? By what standards do you make this claim? Have you actually OPENED one and looked inside? From the outside they LOOK like the biggest saddlebags on the market, but once you open one you see how RIDICULOUSLY small they are. Not only are they tiny, but the circumference of the saddlebag opening is SMALLER than the internal storage area, so if you completely stuff the bag liner you'll need a sledgehammer to get it in there. Whoever designed that bike's luggage needs to be taken out behind the barn and SHOT. I had my eye on this bike when it was first introduced, but after seeing it's sorry luggage capacity (even with the top trunk installed) I decided to keep what I have. No thanks, Victory. Try again with the Vision II.
FAN -Nice ride - bad paint  March 19, 2010 10:00 AM
I like the Victory motorcycle line a lot but I do not like this model with his paint job. If I wanted a V-Twin cruiser then this bike would be on my list along with the Yamaha and Kawasaki. The rear end of this bike might take some getting used to but it is a wonderful bike on the road as I have ridden one for a 120 mile demo loop. It had the Harley Ultra beat hands down. No vibration, comfortable, no engine heat like the Harley and it has a decent radio not like the tractor radio on the Harley.
milwaukee mike -nightmare vision  March 19, 2010 08:07 AM
If I had a boat, it would be an anchor.

Good one Chrunchtime.
MN Kid -Test rode one  March 19, 2010 06:29 AM
best tourer I've been on which includes Electra Glides and Goldwings. Devotee's of the Harley religion will never change.
Crunchtime - "and runs as good as it looks"  March 19, 2010 05:52 AM
Must be run like a big pile o doo doo
Crunchtime -Who dat  March 19, 2010 05:44 AM
Who you be callin an idoit. I be smart nuff to see how frugly dis be. No wunder Vicotry sales be down %55 dis yeer.
GB -yup  March 19, 2010 05:07 AM
ugly as heck but rides like a dream. milwaukee mike should be here soon with his hate of anything not harley.....
Crunchtime hater -TOO dumb  March 19, 2010 04:50 AM
Your command of the english language is laughable , what an idiot.
Crunchtime -One frugly MC  March 19, 2010 04:34 AM
Dat be one frugly motorcycle. Should stuck it in da ocean when ya had da chance!