Big Dog Motorcycles Shuts Its Doors

04/05/2011 @ 5:42 pm, by Jensen Beeler17 COMMENTS

More bad news from the business sector this week, as reports are starting to come in that Big Dog Motorcycles has shut its doors after being taken over by the company’s creditors. With the banks halting the production line, this is effectively the end of one of the largest (if not the largest) custom motorcycle builders in the world. Cyril Huze broke the news on his blog on Monday that the company had closed its doors, but Big Dog President Mike Simmons denied that news on Monday.

However Big Dog dealers have since confirmed that company owner Sheldon Coleman¬†has contacted them, informing them of the bank’s take over, and that the business and production would be ceasing. Coleman is reportedly planning on starting a new company that would supply parts to current Big Dog owners.

The recessed economy was clearly tough on the motorcycle industry, with even behemoth Harley-Davidson seeing its sales and revenues take a massive dive. With Big Dog Motorcycles operating in a more premium sector of the industry, the company’s customer base fell out from underneath them, and the low-volume/high-premium sales plan proved to be unmanageable in the economic climate.

Started in 1994, estimates put the total output of the company around 25,000 motorcycles in that roughly 18 year period. If it’s true that Coleman intends on supporting that market with his new business venture, it’ll be another tough business case to sell as the total available market shown there is extremely small. A sign that the chopper market is dying? Only time will tell.¬†Thanks for the tip Dan!

Source: Cyril Huze, DealerNews, Wichita Business Journal

  • joe

    Definitely need after market support for the 40 miles a year each of those bikes will see. Its amazing this bubble took longer to burst than the housing market, they must have been doing something right.

  • rashid

    All I can say is OMG !!!! :), Send me more info asap

  • Earl Shives

    Does this bike make my butt look big?

    Later cruiser-tards.

    I just saw the next “big thing” on a magazine cover in a Kragen autoparts store today. Eight lug trucks. No joke. How do you assessorize your wardrobe for that look?

  • Steve

    Yes, that bike makes your butt look big look big.

  • I can’t say that I’m surprised. As Joe said it took surprisingly long for the whole custom/chopper bike thing to die. It’ll be remembered as a crazy fad. Hopefully Harley is next ;)

  • There’s a part of me that thinks, “Well any motorcycle is better than any car,” and that part of me wants to sympathize with motorcycle industry troubles that are clearly ongoing.


    As I type this, I’ve pretty much accepted the compartmentalization of U.S. motorcycle ‘culture’. People like me – sport bike background – really have nowt to do with the custom-cruiser set. If I was reading a story about the #1 supplier of those moronic lifted trucks (who would that be, Rancho?) going bust, I’d just think, “That’s where those shite vehicles should be; swirling in the toilet.”

    Entitled tea-party morons tooling (pun intended) around on their ear-splitting mass-produced choppers didn’t contribute anything to the sport of motorcycling. Sometimes less is more.

  • Well does A&R contribute anything to the sport of motorcycling? Because the top three most visited posts on this site are the ones about American Chopper. Chi-ching!

    It is sad to see that nonsense hitting primetime TV, while it’s hard to find proof the Larry Pegram’s Superbike Family even made it on air.

  • Bruce Monighan

    “Because the top three most visited posts on this site are the ones about American Chopper. Chi-ching!”

    Those visits are not about motorcycles or motorcycling, they are more about drama. Like watching a car wreck people become fixated on self induced destruction.

  • Shaitan


  • fazer6

    What all those tea party cruiser riding yahoos did for motorcycling was take it more mainstream, and get (or at least keep) legislation in our favor.
    The more people on two wheels the better it is for all of us.

    Ever look at who votes? It’s NOT 20-somethings on the sportbike daddy bought them–It’s 50-somethings with a harley in the garage that they only ride to the bar on weekends.

  • Chris

    Why would any motorcyclist wish for HD to fail? I”m sure that guy on cruiser has alot more in common with a guy on GSXR than someone who doesn’t ride at all.

  • irksome

    This does not bode well for the Pirate Costume industry.

    As to the American Chopper posters, it’s the same 10 guys, wanking away for over a year. I pop in once every few months to tell them to just get a room.

  • UlyssesRider

    These type of motorcycles are overpriced and are not good handling, comfortable, everyday bikes. So the people do not buy them, and why should they? There are plenty of used Oriental, and other nationality bikes that cost much less and handle better than expensive choppers. Are choppers dead? Probably for now. However, comfortable, good handling bikes will continue to sell at regular prices.

  • jmz

    “Oriental, and other nationality bikes?” What nation would “Oriental” be?

  • Tom

    Ducati and BMW are doing just fine in this down market so no, not every company is biting the dust. The chopper fad lasted longer than it should have because of television promotion. Lemmings like being told what is cool and what they are supposed to buy but it could not last forever. The chopper fad will be like the stupid paint jobs on cars/vans of the 1970s…..which is the age demographic market for a lot of the buyers of these atrocities.

  • Damo

    The new custom hot sauce is going to be the rising fad of Cafe Racers. Which I think going forward is a more sensible/practical business and hobby.

    You can build a decent unique and reliable bike for around $1200 and your sport bike friends aren’t openly embarrassed to ride with you.

    I am a sport biker at heart (and always will be), but with people clamping down on spending you are going to see alot of old Honda 650’s getting the dust blown off of them and their tires planted firmly back on the road.

  • joe

    Im not sure more people on motorcycles helps motorcyclist to be represented favorably, Hollister CA comes to mind.