When I hear the name Big Dog in relation to motorcycles I am instantly transported back into a time where choppers were all the rage, and O.C.C. ruled the roost. The trend got so out of hand with the top chopper builders raking in serious money. Then the economy tanked, seemingly taking the entire chopper world with it. That’s why I was surprised to see that Big Dog Motorcycles is still intact.
In the early 2000’s you could ask any motorcycle enthusiast about Big Dog Motorcycles and they knew exactly what you were talking about. They were massive back then, building up to 25 bikes a day at their peak. From a meteoric rise comes a great fall, which is exactly what happened. The economy was halted, and no one had a spare 60g’s laying around to buy the most bling bike in town. Big Dog was forced to slow production until they finally closed up shop in 2012. This looked like the end, but it turned out to just be a small hiatus, allowing them to get back to the drawing board and adapt to the new future of motorcycling. What better way than to show you’ve changed than with a muscle bike design like the Boxer.
The Boxer is one of the new breeds of motorcycle that really wasn’t around when Chopper scene was going on. Sure there was the V-Max, V-Rod and some models like the M109R, but they never quite fit the handling bill. Now we have factories producing the likes of the Diavel and even some one-off brands like Hesketh and Arch Motorcycles. And with bikes like that Big Dog found a new niche that their skill set could fit into.
The equation is simple in design just like their choppers, but this time it’s a combination of big engine, comfortable yet semi-sporty seating, and styling that is as bold as you can get. The Boxer easily checks off all this and more.
First, let’s talk about what drives the Boxer. Just like their choppers, Big Dog elected to use an S&S engine to power the mighty muscle bike. S&S has been providing parts for Harley engines since 1958, but eventually moved onto their own design down the road. The Boxer features a 124ci Harley based engine. That’s 2032cc if you’re counting, which Big Dog definitely is. “With over 2030cc displacement, the S&S 124 cubic inch power plant has more displacement per cylinder than the sum of all cylinders on today’s biggest inline-four Superbikes.” Quite a boastful statement from Big Dog, which is unfortunate because that big twin is only churning out roughly 130hp. That’s basically the same power as a modern 600 supersport. While that’s disappointing it does give the Boxer a monstrous amount of torque, which is what we are looking for in a muscle bike after all.
The chassis screams lean and mean, giving the Boxer a much needed brawny profile. The forks are massive inverted units, that aren’t raked out like crazy, allowing the Boxer to have a much better handling profile. The entire frame is a built in-house by Big Dog. The rear profile of the Boxer seems to be a mix of a tracker and a cruiser, giving it a distinctive look with that Trellis swingarm. The frame is built for mid controls and combined with the swept back handlebars you are left with ergonomics that allow the Boxer to be comfortable while still allowing the rider to get aggressive when they choose. In that regard this Big Dog is drastically similar to the Arch Motorcycles built by Keanu Reeves.
One thing Big Dog hasn’t changed is customization. The bike you see here is just their vision of how a Boxer should look, but the Kansas-based bike builders know that buying a bike like this is more about personal style and expression than anything else. This means they will build the Boxer, or any of their other bikes for that matter, to your spec. Obviously, that is if you have the funds. Not so surprisingly the Boxer isn’t exactly a cheap bike, just like all Big Dogs they demand a premium for their machines. With only 4 models offered 3 of them come in at the more expensive $34,995, while the Coyote comes in at just $27,995. And that is starting MSRP mind you. Once you start adding options the sky is the limit on how much you could end up paying.
I will say I really do like the way this bike sits, and those wheels are to die for. Even the paint and gold detailing are great making for a stellar final product. One area of improvement would be to ditch the wonky headlight for something a little more traditional. Other than that the Boxer is a visually stunning departure from what Big Dog Motorcycles is known for, and it does so while keeping some of their key traits. I call that a win-win.