Victory motorcycles tend to fill the bill as highly customized turnkey units right off the showroom floor. Polaris Industries, owner of Victory, called upon custom bike guru Arlen Ness to produce limited signature series editions of select bikes.
For 2011, Arlen Ness has chosen the Vision Tour as his custom palette. Arlen's bike features Black bodywork with blacked-out trim panels and "scrolled Ness" styling on side panels, billet wheels, engine covers and handgrip end caps. Ness accessories include: chrome billet grips, chrome billet shift and brake pegs and oil line covers.
There are also a Ness windshield graphic, radio display and ignition key graphics. The cylinders are diamond cut and there are chrome handlebars, rider and passenger floorboards.
Both the rider and passenger seating areas feature custom stitching and there is a numbered engine plate with a facsimile of Arlen's signature. Pure Victory accessories available for the bike include: a trunk cargo rack, trunk liner, passenger armrest kit, saddlebag liners, Stage 1 exhaust, chromes accessories, backrests, auxiliary lighting and more.
A center character line runs the entire length of the bike from the front composite fender, through the headlamp and fuel tank, and continues through the rear fender to the stylized "V" taillight and running light with a chrome trimmed "V" rear directional light assembly.
The streamlined, extended tank also features a distinctive side sculpting, as do the contoured, composite, lockable hard side bags and combination trunk/passenger seat back. The fuel filler is hidden in a locking compartment to the right of the centerline, with a matching, non-locking storage compartment on the left side of the uncluttered tank top.
Victory has chosen to power the 2011 model with its 106 Freedom V-Twin (106 ci, 4-stroke 50-degree SOHC, 8-valve with electronic fuel injection, dual 45mm throttle body and split dual exhaust with crossover). The motor is mated to an improved and enhanced six-speed constant mesh overdrive transmission that's capable of cranking out up to 97 horsepower, along with 113 lb.-ft. of torque.
The Arlen Ness Vision Tour rides on Dunlop Elite 3 rubber. The suspension setup consists of conventional front 43 mm telescopic forks with 5.1 inches of travel and a single rear monotube gas shock, with cast aluminum, constant rate linkage swingarm that is air adjustable, providing 4.7 inches of travel.
Stopping the Ness Vision Tour is accomplished by a hydraulic system with front dual 300 mm floating rotors with 4-piston calipers and a single 300 mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper out back.
My test Victory was the 2011 Arlen Ness Edition Vision Tour model. The base sticker was set at $27,999. The custom bike displays an emotional and dramatically pleasing visual presence, with aerodynamic styling cues.
All the angles and contours flow harmoniously, with the 106 cubic inch motor showcased in the frame as a jewel-like focal point. The motor not only looks good, it also hauls the mail effortlessly. If there were a downside, it would be that the stock exhaust note, which serves up a low thrum, would benefit from a little more thunder. On the plus side of that issue, which is personal, it's much less likely to offend neighbors when firing it up.
The riding position is extremely comfortable and despite the big bike's overall mass, it is exceptionally well balanced. The Ness Vision Tour is, as its name implies, a touring machine where everything works well from the handlebar and floorboard positioning to the well-padded seat that provides lumbar support for long hauls.
The suspension travel smoothes out rough road surfaces for more pleasant riding conditions. The modified six-speed gearbox is both smooth and relatively quiet. There's plenty of power on tap with a very broad torque range for when you're in the mood to minimize shifting gears.
The complete audio system is noteworthy and easy to operate with gloves on, the cruise control makes riding over long distances less tiresome and the frame extrusions on each side of the bike catches it, preventing it from going completely horizontal and saving on costly repairs.
Victory's new Vision Tour Arlen Ness edition provides a custom touring bike for those long hauls right off the showroom floor in a lineup that offers a wide selection of models that has something to satisfy nearly every rider in the Cruising and Touring categories.
Copyright © 2011 Motor Matters
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