Breaking News. Big Dog Motorcycles Looking For Additional Capital, Merger Or Investment.

bdmYesterday Big Dog Motorcycles contacted me to share their intention to look for additional capital to face the current financial realities. To avoid any misinterpretation of President Sheldon Coleman’s intentions, I agreed not to release the information until an official press release would be issued. You can now read it first in my Blog.

Big Dog Motorcycles Announces Engagement Of William Blair & Company To Evaluate Merger, Sale Of, Or Additional Equity Investment In The Company.

Big Dog Motorcycles® announced today that its principal owner had hired the investment banking firm of William Blair & Company to assist in evaluating a possible merger, strategic partnership or sale of Big Dog or its assets. Big Dog and its shareholders will also consider selling additional equity to add capital, other financing options or a recapitalization of the company.

Sheldon Coleman, the founder and principal shareholder of Big Dog Motorcycles explained that “Big Dog has been a consuming passion of mine for over fifteen years.  With over 25,000 bikes on the road, the company and its employees, dealers and suppliers have succeeded in building a business that started in my garage into the dominant motorcycle manufacturer in the premium, high performance sector of the motorcycle market.”

The challenging market conditions have demanded an ever-increasingly larger commitment from Mr Coleman whose passion for the company, exacting standards of quality and commitment to customer service have earned Big Dog consistent rankings as the premiere motorcycle in its class.

bdmwolfbisColeman said, “During this process, Big Dog will continue to sell and develop our cutting edge motorcycles, as well as service our dealers and consumers needs for warranty, additional parts, accessories and apparel.  Given the unprecedented, difficult market conditions, I strongly believe that Big Dog needs to add other equity partners or transition to new ownership to continue to develop and build Big Dog’s innovative products and capitalize on the rebounding economy.  I am excited to continue leading Big Dog during this transition and, hopefully, will be part of the team taking Big Dog to the next phase of its growth.”

Coleman continued, “We continue to invest in dynamic long-term strategies, such as international distribution, as well as new models designed to excite and expand our marketplace. Our dominant market share in our niche will propel the company’s success as the economy recovers, and I am looking forward to finding a capital source that will share Big Dog Motorcycle’s vision of a vibrant future.”

Recently, the company has expanded distribution into Canada, as well as introduced several compelling new models. At the top end of its range, the Wolf has received accolades from both consumers and the trade as the most innovative premium cruiser motorcycle in its class. In addition, the all new Bulldog has taken touring motorcycling to a new level of style and performance. For the more price conscious custom motorcycle rider, the redesigned Coyote blends cutting-edge styling with an approachable design.

Coleman closed commenting, “At Big Dog Motorcycles, we have the finest suppliers, the most committed dealers and the most ardent consumers in our niche. As we seek new capital, we believe that Big Dog Motorcycles has yet to reach its full potential.”

Please direct investment inquiries via email to or via phone at 800.539.5729. William Blair and Company will respond to investment inquiries.

83 Responses to “Breaking News. Big Dog Motorcycles Looking For Additional Capital, Merger Or Investment.”

  1. 1 Sniperman Dec 11th, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    The writing was on the wall……………it was just a matter of time before we heard the “unofficial” yet “official” press release.

    This is the beginning of the end………believe me when I tell you this. It’s only a matter of time before they go into BR protection.

    I do wish them the best of luck and maybe they can pull it together.


  2. 2 The Supreme Team Dec 11th, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    We wish you the best gentlemen. I hope somebody will see the light in the opportunity you’ve presented. Through tenacity and methodical bean counting, I believe Big Dog can slowly emerge from this rough economy, and come out on top.

  3. 3 Blue sky rider Dec 11th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    What a toll the economy has taken on our country!
    Big Dog Motorcycles has shown NOTHING BUT CLASS with our Dealership.
    The most honest and upfront manufacturer I have personally dealt with.
    I pray Sheldon is able to get investors who will care as much as he has for his Dealers and Customers! It’s terrible when a manufacture gets sold and new owners think there’s a big buck to make and don’t care about the Dealer or old customers. Thank you Big Dog for being true as the red, white and blue to our Dealership. Let’s pray for a miracle for Big Dog and our Country! So sad!
    Thanks for having Class!

  4. 4 A$$HOLE Dec 11th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    It IS SAD to see. At least there are only 30 people left at the plant to lose their jobs. 30 more people to add to the already saturated job seking population here…GREAT! Hopefully they can find a way through this tough spell and come out stronger on the other side.

  5. 5 Jeff Nicklus Dec 11th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Sheldon & Co.,

    I truly wish you all the best. I have no doubt you will secure the additional funding necessary to keep Big Dog alive until our current economic situation improves. Hang in there!

    Over & Out,


  6. 6 Mark Moses Dec 11th, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Tough times for sure. Sheldon has provided visionary leadership to an incredible group with great talent and passion. If anyone can pull it out, he will do it. It is a brave soul that is willing to walk away for the good of his company. A company with true class and a man with a huge soul.

    Good luck fellows from the bottom of my heart…

    Mark Moses

  7. 7 PeaceLoveChoppers Dec 11th, 2009 at 5:22 pm

    Oh great… let the rumors and assumptions begin. This post will catch on fire with haters and know-it-alls in no time.

    I wish Big Dog the best and I believe they will make it out OK. Just because Sheldon is finally asking for some financial help (instead of funding it all out of his own pocket) doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s over for them. I personally hope it’s not.

    Good luck Sheldon and Big Dog!!!

  8. 8 David Dec 11th, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Maybe they should look for someone who makes Bowling Equp. to partner with !!!!

  9. 9 Sharpo Dec 11th, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Wow. I hope everything works out for the best. If I know Sheldon, he certainly has what’s best for the company in mind. He has been funding Big Dog on his own since the beginning. I’m sure the the people that are willing to invest right now will be impressed with the condition of the company, even in the tough economy. Sheldon and the remaining employees still have a lot of fight in them. I really don’t see this as a bad thing. It probably wouldn’t take much to make this company healthy. They already have one of the best names in the industry. I’m sure Big Dog will be around for a while longer.

    Good Luck Big Dog. God Bless.


  10. 10 No Pain No Gain Dec 11th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Big Dog Motorcycles has never broke their stride for 16 years solid, and they will continue on.

    Smart move on Sheldon’s behalf – instead of waiting for the economy to pick up in a handful of months, he is in pursuit of professional merger or acquisition right now while BDM is still maintaining business as usual. Whatever “business as usual” pertains to these days.

    All the best,

  11. 11 WhoGIVEa Dec 11th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Not good news. Not good at all. In this industry BDM has become the staple for “production custom”. With credit gone and disposable income at zero, this could get worse. It takes a lot of money to make an actual product. This isn’t a company with a bunch of nerds in a room pounding out code. Its people using their hands to build and assemble something tangible. In my mind, we are losing our foot hold on the few mfg jobs we have remaining. The only reason we still have car mfg in the country is b/c of the bailouts.

    I hate to say that credit isn’t coming back for some time. Confidence isn’t coming back. Job won’t be coming back for some time.

    And now that buying new has become a bad word, building new isn’t worth it.

    Good luck with the sale or investment or merger. I sure hope you can pull it out!

    Big Jim

  12. 12 Conrad Nicklus Dec 11th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    Ummm since when does BD have investors?? I thought that was 100% Sheldons company???

  13. 13 A$$HOLE Dec 11th, 2009 at 7:40 pm

    I am betting Polaris will step up. They showed interest in BDM for years and sent groups for tours and solicited BDM to help with their engineering concerns. Besides they are likely the only company diverse enough to justify it.

  14. 14 Looper Dec 11th, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    They make some nice bikes. But who is secure enough in job and income to plop down 30 large or more for their bikes? And when this ever ends, the market will have moved on. Too bad.

  15. 15 Big Greg Dec 11th, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Choppers come and go like bell bottoms, so this shouldn’t be any surprise. I love Big Dog and I think they make great bikes, but isn’t it a bit strange that BD and all the other chopper companies didn’t have something else in the pipeline for when the V-twin market came to its inevitable screeching halt? I’d suggest that Sheldon seek out start-ups with more modern bikes like Roehr, Fisher, or Motus that may be able to help breath some new life into BDC.

  16. 16 Bob Stetson Dec 11th, 2009 at 10:49 pm


  17. 17 Dave Blevins Dec 11th, 2009 at 11:32 pm

    I think (for what it’s worth) that Big Dog’s underlying problem is their identity… what I mean is, when you say Big Dog a certain type of motorcycle pops in your head. That was good while the trend was running hot for that type of bike, you know the kind I mean. But, like the BEE GEES and disco, when you’re the icon for a trend, you will likely perish with that trend. Quality isn’t the issue, it’s the image. It’s gonna be hard for the Big Dog brand to shake that image, maybe impossible.

  18. 18 J Dec 11th, 2009 at 11:34 pm

    Sweet bagger- hope it works out. Bet Sheldon finds a better deal that the 15% loanshark deal that Harley pimped themselves out for….

  19. 19 Jim C Dec 12th, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Well,here’s an idea. I am sure that some will shoot it down just because they don’t like the guy but Coleman has already hired Paul Jr with design work for camping products. Why not get him to invest in BigDog as well as help with designs,ect. I am sure he has the extra money and it would give him an opportunity to show what he is capable of and do it without OCC. I have been thinking that it would not surprise me if he was to get involved with BD. I have been thinking this for a couple of months now.
    Hey Sheldon,if this pans out,I would be happy to accept a small pittance for my idea. 😉

  20. 20 A$$HOLE Dec 12th, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Jim C…Sheldon sold the Coleman line of camping products many years ago. The people, who Jr was dealing with designing grills, has absolutley nothing to do with BDM. He just still has the last name his father gave him.

  21. 21 Sick of it all Dec 12th, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Jim C,

    Are you serious? You have been thinking about this for two months…

    Paul Jr.?

    If he starts designing bikes for Big Dog they will have hair on them.
    I can see it now. The St. Bernard , or the Dalmatian ….OCC makes theme bikes, not bikes you can ride and enjoy. Do you thing the PEZ DISPENSER Bike gets a lot of miles put on it?
    Big Dog builds a quality product, bringing that on would only mock them.

  22. 22 CYCLE CITY of TN. Dec 12th, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Yep some of the haters will love this, but I know Sheldon Coleman and he is a very impressive business man. He is smart enough to be pro active and seek out options before his situation becomes too serious. I have been a Dealer for 15 years, the BIG DOG motorcycles are still not known and understood by most. The bikes are very comfortable, reliable and made to ride. There are people that come in our store riding something like a fatboy or sporty and their comment is I love that Big Dog K9 but I ride a lot so I can’t get one of these, It’s obvious they don’t have a clue and don’t realize that K9 is much more comfortable and rideable than what they are on now. We also have people trying to buy everyday but can’t get reasonable financing. this is the real killer in this economy, Harley has eaglemark financing and will finance anybody in 30 minutes no matter how bad their credit is. And as far as price, The screamin eagle harley’s go for way over 30k! Why in hell would anyone pay that when the far superoir BIG DOG could be had for less!!! It’s because they are riding the oh so powerful bar and shield logo, not the bike. Anyway everybody is having a hard time these days “EVERYBODY”. HEY OBAMA, WHERE’S MY STIMULUS CHECK????????

  23. 23 Jim C Dec 12th, 2009 at 11:21 am

    a$$hole and sick of it all-I am completely serious. Obviously you only know the TV side of OCC and that includes Paul Jr. I have seen the other bikes he has designed and they are quite comfortable,rideable and innovative. The 1st one that comes to mind is the Splitback which I believe won VTwin’s Chopper of the year in 2008 at VTwin Expo.
    I know that Sheldon sold the Camping Equipment but there is still a connection there. BDM does build a good bike but has an image problem in that they are thrown in the same image category as IronHorse,BBC,ect. I am thinking this would give them some immediate coverage and regardless of what some may say,it would bring buyers to the table.He never really liked the “theme” bikes (at least from what I have seen) but hey,it pays the bills. I never held that against them. In case you haven’t noticed,OCC has made a concerted effort to distance the Limited Edition Production bikes from the TV show (Theme bikes)
    Anyway,it is just an idea which I think deserves some serious thought on both sides.

  24. 24 The Truth Dec 12th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Paul Jr. has his own set of problems, now that Sr. has filed a lawsuit against him in NY State Supreme Court for millions of dollars. OCC has done a lot for the industry, no question. They have made it ‘cool’ to a younger generation of fans and they have helped spark a creative renaissance in the custom industry. The credit for what OCC has done goes to a lot of you, the builders who came before them. BDM is another producer that has pushed the bar continually higher, just like everyone who reads this blog on a regular basis. We’re all here for one reason and that is because we love motorcycles. One thing that might help BDM in the coming months would be if Obama decides to use some of the TARP funds to help small businesses. In any case, to a smart investor, BDM should be an attractive option. They have a good history of producing very high quality bikes and of backing their products with some of the best warranties and customer service in the industry. The custom builder market isn’t going anywhere, as soon as the housing market is back full bore sales of custom built chopper style motorcycles will go through the roof again. People love these bikes, they love this community. The buyers will be back soon, you’ll see. 2010 is an election year, the politicians up for re-election can’t afford for the economy to continue to stagnate. Credit will start flowing again very soon.

  25. 25 A$$HOLE Dec 12th, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Jim C…You’re an idiot! Put down the glass pipe. The dragon cannot be caught!

  26. 26 Indiandp Dec 12th, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Big Dog has proven to be the BEST manufacturer in the market. They have exceeded all expectations of a company that really does stand behind their product with customer service and support. I have been in business for ten years and have never dealt with a company that provides the quality and commitment to their product as Big Dog has. I have dealt with many of the manufacturers and they do not hold a candle to Big Dog. It is smart business for Big Dog to take this course of action. If Big Dog does not survive this economy crisis it would be the biggest loss ever to the custom market.

  27. 27 Street Stuff Cycle Dec 12th, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    We have been an independent dealer for 37 years and took on Big Dog in 2003. It was by far the best business decision I have made to date! We were with them through what we all refer to as the “Golden Years” and have watched the quality of the bikes increase not on a yearly basis but almost a monthly basis. product issues were resolved quickly and efficiently since 03 and warranties were never fought over. Clearly the best in the industry. A company that Harley can learn a lesson from! I for one hope that Sheldon remains at the helm of the company as he is truly a visionary in the industry and has set a model for other manufacturers. We will continue to support the company during these times. I hope that even with an investor Sheldon maintains 51% ownership of the company. Its his vote that will allow the company to step back from that abyss that is consuming a large part of our industry. Big Dog and all of us will emerge stronger and wiser.This is after all, for those of us old enough to remember a cycle, expansion..recession
    ….recovery…..and it will continue. If I had a spare 10 to 50 mill I would be stepping up. As a matter of fact if you ever decide to have an IPO Sheldon let me know I’ll be one of the first to call my broker!
    Best of Luck Gentlemen !
    Rich Krasun

  28. 28 Jeremy Dec 12th, 2009 at 8:21 pm

    Good luck to Big Dog, but it’s going to be tough to find help when nobody is seeing c;early where our economy is going. 2009 sucked.

  29. 29 Big Vinny Dec 12th, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    All the best to Sheldon and every other small business person in this economic cluster. I believe we all owe a great debt of gratitude to the geniuses in Washinton for facilitating this wonderful excercise in frustration. Of course we have nothing to worry about, after all the recession is over. If you’ve ever wondered if it is dangerous to give stupid, uninformed, easily swayed, unproductive people the right to elect government officials take a look around. Honda authored the slogan, “Stupid Hurts”. We should add, “Stupid is expensive’.

    Another bitter truth to accept is that the traditional business model of a successful dealership historically has been that service and parts operate as the primary profit centers with new unit sales being a boutique portion only. Specifically, within the pricepoints that most of us operate, substantial unit sales were never sustainable. Honda didn’t get its slice of the pie by being a higher priced alternative to H.D. in the 60s. Today more than ever the consumer wants more for less. Blame Walmart if you must but this attitude is prevelant not just in our market. Today’s consumer demands Big Dog quality at Hyosung pricing. What’s the bottom line? Dealers and professionals in our industry had better learn how to sell. This will require investment in quality personnel and swearing off the arrogant attitude regarding the servicing of your existing customer base. In short, if you don’t take care of your customer by offering goods and services within his price range, someone else will. The K-9 is awesome, but the Vulcan 800A sold in some pretty awsome quantities.

    I’m just sayin is all,


  30. 30 Jim C Dec 12th, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    A$$hole,How am I an idiot? The Truth at least brought some intellegent enlightenment to the table. I was making that suggestion as a way of sparking some new ideas,a different way of looking at the situation. How is that being an idiot? BDM is looked at by the general population as being in the same category as Ironhorse and BBC and I believe that hurts BDM. I don’t personally deal in Big Dog bikes but know others that do and they have nothing but good to say about them.
    As far as OCC is concerned-They do build a rideable comfortable bike that is well thought out and built with quality parts. Their service after the sale is better than most. Now this I speak from personal experience.And as far as Paul Jr hooking up with Shldon,well,like I said it is just an idea that bears looking at.

  31. 31 A$$HOLE Dec 12th, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    Two ships, taking on water, bolted together, still sink. Jr would be more of a detriment to the company than anything. Sure he might be great at fabricating custom fenders and tanks, and spider webbing, and such but the time and money that BDM spends on R&D making their bikes safe and reliable would not be the ideal environment for Paulie Jr. to work.. BDM builds production quality bikes, and not one off paper weights.

  32. 32 Boss Hawg Dec 13th, 2009 at 7:16 am

    I sincerely hope the market turns soon and that Big Dog not only maintains some sort of relevance to break-even or better yet profitable production numbers. However, one must bear in mind that production choppers and pro-street motorcycles will never be mainstream staples in every household as some your silly ass minds may think and want. Look at AIH and others that have fallen and have fallen hard. The surf is has calmed….most have rode the wave and now that it has crested they are standing around looking somewhat dumbfounded. Simply put…want items are not need items. When plotting the curves of a business model one must be prepared to endure full circle completion and step back or walk away. Remember…measure twice and cut once!

    As most of you know the economy is the worst it has been in around 80 years or so. It will turn to the better in due course, but you need to take heed because now that the housing foreclosures rate is sensibly leveling out in the areas that were first hit hardest, next are the BIG BOXES (malls, strip centers and industrial parks) as they are known.

    When the BIG BOXES foreclosures start really taking affect, for which it has been begun, look for more unemployment and more foreclosures with quite the possibility of civil unrest in some of the major metropolitan areas that are a majority of minority & ethnically challenged that should not be here in the USA to begin with. Those of you that live in those areas may want to study up on your right to bear arms and have plenty of ammo at your immediate disposal!

    Not to write doom and gloom here, but the vast majority of you keyboard commandos here need to get your heads out of your asses and face reality….cause it ain’t good!

    I really hope that Sheldon does prevail and I believe that he and BDM will as long as he maintains control of his business model, retools to market demands and gets a cash infusion.

    As they are so lovingly called, the pimple on the industries ass that I think you should watch and be bidding Adios Mutta F&%$er to is Big Bear Choppers.

    Boss Hawg

  33. 33 Jim C Dec 13th, 2009 at 10:36 am

    I don’t sell BDM nor do I have anything to do with them so I have nothing to gain by them staying in business. I will say that I feel it is important that we don’t lose anymore quality companies within the industry as it hurts us all in the long run. I have been trying to get others to voice other ideas here as to what may help BDM. I do wonder what some of these companies did with the money when times were good-did they just spend it or did they reinvest in the company while looking at long term goals.
    Anyway,the idea I presented about those 2 partnering up is the only idea presented here. I am sure that there are better ideas out there and now would be the time to voice them.What other companies would be affected by BDM closing? When you think about that and the trickle down effect and how that will affect prices,ect then you may realize what I am trying to say. The only way for the majority of us to survive is if we band together and help each other even if it is just an idea. The only wrong idea is the one that was not voiced. Just my .02

  34. 34 Sturgis Rider Dec 13th, 2009 at 10:48 am

    My personsal experiences with Big Dog are consistent with their reputation as being a first-class operation and business. By reading the posts of some of their dealers here, it would suggest that the company may be able to survive this difficult economic period. Best wishes to Mr. Coleman and the entire industry of employees, parts suppliers, dealers and customers moving forward.

  35. 35 bgalyts Dec 13th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    I never met Sheldon Coleman, only know of His Bikes that He Buids. Do not have any comments on Paul Jr. or Senior except that if Senior wants to Invest some of His millions that is all BDM needs from any of the Tetuls, Sr. or Jr. I like the Mr. Coleman knows when it’s time to stop throwing all His own money at the BDM. That’s why Mr. Coleman is the “Chosen One”!…..”WEJ” We Earn not Judge.

  36. 36 busfreak Dec 14th, 2009 at 7:13 am

    Has everyone forgot about the job summitt last week. Things are going to turn around now.

  37. 37 Jim B Dec 14th, 2009 at 10:07 am

    Owned a 2001 Big Dog Prosport. Horrible reliability. Eventually was bought back by Big Dog due to the lemon law. I paid $25,000 for the worst vehicle I have ever owned. The bike was at the dealer’s service shop for 30 of the first 49 days of ownership. I never rode the bike that I didn’t either have a problem with it or came back with one.

    Also what are the most desired bikes in the cruiser market now? Tourers. Big Dog has one but its over $49,000. They are completely overpriced for the current market. A Victory Cross Country is better at a third of the price.

    Big question… Who is going to go WAY out on that limb to give them money?

    This is just slow death anyway you cut it.


  38. 38 sowhat Dec 14th, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    So Jim B, you’re basing your opioions of Big Dog on a motorcycle you owned 9 years ago? You’re correct that Victory is a fine machine, but so is Big Dog. They have come LIGHTYEARS in the last 9 years. I pray they survive this mess. Good luck Sheldon.

  39. 39 cooldaddy51 Dec 14th, 2009 at 7:57 pm

    Jim B, The Bulldog bagger is 39,000 . About $10,000 less than your number but in the range of a HD Screetchin Chicken . Oh , The BDM doesn’t have heated grips and a built in ass scratcher like the Harley, but hey you can’t have everything. It is all wired for an ipod and has a Alpine sound system ,and a hell of alot more power. It looks like it belongs on the highway as opposed to the
    Victory bagger that looks like it should be orbiting not cruisin. The Harley is still just a blast from the past as far as Baggers go! Big heavy luxobarge! Just my opinion. As you may have guessed I do like Big Dogs!

  40. 40 A$$HOLE Dec 15th, 2009 at 4:40 am

    BDM spent millions and many years fixing the problems of early models. The bikes they put out now can be put side by side with any manufacturer in the world, and they more than hold their own. There is a reason they have received so many VTwin expo awards. You cannot get more American Made than a BDM. I really hope they pull through, but the odds, and the city are stacked against them. Like I said previously, Polaris spent like a month in the BDM plant, so I would not be suprised to see some deal with them announced.

  41. 41 Browse Dec 15th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    So which aftermarket builder is not looking for money or near closing the doors? Can’t be easy selling ice to eskimo’s these days.

  42. 42 just my opinion Dec 16th, 2009 at 11:22 am

    A$$HOLE; Tell us more of your knowledge of Polaris and Big Dog. Start with how you would have any knowledge of such. Do you work at Big Dog or Polaris? I personally wonder why a company such as Polaris who makes the worlds best snowmobils, quads and such would need to ask a small company like Bigdog for anything. I believe Polaris has made more motorcycles than Big Dog but maybe I am wrong. I do know for sure that Victory is rated as one of the top if not the top bike for dependability. And the other side of that is why would Big Dog help a company that is clearly their competitor. Your statements are not making sense to me but maybe you can help us all understand.

  43. 43 A$$HOLE Dec 16th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Just My Opinion, FIrst yes, I worked for BDM for nearly a decade. Second, I physically saw them there, and there was quite a buz when they were there. As far as why they were there, that is what I heard “through the grape vine” I am guessing it had to do with the fat tire craze, and their desire to cash in on the trend. Why would a snow mobile company, who is manufacturing top end cruisers, ask one of the most established motorcycle companies for advice…kind of answers itself. Hell HD sent a whole contingent to BDM at one point as well. They came out with their fat tire bike about a year later as well. BDM designed their right side drive balanced drive system, and people came knocking. As for why BDM would help them, probably some money involved…??? BDM would not be opening the R&D lab to them to show off new designs. BDM had an extensive Engineering department, from New product development, to reliabilty testing, to field support engineering, As far as any deal between the two, I was merely speculating, as I believe was evident by my statement. It just made more sense than HD buying in, since they cannot afford to keep what they already own. But hey HD is known for their stupid decisions. As far as being a competitor, yes technically, as they both sell motorcycles, but really, not so much. Different styles, different clientele, different in just about every manner. Maybe at that time BDM was fishing for investment…who knows. I was not trying to act as an insider, nor was I trying to confuse you. There were a lot of large companies that flew big wigs in to take tours, and spend the week at BDM. Despite their current situation, it really is a very well run business, full of wonderful employees, and could be a model for many companies in many sectors. Hell TLC and the Discovery channel came in looking to make a reality show about BDM, but found that it was too well run to make good TV as there were not TURTLE FIGHTS, and nothing got thrown, smashed or blown up.
    Just my two cents!

  44. 44 bikerspaceman Dec 16th, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Hey A$$HOLE, I too spent over a decade at BDM, in several departments. I gotta say thet their engineering department was a joke, BDM didn’t develop the RSD, Bert Baker did. All BDM’s engineering could do was screw up something that worked fine before they got their hands on it.
    When any6 testing was done, If the results didn’t match up with what the engineer’s expected, the test data was disputed rather than an issue be addressed and fixed before the bike went into production. Typically,the test center didn’t get a bike to test until production parts were already in hand and it was too late to change anything. The test center worked with Wire-Plus on a replacement electrical system that was cheaper as an entire system than the production EHC was buy itself. I could go on and on about ignorance and stupidity at all levels at BDM, but after being out of there for a while, I just shake my head and chuckle!

  45. 45 A$$HOLE Dec 16th, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Space man, of coourse you knew better than every one there. Hence the several departments and being gone. Part of their big problem was hiring so many engineers from other fields, such as marine, lawnmower, and aircraft enginnering. I never said that every member of the dept was a genious, but c’mon. Obviously a bitter ex employee.Although I do not know who you are, I am sure I heard your mouth. Every one from the receiving dock up had a better way to do everything, and always enjoyed spouting it. I never said they were with out fault. Crawl back in your hole.

  46. 46 bikerspaceman Dec 17th, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    A$$hole, If you don’t know who I am, then you spent too much time under somebody’s desk providing lip service to keep your position. Obvoiusly one of Sheldon’s Yes men. I’m an ex-employee, but not bitter. I was bitter when BDM took the New pitbull into production knowing that three professional testriders were hurt while riding the bike due to high speed instability, I ws bitter when John Brock stated that they wanted to purge $500,000 worth of pitbull parts buy offering the pitbull as a kit (thereby relieving BDM of any responsibility for handling problems), I ws bitter when Marvin Bachman (head of engineering) claimed that the Bagger was a fine handling machine when even his wife made him get her off the bike because it vibrated so bad. Now I sleep good at nights knowing that I am no longer affiliated with BDM and knuckleheads like you keep defending a sinking ship. How long can you tread water?
    Ask Kitty who bikerspaceman is.

  47. 47 A$$HOLE Dec 17th, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Bikerspace man, you are a joke! It is easy enough to narrow it down to who you are. Talk all the shit you want, big tough internet guy! Maybe someday I will have the pleasure of running into you somewhere, so I can reintroduce myself. Every model of every type of vehicle has had problems from inception on. I just not get satisfaction from bashing a company that treated me well, and that is a part of the industry I love. I wish BDM no ill will, even the punk ass douche bags like you who used to work there. I hope your uneployment checks are plentiful, and your knees don;t get too sore earning a little on the side.

  48. 48 1550tc Dec 17th, 2009 at 2:24 pm


    three professional testriders were hurt while riding the bike due to high speed instability,

    thanks for the insight

    and you guys think people are going to spend 39k on one of their baggers???? no wonder the usa and its economy are so f–ked up


    I gotta say thet their engineering department was a joke,

    NO KIDDING they were basically 10-12 2001 CCI Bike in a Box, bikes with some slick marketing in a crazzzzzy market

    their engineering department was a joke, why did they even have one evrything on those bikes was ordered froms suppliers…………..i can see them copying lots of parts and getting them made directly off shore

    IMO, the only good part on those early big dogs were the spyke starters…….

    bikerspaceman where is that one early dealer in Vegas, what was his name, the guy in Henderson?

  49. 49 bikerspaceman Dec 17th, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    Are you referring to Staz’s in Henderson or the dealer in Las Vegas?

  50. 50 bikerspaceman Dec 17th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    Hey A$$hole, I live in Augusta and would be more than happy to be “reintroduced” to you. I got my Rolex from Sheldon, did you get yours? The only people that BDM treats well are the cum guzzlers like yourself. If you are the guy I think you are, we know each other quite well…I even worked with you for a while! Matter of fact, just add to my user name and contact me directly if you got the balls.

  51. 51 Gidget Dec 17th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    I don’t think Bikerspaceman is bashing BDM.. He just cares whether or not these bikes are safe for the consumer to buy. Maybe you are one of those people who don’t care if they are safe or not.. I guess you can sleep well at night if someone crashes on a bike that is not safe. By the way, Do you own a Big Dog? Is it a Pitbull? I hope you can handle that bike if you hit a bump in the road and it goes into a tank slapper. We’ll see how you feel about BDM when that happens to you or someone you know.. I think you are a real big DOUCHE BAG!!!!! Go crawl back in your HOLE, ASSHOLE!!!!!!!

  52. 52 Gidget Dec 17th, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    There was a time when BDM had a good quality motorcycle but they got greedy and quality was put on the back burner and quantity took it’s place. I guess that’s what happens when you get too big too fast.

  53. 53 A$$HOLE Dec 17th, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I do not think you have a clue who I am. I was simply posting an opinion on a blog, and all was good until you jumped in here and started talking shit! If we worked together then you would know me better than the shit you have talked. GFY! Next time I am in Augusta I will look you up, and see if I am who you think I am. We can either have a beer, and agree to disagree, or we can beat the shit out of aechother and move on. Either way, I am cool. I still hope they pull out of their tailspin, as any company failing in an industry that is suffering, is bad for all of us.

  54. 54 bikerspaceman Dec 17th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I didn’t call anybody a douche bag, you did. I didn’t call anybody a “big tough internet guy”, I didn’t even ask for a reintroduction or tell anybody to crawl back in their hole. This was you! YOU TALKING SHIT!

    Be sure to e-mail me next time you’re coming to Augusta. I’ll be looking forward to whatever happens next. Regardeless of who I think you are or not.

  55. 55 A$$HOLE Dec 17th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    I did say crawl back into your hole, as you came from nowhere in the conversation., which you are entirely entitled to do, but to jump right in and start saying any one who did good there sucked dick to get a raise is uncalled for. Bark at me and I will bark back, I did call you a bitter ex-employee as it seemed transparent. I called you a douchebag after you made your lip service comment. I was treated well, and promoted well, and paid well, because I worked hard, got results, and never compromised on my principles. I will be sure to do that.

  56. 56 1550tc Dec 18th, 2009 at 1:13 am


    Are you referring to Staz’s in Henderson or the dealer in Las Vegas?

    yeah where is that dude……witness protetion plan?? wasnt he going to have his own staz bdm bike nack in 02??

    I got my Rolex from Sheldon……….well 1 thing from bdm had some quailty in it

    bikerspaceman……….how was ole Nick in all the bdm down fall?? did that guy even ride or have his license?? where did sheldon find him??

    The only people that BDM treats well are the cum guzzlers like yourself. GOOD one and a great title for Tiger’s new movie : Tiger’s Wood and his 7 cum guzzlers “

  57. 57 bikerspaceman Dec 18th, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Last I saw Nick, He was working for a machine shop that made components for BDM. He got canned before I did. He does ride (or at least he did). He used to be a salesman for a Mercedes dealer, that’s probably where Sheldon found him.

  58. 58 1550tc Dec 18th, 2009 at 2:58 pm


    thanks and i wasnt sure if he was a factory rep or a shorrom sales guy……after i asked if he rode i recalled him wearing a hamster shirt once in strugis??

    met him a few times and after talking with him all i said was wow this dude is wayway over his head in his job

    bikerspaceman…….Julie was always nice to me and that one driver of the hauler worked his ass off, i recall rolling into sturgis one year and the dude was out there at 4-5 am and seeing him setting up the truck and display all by himself………i hope that guy is never unemployed as he is one hardest working drivers i have met

    anybody can be a hero in sales and marketing when times are good!!!

    bikerspaceman u have to love sheldon for handing out those Rollys……..nice classy gesture……you have a great watch at the expense of some guy having some piece of shit bike LOL or some guy still owing 25k on his 05 bike lol

  59. 59 bikerspaceman Dec 18th, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    The truck driver was Rick. I believe he’s gone now too. I dig the Rolex and wear it everyday. Most people were afraid to wear them because it created a target on your back (It did). At one time the company had a newsleter called the dog dish and it featured an employee spotlight in which the company would do a write up on somebody each month. Being featured in the dog dish was pretty much a nail in your employment coffin! I spoke to H.R. about this and they researched and found that over 60% of those featured were laid off after being featured…go figure. BDM started to purge ten year employees ( guess they figured you could get the job done cheaper by purging the experienced staff first). When I started there BDM employed 35 people and when they got rid of me, I was #13 on the seniority list. Now they employ 28 people. Most of those are administrative people. The guy that took over Nick’s job saw the light I guess and bailed out recently.

    I’ve spent alot of time working directly with customers to de-turd their bikes over the years, and have had good luck doing so. It’s was not a problem with the bike as much as it is a problem with the quality of the parts used. Thing didn’t have to work right, the bike had to look cool…they called it “curb appeal”, I called it looking good while you were waiting on the side of the road for a trailer to tow you home!

  60. 60 1550tc Dec 18th, 2009 at 7:18 pm


    WOW 28 sounds like the over and under betting line on the # of skanks tiger did or had on his trap line

    28-300-28 reminds me of that song by Seal, “how do we get to where we come from”

    Yeah Rick, sure gave BDM their $$$ worth as a driver, sales person, set UP and tear down guy and yes warranty repair guy at rallys ………..lots of hats to wear and do it well after 18 hrs on the road and its bad food. HE SHOULD HAVE 10 ROLEXES

    You know the old saying?? How do you start a small company give your kid a big one…….George Smith is experiencing this right now

    Thanks for what I find as insightful and objective comments on bdm……I waqtched their rise and fall and the quality issue always came up and when u have moving vechile put together with all kinds of parts your going to have problems

  61. 61 Conrad Nicklus Dec 18th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    Ok sooooo A$$hole seems to be a complete jerkoff. BikerSpaceMan, I think I have an Idea on who you are and I would have to say I agree with your postings 100% here.

    But here is what I have gathered. There is a pissing match between 2 ex BDM employees. One of which seemed to do evry well and the other seems to just complain, moan and groan about not having a job. Now onto the Rolex comments. As a watch fanatic I would say any high end watch is going to paint a target on your back. Whether be on the street or at work someone will be jealous and give you hell, if not try and rip your arm off. But you guys need to leave the gifts from Sheldon out of the arguement, it makes you look like a dickhead over the internet justa s much as it does in person wearing the timepiece. Just my 2 cents

  62. 62 bikerspaceman Dec 18th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    The 10 year Rolex I’m very proud of, as well as the difference I was able to make at BDM. I ran the drive train department for 4 years, Was Director of tech support for three years, lectured at the annual tech summit on troubleshooting, and electrical system diagnostics on early model bikes (those bikes built before the engineers took over) got fed up with management, and transfered to Testing where I was the senior test technician until I fell from grace and got canned (for a lack of judgement on my part).

    The things I experienced in tech support and saw in testing made me concerned. The first five years I was there, we made considerable improvements to the bikes. For the next 5 years, I watched the steady purging of top of the line parts to knock off parts made in Taiwan, China or whatever.

    I understand the sourcing of parts at a reasonable cost, but while quality went diown, the price of the bikes went up as well as BDM’s profit margins. the thing that really pissed me off was the fact that people were getting second mortgages on their houses to buy a motorcycle that costs more than my home. and couldn’t be counted on to make it from point A to point B without a warranty problem. Problems that were known of for years that had reasonable and cost effective solutions weren’t considered because of whatever relationships that were developed with certain vendors.

    Part of the job I did was to instrument test bikes and collect data on a data acquisition computer. If certain peopole didn’t like the test data, the data was disregarded. Most of the time, by the time we got our hands on a prototype bike, it was too late in the development process to correct problems anyway.

    I don’t really care if I come off like a dickhead on the internet or not, as I told Sheldon, I’m a spokesman for the motorcycle, not the company.

    That’s all I have to say.

  63. 63 gidget Dec 18th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    I have a question…. Which one did you see as doing well at BDM and which one is complaining about not having a job? I don’t see that or where there were any arguments about the Rolexes. Thought you could help me understand this. Thanks

  64. 64 A$$HOLE Dec 19th, 2009 at 1:37 am

    OOOHHHH< I am being called a Jerkoff by Conrad…Breaks my heart.

    I came on here wishing well of a company that I had invested years with. I wish well of all companies in this industry, as I am personally invested. I would not say it was a pissing match as much as two sides of the street coming into a conversation. I wish all of the other laid off BDM employees nothing but the best, as they are just part of my community.

    In my original posts, I never bragged on the Engineering dept at BDM< I merely stated it was extensive. It included several depts including the dept bikerspaceman worked in. In my time at BDM I heard on a regular basis that Engineering were all idiots, and did not know what they were doing. I heard the same thing from Engineering about the test center, or about service, or about purchasing, and by purchasing about accounting and on and on.

    I really only knew the positions I had been in, and worked directly with, so I did not pertake in these conversations, as who was I to second guess others in their jobs, that I am sure they knew more about it than I. From my work history, I know from personal experience that this is the norm in almost any industry.

    I just get upset when someone implies I was a kiss ass or a suck up. I was treated well because of my work ethic and education level. It was not my job to make sure the bikes were safe, or reliable, or curb appealing. So yes I slept very well at night.

    As for the Rolex, no I did not get mine, as I was there just under a decade. I do not mind tho, as I wear my $1,800 Citizen Diver's edition. I dare someone to try to take it off of my wrist. The first Rolley handed out was way nicer than the handful of subsequent ones handed out at BDM anyways.

    The sourcing of the parts was a result of the scramble to build the number of bikes that were ordered or sold. It was actually a chore to keep that many parts flowing. I agree that the quality came down, as the price went up, but that was not my call.

    As for who is moaning about not having a job, I did not hear Bikerspaceman say anything like that, and I only stated that it would add to the mass of unemployed in the local market. This does not effect me eitther as I own two of my own businesses, and I grossed a ton last year. After work I volunteer at the local VA hospital as well. Something I would have never been able to do at BDM.

  65. 65 Out There Somewhere Dec 19th, 2009 at 6:44 am

    I was going to stay out of this but I have to chime in on one thing, Rick is still there and so is Scott, both are Drivers for the company. Rick is out working shows at this very minute right up till Christmas Eve and Scott is out delivering bikes to dealers, again right up till Christmas Eve. Both trucks are still running and working just as hard as ever.

    I don’t know what will finally come of this but from the few times that I have met Sheldon I get the impression that he’s not going to let go or give up without a fight. He seems to be very passionate about the business and from talking to some of the current/former employees he takes it real hard when he has to lay people off. I can understand his position, he may have the money to keep the company going for many years but Warren Buffet didn’t become the richest man in the world by investing his personal money, he gets investors to invest in his vision, which he then invests in the free market. Sometimes he looses but other times he comes out on top. Sheldon can be seen as being selfish but he built the brand out of his pocket and now needs investors to continue to the next level and doesn’t want to jeopardize his personal wealth and the future of his children if the market stays down to long.

    Saxon was sold in a down economy, Indian was brought back from the dead, again in a down economy, AIH was bankrupt and completely idled yet it was sold although it hasn’t yet came back to the market, Harley was sold a few times so I think that there will be someone with the capitol that’s not short sighted and looking for a quick buck that will step up to the plate and see Sheldon and BDM through this.

    Right now the only two things in the market that are consistently gaining are health care and oil. If the government gets it’s way both of those will crash very soon. Yet there are investors putting money out every single day on things other than the aforementioned medical and oil. Turn off CNN/FOX/MSNBC/………. and walk outside, the world is still turning, people are still going places and last night when I was at the mall people were still walking out with their arms full of bags. The big news people don’t want to talk about that because it won’t get them the ratings, which BTW is what they use to charge for commercial space from the very same companies they are hurting with their consistent bad news stories.

    Although I came along shortly after the great stock market/banking crash of 1929 and the dark time of the 30’s I think the US survived and prospered for the next 70 years. I hope this doesn’t drag out for 11 years like it did back then but sooner or later the economy will turn around. The money doesn’t just disappear into thin air; if a billion dollars is taken out of Wall Street it goes somewhere. Of course the funny money Obama and his cronies are printing doesn’t really exist and soon it will disappear. The sooner that happens and crashes our economy like should have happened two years ago the sooner it can re-set and we can go back to a normal way of life.

    Good luck Sheldon and everyone still at BDM, something good will come from all of this!

  66. 66 Conrad Nicklus Dec 19th, 2009 at 10:57 am


    …..I don’t really care if I come off like a dickhead on the internet or not, as I told Sheldon, I’m a spokesman for the motorcycle, not the company……

    I don’t think you have come across as a dickhead at all, I think you have come forward and said the truth while arguing with A$$hole. But I don’t agree with how you brought the Rolex into the mix because now A$$hole has the idea that you are rubbing it in his face.

    I understand where you are coming from and I understand this whole situation has blown itself way out BUT that does not mean you or Bikespaceman need to add more fuel to the fire here.

    Now back to the matter at hand here, BDM won’t make it through this at all. After doing some research of “owners” in the BDM company I have realized that the amount owned is greater than the amount had by the “owners” of the company. So unless BDM ( SC ) gets the money from an outside source very quickly my bet is on they dont make it to next summer. I wish them well, I really do, but at the same time I just know that without a new investor or “owner” they won’t beable to fight off their debt and the economy any longer.

    That again is my 2 cents.

    Conrad Nicklus

  67. 67 1550tc Dec 19th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Ok the Nicklus boys are so you this blog is good for another 20 posts

    Out There Somewhere

    Rick is still there and so is Scott, both are Drivers for the company. Rick is out working shows at this very minute right up till Christmas .

    Thanks for the info, glad to hear it!

    Not a shot at you all u bdm Rolex owners but if you guys then Rick should have a full arm of them : )

    Bikerspaceman I love my used, 1956 year old GMT and 1973 Daytona………none of those 80’s yuppie rollys for me……….if yours has bdm etched on the back order a new back LOL…why associate such a quality product with a POS product!! Any bdm markings on that rolley is like a cancer, that rolley will probably crap out on you…..its all karma

    Bikerspaceman whats funny about the BDM Rolleys, is here is bdm selling 5k bikes if that a year and handing out rollys, does HD do that to any employee??

  68. 68 bikerspaceman Dec 19th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    The Rolex came from Sheldon not BDM, this practice was discontinued when there started to be too many people hitting the 10 year mark. I started there in 1997 when there wasn’t many people working there (35 as I stated earlier) In the spring of 98, the company really started to take off and instead of people saying “What the hell is a Big Dog?” it bacame “oh I’ve heard of those, cool bikes!” Needless to say, the hiring frenzy started! In 2007,

    Sheldon only had to give out a few watches and in ’08 he started to give them out 5 and 6 at a time. It didn’t take long before the policy changed and 10 year employees got a plaque and $500. It does have the BDM logo on the backside along with my name and 10 years engraved on it. I had a buddy that I worked with that had a “lemon” Rolex that wouldn’t keep time or run from day to day. I told him at least it was right twice a day!

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of the work I did at BDM and proud of the watch, I don’t know what HD did, but when I worked for the local dealership, we got one paid holiday and $50 for each year we worked there. After 5 years, I could get paid for 5 whole holidays at the dealership owners discretion. At least for a while, the work we did at BDM was appreciated.

  69. 69 A$$HOLE Dec 19th, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    BSM< I would not say the hiring frenzy started in 2007, that is when the firing frenzy started. The hiring frenzy really started in 2004, then the terrible model switch over year that bogged production to a halt, then the lay offs started about a year or so later.

  70. 70 bikerspaceman Dec 19th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Thanks A$$HOLE,
    It is supposed to say “In 2007 Sheldon only had to give out a few watches”. the “in 2007” is supposed to be in the following paragraph. Note the exclamation mark after the word started.

    I’m a mechanic not a typist, thanks for pointing out my error. I do remember the production problems. the year the engineers took over and they hired that guy from Mercruiser to be the engine development engineer. He was responsible for the restrictor plates in the intake of the 117 engine that made it such a turd.

  71. 71 A$$HOLE Dec 19th, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Yeah I actually brought up the point to the motor room that it was simple common sense and mathmatics, when they were scratching their heads about why the intakes would not seat. I was like duh! When you add the restrictor plates to the intake, regardless the thickness of the restrictor plate, you are adding length/width to the manifold, and I am just a nobody. I always thought it was dangerous to put all of your eggs in one basket, depending on one vendor to supply your entire drivetrain. We actually did better getting the primaries and hardware from Taiwan. Once Baker got the whole system, we eventually had to take over and over see the entire sourcing, casting, and plating of the cosmetic parts as our cosmetic standars were so high. It was rediculous. And on the prevoius posts, no hard feelings. I just take exception to the implication that I was promoted on anything other than my merits. I figured you had me confused with Jeremy S. or Jason H. I actually went to bat for the test center on many occasions. I would have people waiting on results of the testing of components, when the testing center was waiting on prints, and speifics of the item, and Engineering had not sent it on. Or I would forward on the results from the test center to a vendor, and it turned out that engineering sent the wrong revision to the vendor, so of course the item was wrong. Yeah the Mercruiser Eng was a joke. When he got moved to CUstomer service, he was giving out leather jackets to every upset customer.

  72. 72 Buell 1 Dec 19th, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    Reading this blog brings back a lot of memories. I only spent five years at BDM and there was a new challenge everyday. I worked with Bikerspaceman and the Late John Beck and those two where a gold mine of motorcycle information and ability. I remember the day when during a engineering meeting a young engineer stated that “Oil does not Displace Heat from the engine and Oil coolers are a gimmick to make money on accessories”. My favorite engine room memory is when engineering decided to stop soaking the clutch plates. They said the plates would oil them selves on the 30 mile test ride. Do you remember the burning smell from the Primo Rivera clutches.

  73. 73 A$$HOLE Dec 19th, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Buell, what do you mean late John Brock?

  74. 74 bikerspaceman Dec 19th, 2009 at 6:49 pm

    Those were the days! I still miss ol’ John Beck, he was one of my closest friends! I was amazed at the stupid shit the Engineers were coming up with regarding oil and exactly what it does. I look back on it all now and chuckle….what else can ya do!

    It was a pisser when the co. went to the right side drive using Baker billet parts for test and evaluation and went with that stupid overseas knock off crap that you couldn’t get to stop leaking. They were good at using one part for R&D to get Sheldon’s ok and then providing something completely different for production bikes.

    No hard feelings here either, I didn’t think about you being Jeremy or Jason. There was a pair! the offer still stands on contacting me via e-mail. I’m a bourbon drinker myself.

  75. 75 A$$HOLE Dec 19th, 2009 at 7:54 pm

    Buell, never mind. ..Crossed eyed reading. .A couple Lortabs, a couple Somas, and a couple Coronas, I am lucky I can find the screen.

  76. 76 D.Davis Dec 19th, 2009 at 10:27 pm

    I wish the best for BDM and the friends I have that still work there. I really wish there was something that I could do to help. I doubt any that I could comfortably invest would really have an impact.

    It saddens me when I ponder the fate of BDM, I wish it to be around and become a legacy. I’d like to be old and tell stories to people about my days there, and there still being a place to point to.

    Good luck.

  77. 77 1550tc Dec 20th, 2009 at 2:41 am


    good bdm stories

    order a new back for that watch……etch on it “ i survived 10 yrs at BDM”

    Nice gesture on Sheldom part to give you guys the watches

    A gold plated coleman camp stove would have been wayway cooler better
    re sale on e-bay 

    yeah i can imagine those meetings with engineers

    no disrespect to you guys at bdm………but when i read engineers at bmd iam like what for, as you guys basically assembled bikes with decent parts from lots of leading parts guys in the business………and the yakking about engines intakes and restrictor plates?? WTF why did you guys need to f–k around with an s & s motors just install it, bolt it hook it up ………… or did u guys assemble them your selves to save $$$$$.

    in so many ways you guys at bdm were no different than the Gilroy Indian bikes, glorified CCI 10k bikes?? well at least in the first 5-6 years then came the chopper up and out crazzzzy then some cool bikes last 4-5 years then broke due in large part to the economy

    sheldon was right lots of customers were riders put 1000-200o mile a year rider and posers

    yeah those 117’s were a real joke, did they make 100 hp or tqe??? On i-90 in Sturgis with strong 95’s on our dynas we blew by those bdm 117’s bikes like they were dragging an open parachute…………….. and you should have seen those bdm choppers in boulder canyon………a 1956 Honda cub could out handle them

  78. 78 bikerspaceman Dec 20th, 2009 at 11:25 am

    We used to build the engines & tranny’s for several reasons:
    1. We used to keep a build sheet on each engine with all set up clearances such as ring gap, bearing clearances cam end play and anything else relating to the assembly of the engine. In the event of a failure it gave us a record forfailure analysis.

    2. We could build it cheaper as a kit rather than pre-assembled

    3. We looked into pre-assembled engines, and would take them apart to see how well they were put together, And found that in some instances set up clearances were excessive for a new engine, torques were incorrect… some of the suppliers assemblers used a “good enough” mentality.

    One thing I learned long ago was that good enough rarely is!

    The team of technicians I gathered to build drive trains took pride in what they did and responsibility for their work. if they didn’t, they didn’t keep workling at BDM. I gave them the freedom to find a job with lower standards than BDM.

    In the early days of Big Dog, there was a sign that had the company logo and below it stated “manufacturer of the world’s finest motorcycle”. When we moved to the current facility the sign only stated “world headquarters”. It finally became apparent to me with the whole fat tire & “curb appeal” mentality that it had become more of a “run we might, shine we must” philosophy.

    There was one model year when R&D found a source for key switches that were very cheap but there were only 3 different keys that could fit any Big Dog. If you owned a Big Dog during that year, you had a 1 in 3 chance of being able to start any bike out there.

    Yes, most owners only put about 2000 miles a year on their bikes. With the ignition module downloads we were able to determine that the average rider spends the bulk of his riding time in the 2500 rpm range. I knew of a few people who put 20-30000 miles a year on them.

    The most interesting thing I found from my days in Tech Support was that the more you rode a Big Dog, the less likely you were to have a warranty issue.

    Enough rambling from me this morning and as I used to tell my coworkers “Have a delightful Damn Big Dog Day”!

  79. 79 1550tc Dec 20th, 2009 at 1:23 pm


    I knew of a few people who put 20-30000 miles a year on them.

    Your finger got stuck on the 0 key lol

    These guys should be given a free big dog…………..or 20-30000 miles maybe u had euro kilo speedos on them lol 12-18miles………….personally id put them into the, Iron butt hall of fame asap

    My friend told one 750 mile a year BDM poser that he rode more miles going the wrong way on one of his trips LOL

    This one just has me ??

    2. We could build it cheaper as a kit rather than pre-assembled
    No wonder S&S and your guys are broke………..aside from quality view point that is like someone making a cheeseburger cheaper than mc d’s

    In all sincerity I hope if someone is going to start up a bike company they hire some of you guys BDM for yout what not to do experiences ………….or some of guy could teach at the MBA programs at Wharton or Kellogg


    “run we might, shine we must” philosophy

    Pretty sad statement ….isnt ONE of the real pleasures and enjoyment in owning any bike, riding it???? I wouldn’t piss on poser if he was on fire.

    Like I said, if you wanna start a small company give a rich kid a big one

    When bdm finally dies and there is no add money to give to magazines, maybe you guys can write an article about the rise and fall of bdm!!

  80. 80 bikerspaceman Dec 20th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    regarding #2, Myself and my guys could build an engine from the engine kit in 5 – 5.5 hours. Typically, at the time, my engine builders were paid in the $25/hr pay range. Do the math and it cost the company about $75 in labor to put an engine together and the kit was in the $2500 range. An assembled engine out of the box from the supplier was around $5K (IIRC).

    It was the attention to detail and the quality of the work that Justified the cost of a factory custom bike.

    There was something I never could get a grasp on was why would the factory send out bikes (in the later years) knowing they had problems and let the bike get warranted in the field and paying the shop the going labor rate ($70+/hr) when the bike could have been corrected in house paying a techs wages.

    I never could understand why people don’t ride their bikes much, especially when the factory had a 3 year unlimited mileage warranty!

    the “run we might shine we must” is only my interpretation of the whole “curb appeal’ approach to designing a custom bike!

    When I first started at the factory, if anybody on the asembly line found something that was not right, they had the power to stop the line to have the issue addressed At the end, nothing stopped production except lack of parts.

    Excuse the typo errors, as I said to A$$HOLE, I’m a mechanic, not a typist!

    I got reprimanded once for sending around some jokes about the company’s bikes.

    My 2 favorites were:
    What do Big Dogs and old dogs have in common…they both like to ride in the back of a truck!
    What’s the difference between a Big Dog and an old dog….the old dog can get back out of the truck!

    That got me suspended for three days without pay!

  81. 81 Mikey Mar 5th, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Out there Somewhere,

    I like your thinking!

    I think Big Dog is the best V-twin company out there next to Harley!

    Spring is here, let’s hope the economy gets some spark to it and
    things start to pick up!

    Big Dog is smart and will be a survivor!

    Sheldon from my experience is a brilliant man and loves Big Dog.

    He will not leave Big Dog ever! He may add others to strengthen the company, but I don’t believe he will ever leave his great creation!

    The last 3 years so many businesses have closed for less effort.

    I believe Big Dog will be standing strong 5 years from now!

    We shall see, but they are professional and fair.
    They deserve to be blessed for the class they have!

    God Bless Big Dog and all it’s Dealers, Customers and employees!

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