Back in the late 1990s, Victory was the newcomer, the dynamic challenger in the cruiser motorcycle business. The Victory attitude, performance and style caught the attention of legendary custom bike builder Arlen Ness, and the two parties teamed up early in Victory’s rich history, which is now 15 Years Young.
By its second model year (2000), Victory had added Arlen Ness products to its accessories line. It was a winning partnership as Arlen’s accessories looked great on early Victory models, and he really connected with Victory engineers and members of the industrial design team.
It wasn’t only Arlen working with Victory. His business partner, fellow customizer and son, Cory Ness, was also collaborating with the Victory team. Arlen and Cory designed and produced Ness accessories for Victory models, and they became Victory styling consultants. The Nesses met with Victory product developers and the industrial designers to discuss motorcycle trends and the styling of future Victory models.
The Nesses never designed a Victory model from the ground up – contrary to the urban myth, the Vegas taillight is not the Arlen Ness logo – but starting with the 2004 model year they did apply their personal styling to limited-edition Victory models.
The Vegas made its debut in the 2003 model line and was a tremendous success. For the 2004 model year, Victory offered standard Vegas models as well as a new limited-edition Arlen Ness Signature Series Vegas. This bike featured rich custom paint, custom wheels, numerous Ness accessories, the Arlen Ness logo on the EFI cover, an Arlen Ness signature on the side cover, and a numbered plate identifying the bike as a limited-edition Victory.
The Ness model was a hit, and during model years 2005-2010, Victory offered Signature Series models by both Arlen and Cory Ness. For 2011, Victory offered three Ness models with styling by Arlen, Cory and Cory’s son, Zach Ness. The 2011 Zach Ness Signature Series Victory Vegas won the Custom Production Bike of the Year award at the 2011 V-Twin Expo.
The Nesses have been significant contributors to Victory’s style and success, and they believe so strongly in Victory that it’s the only production motorcycle brand they carry at Arlen Ness Motorcycles in Dublin, California. All three Nesses have styled several one-off Victory customs, and all three ride Victory models at home in California and across the west to the Sturgis rally every August.
Learn all about the 2013 Ness models on the Victory website:
• Arlen Ness Victory Vision
• Cory Ness Cross Country Tour
• Zach Ness Cross Country
Two views of Arlen and Cory Ness over the years.
Arlen Ness autographed the first 2004 Arlen Ness Signature Series Vegas built on the Victory assembly line in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
Cory Ness signed the side cover of the first Arlen Ness Signature Series Vegas at the Victory final assembly plant.
When Victory built the first 2004 Arlen Ness Signature Series Vegas, Arlen put the bike through its test paces in the assembly plant dyno.
The 2004 Arlen Ness Signature Series Vegas is a gorgeous bike.
Arlen Ness posed for the motorcycle press at the introduction of the 2009 Victory lineup. He’s seated on an Arlen Ness Signature Series Victory Vision.
Cory Ness is shown on his Cory Ness Signature Series Vegas Jackpot at the 2009 Victory press introduction.
Here’s Arlen Ness on his 10th Anniversary Victory Vision, which he lowered and customized.
Cory Ness (left) and his son and business partner Zach Ness.
When Victory introduced its 2009 model line, Zach Ness showed off his one-off Kingpin 8-Ball custom. Zach (left) is with then-Victory General Manager Mark Blackwell.
Victory models (including the blue Cory Ness Signature Series Cross Country) are parked in front of the Arlen Ness Victory dealership in Dublin, California.
Here’s Cory Ness in 2011, crossing Utah en route to Sturgis on his customized personal bike, a Cory Ness Signature Series Cross Country.
Each limited-edition Ness model has a numbered badge.