It must be in the genes. Zach Ness is a third-generation customizer, following in the footsteps of his father, Cory, and family patriarch Arlen. Like the rest of the Ness clan, Zach builds customs based on Victory motorcycles.
When Victory asked Zach if he wanted to be the first to customize its new Judge, he was all over it and even had a plan. “With the current trends going on,” he said, “I knew I wanted to do a café-style bike.”
To transform a cruiser into a café machine, some major surgery would have to take place. “The frame, the bike’s stance and the chassis had to be completely modified to achieve my goal,” said Ness. So, he reconstructed the rear of the bike by cutting the frame backbone right above the center of the engine’s Vee and then fabricating a new rear main frame and subframe from chrome-moly tubing. The rear of the fuel tank was raised 4 degrees to create a more level appearance. Next, Ness focused on making the hand-formed sheetmetal tailsection, which houses the battery, ECU, fuse box and Power Commander Auto Tuner, all easily accessed by undoing a few Dzus fasteners.
After riding the Judge, Ness had one complaint: “The pegs scratch pretty damn easily.” So, the footpegs were rearset 5 inches, and a combination of their new mounting location and swapping the stock 16 in. wheels for 18-in. Arlen Ness 10-Gauge hoops have raised them by 5 in., as well.
Pumped-up power comes from an engine massaged by Lloydz Motorworkz (www.lloydz.com). The heads feature S&S 495 cams, ported intakes and exhausts, and compression bumped from 9.4:1 to 10.4:1 with new pistons. Plus, the crankshaft was lightened by 10 pounds to let the Freedom 106 rev more quickly.
The finished product was so functionally successful that Ness has adopted it as his daily ride. Could it also be a foreshadowing of things to come from Victory?
Probably not. But we can hope.