2012-09-26 16:27:49+0000
  • Make:
  • Arlen Ness
  • Model:
  • Big Red
  • Year:
  • 1991

The Arlen Ness Big Red was a one of a kind American motorcycle built in 1991. It has four stroke, v-twin, 2,089 cc Harley-Davidson engine. The pistons came from a v8 Chevrolet to form a monster supercharged nitrous oxide engine.

‟Arlen Ness, from San Leandro In California, is America's leading tuner of Harley - Davidsons. For years he dreamed of building the world's most powerful dragster - and in 1991 he achieved his dream, after working five years and spending around $100,000!

Big Tire in the Back

Ness started with a monstrous Pirelli 265/60x16 car tire and a 1200cc Harley Davidson, of which ultimately only part of the five-speed gearbox, the flywheels, and the pushrod valve gear would remain. The enormous pistons came from a V8 Chevrolet and the engine inhaled through separate belt driven superchargers, each endowed with a twin-choke carburetor for each cylinder.

No Laughing Matter

And as if that wasn't enough, Ness used a technique developed on wartime fighter aircraft, injecting nitrous oxide (laughing gas) into the cylinders to produce an instantaneous power boost of around 40 percent - at the risk of blowing up the engine! To transmit the power from the engine to that fat rear tire. Ness uses a drive belt on either side of the wheel. Of course, the violent exhaust lets you know when this bike is coming! And when Big Red shows up, there's no doubt that Ness gave it the name it deserved!


  • Engine: 2089cc four-stroke V-twin
  • Power output: unmeasurable
  • Valves: overhead valves
  • Fuel system: twin superchargers, quadruple Dell'Orto carburetors with nitrous oxide injectors
  • Transmission: twin belt final drive
  • Suspension: (front) inverted telescopic forks; (rear) rigid
  • Brakes: (front) twin discs; (rear) twin discs
  • Wheels: cast aluminum; (rear) 265/60x16 in
  • Maximum speed: not determined


The most powerful bike in the world! Arlen Ness has built many wild machines in a quarter-century of customizing, but Big Red is definitely the mildest of them all!”

*This Atlas extra-large trading card is part of the EatSleepRIDE motorcycle stuff collection.

1 Comment
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  • marina
  • 2012-09-26T19:45:56-04:00

Yeah very big red. I so wish the Atlas cards came with a recording of the engine running.