Big Dog Motorcycles 2009 Wolf Thunder Press

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Big Dog Wolf

Big Dog Motorcycles 2009 Wolf


May 18, 2009


Reinventing custom cool—and

Daytona Beach—The Wolf’s blue and white paint looking like a whitecap over the entire length of the we’re cruising in sixth at 70 mph, taching a leisurely rpm in an eerie operational calm, and the is one of surfing the Interstate on a two-wheeled There’s no better way to put it. The mirrors are and engine noise virtually it’s just onrushing and the receding thrum of the exhaust.

And then an impulsive twist on the and the Wolf lunges forward a hint of low-rev hesitation, 90 in an exhilarating moment. A huff and a and we’re blowing the doors off on the road.

And it just gets from there. Vectoring off the and up the sweep of the exit ramp, my honed by years of test radical custom machinery big motors and big tires and big radical configurations—go on full alert, and my tenses to ride out whatever handling idiosyncrasies this big is fixing to deliver. None

The Wolf leans into the gracefully—almost instinctively—and holds the stable as a tractor.

This is a game changer on a number of defying comparison with else on the market, both in and functional outfitting. That’s the case with tire where the Wolf has broken fat-rubber orthodoxy utterly, a 220 on the rear and taking a gamble of on acceptance in the contemporary custom represented here by the boulevard pageant of Main Street.

is where fat rubber has ruled for a of years, as builders have put greater slugs of meat on the and succeeded in defining custom as a function of footprint. When swelling reached its impractically extreme at 330 mm, custom component changed course and went up of sideways, making really tires for both the front and

And while that innovation got traction in the broader custom it was embraced by some prominent among them Big Dog, put a 23-inch wheel on the front of 2008 Pitbull model, and a in back. Even there, the rear rubber remained a 280 mm, and well within fat rubber

Considering Big Dog’s leading in popularizing fat tires, it does as something of a shocker that the runs on that 220/50-20—the rear tire to come out of in six years—and, again, it’s of a gamble, but only in a fashion As a functional consideration, that was made in anticipation of turning the to bagger duty, with the of suitable hard bags facilitated by a narrower rear (That’s a role the Wolf has yet to and won’t fulfill until this summer when of the bags is complete.)

Likewise, the downsizing was no gamble from a standpoint for very obvious and judging by audience response the Wolf is parked around Beach, the fashion gamble has off—or at least it hasn’t It’s hard to say to what the rubber even matters to the admirers, who—like myself—are by the overall styling package, and by the unorthodox and utterly arresting motor.

The X-Wedge edge

impossible to understate the degree to the 121-inch S-S X-Wedge defines the personality and performance of the Wolf, and for reason a brief refresher on the motor is in order. As we recall, the debuted in 2007 and represented the ambitious design undertaking in S-S 50 years of V-twin engineering. to take the classic concept of the air-cooled, pushrod-actuated V-twin into a future of increasingly emissions standards, the X-Wedge with a clean sheet and a host of significant innovations to the starting, most apparently, round cylinder barrels, 56 of cylinder separation, and parallel tubes.

The round barrels bring two advantages to the large-displacement platform: permit a consistency of cooling fin and placement that results in a of power-robbing heat distortion of the and they also permit the use of a pattern at the bases rather the conventional four. That, in provides the strength required to a bore size up to 4.375 and a corresponding displacement of a whopping 139

The 56-degree angle of the jugs the inherent vibrational properties of the 45-degree V while also the space necessary for large to operate without necessitating of the skirts for bottom clearance. It creates the space required for cooling fins as well as for the and highly efficient cross of flow from the port-injected to the exhaust manifolds—hence the “X” in the name.

The refers to the shape of the combustion Where conventional V-twins a hemispherical chamber with a on either side of the room, the uses a wedge-shaped cavity the valves parallel and actuated by rockers. The advantages of that are virtually …-straight pushrod and rock-steady rockers relieved of the and jitters of a long rocker arm

It also allows for solid since whatever adjustments are above and beyond the self-adjusting lifters are made in the rockers

Then there’s those pushrod tubes. They’re that way with the intake converging at the cam chest because the uses three cams—a intake cam and a separate cam for each train. Those three are driven by a super-quiet, idler-tensioned belt rather than the or gears typically utilized in V-twin configurations.

And what’s the belt runs inside a dry making maintenance a faster and oily proposition, when required at all. The service on the Wolf is set by Big Dog at 30,000 miles. can be performed in about an hour and it’s worth noting in the unlikely event that the is installed out of time or breaks in operation, the X-Wedge is what’s as a “free spinning” motor, the pistons and valves can’t into each other costly consequences.

The upshot of the many innovations is that not is the X-Wedge emissions compliant at through 2010, it is a simpler, efficient V-twin design uses interchangeable components and to such an extent that are actually 30 percent fewer and 44 percent fewer part than on the current S-S 117 inch motor. It also emits less mechanical clatter and 21 less vibration.

The Wichita

It’s worth noting that, in a very real the X-Wedge was made for the Wolf, and S-S Cycle was quick to acknowledge the role Big Dog played in creating the as then-President Brett Smith of S-S us in 2007, “Their desire for a type of motor really drive this project than it might have gone.

They’re the company that benefit most immediately what the X-Wedge offers forward.” And as a sort of thank you for the involvement, the 121-inch version of the is proprietary to Big Dog. That with its equal 4.25-inch and …, also serves to vibration, producing less a stroked motor of similar It also produces an astounding 130

While all of the foregoing technical of the X-Wedge are well and good an operational standpoint, the X-Wedge’s blunt, stocky and utilitarian were less than least when viewed in on an engine stand at its unveiling. It was to envision how the technologically brilliant could be put into production-model use and to compete in the looks department the familiar Milwaukee-style V-twin.

Big Dog Wolf

was a challenge for the Big Dog designers, and they by taking the duckling and producing a Some of that transformation naturally. By happy coincidence, the BDM air cleaner, in use for a number of years, like it was fashioned specifically for use, its contours complementing of the motor perfectly.

Likewise, the Balanced Drive primary and BDM cover—both long-running staples of the up pleasingly with the motor’s side where the round are most prominent.

That was easy. The components came off the shelf, but Big Dog was just getting They then designed a new with an arced single and long swept swingarm and it out with complete bodywork, and combine to showcase the motor, off of every angle and radius to effect.

It’s a study in and integration, and appears more the of a calligrapher’s brush than a cursor. Visually, the design in a seamless sweep from end to harmonizing every element the Perse front end to the swept sunken saddle and elegant struts. The Wolf looks in standing still.

So perfectly proportioned and integrated is it, in that you scarcely notice the jaw-dropping 9-foot 4-inch

Master of deception

Not only the extreme length of the Wolf not in the eye of the observer, it also doesn’t in the ergonomics of the operator. That is achieved with extensions of the backbone and the swingarm such the seat position is well-centered and the reach to the grips and pegs natural. Throw a leg over, and any of an outsize ride dissolves.

geometry translates to a surprising of operation. Around town the is a nimble maneuverer—again defying the only time you become of just how long the bike is when parking on the street; up to the curb and suddenly realizing the tire’s still sticking out traffic. A lot.

Some of … is called for, curbside, the Wolf takes up the space of a couple of lesser Forget parking on Main

Equally deceptive is that suggestion of a saddle. It’s than it appears, settling a recess in the bodywork, and it provides a adequately padded for extended time. With a 4.5-gallon 3.5 to reserve—and a fuel economy we to be in the 35–40 mile per gallon depending, gas stops on the Wolf within the comfort zone of the Just.

Kansas homegrown

Pretty much everything the Wolf is pure Big Dog, and as the model represents the successful of the company’s years-long campaign to any vestige of the dreaded “clone” that has plagued the production-custom from its inception. Every component of the Wolf is produced designed in-house and jobbed out or provided by suppliers exclusively to Big Every manufacturing process motor-building to polishing and paint to assembly takes place at the Wichita facilities.

And success is Drop-… good looks, power, tamed vibration and prowess at all speeds; that sums up the Wolf. But more you may have noticed that entire review has been of the usual qualifiers we so frequently when assessing the merits of machines; the qualifiers used to overall performance deficiencies as trade-offs for custom panache. unnecessary with the Wolf.

no devil’s deal struck between what works and wows. The Wolf does with equal effectiveness, and our chief complaint about a is the inability to park it perpendicularly to the you can reasonably conclude we’re impressed. We’ll go you one further, At a base price of a heady the Wolf is actually… gasp… a

Big Dog Wolf
Big Dog Wolf
Big Dog Wolf
Big Dog Wolf

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