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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Found this article written by Steven Cole Smith / Edmunds.com and thought you all may be interested. It doesn't tell us anything we all don't know but it was cool to find a new article on the Boss!

PS
Randy - congratulations and you should have told us to keep our eyes open for the article!

Here is a link (hope it works)

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Columns/articleId=105083
If the link does not work then here is a copy/paste:



Mr. Nice Guy


By Steven Cole Smith

Big Times at Bike Week: We Ride a Boss Hoss
03-21-2005


(Enlarge photo)
There's nothing like sitting on top of a big V8 to really let you know you're livin' X-large.
It's Bike Week in Daytona Beach — a "week" that has now officially stretched into 10 days of wide-open Harley pipes, Jell-O wrestling and sunburned Yankees on rented choppers — and as you might expect, it's a little difficult to stand out here. Excess becomes the norm, you know?

But, there is one way to feel, well, special. In one afternoon, we find that the Boss Hoss motorcycle can do more for your self-esteem than a decade of therapy. Costs about the same, though.

Let's put the Boss Hoss in perspective. The standard Harley-Davidson Electra Glide has an 88-cubic-inch engine. The Boss Hoss motorcycle engine is a 350-cubic-inch, 355-horsepower General Motors V8 with a four-barrel Edelbrock carburetor. The engine block is cast iron; the heads are aluminum. It's the ZZ4 crate engine, popular with stock car racers, hot rod builders and, evidently, motorcyclists.

If you think this is over the top, consider that Boss Hoss also offers a 502-cubic-inch, 502-hp crate engine. So the "practical" power plant is the 350, then? Well, we're dedicated environmentalists here, so we chose the little engine for a test ride. This bad boy weighs in at a little over 1,100 pounds, a svelte 200 pounds less than a Boss Hoss with the big motor.

What happens if it falls over? "Same thing that happens with any other motorcycle," says Randy Epling, owner of Highlander Boss Hoss, the local Daytona dealer. "You just pick it up!" OK, then. The good news is that the engine is so wide that if it does fall over, it'll just sort of lean over to one side. Even so, a forklift would help.

So we're off. Even with the surprisingly effective little mufflers, you can't completely silence eight cylinders. The patrons at a biker bar knew we were coming long before they saw us. But to see a vehicle with two wheels roar by, sounding like a Corvette, is the equivalent of a poorly dubbed Japanese movie: The faces and the voices and the dialogue don't quite match. The leather-clad, beer-drinking bikers outside the bar cheered and waved. That doesn't happen with, say, a Vespa, unless Jessica Simpson is riding it, and forgot her bikini.

The Boss Hoss story began in 1990 when Monte Warne, a West Tennessee crop duster, found a V8 engine and some pipe in his shop, and decided to weld it all together. Ridiculous? Yes. No one denies that.

Early Boss Hoss models were as crude as they sound, made more to look at than to actually ride. But a few years ago, something interesting happened: Warne and his crew in Dyersburg, Tennessee, made some major modifications, and suddenly, the Boss Hoss — still ridiculous — was far less so.

In fact, it became an actual, rideable motorcycle.

Well, sort of. It weighs more than 1,100 pounds, which is 350 pounds more than the Harley Electra Glide. The Electra Glide can get 46 miles per gallon on the highway; the Boss Hoss can get maybe 25. Of course, with an enormous 8.5-gallon gas tank, there's still some range between fill-ups.

It is, as you would suspect, a challenge to squeeze this engine in between two wheels. The Boss Hoss wheelbase — the distance from the center of the front wheel to the center of the rear wheel — is a chopperlike 80 inches. The standard Harley Electra Glide wheelbase is 63.5 inches. And then there's the price: Suggested retail for a base-model Electra Glide is $14,995.

Base price for the Boss Hoss: $34,500. And few people get the "base" bike. You can upgrade to the bigger engine for an extra $6,000. You can, in fact, climb higher than $50,000 pretty quickly if you check enough option boxes.

And plenty of people do. Epling says that virtually no one wants a "base" Boss Hoss. At the very least, a new owner wants custom paint: My bike had a $5,000 custom job with pneumatic naked women. Customers also want the optional camshaft with roller rockers that add some power but, more important, give the engine a loping, means-business sound at idle.

And maybe they want different handlebars and wheels and a custom taillight and a sissy bar. Consequently, the Boss Hoss bikes that come to Highlander Boss Hoss from the factory are the basic one-color bikes with few features. It isn't a high-volume opportunity — Boss Hoss has sold maybe 4,000 bikes total — but there's always a reliable market for wretched excess.

There are a few other companies building V8-powered motorcycles, but none with the mass-market experience and credibility Boss Hoss has. If you want outrageous — and who doesn't? — the Boss Hoss motorcycle is your illogical choice.

And surprisingly, it works a lot better than you'd think. The transmission is a very compact two-speed automatic. There is no clutch. You start the Boss Hoss in neutral, snick it into gear with your left foot, let off the handbrake and give it some gas.

You would expect it to leap like a stuck pig — or hog, in deference to Harley riders — but it's pretty docile. You can shift into second gear pretty much when you feel like it. I was shifting at about 40 mph. The top speed, Epling says, is not governed. "I've heard stories of 180 mph," he says, "but I haven't tested that theory myself."

Things seem to happen very quickly, and very slowly, with a Boss Hoss. Quickly, because at this weight, and this power, if you get in trouble it's likely to be newsworthy. And slowly because when you are turning at low speeds, you can't really lean over and muscle the bike through a corner.

On the road, the engine has a very pleasant, unobtrusive exhaust note. The ride is exceptionally smooth. There is not a lot of front suspension damping due to the mass, meaning that on little bumps and dips, the suspension just can't react that quickly, leaving it to the front tire to help absorb impact. With the long wheelbase, straight-line cruising is effortless, and I can see why some of Epling's customers insist that the Boss Hoss is legitimate over-the-road transportation. Brakes are exceptionally good: My only real complaint was that the footpegs were too far forward, but Epling says they are adjustable.

Too soon, the Boss Hoss was gone. But we have our memories. My therapist will find them quite interesting, I bet.
 

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Don,
Thanks for posting this article! Most of us would have never seen it.

I'm not sure if I like Boss Hoss articles like this or not. Being a part of the still somewhat "exclusive" group of Boss Hoss riders is pretty cool!

Do you think we will ever look back at 2005 and remember "the good old days" when seeing a Boss Hoss was still an unusual experience? I want the factory to be sucessful, but I also want to be part of a very limited group of owners.

Bill
 

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Great article Don. I like to see BH getting some kudos but agree with Bill too. I want everybody to know about the Boss and love to see the looks on peoples faces when they see and hear the bikes, but I don't ever want them to be popular. One of the things I like most about the Boss is the fact that they are still relatively rare. I guess with the price being on the high side they will always be that way. I live in Atlanta where I see every kind of "outside the box" toy known to man...lots of money floating around a big city like Atlanta...but I very rarely see another Boss riding around. I hope it stays that way :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree with both you guys ... I want to see the Boss Hoss do well in the press BUT I don't want to see a hundred of them when I pull into the local bike hangout either. I don't think that will ever happen. To own a V8 motorcycle and RIDE a V8 motorcycle takes a ... well let's call it a "special" sort of rider :wink: (they all call us crazy, nuts etc but I'll use the word special). Look at all the used bikes for sale with hardley any milage ... many guys can buy them but not that many can/will ride them!
 

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The thing I dread most is the Boss becoming too popular. I'm old enough to rember when pulling in with a Harley brough crowds over. Now every Orthodontist, Financial Advisor and Hair Stylist has one. The 35 mile Sunday ride at 45 mph, bottled water in the saddlebags and chicken caesar salad for lunch and maybe Perrier with lime..
Enough to make one vomit! Even now..more people know about the Boss than is to my liking but God forbid I see my Accountant go by on one...Then I'll be talking to Tom Breedlove about an 800 HP Trike!....Joe
 

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Warren in Atlanta said:
Great article Don. I like to see BH getting some kudos but agree with Bill too. I want everybody to know about the Boss and love to see the looks on peoples faces when they see and hear the bikes, but I don't ever want them to be popular. One of the things I like most about the Boss is the fact that they are still relatively rare. I guess with the price being on the high side they will always be that way. I live in Atlanta where I see every kind of "outside the box" toy known to man...lots of money floating around a big city like Atlanta...but I very rarely see another Boss riding around. I hope it stays that way :p
I disagree. I'd like to see the BH become popular. It would lead to a better engineered bike at a lower price. Maybe, even other manufacturers doing a v8, v10 or v12 bikes. Plus there would be a larger aftermarket for accessories.

I like having an exclusive bike too. But the real reason I have a BH is because it's a very cool bike, it's fun to ride and it puts the Harley guys in their place!...

jack
 

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Jack, I know what you are saying but one of the fun things about the Boss is exclusivity. How many Bentley GTs do you see out there? How is there engineering and quality? Instead of paying $20K more (and I'm not done yet) than I bought it for to try to get it a more reliable and excellent bike, I'd rather have paid the 50K up front for a really well engineered machine with a real trans...Joe
 

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zenbiker said:
Jack, I know what you are saying but one of the fun things about the Boss is exclusivity. How many Bentley GTs do you see out there? How is there engineering and quality? Instead of paying $20K more (and I'm not done yet) than I bought it for to try to get it a more reliable and excellent bike, I'd rather have paid the 50K up front for a really well engineered machine with a real trans...Joe

Very well put---some of the engineering that goes on at the factory borders on well on incompetence! The company that I work for (military aerospace) engineering is at the forefront of what we do and I guess I am just used to seeing it.
 

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I know I've said this before, but I can remember in the mid 60's when the saying was "ride an hour, wrench for 3".........and that stood for British and American made iron. I worked for Honda & Kawasai in high school, and I'll tell you they were not bullet-proof in those days either.

Considering only 13 or 14 years in production, and the pure magnitude of power these bikes have, I think they are doing a great job. I remember the first '96 demo bike I rode, compared to my '03, it was scarey. Now compare the '05s' to the '03 and look at the refinements.......ya just don't hear of a lot of problems on the '03 and later bikes....amybe that was the magic year ??

I really enjoyed having one of the first 2 in our town, now with 5 or 6, they are not such a freak show, but they still draw a lot of attention. And if they don't sell there numbers, they won't be in business to suppport our habit very long........

Tim
 

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GRUMPY said:
I know I've said this before, but I can remember in the mid 60's when the saying was "ride an hour, wrench for 3".........and that stood for British and American made iron. I worked for Honda & Kawasai in high school, and I'll tell you they were not bullet-proof in those days either.

Considering only 13 or 14 years in production, and the pure magnitude of power these bikes have, I think they are doing a great job. I remember the first '96 demo bike I rode, compared to my '03, it was scarey. Now compare the '05s' to the '03 and look at the refinements.......ya just don't hear of a lot of problems on the '03 and later bikes....amybe that was the magic year ??

I really enjoyed having one of the first 2 in our town, now with 5 or 6, they are not such a freak show, but they still draw a lot of attention. And if they don't sell there numbers, they won't be in business to suppport our habit very long........

Tim

Very good point!! My main gripe was with the old brakes and placement of the tranny cooler along with a few other minor issues. The single piston brakes will get you killed if you are not careful!
 

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Tim...I understand but the profit can be made up by charging more per new bike and really using quality parts. When I first saw the 2000 Boss it "looked" bullet proof. This has certainly NOT turned out to be true. Yes the factory continues to refine the bike and that is good but I, for one, would have preferred a higher initial price and had a finer bike into which I wouldn't have had to put $$$$ up the wazoo. This is just my personal perspective and I can see both sides. The resale value would also go up and the reputation of the machine could be "world class" and become known as such with a different approach by the factory. I believe the factory is beginning to go in this direction (for example, the new Joker controls instead of the crappy Custom Chrome units)
Now for the trans; get Coan to build the tranny!....Joe
 

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I second that Joe. I think they would find they have a real market for a trans that would take some abuse. I know I wouldn`t mind spending the money for a real bullet proof trans. if it were available.
 
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