1998 Boss Hoss: Riding the V-8 Motorcycle Motorcycle Cruiser

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1998 Boss Hoss: the V-8 Motorcycle


Most don’t know what to of a Boss Hoss motorcycle, and if do, they’re probably wrong. Intimidating. Homebuilt. Bizarre. Those are the adjectives that to come to mind when you see one of V-8 powered behemoths thunder the street.

We would have counted among those such sentiments. And at least one of our Friedman, had the experience to back up his In 1992, he rode one of the first put together by the then-new Boss Cycles, Inc.

It was crude, more cumbersome than it and plagued by functional and finish

He was impressed by the bike, but not entirely That 355-cubic-inch engine got attention, but the clutch arrangement was making just getting an exercise in adrenaline production. wide, bars of near-apehanger further complicated control. was definitely cobby, marred by like the distributor located in front of your crotch.

of the components came from the aftermarket and were overwhelmed by the weight and power of the Hoss.

when you got it pointed down a road and cranked on the throttle, all flaws suddenly seemed Even with the linkage to the throats of the carburetors disconnected, the flew. You did kind of wonder would happen if you had to stop or suddenly, though.

It was an interesting Friedman recalls, but nothing I any need to repeat. It’s the of bike you’d buy if you already had a of bikes you could ride day, something you’d once a month or less you wanted to make a splash.

Time’s the Charm

But that was time and another magazine. It was a different bike. That’s drew us into this in the first place.

Tony the boss at Boss Hoss Confederate and Victory) dealer Motorcycles (now East Choppers ) in Fort Lauderdale if we’d ever ridden the new version of the Boss Hoss. We negatively in a manner that we would indicate lack of but Montenegro persisted, and since we had a day in Florida just before Speed Week, we were agreeing to drop by and have a spin on it. As it transpired, that into a bit more than a spin, which is why you’re this.

Our first glimpse of the revealed that more had in six years than the addition of an transmission. It was still a leviathan motorcycles, stretching 78 inches the axles, and the lines still awkward, with the huge bulging up and out above that engine. But the difference in quality was immediately apparent.

There is no any sense that this is a bike, at least not on any of the bikes we saw at where, from what we every bike that in is stripped down and given a check-out before being to the buyer’s requirements.

The components would put some big to shame. Everywhere you look you see pieces: billet components are the 4130 chrome-moly frame is coated; brake hoses are stainless steel; the tank-top (water temp, oil pressure, and either a tach or clock around a big speedometer) are made by with Boss Hoss the two-inch-square box-section swingarm is handlebar and other wiring routed out of sight; adjustable shocks suspend the rear and a beefy 50mm fork care of business in front.

The items recognizable as standard parts are the chromed Harley-pattern switches, and at least the left one has modified for this application. pieces have Boss logos, eliminating any idea the motorcycle is built from components.

There is also an list of options. You can choose two wheel styles, two fender and a variety of saddles (we saw four) and Luggage, chrome and billet a windshield and other accessories are available.

Not bad for a company that just 300 machines a year.

You Your Bike Doesn’t 355 Horsepower?

Of course, the engine is an item. You can get the 350-cubic-inch Chevy block in either standard or, for an additional $2500, the 355-horsepower ZZ4 There is also a V-6 available, as one Phantom employee commented, defeats the whole idea.

starts at about 200. of the ZZ4 engine we sampled include crank, forged high-compression roller cam, alloy and manifold, Edelbrock four-barrel ceramic-coated headers and electronic Boss Hoss dresses up the bay with an alloy radiator, starter, chromed 100-amp billet engine mounts and alloy valve covers BH logos.

An electrically controlled transmission directs power a 44mm Dayco Panther belt to the spool rear hub and a 15 x rear wheel. You can choose a 3.5:1 or 3.7:1 final One of the points that worried us the bike was the automotive rear

We saw two different tires on the rear of in Phantom’s showroom, and Montenegro that the more rounded works better.

With all hardware wrapped around enormous engine, you might the Boss Hoss to be heavy. It is. we didn’t weigh it, Montenegro us that a V-8 weighs about pounds. Boss Hoss dry weight at 1100 pounds. before you add 11 gallons of fuel (9 in the in the main tank plus 2 in reserve tank under the 3 gallons of lubricants and 2.5 gallons of

All that probably adds than 100 pounds to the bike.

But we feel overwhelmed in the least we sat on it. We have ridden plenty of loaded touring bikes felt heftier at a stop. The seat height probably to the standstill manageability as does the of the wide handlebar.

Twist and Shout

To start it, on the ignition switch, confirm the transmission is in neutral (the light on the instrument panel tell you), and thumb the button. The bike comes to tilting to the right and exploding an exhaust note that very un-motorcycle like. sure your feet are planted before you blip the the torque reaction of the V-8 makes a or Moto Guzzi’s feel

If you blip the throttle hard you right foot on the peg, it just fall over. And the left foot down because when you shut the the counter-reaction is almost as strong.

a powerful reaction from revving the engine in neutral may you. What will when you direct that to the rear wheel? You’ve too far to hair out now, so after for the clutch lever that there, you remember that thing shifts with a and thumb the switch forward your left thumb. The wants to creep forward but you can hold it back with your feet, though the brake requires less

Take a breath and roll the on.

The automatic engages very and gradually, and your trepidation managing such a powerful, machine begins to disappear. It away very smoothly. At the light you are a little more with the throttle. It still bite you.

Your increases with each until you are blasting away at throttle. It leaves a stop surprisingly little violence. In a Yamaha V-Max or one of the big sportbikes weigh less than what this does), get harder.

That fat rear prevents wheelspin if traction is and the bike is too long and heavy to

Once moving though, big engine asserts itself as it up revs. If we grabbed a handful at 40 we were going 70 mph as soon as finished twisting the throttle. The transmission means there are no as it shifts gears.

Monty of Boss Hoss tells us quarter-mile times are only 10.4 seconds. (The ZX-9R, the quickest sportbike by our sister magazine, Sport ran 9.99.) But the Hoss is going 140 mph and in full song at the end of that

Buffalo Wrangling?

However, our concerns focused more on than power control. The requires a large circle to around, and the wide, tall blocks your view of the wheel, which also has a bit lock than we’d for. But the Boss Hoss was steady dawdling along at a Low-speed turns were steady, provided you didn’t run out of and when we had to stop abruptly in the of a tight walking-speed turn, the weight wasn’t overwhelming. (It did get our though, when we did this and put our down in an oily spot.)

With 130/90-16 Continental tire on the front wheel and big, square-profile Firestone radial car tire on the back, we all sorts of adventures in corners. We therefore extremely and pleasantly to discover that the Boss actually tracked pretty and smoothly around as many as we could find in south It steered with no more than needed for other big

We suspect that the makers of the shudder to think of their being used in that and combination, but at least on dry pavement, we find much to quibble You could tell that the tire’s profile wasn’t like a motorcycle tire’s, but you can lean it over far enough to things, which requires lean angle than cruisers.

The considerable contact of the tires also helps the big get stopped in a reasonable distance. you need to apply relatively pressures, the bike will pretty hard. The dual-disc brake requires strong and you also need to use the rear which sports a very disc, more than on other bikes because of the wheelbase and considerable traction at the rear.

We were also by the suspension, which offered a ride through large and bumps, helped no doubt by the wheelbase, and which also good control while The Boss Hoss has better than most more cruisers.

This bike had a low-rise handlebar, which good control and comfort. You sit your feet forward and legs spread wide the tank, which spans than two feet at its widest Assuming the position suits you some riders find tanks very uncomfortable), the comfort complaint is likely to the heat coming from the The tank acts as a significant breaker, so you don’t fight pressure constantly at higher

With a V-8 supplying the motivation, was virtually non-existent, of course. Our saddle was surprisingly comfortable, and probably permit you to make it fill-ups in comfort. When you that the Hoss gets a bit 20 mpg on the highway for something over 200 between fuel stops, tells you that the saddle is substantial.

As you might expect, is plenty of room for taller or king-size couples.


we didn’t take the Boss seriously before we rode latest rendition, we do now. The quality is comparable to some major manufacturers’ products, and the functions far better than we expected, and reasonably well by any Before we rode it, Tony told us that the automatic model is a big scooter.

That’s a accurate summary of this motorcycle. (Though it is becoming unique. Success has bred we noticed a new V-8-powered motorcycle being sold at Daytona.) The is not only fun to ride, it’s to ride. The automatic transmission may make it easier to ride for people than other big

The old one-speed, manual-clutch transmission is available.

You can get a Boss Hoss in a of configurations. You can choose from different engines in either the or a trike. You can buy it as a complete rolling kit less engine for as little as or buy a completed bike for prices from a suggested $25,200 for the V-6 to for the ZZ4 V-8.

A dealer like which sold about 30 of the last year, can add custom and set a Boss Hoss up with a of options which may increase the — and the value — a The bike carries a one-year on parts, and Phantom also warranty labor for the same

We arrived in Florida expecting to a bike that was memorable for its novelty but not one that we’d like riding. We enjoyed proven wrong and discovering wrapped around that bad V-8 is a viable motorcycle, one that you can every day. Even if you of its ability to give pedestrians the Boss Hoss is a kick-in cruiser that’s fun to ride, and not because of that huge

RIDING THE TRIKE: Three for the

By Art Friedman

I freely admit to a single-track chauvinist. Everyone that cars lean the way in turns, and that tendency gets uglier when you an extra wheel on a motorcycle. can be downright scary, and I have shied away from for similar reasons.

Maybe it was the of Daytona Speed Week, the normally unthinkable seems to commonplace. In any event, when Hoss offered, I took a on the V-8-powered trike.

The Chevy started by the engine is carried to the styling on the trike we rode, big tailfins reminiscent of a ’57 run either side of the trunk. The not only provides storage but a backrest for the passenger.

Unlike the the trike uses a real automatic transmission with (something you use on a three-wheeler) and park. The is down on the left side of the With two big tires on the back, about wheelspin become

The trike seems to accelerate a bit off the line than the automatic and there was a slight tendency to under hard power, but is nothing like the antics of a which pulls one way under and the other on the brakes.

Since I was about handling, I took it to an parking lot and tried pitching it a bit. I was pleased to learn it didn’t want to lift a (like a sidecar turning the sidecar) or push the front while cornering relatively though my antics were curtailed by the fact that Elvidge came along as a I thought it would be bad form to her off, especially since told her she could ride it and payback can be exciting.

Completed Boss Hoss start at $29,000 for the V-6 or $32,500 for the Add-on kits for existing Hoss owners start at If you are going to buy a trike, it might as be a V-8, and the Boss Hoss to have much to recommend it.

My about trikes remain. seem to have most of the of both a car (too wide to lanes, lean the wrong and a motorcycle (exposed in a crash, no protection, limited passenger though you do get a trunk and reverse. all the power of the Boss Hoss, you get to laugh out loud frequently and with a big silly grin.


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**Elvidge: **Wow. still stunned. I’d mega-V’s around and never them a chance. It seemed an absurd mix of metaphos, mating two of my favorite things.

Successfully a musclecar motor in a motorcycle was saying Mother Teresa’s could be installed in Pamela body.

When I first a close look at the the Boss bikes in Daytona, I couldn’t that the job had been done It’s enormous, sure, but the package is tidy. I just wait to get on the thing.

Once moving, all matters of mass away. You can’t help but as your hurl down the lookuing for a place that brake pads in bulk. The is obscene.

What really me though is how manageable this turned out to be. It handles like a touring bike might.

are velocity factors, of course, and a torque reaction that’ll ypu to the street if you don’t have feet planted.

There’s the concern about whiplash. and how to laugh without getting in your ears.

Lastly, and this once, I’d to bring up the completely irrelevant that I’m of the female And not some muscle-packing mama So, if you find the sheer size of the a threat, just remember if a can do it.

Really, the only intimidating about this machine is the But, then again, who justifying a motorcycle that doubles as a picnic table.


Call her boss, .

**Friedman: **They have busy in Dyersburg. When I one of the first Boss Hoss six years ago, I wanted more to do with it. It was crudely and clumsy to ride. Sure, it was in a straight line, but who wanted to put up such an awful machine to get for felony speeding?

Maybe, I it would be just the thing for a who already had several bikes and something truly weird.

After riding this model, I find myself to buy one. It’s still but most of the warts are gone. The transmission does indeed it as docile as a scooter until you your wrist hard, and more manageable in traffic a 1500 Intruder.

It’s comfortable.

I only agreed to the damn thing because I had a day to and I thought I could have fun describing how awful it was. Now it like that decision cost me 25 grand.


Got a comment for the former boss, Email Friedman at _ ArtoftheMotorcycle@hotmail.com .

**OK, I admit it. My thoughts, I saw the Boss Hoss in the flesh for the time, were less flattering. In fact, they something like: Give thing two more wheels. a car. I had no desire to ride it and passed on the opportunity to ride the

I guess the fins and the trunk me that I was right.

However, I was When I had the time to look at a Hoss at Phantom Cycles, a more thoughtful environment the mayhem of the South Daytona display, I noticed that the was put together with a surprising to detail. While the bike was clearly rooted in the penile segment of motorcycling (You bigger is always better), I to feel that maybe the wasn’t the lummox I initially it was.

Now I wanted to ride it.

the Boss Hoss was a gas. The went off the scale! Crank on the at a stop, and the Hoss leans right.

Cut the throttle, and the Hoss just as abruptly. The Hoss is balanced at all speeds but surprisingly so at low U-turns were a breeze. was quick but not as violent as the engine’s would imply.

Despite the rear tire, the Hoss mind leaning way over. Oh, and looked at me wherever I went on the Some flat-out stared.

I guess I liked being

_Evans Brasfield

Brasfield to be his own boss, Hoss, and now may be contacted via _ his .


1998 Boss V-8

Suggested base price: $17,725 kit (less engine)

cost options: ZZ4 engine, add

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Boss Hoss Other

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