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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been trolling these boards for about a year now gathering information on the Boss Hoss. After riding for thirty years, and the last three on a Valkyrie, I went to the Boss Hoss factory in Dyersburg, TN., and gratefully accepted a demo ride on an 04 fuel injected 350. This was a big mistake as I immediately came home and sold my Valkyrie. I intend to purchase a used Boss in the near future and need some experienced information. There seems to be some rather nice low mileage clutch bikes available at decent prices, and single speed autos also, neither of which has reverse. Is this a major problem not having the reverse as I normally park in a manner where I don't use reverse ? Do the older bikes handle as well as the new ones, or is there a particular year to stay away from? Does the clutch bike clutch feel and release as a normal motorcycle clutch does? I have heard the clutch is harder and kind of awkward to use. The only reason for considering a clutch bike would be possible less problems than automatic and also the price. I am hoping to purchase a auto bike with reverse in around a 2000 to 2001 model, but seeing some good prices on older bikes makes me wonder. Any comments or suggestions on the clutch or single speed auto bikes would be considered and greatly appreciated. As I said I hope to purchase an auto with reverse, but would not turn down a deal on a older one if I don't hear of any negative reports on them.
 

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Boyd

The reverse is a must for me. I weigh in at 155 lbs and 5ft 8 in. I also have a 1980 flt harley that I have no problem moving. Unless you have some beef on you get the reverse. One mans opinion.

Bill
 

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I bought a single speed auto bike to start but after riding it for a year I decided to sell it in favor of a two speed bike. I did ok with the resale on my old bike but I got a deal when I bought it. Depends a lot too on the type of riding you do. If you like the long road trips..... overdrive is a good thing. During the year I had my single speed bike I only had to be pushed backwards once.
 

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Clutch Bike

I have owned a 96 Clutch bike since new. This year I converted it to a single speed automatic with no reverse. I have never felt the need for reverse. I always park so if there is any kind of hill, I roll in backwards so I can drive out. Never a problem for clutch or auto. The clutch bike works well if adjusted right. The auto is easier to ride at low speeds. I like them both for the type of riding that I do. By that I mean highway riding speed is usually under 75 mph so I don't feel the need for the overdrive of the two speed. My preference would be to buy a 1996 to 1999 clutch bike or single speed auto. The 1995 and earlier bikes had a crude rear axle setup and a Harley front end.

Rick
 

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Single speeds, (with or without clutch packs) or two speeds are all simply a matter of preference - I have owned both - the reason I went to a 2 speed was twofold - got a helluva deal on it and second, the single speed would turn about 3600-3800-- rpm's at around 80mph whereas the 2 speed turns about 2400 rpm's at 80mph - - didn't want to run extended times at the high rpm's on the long (and fast) rides like we do here often - although you could gear it diffetently to make up some of the difference -

I like em' both - but if had the option would definately go with a 2 speed!
 

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Boyd,
I bought a 98 single speed automatic and liked it . But I didn't care for the gearing on long trips. I played around with different front pulleys , but finally decided for me , I needed a two speed. I converted mine last winter and really like it now. And having reverse really comes in handy. Good luck ! Jeff
 

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I have a 98 clutch bike that I have ridden for two years now. I love it and have no plans to ever own a two speed at this time. I have never had a problem with backing it up. I am 6 feet tall and a rather beefy fellow, as Bill says. The only thing I would like different is a lower RPM while cruising on the highway. The rest of the time, it is fine. I don't find the clutch to be awkward at all. Every motorcycle that I have ever owned had a clutch. (A new clutch is a fraction of the cost of a new or rebuilt tranny :lol: )

Good Luck

Hoss
 

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Boyd,

I ridden my '03 2 speed about 10,000 mile in 2 seasons, and like having the reverse and OD gear for the highway.

Only thing to look for on any used Boss is the previous maintenance (or lack of) by the previous owner. Some folks have bought these and ridden them very little and never performed any type of maintenance. They need tender loving care.

If it's a 2 speed, you might want to check and see if the transmission has been upgraded to the "B" series which was the upgrde for gears, clutches, etc in '03 or late '02. Many of the older 2 speed bikes have been upgraded and you can tell by looking at the tranny serial number to see if it has the 'B' stamped in it. Otherwise it is a case of the amount of $$$ you have to spend and the characteristics of the bike you like (inverted vs std forks, etc.)

Good luck on you search.

Tim
 

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Tim, just curious for future reference , where is this letter stamped ?

Thanks,
Jack
 

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My buddy Howard bought a 1 speed clutch bike and he hated it. One reason was because he lives on a steep hill. He sold it a bought a 1 speed auto and he loves it.

I bought a 99 single speed and it was fine but I got a good deal on a two speed so I put that in my bike and sold the single speed. I like the two speed a lot for freeway driving but around here I pretty much stay in first. I have reverse on this tranny but I have never hooked it up and have never needed it.

I went from a Valk to a Boss too and there is no looking back for me. 8) Good luck on your quest.
 

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Jack,

Its stamped as part of the serial number on the transmission. Looking from the back of bike, bottom right side of trans case.

Tim
 

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Boyd,
I recently traded in a 1997 clutch bike on the new 2002 385 Boss I have now. (It was new, because it was made for R.J. Reynolds, and was never titled until I bought it). I absolutely loved the '97 Boss ZZ4, as the wife and I put over 34,000 miles on her in a little over 2 years. The only problem I had with the clutch bike was the clutch itself. During this period, I ended up putting 4 clutch/pressure plate/throwout bearings in it. The bike was wonderful, but after around 5-8000 miles, the springs around the circumference of the clutch disc would start breaking and getting loose. Other than that, I have no complaints about the clutch bike at all. I have talked with some that have gotten upwards of 20,000 miles from their clutches, and others that were like me, and didn't fare as well. Then you read about the auto trannys, and you see different perspectives there also. I have to say, I LOVE the overdrive gear out on the highway on a trip. But..I miss that sudden acceleration the clutch bike has.
There are good and bad points to everything, I suppose. But the fact remains...you can't go wrong with whatever model of Boss Hoss you choose. But be careful..be VERY careful...they are totally addictive!!! If you ever have any questions about a clutch bike/service, drop me an e-mail...been there done that several times!

Welcome to the Boss Hoss family!!!
Mike
 

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Boyd,

I have never had a clutch model but I have had both the single speed and the two speed. Before I had the overdrive and reverse I never missed them. But after having them I enjoy the added convenience. I have had 5 Boss's and the only trans problem I had was with a trike at 1800 miles. I enjoyed my single speed as much as the two speeds so I think I would just go with the best bike for the money. Either one will excite you. The main thing is getting into the bike right because if you decide you want a change it is much easier.

Bill
 

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Boyd,
the clutch bikes are priced good, and they perform good. But you will have to repair the clutch sooner or later. If you like to wrench (like I do), then they are fine. If you don't like to wrench, or if you can't do the work yourself at all, and you don't have a dealer close by - then stay away from them. I talked to several clutch bike owners, and all of them had LOTS of problems with the clutch. The clutch bikes were build from the beginning of Boss Hoss until 97.

The 98/99 models were single speed autos. The revision "B" (99') of these trannys came with an updated, bigger outputshaft bearing. The update can be made on a 98' tranny, too. The "B" is the last digit of the serial number, which is located under the batterie case. These single speed autos are absolut troublefree, and still priced good.

Since 2000 all bikes came with the overdrive and reverse, and problems came with them as well. Like Tim already said - if you consider a two-speed, then buy a "B" revision ONLY. There are a couple exceptions, but most of the first two speeds were junk.

I don't like to ride my Boss at higher speeds then 75-80 mph on longer distances, so I for one don't feel the need for an overdrive (I've got a 99 single speed), but I miss the reverse from time to time. Ok, I never had to ask someone to push me backwards, and I always was able to leave somehow at any place, but single speed owners have to watch where they park very carefull. "where can I park it?" - "how can I park it best?" "what can I do if someone park his HD behind or in front of me- am I still able to leave then?"..... there are situations where this damn reverse sure would be nice to have. I've been in a biker bar last year, and when I arrived I parked the Boss downhill on loose gravel. After a beer and some fries I wanted to leave, but there was a ****ing BMW parked in front of me, and a bunch of people stood around my Boss. :?
I think I had a gallon of coke in this bar until this damn BMW owner came back to his bike :lol: ...hehehe.

Loaf from Germany
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Boss info

Thanks for all the responses on info for me to purchase a used Boss. All the info was great and has farther educated me. I guess it is all up to me now. Hopefully this info is being read by others needing answers as I was. This is a great board and hopefully my permanent one. Thanks again!! Boyd
 

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Boss choice

Boyd;
I purchased a 97 clutch bike last April, and have more than 5K miles on it so far. With expert help and guiadance from Boss folks on this site, and the Boss Hoss Country site, I purely love and enjoy the Boss. I would like to turn a lower RPM on the interstate, as well, but my Boss has the Mountain Boss Hoss Frame Loop Mod, a 38Tooth front Gates pulley, and an 80 Tooth Gates rear pulley which reduced the RPM a lot @ cruise. That made the "CLUTCH" thing more difficult because it had to be slipped so much, but I recently installed a 50 aspect ratio auto tire which reduced the diameter of the tire and improved the gear ratio as a single speed.
When I have to replace the clutch, per sage advice, it will be a "Center Force" which will reduce the "effort" on the clutch release mechanism.
As a certified old fart, I have yet to need help backing out, but like Loaf, have had to wait a couple times. Good LUCK!
 

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Boyd ,

These guys can say what they want about how much they like their clutch bikes and 1 speeds , but the 2 speed with reverse is great and if you treat the 2 speed right it will give you years of good service unless you get a lemon to begin with or you abuse it . Mine is a 2000 that I have done a few updates on but it has never let me down in 35,000 miles . Keep it cool , clean and don't pound the **** out of it in overdrive and it should last .

Jack
 

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Boyd....about the reverse. I think it's really dependent upon your height. The taller guys don't really need it because they can get a much better bite on the ground than us munchkins (5' 8"). I would be miserable without the reverse and use it all the time. The overdrive is a must if you are doing a lot of highway driving as I do. 2100 rpm is 70 mph. I cruise at 80-90 on long trips and the single speed would not suit me at all...Joe
 

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Clutch Bikes

Boyd:

I bought a '97 clutch bike last year. If you buy one, be careful to make sure it has the 350 ZZ4 engine. Some bikes were built with 210 HP 350 engines (especially by Atlanta Boss Hoss at that time).

I got one of those and swapped the engine for a 385 stroker. I replaced the clutch with a Centerforce (the original was shot at 9000 miles), I'm told that clutch will many times outlast the original.

My next mod will be the new Ranger gear box addition (that Bill Alexander has helped develop). You have to do some rear frame modifications. The units are now shipping, and they offer 1) a real neutral, and 2) a 50% gear reduction. I also have already converted the rear belt drive to a dual 530 superchain drive. Thus, all I need is new rear sprockets to change the gearing. This will give me a lower first gear (badly needed) and a higher 2nd gear for hwy. riding.
 
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