Big Dog Done


Big Dogs will no longer roam the streets.

It looks like Big Dog’s ride is over. Rumours have been swirling this week that the high-end V-twin builder was closing its doors after problems with the bank and layoffs.

The company denied reports at first, but according to the Wichita Business Journal, prominent Big Dog dealer Rick Fairless of Strokers Dallas claims company owner Sheldon Coleman told him the bank has taken over the company and production has been stopped for good.

That’s a lot of hearsay, but we do know this: The Wichita Eagle ran a story Monday with company president Mike Simmons saying 10 production workers were laid off and the company hasn’t made a motorcycle since sometime last year. He claimed at the time the company was still open, but when one of your dealers says otherwise, it doesn’t look good.

Where will this leave Big Dog motorcycle owners? Fairless told Dealernews that anyone looking for warranty work will be out of luck. But, he said parts will still be available and Coleman plans to start a company selling replacement bits to keep those Big Dogs running for a long time yet.

Fairless said the news of Big Dog’s demise didn’t surprise him, and if true, it doesn’t surprise us either. With custom bike giant Orange County Choppers supposedly in tax trouble and West Coast Choppers closing its doors last fall, it’s no shocker that Big Dog would fall on hard times.

It seems the financial recession may have a silver lining – killing the custom bike fad.


  1. WCC closed awhile ago. Even Jesse James said he was losing money on every bike he built, but they were being built to boost the corporate image. The real money was in the clothes and stuff he was flogging. He also had a burger joint off his shop I think. He won’t be hurting I’m sure. I thought I read he was concentrating on cars now.

  2. Did I see something somewhere that Jesse James’ West Coast Chopper operation is almost closed down as well? They’ve supposedly gone from 40 full time employees to two or three and he’s pulled just about everything back to his other shop in Austin Texas. Anyone else hear that?

  3. The custom bike scene will shrink back to its true size and be populated once again by hard core enthusiasts who build their own stuff and create truly unique machines. Too bad for the employees of Big Dog. I think that was a stupid name for a bike though. It appeals to the same type of people who wear TapOut tshirts with their backwards ball caps and hang truck nuts off their pickups.

  4. Push comes to shove, motorbiking is a luxury period! Customs are double jeopardy luxuries that few can afford and entertain to owning – fact.
    Any expired company affects people, there is no rejoice in this. There will be growth in motorbiking, witness the reemergence of small motorcycles, and don’t forget e-bikes, I have one, so cool. Big Dog, RIP.

  5. James, I respect your right to ride whatever you want, I suggest you do the same. What I don’t respect is people building assembly line customs that allow some to express their individuality and freedom by buying, dressing and acting like everyone else…

  6. My response to TK4,you sound like one of the bitch boys,I hope that they come and take your trailor house from you,that is if they already haven’t.

  7. I think there are a lot of haters out there.Most real bikers appreciate all motorcycles,and all your want a bees wish they could own a custom but cant afford one.Custom bikes are the coolest motorcycle out there,I own a big dog and a harley.The harley is a custom by me.Some people are just chicken shit when it comes to motorcycles anyway.You have to want to ride,but the ones that ride so they can say they have a bike are usually bitch boys.

  8. “It seems the financial recession may have a silver lining – killing the custom bike fad.” that IS good News!

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