2008 Victory Vision
This Victory Vision project got rolling back in 1991 when Jeff Erb's friend, Bob Munroe, introduced him to Arlen Ness. Bob was a metal fabricator and did a lot of work for Arlen. Bob knew Jeff rode a Harley and anyone who rides a Harley definitely knows of Arlen. Following a few years of taunting by Bob and getting to know Arlen, Jeff decided to buy his first Ness-built motorcycle. It turned out to be a limited edition, number one of six, stamped and numbered, 'luxury liner' bikes handmade by Arlen and crew. Jeff remembers hanging out in his garage just to look at the new bike.
When he road the bike people would get whiplash twisting around to get a glimpse of it. Not only was it a piece of art but the bike rode comfortably. Jeff ended up riding that bike to Sturgis four times over the years from the Bay Area of California. Since then, he's bought or customized 10 more Arlen and company bikes. Each one has drawn attention and this newest Victory Vision Street is no exception.
Jeff says, "this is one of the best, if not the best, bike Arlen has gone through for me." Arlen, Cory, and now Zack (Arlen's son and grandson respectively), have been Victory dealers and design consultants for Victory Motorcycles for years. Arlen always talked up the Victory product to Jeff but he paid little attention. He goes on, "Victorys looked OK, but I was not ready to get off my custom or trade in my tricked-out Harley FLHT bagger (by Arlen) anytime soon." Then one night over dinner, Arlen told Jeff about the new Victory Vision. Arlen was really excited about the new bike and said that when Jeff saw it, he would want one. When Jeff first saw the new Vision he thought it was too futuristic, big, and odd-looking. A fellow friend, a Hamster, joked to Jeff, "The new Vision is like a fat chick: you don't mind riding them but you just don't want your friends to see you." Jeff remembers feeling that way when the new Corvettes came out too but they eventually grew on him just as did the Vision.
Jeff watched Arlen's crew work over a few Visions, but he still was not ready to buy. Arlen then tempted Jeff with lunch. Arlen said, "Jeff, why don't you stop by next week and we'll ride out to Wente (a winery) for lunch." Jeff never made it though, due to conflicting schedules. A few more weeks passed and Arlen threw out the invite again. It is not nice to pass up an offer of lunch with "the King" (as Bob Munroe calls him) twice. So this time Jeff rode out to Arlen's on his bagger. They BS'ed around Arlen's shop for a bit, then Arlen said "let's go." Arlen pointed at a new Victory Vision saying, "Leave your bagger here and ride the demo bike."
The demo bike was pretty much stock, and Jeff hadn't ridden a stock bike for years. But, he thought 'what the hell,' and got on anyway. Arlen jumped on his radical custom Vision and off they went. Arlen knew what he was doing. He first took Jeff on the freeway, then off into some sweeping turns. Jeff suspected the minute Arlen took him on the freeway he was being set up, and not in a bad way. There are easier ways to get to Wente Winery. Arlen knew once he got Jeff on the bike, he would like it. After a 40-minute ride going the long way, they ended up at the winery.
"So how did you like it?" Arlen asked. Jeff couldn't lie to him but didn't want to seem anxious. "Nice," Jeff proclaimed. After lunch and a glass of grape juice they headed back out on the Victorys for a ride back to Arlen's shop. Arlen said, "Here Jeff, ride mine back." Once again, how can you say no to "the King"? Jeff threw a leg over, which was effortless as the seat height on Arlen's bike was so low, Jeff was afraid he would drag his ass on the pavement. They headed back to the shop. Jeff was so impressed with the bike that when they reached Arlen's, Jeff went to his bagger and grabbed his checkbook from the saddlebag.
They didn't even start Jeff's new bike, they just rolled it out of the box and tore it down. Jeff talked with Arlen's brother, Kevin, and Joie Catucci, the service manager, about the details. Kevin also rides a Vision and his is one of the nicest Jeff had seen. Jeff wanted the paint to be different than the other guys so he used a friend of his, Brian Jennings. Jeff drove to Arlen's with Brian to decide on paint schemes. A new Corvette had passed them painted in a vibrant rust color. That was it: orange or tangerine over black in a clean two-tone paintjob. Brian had no idea what he was in for. He had yet to see a Vision up close. Twenty seven body panels and six weeks later, it was all painted to what Arlen says is the best one yet.