First Ride | 2012 Arlen Ness Victory Vision Tour

A Sight To Behold

August 2011, Sturgis, SD

There’ll come a day when being seen riding a bitchin new motorcycle will be the most important part of your life. And if you’re looking to accelerate the process, bling is the thing that will get you noticed faster than a dog can raise its leg.

Thankfully, Victory Motorcycles and father Ness’ collaboration continues to flourish and for 2012, the Arlen Ness Victory Vision Tour is a bike to be seen—to put it mildly.

On the inside, this 2012 Vision follows the rest of the touring platform, boasting 97 horsepower from its 106 cubic-inch Freedom V-twin and carrying riders comfortably across this great land for about 6 years now (the Vision was first introduced in Feb. 2007 for model year 2008). But cosmetically is where the 2012 Ness Vision shines—literally. With painstaking attention to detail, tip to tail, Arlen dropped half his aftermarket catalog on this bike.

First, you won’t EVER miss the Nuclear Sunset paint scheme, complete with Arlen’s own flamed graphics package. You’d really have to be blind not to notice this bike: In the sunshine, it’s like an electric orange, and at night, the chrome shines on like a crazy diamond. Once in the flame-stitched leather saddle, you’ll be hands on with the master’s own billet flamed grips, chrome bar ends, shifter/brake pegs and levers. Hot chrome is everywhere, and tucked between the diamond cut cylinders is the signature Arlen Ness logo-ed air cleaner cover.

On the road, the Vision rolls on a pair of Ness Billet wheels with ABS brakes for proper road control in any condition. Twist the throttle, click though the 6-speed Overdrive gearbox and lock on the standard cruise control, crank up the Kicker Premium stereo and you’re rollin’ like a rock star.

Arlen couldn’t leave well-enough alone (of course) and further customized his own copy of the 2012 Vision, adding even richer paint, dropping the rear suspension and his signature “Hamsters” badge to the side of the bike. Base models of the 2012 Victory Vision Tour start at $20,999 while the Ness-dipped Tour will run you about $25,799. Arlen’s personal model is priceless.

I got my ride on the Ness Vision by glomming onto the Victory Owners Ride & Reception, held during the Black Hills motorcycle rally in South Dakota. The annual ride—this was the 2nd year—included over a hundred riders from across the country. Our afternoon departure from the Lodge resort in Deadwood, SD, wandered though the rolling Black Hills, with Cory and Arlen leading the way. The whole thing culminated in an after-ride party at the Buffalo Chip, where we were all treated to dinner, camaraderie and celebrity spotting with Survivor’s Rupert Boneham, Roland Sands, the Ness family and the girls from Klock Werks.

For those preferring to view art, Michael Lichter's Motorcycles as Art exhibit was open that night as well. But if you'd rather have a piece of artwork that you can actually ride, there's always the Ness Vision. CR