Official Daytona Bike Week Bike Build Underway

American Iron Magazine is building the Official Daytona Bike Week giveaway bike and we’d like to thank all of the generous vendors and parts manufacturers that helped make it a reality. Each week we’ll showcase some of the companies on our website and social media, leading up to Daytona Bike Week in March, 2017.

The build began with a story in American Iron Magazine Issue #344 where we assess the status of our plainjane 2010 Harley-Davidson Ultra starting point. The bike was mechanically sound, with low mileage for its age, but was suffering from some flaws in the aesthetics department. This didn’t pose a problem, as we planned to transform the look of the bike and make it much more appealing for the ultimate prize bike winner.


All the wrenching, painting, and assembly duties will be handled by Rich, Eric, and Monica from Street Stuff Motorcycle of New England, in Norwich, CT. This is the second time Street Stuff has been involved with building the Official Daytona Bike Week bike, and they were stoked to get started.


In issue 345 we’ll start bolting on some cool Arlen Ness billet engine goodies shown here. Ness wanted to showcase its new “10-Gauge” line of billet aluminum engine and chassis parts. Most all of the engine covers, front and rear floorboards, fork tubes, 13” Bagger Apes and handgrips came from Arlen Ness.


You can win the Official Daytona Bike Week Bike by getting your ticket at Tickets are $50 each and only 4500 tickets will be sold. Get one before they run out!


Arlen Ness Billet Sucker Stage I Air Cleaner Install (Intro)

Arlen Ness Billet Sucker Stage I Air Cleaner Install

By Chris Maida/Photos by Chelsea Maida

We gained 9 hp with this air cleaner kit and a Dynojet Power Vision tuner!

Who wouldn’t like to get more power and a big improvement in his bike’s looks with one upgrade? The Arlen Ness Billet Sucker Stage I air cleaner kit for 1999-2013 Twin Cam engines gives you both at a great price. We went with a chrome scalloped cover (#18-811/$229.95) on our 2006 bike. However, if you prefer to keep your bike looking stock, the Stage I kits give you the option of reusing the stock cover.

The Ness Big Sucker line of air cleaners has been around for over 10 years, and they have proven to be a winner time and time again. This setup features a one-piece aluminum backing plate that has two hidden breather ports, which have an O-ring where they join the head. The oily mist from the engine is then brought right to the mouth of the engine’s carb/throttle body. This design eliminates the ugly stock external hoses and hardware. This backing plate — available in standard, black powdercoat, or chrome finish — also has a radius air inlet for unobstructed airflow into the engine. More air in means more fuel can be added with the result being more power. As for the filter element, you can get a standard red filter, which is pre-oiled, washable, and made of four layers of surgical grade cotton. This is our version. Arlen Ness also offers a synthetic material steel jacketed filter element that’s water resistant and never needs to be oiled. Just wash it when dirty and reinstall.

Stock Harley Air Cleaner bracket

After taking off the stock Harley air filter, remove the outer cover’s bracket from the filter element using a T-27 Torx on the three bolts.

As we said earlier, more air in means you can add more fuel. To add that additional fuel, we also used a Dynojet Power Vision tuner (#PV-1/$549). This setup is very easy to use and completely eliminates the need for a computer to monitor the system or load fuel maps. You just select the tune that best fits your bike’s air cleaner and exhaust setup, upload it using the included Power Vision screen, and fire up the bike! You can even edit the tune you just loaded if you choose. The Power Vision device also downloads and stores your bike’s stock calibration maps, as well as let you store up to eight different tunes, which can be flashed to your bike any time you want. If you make major changes to your engine later on, Power Vision can be used to make a custom tune specifically for that performance part configuration. As for its monitoring features, Power Vision shows you how your bike is running, allows you to check and clear diagnostic codes, reset adaptive fuel trims and idle offset (with the bike running), and display all J1850 and CAN H-D vehicle data, as well as wide band air/fuel ratios and various other channels, like MPG instant and trip readings.

Breather Hoses Stock Harley Air Cleaner

Now pull the filter element from the air cleaner inner cover and disconnect it from the two breather hoses that are on the breather bolts.

Though you can tune your bike yourself with a Power Vision unit, we went to our buddy John at Dyno Solutions to have him load up the proper map and then do our dyno runs. Be sure to check out the accompanying dyno chart to see what and where our gains are. Just remember, this bike also already has a set of performance slip-on mufflers. We did the build this way this time since many owners first change out the mufflers for a better sound and a bit more power and then do the air cleaner. AIM

Arlen Ness Billet Sucker Backplate

Torquing the new Arlen Ness Billet Sucker backplate into place.



Arlen Ness Enterprises  (925) 479-6300

Like what you see? The full article with all the steps, tips, tricks, and tools needed is in American Iron Magazine issue # 337! To order a back issue of this or any other issue of American Iron Magazine, visit
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Arlen Ness to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award from Sturgis Motorcycle Museum

In keeping with the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum’s mission to honor those who have made a positive and significant impact on the sport and lifestyle, a special “Lifetime Achievement” award has been added to the Class of 2016 induction ceremonies. Already a Sturgis Museum Hall of Fame member circa 1992, Arlen Ness was a unanimous choice to receive the first Lifetime Achievement honors.

“Arlen truly is the ‘Godfather’ of the custom bike movement,” says Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall Of Fame Executive Director Myrick Robbins. “No one has done more to influence the look of what a custom motorcycle is.” Victory Motorcycles also recognizes Arlen’s achievements and is honored to be part of the induction ceremonies this year.

Arlen Ness

Arlen Ness will be the first person to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum.

“Victory Motorcycles has worked with Arlen Ness for many years now,” says Rod Krois, General Manager of Victory Motorcycles. “Early on the designers and he helped to create the now iconic Arlen Ness editions of several different models. Arlen has always been the head of his time, and we are proud to be the presenting sponsor at this important event.”

Inaugurated this year, The Lifetime Achievement award was established by the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame Board of Directors to honor those who have greatly contributed to the world of motorcycling and have been recognized by many of the leading motorcycle related organizations, their peers and the general riding community. “There is no more recognizable and recognized figure than Arlen in the world of custom motorcycles,” adds Robbins. “Given their close working relationship, it is awesome that Victory Motorcycles has stepped up as the presenting sponsor!”

As innovative and influential as Ness has been to the motorcycle industry, the contributions he and his fellow Hamsters club members have made to local charities over the years, including Children’s Care Hospital & School Foundation and LifeScape Children’s Care of Rapid City, are equally important.

“The Sturgis Museum’s charter is two-fold, in addition to honoring individuals we want to pay tribute to the heritage of the Sturgis Rally,” Robbins explains. “Arlen and the Hamsters have made a lasting mark on the Sturgis Rally and the surrounding communities.” In the past 11 years, more than $2 million has been raised by the group.

Arlen Ness also established the process for how all future honorees will be determined: The board members, executive museum staff and special committees of the museum present nominations to the board members, its president and officers. Each nominee is then reviewed and voted on by the board of directors to come to a majority decision on who will become the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. “It is fitting that he will be the first recipient and epitomize what this honor really means.”

“Legend has it that Arlen really missed his calling as a pro bowler,” Robbins says. “It is true he used his earnings from bowling to buy his first motorcycle.” In 1967, Arlen found an old Knucklehead for sale for $300 and bought it with money he won bowling. He didn’t know how to ride, so a friend had to ride the bike home for him. In between riding lessons, Arlen stripped the bike down and began experimenting with his spray gun. Soon there was a growing list of people asking Arlen if he could do a nice paint job like that on their bikes.

In 1970, Arlen and his wife Beverly opened their first store. Arlen kept his day job and worked on bikes at night. One year later Arlen quit his day job and began concentrating on his passion for custom motorcycles… and create a dynasty. The Ness custom family now includes son Cory and Grandson Zach making them the only three generation family of custom builders. Bowling’s loss has become the motorcycle industry’s gain!

“Join Victory Motorcycles and the Sturgis Museum in honoring Arlen Ness and the entire Class of 2016,” says Robbins. The 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Museum & Hall of Fame 2016 Induction Breakfast will be August 10, 2016 at the Lodge at Deadwood in Deadwood, South Dakota. Breakfast tickets are available for a $35 donation, tables of eight for $300. Tickets are available by calling the Museum at 605.347.2001 or they can be purchased online at:

Arlen Ness Motorcycles Releases New Billet Oil Filter Covers

Arlen Ness Enterprises New Billet Oil Filters

Arlen Ness Motorcycles Introduces its New Billet Oil Filter Covers

• CNC machined from forged billet aluminum
• Fits over any OEM or aftermarket Harley-Davidson oil filter
• Available in 10-Gauge, Deep Cut or Beveled Styles
• Re-Useable, just remove and re-install on new oil filter every service or oil change
• Choose from black anodize or chrome finish

Retail Pricing: $109.95

For all your custom Motorcycle needs, look no further than the admired, Arlen Ness Motorcycles.

Visit for more information.

About Arlen Ness:
Arlen Ness, the “King of Custom”, has been in the Motorcycle industry for over 40 years, and made his name by creating one-of-a-kind custom bikes. Custom, is Arlen Ness Ent., niche; paint, parts, and premier style! The bikes are iconic, the parts are unparalleled, and Arlen Ness, Ent., is always innovating to make sure your bike stands out from the crowd.

Oil Change & Museum Tour: Pit Stop at Arlen Ness Motorcycles

Five-hundred miles had come and gone on the new engine. Still 500 to go before home. But if you’ve gotta make a pit stop for a service job, Arlen Ness Motorcycles isn’t a bad place to have to stop.

Backside of the building I roll up to the second-story garage on the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse. They’ve graciously got me in on short notice. The job left me a couple hours to wander around the Ness compound.

Arlen Ness Museum Untouchable

The “First” bike, aka “Untouchable,” has taken many forms over the years before Arlen returned it to this late ’70s rendition.

Walking in the building is like the Pearly Gates of custom motorcycles, the split staircase rising from the foyer leading to the land of Arlen Ness, twin-engines, superchargers and a larger-than-life picture of the man himself. He deserves to be supersized. His ingenuity and artistry is a benchmark of the industry, as is his humble ambassadorship.

It takes talent to reinvent the same bike again and again to make amends. Makes you appreciate “Untouchable” that much more. Besides, it’s the “First,” the bike that helped put Arlen on the map. Not sure what’s finest – the flow of the frame, the belts of the Magnuson Supercharger boosting the big-bored Knuckle, the stretch of the tank or the paint that’s on it. Then there’s what’s not seen, like the oil running through the frame and the brake line run through the fork.

I don’t know where to look. There’s “Ness-Stalgia” next to “Mach Ness,” the Biker Build-Off “Overhead Cam Sportster” ready to battle the “Hulkster.” There’s the orange and matte grey bike he went to town drilling out. Shovel lower, Knuckle upper, it was one of the first with belt drive. Arlen bead-blasted it to get the matte-to-gloss effect, blasting trim like the fender struts, too. Ness bucked trends.

Arlen Ness Shovel/Knuckle combo

With a Shovel lower and a Knuckle upper, this Ness custom was one of the first with belt drive.

Had to virtually tear myself away from the museum. Zach, the third-link in the Ness trifecta, kindly gave me the grand tour. Zach is moving on up. Literally. He’s moving his office upstairs near Arlen and Cory. Smart and ambitious, he’s also moving up in the industry, leaving little doubt the Ness empire will be in good hands for a long time coming.

In a back room he shows us one of his latest projects. The frame is a modern take on a digger, 27 pounds of chromoly with Arlen’s axle plate design anchoring its tail. The Victory Freedom 106 engine has been cracked open and built up by Lloydz Motorworks and outfitted with a B Class race blower. Words like 250 horsepower entered the conversation, straight-line acceleration and Point A to Point B.

Zach Ness project bike tank

Zach Ness holds up the mock-up tank for his latest project bike.

Zach Ness Modern Digger project bike

Zach’s latest project uses a modern digger frame with a Victory Freedom 106 given the Lloydz Motorworkz treatment then boosted with a B Class race blower.

In another chamber we meet Jeff Border, who’s been with the company 26 years. He uses what he’s learned in those 26 years to lead research and design of Ness parts and accessories, a lucrative part of the Ness portfolio as Big Sucker sales can attest to. Zach says Border “makes things work” around here.

Work is one thing there’s no shortage of. While Zach’s project sat downstairs, Arlen’s build for Born Free was taking shape upstairs. The company is in the process of producing Octane parts. They’re fine-tuning a new saddlebag and topcase combo for Victory Visions, the Ness design more traditional, changing the complexion of the bike in a good way. Resources are being spent on wheel development. The warehouse was full and shipping trucks were hustling in-and-out all morning, operations running like a fine-tuned machine.

Speaking of fine-tuned machines, we take one last trip around the upstairs garage before hopping back on our freshly serviced Chieftain Dark Horse, walk by treasures like the chopped and slammed red Ness van called the “Harley Hauler.” Above it, the one-off, hand-built roadster race car powered by a motorcycle engine hangs ornamentally on the wall. Another fine example of Ness’s hand-formed aluminum bodywork, the Roadster features a tubular hand-fabricated frame to boot. As for the engine, it’s also been given the Ness touch, the 104 cubic-inch S&S V-Twin outfitted with a Magnuson Supercharger and Twin Weber Carbs. The iconic duo needs to be squeezed into the museum somehow instead of gathering dust in a storage area.

While I would have been happy to spend more hours there, time to hit the road. A long day through the Shasta range awaited. But what a pit stop. Not every day you get a behind-the-scenes look at an industry leader, from the research and design department responsible for their hot-selling parts to the paint booth tucked in the back of the building. Better yet, how many other oil changes come with a free museum tour of world-class customs from three generations of builders and display cases overflowing with more than 40 years of trophies and walls of magazine covers? Going above and beyond seems to be the Ness way.

2015 Victory Motorcycles New Bike Specs – Preview

2015-Victory-Motorcycles-previewNEW BIKE SPECSby Steven Wyman-Blackburn

The fact that Polaris industries’ first venture into the motorcycle world turned 15 years old last year is a pretty big deal. Victory’s base of operations is rooted in a country that prides itself for developing some of motorcycling’s firsts (some argue best) products, and putting them on the shelf among the oldest brands in the industry.

Having to roll out against such competition, Victory had to shout loudly in order to be heard. Victory’s 3/20-of-a-century celebration in 2014 was spearheaded by an anniversary edition of its Cross Country Tour model (a motorcycle which, as Victory made sure to proclaim, sported the largest-ever storage space at 41.1 gallons). This was soon followed by the continuation of the Ness series with Arlen Ness checking off the Cross Country bagger from his Ness/Victory bucket list. However, this bike received extra attention from all three Ness generations — another industry first.

For our complete New Victory specs and photos pick up American Iron Magazine‘s
November issue #316.

The PRINT EDITION hits newsstands October 14.
Subscribe and receive the next issue weeks before it goes on-sale.

The DIGITAL EDITION is available for instant download today!

Arlen Ness’ Brother Kevin Ness In Fatal Motorcycle Accident

RENO, Nev. The motorcyclist who was critically injured in a multi-vehicle crash on July 30 has died.  According to NHP Trooper Chuck Allen, 59-year-old Kevin J. Ness, brother of Arlen Ness, was thrown from his black 2008 Victory Vision motorcycle after his bike was struck by a vehicle on eastbound Interstate 80. 

Around 12:20 p.m., the driver of a silver-blue 1989 Toyota Camry, driven by 62-year-old Harry D. Preston of Corning, California, swerved to avoid a collision with a vehicle ahead that allegedly slowed for congested traffic. Preston failed to see the white 2007 PT Cruiser in the adjacent lane, driven by Robert K. Brackett of Ukiah, California, causing the two vehicles to collide. Brackett’s vehicle traveled into a nearby lane where it struck the motorcycle ridden by Kevin Ness.

NHP is encouraging witnesses or anyone with additional information about this event to contact Trooper Doug Farris at (775) 689-4614 or regarding case number NHP-140702711.

All of us in the motorcycle industry send our condolences to the Ness family. Ride In Peace Kevin Ness.

Made In America?



SHIFTING GEARS by Buzz Kanter, Publisher

We at American Iron Magazine join a growing list in the motorcycle industry committed to, no, make that obsessed with, made in America. I recently posted a question on the American Iron  Magazine Facebook page asking “If you ran Harley, what would be the first thing you’d change?” The most consistent response, by a large margin, was to bring Harley’s manufacturing back to America.

Many people replied how much they hated seeing “Made in China” on the labels of Harley goods. When I followed up the Facebook posting by asking how much more would they pay for the same products made in America, I was surprised by the replies. About a third would pay 20 percent more, and about half felt the prices were too high already and should be the same when made in America.

On a separate, but related topic, Harley recently unveiled the new liquid-cooled 500cc and 750cc Street motorcycles. First shown in Italy at a huge European motorcycle trade and consumer show (a first for Harley), we were told these Harley-Davidsons are manufactured in India. Many long-term Harley enthusiasts were shocked. We questioned Harley-Davidson if there are plans to move more manufacturing overseas. We were told the small displacement Harleys built in India are for foreign sales only, and that all Street Harleys sold in America will be made in America.

Thank goodness. As the owner of this magazine, I understand some of the financial pressures Harley must be dealing with. However, I feel that some financial decisions shouldn’t be made just by the accounting department, especially when it comes to an American icon like Harley-Davidson. Know what I mean?

“Orphan” American Motorcycles 

In the early 1900s, there were more than a hundred motorcycle manufacturers in America. How many can you name other than Harley, Indian, Crocker, and Excelsior?

If you find the history and motorcycles of that time interesting, you should check out the Amelia Island Concours d’ Elegance on Sunday, March 9. This world-class car show in Florida will be featuring an invitation-only display of “orphan” American motorcycles. I usually spend the day at this event with some friends, including Arlen Ness, John Parham, Paul Ousey, and Jim Kelsey. For more information, visit

Disappearing Magazines

Some will blame the internet. Others the tough economy or lack of time to read print. Whatever the reason, you might have noticed fewer motorcycle magazines in stores. If not, you will soon. For reasons I won’t go into here, the traditional magazine store delivery system is under massive financial pressures. Unfortunately, there is a good chance some of the smaller and independent magazines will disappear from the newsstand, and even the bigger ones will become harder to find. If you enjoy this magazine and want to continue reading it, you should consider signing up for a subscription (print or digital online). In addition to making sure you get every issue of American Iron Magazine (13 times a year, one every four weeks), you will save a lot of money. You can continue to pay $6.99 per issue for more than $90 a year. Or you can pay around $27 a year (less than the cost of four issues) and get all 13 issues delivered to your door.

Plus, all subscribers are automatically entered in our 25th Anniversary Sweepstakes to win a new Indian motorcycle, S&S Cycle engine, or a $1,000 gift card from Dennis Kirk (one given away every four weeks), and more. See page 124 for the details.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun.


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This article originally appeared in issue #306 of American Iron Magazine, published in March 2014.

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December 2: Coastal Moto’s Cyber Monday Blowout Sale

newcybermondayhomepageCoastal Moto will be hosting a cyber blowout sale of all its product lines on December 2. Coastal Moto offers its own line as well as Performance Machine (PM), Xtreme Machine, and Arlen Ness wheel and tire packages. Ready for same-day shipping, Coastal Moto has a 90 Day Layaway program and ship FREE to the entire US (Hawaii and Alaska included) and Canada. Most  packages are delivered with tires mounted, balanced, and assembled. Wheel and tire packages are available for Harley, M109R, and most sportbikes.

See what Coastal Moto has to offer ahead of time by clicking here.

Win A Ness Customized Victory Motorcycle. National Motorcycle Museum Raffle

Time is running out for your chance to win and help support the National Motorcycle Museum and get a chance to win a one-of-a-kind Victory Cross Country motorcycle!

The collaboration between Victory Motorcycles and Arlen Ness, one of America’s first motorcycle customizers, has produced some great and truly unique Victory Motorcycles. Here’s your last chance to win a one-off 2013 Victory, a bike that Arlen Ness and his son Cory Ness devoted some serious attention to – over $10,000 in Ness custom parts and paint alone.

The National Motorcycle Museum offers you a chance to donate to win this great custom Victory Cross Country. It’s the 2013 fundraiser bike for the Museum, and as the year closes, December 31 to be exact, some lucky person will win it. It could be you!

Victory Motorcycles donated a brand new Cross Country to the National Motorcycle Museum, but shipped the bike directly to Arlen Ness Enterprises in California. Cory and Arlen worked their magic on the bike selecting the best components from their catalog, and then treated the machine to a custom paint job. In total, the Victory’s value is nearly $30,000. But this is a one-of-a-kind Ness custom, so it’s hard to put a price on it!

The passion for creating great bikes now spans three generations of Ness customizers. Arlen’s son Cory offers, “We are honored to support the National Motorcycle Museum. The Museum is a great example of pure passion for motorcycles. We hope our customized 2013 Victory Cross Country will be the most successful fundraiser motorcycle the Museum has had. We started with the best bagger in the country, added a one of a kind custom paint job and then loaded it up with Ness accessories from front to back. I’m really happy with the how the bike ended up – and the winner will get a great ride.”

It takes only a few minutes to donate to win on the National Motorcycle Museum website, and you could be the lucky person to be riding this great Ness-customized 2013 Victory Cross Country!

Click HERE for more information or to enter to win.

Each year since 2002 the National Motorcycle Museum, a non-profit, 501(c)(3) located in Anamosa, Iowa has offered a great bike that Museum supporters can donate for a chance to win. It’s the Museum’s biggest annual fundraiser and ensures the National Motorcycle Museum can continue to create new exhibits and present the exciting stories of American motorcycling, pursue its mission for the motorcycle community, for you. You can learn more about the National Motorcycle Museum at