Big Dog Motorcycles Company. And Now?

Last December, I published an email that Big Dog Motorcycles owner and CEO Sheldon Coleman sent me. In it. he announced that he was looking for additional capital, or equity investment, or merger or outright sale. For this purpose he  hired the firm Of William Blair & Company. So, what happened during these last 5 months?

As I reported, Big Dog Motorcycle Co. has drastically reduced its workforce, halted production several times (and is building bikes only if orders are received), tried to push its exports with some success in Canada with 4 dealers and conceived a moderately priced chopper at $20,000 still to be officially launched (and not featured in their website.)

In an interview last week with the Wichita Eagle newspaper, Sheldon Coleman stated that after discussions with possible investors “it appears the most likely outcome is the sale of a minority stake or stakes in the company”. It can be translated as no buyer in these market conditions will buy a motorcycle manufacturer, except at a big loss for the seller. Big Dog Motorcycle needs recapitalization and cannot continue production, inventory build up and marketing without a very large new funding to finance cash flow. And of course, investors will wait on the sideline until they see consumers returning to the showrooms and placing orders.

Last hope for Big Dog Motorcycles Co. if no investor is found and US buyers continue to be afraid to spend money, is a foreign expansion. The company has already some introduction in South America & the Middle East and a very discreet presence in Europe. A depreciated  US dollar against the Euro is favorable to exportation to the Old Continent. But it takes time and it is anticipated that the US dollar will continue to climb back against the Euro. Many things will have to be right at the same time for Big Dog to survive. Is it already too late?

54 Responses to “Big Dog Motorcycles Company. And Now?”

  1. 1 Vision Apr 22nd, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    It sucks to hear this but at the same time the writing has been on the wall for all of the production custom builders for quite some time. Just a pessimist’s 0.02 but me thinks 2010 may see a further thinning of the heard before any rebound. What is in the cards for BBC?

  2. 2 Dave Blevins Apr 22nd, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    I think Big Dog was such an icon for the “clone wars” of the early 90s and “big tire wars” that came after, the market would not allow them to be anything else, and so Big Dog will likely fade with the trend they made so popular.
    But you never know, they may bounce back.

  3. 3 Drew Apr 22nd, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    Bad economy = no jobs – money = no bike sales for anyone!
    Obama times kill business and take our freedom to live and ride……….

  4. 4 Brian Apr 22nd, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    I wish BD the best of luck. I hope they survive.
    But how is Big Bear Choppers surviving?
    Cyril, I don’t remember ever seeing any posts here about hard times at BBC.
    American Iron Horse is gone. BD is in bad shape.
    Do you have any info on BBC?
    The recall a couple years ago seemed to point to certain disaster, but no news in a long time.
    What’s the scoop?
    Sorry to hijack the post and point in a different direction but I’ve been curious for a long time.

  5. 5 Jeffrey Cartery Apr 22nd, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    Drew. Who was President when the recession started? If you don’t know, his name was Dumb Bush.

  6. 6 David Apr 22nd, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Drew I agree with you on all parts but Jeff Cartery is also right. But it really started 90 years ago with the progressives and Woodrow Wilson and FDR(our almost dictator)( whew that was close!!!) Then the Radicals of the sixtys grew up got smart and learned how to be “The Man” who they all fought in the 60’s and now we’re fighting them trying to get our country back. By the way are you ready for a new Value Added Tax on all that you consume?????

    SSDD; David

  7. 7 Brandon. Apr 22nd, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    All taxes are unfair. If one would be fair, it woud be the sales tax. More you spend, more you pay. Rich people pay more because they consume more. In addition, it encourages saving. Only one tax. Simple. Get rid of the IRS and of its agents and the govt. will save a lot of money. By the way, to come back to the article, I think it’s over for Big Dog. More and more dealers turn to Triumph.

  8. 8 Sammy Wright Apr 22nd, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Big Dog is the symbol of a motorcycle era forever gone. Exporting? A little bit too late to think about it. If Harley survive it will be thanks to Europe. Like with private investments, you need to diversify abroad. You don’t need to be big to be international. But Americans have a strong rendency to think that America is the world. Wrong. They want to export when they fail at home. Wrong again.

  9. 9 raaaaaa Apr 23rd, 2010 at 12:32 am

    I never understood these bikes, they where not custom because you could not customize it, there where no aftermarket parts. you would go to a rally and every big dog looked just like the other one… if you ask me I am surprised they lasted so long…..

  10. 10 Seven Apr 23rd, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Sammy Wright “But Americans have a strong tendency to think that America is the world. Wrong. They want to export when they fail at home. Wrong again.”

    So very true, also I keep seeing comments that this US custom production bike builder or that one has plans for Europe now, but where are the bikes? where are the dealers? I have yet to even see a single US made production custom bike on the roads here, ever.

    All these US bike makers suddenly want to sell the same bikes they can’t sell in the US to everyone else. But if a bike designed for Americans won’t sell in it’s target market, what makes people think there will suddenly be takers elsewhere? Look at custom bikes coming out of Europe, non are anything like the BD style fat tyre ones, our aesthetic, purchasing power and tastes are different. All that flash and bling, bling with little actual engineering or performance just doesn’t cut the cake.

    Also the price point of the pictures bikes? what are they Wolf’s Wolves? I can’t see them hitting dealers for less than 40,000 euro with all duties, taxes and Euro 3 changes necessary, for that price you could buy a new Moto Guzzi plus a Triumph plus a Ducati, all better designed, supported with dealers everywhere and built to current European tastes.

    I can tell you one thing, if you turned up outside a bar with the latest Triumph café racer you would get 10 times the attention and respect than you would any Big Dog…… and at a quarter of the price.

    Best bet for BIg Dogs future? try and make bikes people want to buy and at prices they can afford.

  11. 11 J Apr 23rd, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Consolidation sucks, but it’s really an inevitable part of business.

    BIg Dog should have failed. GM should have failed. Citibank should have failed. Banks and motor companies have failed in this country for more than 100 years- Rise and Fall truly IS the American Way.

    We ALWAYS come back. ALWAYS.

    Propping up anything artificially just gives people false hope. It’s 3-card Monte misdirection. Right now, our leaders want us to believe that, by their brilliance, they’ve managed to “catch” the economy right before it “melted down”;


    We have an economy now where the Fed is pumping money into the system at a historically high rate, and yet, by some miracle, we have no inflation- why, this is a wonderful thing, right? Look- the price of my house is finally stabilizing- why, I’ll go right out and get that home equity loan and buy another Harley- oh joy, let’s re-elect our leaders, they’re brilliant!!

    I suggest there is another answer to why we have no inflation, despite the fact we’re printing money so fast, we might as well get out the old Confederate currency again; One thing we know for certain from history is that we NEVER get monetary policy correct in this country for long;

    The Fed is simply throwing enough money in the hole right now to level what would be massive DEFLATION in this country.

    We’re not at some magic “sweet spot”, as the talking heads on CNBC want us to believe. Harley stock is going up- despite HORRIBLE fundamental news-because people buy into the fantasy that we’re about to magically “turn the corner”, despite an unemployment rate well into the teens;

    I don’t buy it.

    We are simply trying to cover up and somehow avoid massive deflation- because deflation is a HELL of a lot tougher problem to solve than inflation over time, and no one politically wants to directly address the issue.

    Give you an example. Friend of mine bought a house in Tampa in 1989- modest house, ’40’s bungalow, 2 bd/ 1 ba, paid $89K for it. At the height of the bubble, she was appraised at $430K- virtually unimproved in 15 yrs- bit higher than standard, but plenty of you out there enjoyed similar fortunes.

    Bubble popped in 2008, her valuation drops down to the $220K level- she’s panicked and despondent, of course- loaded up on plenty of debt, you all know how that story goes-

    Now, she’s in a better mood, cause Obama tells us that the economy is improving, and her appraisal is up over $280K again- oh happy days again, right?


    Historically, real estate appreciates at about the same rate as GDP. Since the beginning time until about 1990, that rate worked out to a bit above 1% per year.

    So take 1% and compound since 1989, and I’ll suggest that the REAL current value of my friends house is nowhere near $280K, or even $220K, for that matter- there is NO real demand for my friends house at $220K, other than the easy money that Mrs Lopez can score on the latest Government Loan Program 1st Time Buyer Clunker Giant Tax Rebate bullshit;

    And of course, my friends’ creditors would be totally fucked right now if her house value came in at the $120K it’s really worth….. So let’s just keep printing that money and hope that no one looks too closely for awhile……

    Our leaders understand this, and they are TERRIFIED as to the political consequences of REAL economic reform. It would mean REAL deflation from current levels of valuation, and yeah- in everything from wages to the size of welfare checks, and that’s a scary scenerio for the here and now in elected office;.

    But until REAL free market forces are allowed to function in this country, we’ll never clean out the poison that is preventing capital from resetting and going back to work to create businesses that will employ workers in this country. Capital will remain offshore, because money always flows to the highest after-tax return- period. It doesn’t matter if we can grow GDP at 4% if the value of the dollar drops 5%- business WILL go elsewhere, which is why we need a strong Dollar;

    Printing more money to attract money is a really, really stupid idea in the long run, but for now, it defers the big panic of reality, at the expense of foregoing any realistic return of an industrial America. How often do you hear the phrase “we’re risking our children’s futures”?

    Bullshit- we’re risking OUR futures.

    So don’t buy the notion that the Fed “has things in a sweet spot”; That’s Obama trying to pump us full of sunshine, and even Bernanke is telling us that yeah, we REALLY got a problem here- but no one political likes the economically best solution of just saying bye bye, GM, Citibank, et al.

    Even MORE stupid is the push to raise tax rates to “pay” for this shit….. You don’t “pay” for anything with tax money- that’s just MORE money that isn’t going into the economy, and thus won’t do a damn thing except to empower politicians.

    Bottom line- instead of ripping the Band-Aid off and letting it breath and heal, we’re gonna just medicate this fucker until the end of time and terms, because as long as we do, we’ll always be able to instill the necessary fear into the populus to keep politicians in office for 40+ years.

    It’s not about what Bush did or didn’t do, or Clinton, or Obama- they’re ALL at fault, and we’re the suckers.for buying into it, because each and every one of us feels entitled to that automatic 7% pay hike each year, while turning a blind eye to the possibility of doing so may cost us the job entirely- yes, most of us ARE that ignorant;

    Here’s what I’ve said- more than once here, and now it should be more clear why:


    Ford went thru this in the 20’s. Increases in productivity were passed onto the consumer via lower prices. Innovation in this country solves ALL problems. Price of raw steel too high? Find alternatives. Ford used to recycle the crates that their transmissions came in from suppliers into floorboards- Ford even went so far as to demand the suppliers create a certain spec crate so as to make the conversion easier for Ford.

    90 years later, we’re still whining about the cost of raw steel, rather than figuring out solutions. We HAVE models for a solution sitting right there in history- plenty of them, in fact; We don’t need 1300+ page reform laws from DC to solve our problems- NOTHING is ever really “new” in economics OR politics.

    Seriously, WTF has Harley been doing the past 10 years? Their tooling doesn’t reboot very often, and with people like Big Dog gone, they can now lean on suppliers for better pricing- universally, ALL prices of goods in relation to cost CAN come down, if everyone gets on board;

    Quit jacking around in the freaking derivatives market and focus on building bikes- something I wish we could have heard the CEO say the other day, rather than the always-popular “market conditions remain challenging” BS statement- wow, does one need an Ivy League degree to generate that gem of a beacon, Keith?

    The most direct way to improve the relationship of prices to wages is to lower taxes, but with this current administration in charge, that ain’t gonna happen- that’s why we see Obama on TV EVERY freaking day, because he has to peddle this bullshit that throwing more tax money at shit is gonna fix every problem, but HELLO SHERLOCK- where was that money going BEFORE it was going to new taxes?

    Oh yeah- buying Harleys and Big Dogs.

    I’ve bored you all enough, and have probably insured myself of at least a wicked IRS audit with all this, lol- but I’n not so quick as to dismiss the idea of lower prices as a solution to the economy- prices in Capitalism should swing both ways, as somehow the Chinese seem to have figured out better than we have lately…….

    But it’s never too late to learn.

  12. 12 Cade Apr 23rd, 2010 at 6:33 am

    Jeffrey Cartery
    Apr 22nd, 2010 at 11:02 pm
    Drew. Who was President when the recession started? If you don’t know, his name was Dumb Bush.
    Sorry Jeffery, but Bush is long gone history and things continue to slide like a snowball rolling downhill to hell.

  13. 13 Thumbnailsketch Apr 23rd, 2010 at 7:03 am

    The economics résumé posted by ‘J’ is the best thing I’ve ever read on this Blog.

    It makes a nice change from the sycophantic preening that passes for debate in this particular V-Twin arena, cobbled together as it is from press-releases, and cutting in its tone only when the subject is already on its knees, and unlikely to supply any further press-passes, accreditations, freebies or insider info.

    Apply the same economic analysis to Greece, Spain, Portugal etc etc and work up the European Food-Chain as far as you dare to go.

    At what point, though, is someone going to point out that what we are witnessing is the end of the Western Economic Model ?

    None of our economies are EVER going to bounce back from this one, EVER.

    Cyril Huze told you first.

  14. 14 Doc Robinson Apr 23rd, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Big Bear Choppers is doing well in Australia and several European countries. Their new Bear Bones, raw alloy/flat black ‘budget’ chopper has taken off internationally. The Australian dealer, Wild Card Customs has sold quite a few, sight unseen. I rode one in LA in February and it is a totally cool bike and great value for money. You have to experience a BBC SMOOTH S&S engine, built to Kevin Alsop’s specifications, to appreciate what a great power plant they are. Add a Baker box and uber-cool styling and I can’t see BBC doing anything other than making it through the down turn. An I a fan of Big Bear bikes? Yes. Do I have a bias? No. I’ve ridden them all, including the GTX on which I spent two weeks in SoCal and Arizona. Do I own one? Not yet, but I plan to do so.

  15. 15 Ruben Apr 23rd, 2010 at 7:54 am

    I don’t belong to the motorcycle industry but know quite well some major players in the custom market segment. Clone manufacturers (extinction), custom builders (most disappeared or are inactive). parts vendors (closing) and medias (folding). Sorry to write the folllowing. Some good people with talent and skills, but most are economically uneducated. The ones still in business and that I meet with from time to time have no clue that the world has changed, that the past marketing, production and distribution models are obsolete and not reusable. They continue to keep an arrogant attitude, refusing to change and are still convinced that waiting for better times is the only and best solution. Good luck to all. During the last 5 years did you see Big Dog adapt with new models? No. Did you see big catalog distributors support their dealers with support , better margins, good marketing and advertising? No. Did you see tiny “limited edition” (?) manufacturers offer a different bike at a reasonable price? No. Just the same Chinese bobbers with no warranty. Did you see magazines changing their content, publishing real stories without fearing advertisers? No. It makes me think that none of them would have dared publishing the Big Dog article above. And Cyril just reports facts. It tells you a lot about who is going to survive in this business and who is not. The custom motorcycle industry is full of arrogant people looking at each other (a lot of old good friends gossiping on each other and BShitting about Harley) instead of looking at out of the box solutions to prepare their future. It’s sad because I love a lot custom motorcycles and many members of the industry. Young generation? Backyard builders are cool, but they can’t support an industry. I hate seeing anyone disappear, but most are responsible for their fate because out of touch with new economic realities.

  16. 16 Willy Brands Apr 23rd, 2010 at 7:59 am

    Thumbnail Sketch & Ruben. The 2 best comments.

  17. 17 Cade Apr 23rd, 2010 at 8:13 am

    Bourget Bike Works continues to roll right along.

  18. 18 Larry R. Apr 23rd, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Everyone. Thanks for very enlightening comments. Great work Cyril. Thanks. It is all food for thought.

  19. 19 jatinder pal Apr 23rd, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Another icon is falling,culprit is the overdose of custom bikes and builders. In my view,BD is nice company with pretty good products and fulfill the needs of person who wants more than a Harley but could not afford the 50 grand custom bike.
    If they had looked for overseas market 10 years back,they would have been in different scene right now.

  20. 20 Kevin Alexander Apr 23rd, 2010 at 9:42 am

    What anyone who wants to be a manufacture of anything today has to understand is that it is a world economy. If you want to have stability you need to widen your base. When Big Dog began they had a large base while HDs were in high demand and short supply. As that imbalance began to change they refused to adapt (they weren’t the only ones) so instead of doing what they could to expand the sales base they expanded marketing in the States hoping to be one of the manufactures last standing. So here we are the economy is still slow here in the States and just now they are working to expand into Europe and South America which is what they should have been doing 5 years ago. I wish them luck.

  21. 21 Sarge Apr 23rd, 2010 at 10:28 am


    Your comment, “As I reported, Big Dog Motorcycle Co. drastically reduced its workforce, halted production several times (and is building bikes only if orders are received), tried to push its exports with some success in Canada with 4 dealers and conceived a moderately priced chopper at $20,000 still to be officially launched (and not featured in their website.)”

    I don’t know where to start with all of this negativity so bluntly stated. BDM has gradually reduced their workforce over the last three years to balance the lack of sales, which are a result of the economy and the serious demise of retail financing. THAT IS EVERYONE’S ISSUE. The exports are strong with the four dealers in Canada, and they already have 12 dealers in Europe. Those European dealers are so elated to represent the strongest custom manufacture they are dropping the competing lines. Yes, they are taking their time on the $20,000 Chopper, but that is BDM’s style – get it right the first time.

    For the rest of you comments “It can be translated as no buyer in these market conditions will buy a motorcycle manufacturer, except at a big loss for the seller.” Why would you even state something like that without proof – especially on your blog? You are supposed to be the symbol of truth in this industry.

    Sheldon has strong investors, but he does not want to make the same mistake that other manufactures have done in the past by rushing to the first person with lost of money, but… no prior experience in controlling a business similar to Big Dog Motorcycles.

  22. 22 Jeff Nicklus Apr 23rd, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Personally, I wouldn’t be so quick to count Big Dog out just yet! It ain’t over till it’s over!

    Over & Out,


  23. 23 Cyril Huze Apr 23rd, 2010 at 11:04 am

    To Sarge at Big Dog Motorcycles.

    1- Your comments are published.

    2- “As I reported, Big Dog Motorcycle Co. drastically reduced its workforce, halted production several times (and is building bikes only if orders are received), tried to push its exports with some success in Canada with 4 dealers and conceived a moderately priced chopper at $20,000 still to be officially launched (and not featured in their website.)”. Tell me what is not the truth in this statement?

    3- “It can be translated as no buyer in these market conditions will buy a motorcycle manufacturer, except at a big loss for the seller.” Why would you even state something like that without proof – especially on your blog?” Sorry, but Sheldon Coleman stated publicly in my Blog that one of his options was to sell the company (others were to accept investments and/or equity partners). When you sell a company, you are usually concerned by the price offered. If Sheldon declares publicly that selling the company is probably no more an option, it means there is probably no acceptable offer to buy 100% of the company, or at least not at an acceptable price for him and lenders (?). If there was such an offer, please mention it. The other options remain and I mention all of them as being still on the table. Tell me what is not the truth?

    4- Why the “Low Priced Chopper” was announced to the world (dealers and retail clients via my Blog) and it’s not still featured in the Big Dog website? (It was tested in March after launch was being announced by your company for April/May via official press release ). Just a test of acceptability? (Not enough dealer orders? If you read my Blog, many readers showed interest in such a model at 20K.) Please, inform them. I just mentioned the fact that this model doesn’t appear in your site. It’s a fact. Tell me what is not the truth?

    5- “Europeans dealers dropping other brands for Big Dog?” Some dealers, from time to time, abandon a brand and take another one. But are you certain that they dropped other brands FOR Big Dog? It is your statement.

    So, I don’t see what is not truthful in my article. They are factual information. Regarding comments, they are coming from readers who are or who can be your potential customers. Personally, and contrary to what you may think, I wish the best to Big Dog Motorcycles. The headline is “And Now?”. Meaning what is now the strategy for Big Dog? I mentioned correctly exportation as an option and asked to readers what they think. The industry is better with you than without you. But at the same time I will not auto censor myself for facts that I know for being true, and in this case coming from Sheldon Coleman himself (ref: interview he made with your local newspaper). Best. Cyril

  24. 24 A Dealer's Perspective Apr 23rd, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Sarge –
    With all due respect, BDM has never “done it right the first time.” The problem is: bringing out the wrong bikes at the wrong time, frame recalls, millions in warranty claims, laying off the wrong people, keeping the wrong management, etc., etc, etc, is what put Sheldon in this position in the first place. Had he, as you say, “done it right the first time” since the first bike he ever made, the company would have been in Europe years ago, had a more palatable line of bikes for us dealers to sell to new customers, and better quality from the get go. Being responsive and quick to make decisions is the company’s downfall. Well, that and relying on a lawyer to run sales and product development. I wish them the best. They were my bread and butter for a long time. While I don’t feast on their sales now, I would still like them to be a nice side dish.

  25. 25 Cyril Huze Apr 23rd, 2010 at 11:33 am

    After replying here in my Blog to “Sarge” at Big Dog Motorcycles, I sent a copy of my reply to him by direct email. But guess what? It bounced because he listed a fake email….

    But his comment above was sent from the Big Dog Motorcycles mail server. See below copy of the email server with fake user email.

    New comment on your post #37637 “Big Dog Motorcycles Company. And Now?”
    Author : Sarge (IP: ,
    E-mail :
    Whois :

    Why somebody would accuse me of not stating the truth and at the same time hide who he is, the name of the company he is working for (Big dog Motorcycles) and use a fake email? Hmmm.

  26. 26 Jeff Nicklus Apr 23rd, 2010 at 11:44 am


    BRAVO, BRAVO! It is time some of the “hide behind the alias named keyboard commandos” were fronted off! You are the man! You just made my day!

    Over & Out,


  27. 27 Rick Mesley Apr 23rd, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Ha, ha. It looks like Cyril wrote the inconvenient truth about Big Dog. Love it. Tell us who is Mr. Sarge (drpepperfreak) at Big Dog?

  28. 28 OutThereSomewhere Apr 23rd, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    Maybe it’s time for Cyril to call out all the keyboard Rambo’s instead of just the one from Big Dog!

    What gives Cyril, in several years of reading this blog I rarely see anything positive about any of the “production custom” manufacturers but yet you can’t wait to post something that is mostly negative based on a newspaper interview almost a week old.

    Maybe, just Maybe Sheldon has decided not to sell the company completely because he hasn’t found a buyer who shares the same views as he does (right or wrong, everyone has an opinion). He’s always been passionate about his companies and I don’t see why Big Dog would be any different. I don’t recall any scathing press about Desperado when Jeff decided to take it off the sale block??

    As for your comment raaaaaa, are you f*cking blind, have you ever been to a rally and noticed the 100,000 Harleys that all look the same, the bobbers that all look the same, give me a f*cking break, at least a Big Dog, Big Bear, Saxon, Swift and all the rest of the so called “production customs” don’t look like all the Harleys that haven’t changed in 25 years!

    As for the comment Seven about pulling up to a biker bar on a new Triumph, well your right, the American v-twin crowd at most of these would give you more looks than a Big Dog, looks of disgust. American V-Twin riders are if nothing else, loyal to American made bikes or in the case of Harley, American assembled.

    And finally so Cyril doesn’t have to call me out, my e-mail is and I’m using a WiFi hotspot in Spiceland, IN.

  29. 29 Rick Mesley Apr 23rd, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    OutThereSomewhere. I think that the one giving a negative image of Big Dog is Sarge. Not Cyril. And why the Sheldon Coleman’s statements would no more be true because they were made a few days ago? If I remember Desperado stated their sales number, difficulties, intention to sell, then to no more sell and why. The issue is that companies of interest like Big Dog should be better at communicating with their customers and dealers and anticipate the questions they may have. Sheldon Coleman wrote several times in Cyril’s blog . He should do it again and fire Sarge if he is not aware of his actions. But I agree that Cyril should reveal all keyboard rambos, the ones pretending to be somebody else, to defend or attack anonymously

  30. 30 Sarge Apr 23rd, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    If you read my comment, I mentioned that:
    “all of this negativity so bluntly stated”
    not untruthful… just negative.

    You said: “It can be translated as no buyer in these market conditions will buy a motorcycle manufacturer, except at a big loss for the seller.”

    Then I commented: “You are supposed to be the symbol of truth in this industry”

    When you post a comment like that people take your word as, God has spoken. “No buyer in these market conditions will buy a motorcycle manufacturer, except at a big loss for the seller.” People believe you, Cyril. And, that comment is not true – people are interested in BDM because we are a viable company.

    Yes, I’m one of the 50 people still working at BDM, and I want to remain anonymous… that’s my privilege. My apologies for the misunderstanding.

    Good day,

  31. 31 BD Owner Apr 23rd, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    I have owned many bikes and now own a Big Dog K9. It is an amazing bike to ride and looks spectacular. I had other bikes in my garage when I bought the Big Dog and sold them because when it came time to ride – I always chose the Big Dog. I have 12k trouble free miles.

    Athough Big dog is my choice I realize that it is not for everyone – but you will not hear me talking trash about what someone else is riding because in the end we are both riding on two wheels and enjoying the wind in our face. I hope Big Dog makes a recovery – they make great bikes.

    Live to ride – ride to Live

  32. 32 doc Apr 23rd, 2010 at 2:59 pm

    They are good people producing a good product. From a purely selfish point of view, I hope they survive because My wife and I have three BD’s and i want parts and service as usual. It is beyond my understanding why anyone would not want BDM to prosper and rehire all the past employees they can.

  33. 33 Cyril Huze Apr 23rd, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    “Sarge”, If Sheldon was ready to contemplate an ouright sale of the company last December and 5 months later states that it is probably not going to happen, there are 3 options. 1- No offer. 2- Offer but terms were not acceptable (price, conditions of payment, etc). 3- He changed his mind. If it is not option #1 or #2, but option # 3, I am convinced that Sheldon would have stated so. But he didn’t. He stated that selling (all the company) probably will not happen. And yes it is my opinion that as of today, until proof of the opposite, it is almost impossible to sell 100% of a motorcycles manufacturer business at its true market + goodwill value. At least until orders flow back from the dealer floors at a constant and growing pace. Equity investment is another story and I wish that Big Dog find the necessary cash flow to go through these uncertain times. No attack on Big Dog. Most companies in our industry face the same issue. My article was just a “snapshot” of BD taken on April 22, 2010.

  34. 34 Rick Fairless Apr 23rd, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I have been a proud Big Dog Motorcycle dealer since the day I opened my doors here at Strokers Dallas almost 15 years ago. I have been through good times & bad times in this industry that I love so much & I can tell you that dealing with the Big Dog Motorcycle company has always been an absolute pleasure. I have been a dealer for more than a few other motorcycle manufacturers & I promise you that none have come close to providing my company with the quality product & support that I have received from Big Dog. Yes, Big Dog is going through some tough times right now & so is Harley Davidson, GM, Ford, American Airlines & pretty much everybody else. I believe that Sheldon will see this thing through & Big Dog will emerge a better company for it in the long run. Yes, Big Dog has down sized & they are doing everything they can to run their company more efficiently in this stinking economy! A couple of weeks ago we sold 4 new Big Dogs on a Saturday afternoon & I think that is a small indicator that the economy is finally starting to turn around even just a little. The customers that are buying the new Big Dogs are very happy with them. I have a lot of money invested in Big Dog because I believe in them & I believe that they are here for the long run. I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion & this one is mine. Good luck Big Dog, Strokers Dallas will be your proud dealer in Dallas, Texas as long as I own the company.
    Rick Fairless
    Strokers Dallas

  35. 35 1550tc Apr 23rd, 2010 at 7:29 pm

    I always chose the Big Dog. I have 12k trouble free miles.

    2nd luckiest BDM owner i have seen on this blog not bad, out of 5000+ bikes

    12k miles or kilometers and in how many years 3-5?? k9’s have been out for while

    if its 12k in 5 years, i know guys who ride that much on their driveways to get to the interstate LOL

    not to slam you or anyone who rides 12k in 5 years OK…….. BUT 12k in 5 years is not riding to guys on wings bmws and real bagger riders . those are bar-hopper, poser mileages!

    A Dealer’s Perspective

    you should ask and hear the R&D horror stories from some of the locals and ex employees of BDM

    a lot of these custom builders were like the crew shuffling the chairs on the titanic

  36. 36 Mike Apr 23rd, 2010 at 7:56 pm


    It is very bad form to “out” someone who posts to your blog, IMO.

    It’s like posting an email that was intented to be private.

  37. 37 Cyril Huze Apr 23rd, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Mike. People can write under the username they want. It’s not the issue. We don’t reveal their names and will not reveal the one in question. As a rule for forums & blogs, if you defend or attack anyone it’s fair for all readers, including myself, that the person disclose for which company he/she is working. Then, readers are free to evaluate the credibility and or objectivity of their comments. The purpose is to avoid that for each article I write , for example about a company, members of this company rush to write compliments about themselves, or competitors rush to criticize. It was Ok for this person to post anonymously, but in this precise case he/should have disclosed the fact that he/she was working for Big Dog.

  38. 38 Heavy Metal Apr 23rd, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Never like to hear of a genuine American company with an American product going out of business or overseas to survive. Hope Big Dog management can find a solution here in the U.S.

  39. 39 Al Bundy Apr 23rd, 2010 at 11:43 pm

    Store-bought choppers . . .

    Good riddance!

  40. 40 doc Apr 24th, 2010 at 8:55 am

    BDM reports bring huge participation. What does that imply?

  41. 41 BDM Owner Apr 24th, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I noticed the same thing doc. Seems like a love and hate relationship. Very odd. The hate is jealousy i figure, the love I don’t know… respect?

  42. 42 Conrad Nicklus Apr 24th, 2010 at 12:35 pm


    ……”Yes, they are taking their time on the $20,000 Chopper, but that is BDM’s style – get it right the first time.”…….

    HAHA, BULLSHIT!!!!! Sorry, but I have got to state the obvious here. If BDM’s style is to “get it right the first time” then what is up with all the recalls from the past, like what, 10 years? Broken frames?? HOLY HELL, that is a BIG recall. Warranty rates that were almost as bad as HD and AIH…. hmmmm

    ……”Sheldon has strong investors, but he does not want to make the same mistake that other manufactures have done in the past by rushing to the first person with lost of money, but… no prior experience in controlling a business similar to Big Dog Motorcycles.”…….

    And again, HAHA, BULLSHIT!!!! I have heard from VERY RELIABLE sources that this is a lie. Please name the other manufacturers you speak of in this situation, I really want to hear this.

    ……”Yes, I’m one of the 50 people still working at BDM, and I want to remain anonymous… that’s my privilege. My apologies for the misunderstanding.”…..

    And yet again, HAHA, BULLSHIT!!! 50 employees my ass, you can not include bank employees, lawyers, debt collectors, and wives as employees here. Sorry buddy.

    If you are going to hide behind a false name, I have a good idea as to who you are, at least be smart about it and march your happy ass down the street to your local WiFi spot to where your IP can not be traced back. ( Starbucks, Jamba Juice, etc.)

    Conrad Nicklus

  43. 43 1550tc Apr 26th, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    march your happy ass down the street to your local WiFi spot to where your IP can not be traced back. ( Starbucks, Jamba Juice, etc.)

    Conrad Nicklus a tech savVeeehhhh biker lol

    BTW when are the BDM rolexs going to show up on EBay

  44. 44 snoopcares69 Apr 26th, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    if youre not the lead dog ……………the scenery never changes…so it is written so it is done…..big companys have big problems…………….big meltdowns…………no solutions….except it will sell when it is so cheap somebody will buy it………….like brown bananas…….hd will sell this year… buffett or somebody else that knows how to run it………………… will sell cheap………….top ten worst boards in the world…………..not talented enough to pull out of crash landing…….bbc—-done…….so it is written….so it is done………………..electric bikes—-the newest fad…………gl m/c business….

  45. 45 Jeff & Robbie Apr 26th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Hope they make it in these tuf times.

  46. 46 Geno Apr 26th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    its over wake up and smell your khaki pants

  47. 47 NortheastBeast Apr 27th, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Sheldon is doing what he does best, running a company into the ground. He had great success in the late 90’s thru 2005, but so did everyone. When the going got tough, he showed his inability to actually run a successful company. I don’t know why anyone would be shocked, look at his other failed business ventures out there. There were several before Big Dog.

  48. 48 The Producer Apr 27th, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Running a business isn’t easy. As for failures almost anyone who has a successful biz has had a few failures along the way.

    I hope all goes well for everyone in the industry regardless of what they make. As for old school ways verses new ways of marketing and selling and distribution every company out there on a world wide scale is dealing with the very same challenges.

    The Internet has become the leveling field for everyone where information is past among first users at the speed of your keypad. Companies can no longer afford to hold up behind their carpeted walls and play dumb becuase everyone sees through their windows now.

    In order for any compay to do well they will have to adapt to the New Economy which means we will no longer be doing business as we did in the past.

    As for the US economy as I said in a past post we are the last bastion for dollars since most of the other countries out their are in a worse mess than we are. Things will not get better things will just change and we will have to adapt.

    No one in this forum has any power to change the way our government works its beyond any one person or one party. The problems we have today were cuased by decades worth of bad legislation as in Glass Stinkle being over turned under Clinton’s watch by a GOP memembr of the house. Why? Becuase they all get paid off by the wall street crowds and we all get hosed by the same crowd.

    So as a business owner you can only do so much and that is to adapt to what is and what will be not cling to what was and what used to work. I have an online radio show we do every week, we reach thousands of listeners with each of our shows. The terestrial guys don’t get it and the sponsors don’t get it but those who listen and those like Cyril and others know the internet and New Economy is what is today and will be here tommorrow. Print media will be cleaned out since they have to wait 30 to 90 days for an article to be printed whereas the New Medi waits for no one.

    We are in the midst of change and no one including me likes change yet in order to survive we all have to make allowances to how we do business and plan for our retirement. Ye right we will be working till we die many of us. But in the meantime do your best and expect the same from others and you will navigate the rough uncharted waters ahead.

    Oh and by the way all the money the feds poured into the Banks which were going broke was to create usable loans and credit to companies like Big Dog and others. But instead they have been playing the currency exchange instead and hording it for themselves shame on those Banking B**sturds.

    Best of business for everyone in the Bike biz and beyond becuase biz is how we create new opportunities for all of us.

    The producer

  49. 49 Conrad Nicklus Apr 27th, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    ……march your happy ass down the street to your local WiFi spot to where your IP can not be traced back. ( Starbucks, Jamba Juice, etc.)

    Conrad Nicklus a tech savVeeehhhh biker lol

    BTW when are the BDM rolexs going to show up on EBay…..

    It is just common sense that if you use the internet at a company that the IP will be traced back!! I don’t understand why some people are so stupid and do not see that no one would know who it is if they were to wait until they went home for the day or went on a break at a WiFi spot.

    ANDDD The second those BDM Rolex Submariners go on EBay for sale, I am bidding on them as I bet I will get an awesome deal on each then turn and sell them.. Get some ROI and make money unlike what they are use to!


  50. 50 doc Apr 28th, 2010 at 8:25 am

    Conrad, please post a link to the watches. I don’t see them.

  51. 51 1550tc Apr 28th, 2010 at 7:23 pm


    Want to read something ironic………its from an old BDM slogan from their adds.

    Like the saying goes, “I hate to see you go, but I just love to watch you leave.” This bike is fine from all angles.

  52. 52 Conrad Nicklus Apr 29th, 2010 at 10:48 pm


    I dont see any on there but when they become available I am damn sure going to bid!!


    HAHAHAHAHA.. I cant stop laughing!

  53. 53 Joel Stephens Oct 15th, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Rick Fairless said it all as well as it can be said. Period.

    Bottom line here is that regardless of how much Cyril wants to be a know-it-all, or how much Conrad likes to talk, or how opinions about how BDM’s are “Store bought choppers” and all that other crap that I’ve just wasted 10 minutes of my day reading… the end of this thread ends with me and THOUSANDS of other people rooting for BigDog to make it through tough times and come out on the other end with the same quality products they’ve made for years.

    I for one, am rooting for an American company to thrive. I for one, WILL buy another BigDog (currently own my second one).

    God Speed BigDog Motorcyles. And God Speed Rick Fairless!

  54. 54 machete Mar 30th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Amazing how ignorant many of the posts are here. What a bunch of economists! I didnt know there so many genious economists in this country…wonder why the economy isnt bullish?

    Here are the facts, vs ignorant opinions. With regard to the aesthetic appeal of the BDM, to each his own. If youre tired of seeing bikes that look all look alike…go no farther than Harley. Those bikes are so retirement. As for price points, ever check on a Harley MSRP lately?

    All manufacturers look to international markets, not just as an exit strategy, nor emergency strategy, it is based in sound economic and distribution principles. BDM is no different from any other US company.

    Go ahead and buy your rice burners and foreign iron….but then dont come crying about losing your job, or higher taxes, and the poor economy.

    BDM owner has balls. Plain and simple. While many of you work for an hourly rate, this guy put his money where his mouth is. He created jobs, and created a new paradigm in custom production product.

    So, go get on your retirement chase lounge Harley, or your Jap ricer….as for me…I’ll always buy american and never criticize an entreprenuer.

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Cyril Huze