Boss Hoss Cycles is an American motorcycle manufacturer, founded by Monte Warne in 1990 and based in Dyersburg, Tennessee.
The company manufactures special high-performance motorcycles and trikes equipped with V8 engines, produced by Chevrolet, ranging in size from 350 cubic inches (5.7 liters) to 502 cubic inches (8.2 liters), equipped with semi-automatic transmissions, making them by far the most powerful motorcycles in the world. By the mid-1990s, Boss Hoss was selling 300 vehicles per year. As of 2006[update], Boss Hoss has sold over 4,000 vehicles.
Boss Hoss bikes and trikes are noted not only for their enormous power and size but also for their low vibration, especially when compared to that of V-twin or single-cylinder motorcycles. The damping effect of the unusually great mass and relatively high number of engine cylinders combines with the very tall gears of the semi-automatic transmission to provide what is often described as "vibration-free acceleration". This has led some dealers and riders to affectionately describe the Boss Hoss as a "big scooter". Despite their size, power and weight, Boss Hoss motorcycles offer outstanding ride comfort and driving dynamics. For example, the build quality as well as the driving dynamics were cited as follows: "The build quality is comparable to some other major manufacturers' products, and the bike functions far better than we ever expected, and reasonably well by any criteria. The motorcycle is not only fun to ride, it's easy to ride. The automatic transmission may actually make it easier to ride for some people than other big bikes. many people think that the torque thrust of the engine would make it difficult to handle, but actually if you crack the throttle it is completely gone; straight line only." Boss Hoss motorcycles are exculsive and hand built, highly customizable and bespoke, they are of a very high build quality. After extensive review and testing a journal described it as follows: " The components would put some big manufacturers to shame. Everywhere you look you see neat pieces: billet components are plentiful; the 4130 chrome-moly frame is powder coated; brake hoses are braided stainless steel; the tank-top gauges (water temp, oil pressure, voltmeter and either a tach or clock clustered around a big speedometer) are made by Autometer with Boss Hoss logos; the two-inch-square box-section swingarm is chromed; handlebar and other wiring gets routed out of sight; adjustable Aldana shocks suspend the rear back and a beefy 50mm fork takes care of business in front. The only items recognizable as standard motorcycle parts are the chromed Harley-pattern handlebar switches, and at least the left one has been modified for this application. Many pieces have Boss Hoss logos, eliminating any idea that the motorcycle is built from off-the-shelf components."
Boss Hoss offers motorcycles and trikes equipped with either a small block or big block V8 engine. Both are equipped with a semi-automatic transmission with reverse. They also offer a number of accessories for their bikes and trikes.
Despite a car-sized 8.5-US-gallon (32 l; 7.1 imp gal) fuel tank, the bikes only get motorcycle-like distance on a single tank, due to 25 mpg‑US (9.4 L/100 km; 30 mpg‑imp) maximum fuel economy for the small block and 18 mpg‑US (13 L/100 km; 22 mpg‑imp) maximum fuel economy for the big block. The trikes have an additional 3.5 US gallons (13 l; 2.9 imp gal) of reserve.
From the creation in 1990, the Boss Hoss bikes were all "kit" bikes meaning a frame and other equipment were shipped to the consumer from Boss Hoss. The consumer was then responsible for adding their own engine and additional touches that allowed them to customize the bike. In 1996 Boss Hoss started to manufacture the bikes from their own factory and headquarters located in Dyersburg, TN. From that point no more "kit" bikes were sold. The "kit bikes" were titled as BHC-2 bikes while the factory built bikes were titled as BHC-3 bikes. The titling difference made a large difference with insurance companies due to liability concerns.
In 1996, the Chevrolet ZZ4, a 350 cu in (5,700 cc) crate motor, was the standard issue engine in the bikes. The standard block is primarily made of cast iron while the heads are aluminum. A factory option for the bike also includes a GM "hot cam" which replaces the camshaft, pushrods, rocker arms, and springs in the heads. In 2000, Boss Hoss added the "Stud Hoss" to their line-up which was a 502 cu in (8,230 cc) Chevrolet big block. The "Stud Hoss" 502 was removed from the Boss Hoss line-up in 2008.
In 1997 and 1998 models years, Boss Hoss offered a 4.0 L Chevrolet V6 engine in the bikes. They narrowed and shortened the frame for the conversion but sold very few bikes due to the popularity of the larger power engines.
The engines have always been mounted longitudinally, with the crank pointed to the back of the bike.
The first Boss Hosses offered included a one-speed manual transmission with a standard motorcycle hand clutch assisted by a Datsun B210 brake vacuum booster. The bikes used a standard ten-spline 12-inch (300 mm) disc clutch plate hooked to a Curtis spiral bevel gear box with a Chevrolet input shaft and a 1 3⁄8-inch output shaft that had an attached sprocket. The first bikes were chain driven but changed to 1.5-inch-wide (38 mm) Dayton belts in the early 1990s. The ratio of the gear box used was 1.53:1. In 1999, a one-speed semi-automatic transmission was available for the motorcycles that utilized a torque converter and a pump with a set of clutch plates and steels basically added to the previous design gearbox, which worked very well. In 2001, a two-speed semi-automatic transmission with overdrive became standard with a heel-toe shifter and a reverse gear. Boss Hoss trikes have always offered a three-speed semi-automatic transmission with a real reverse gear.
Early Boss Hoss releases were considered cumbersome and unfinished. The bikes were difficult to ride, and were largely considered an expensive novelty. Since they were fitting a high-end automotive motor onto a motorcycle frame, they found themselves stuck between using aftermarketparts intended for the Harley-Davidson and muscle car markets. They were stuck somewhere between Küryakyn and Edelbrock and this left the bikes with an unbalanced appearance as well as unbalanced hardware capabilities.
Early models were almost as notable for their jury rigged appearance as they were for their girth and conspicuous V8 engine. They often had substantial amounts of thermal tape around the manifold and upper exhaust as well as ad hoc heat shields that appeared to be reused from other applications. The distributor was cumbersomely situated directly in front of the seat and there were numerous other finish flaws. Also, the large radiator was conspicuous for its boxiness and lack of ornamentation on such an otherwise curvy and stylish machine.
In the late 1990s, a new custom 4130 chromoly frame helped address a lot of the visual balance issues and accommodated solutions to a lot of the mechanical balance issues. The heat shielding issues were solved and the large polished aluminum radiator was dressed up with a chrome fan and shroud, although some remove the shroud and prefer the more raw and muscular look. The radiator is still the Boss Hoss's weakest aesthetic feature, but there has been vast improvement. The 2006 models dress up the enormous radiator as well as or better than the much smaller radiators of other high-volume manufacturers.
Current models have all the details of high end custom bikes, like braided lines, hidden wiring, and a chrome swingarm. They also have custom appearance parts that only Boss Hoss bikes use, like chrome heat shields for V8 manifolds, as well as Boss Hoss labeled gauges.
They have also lengthened the bike over the years, going up to a 78 inches (2,000 mm) wheelbase in the late 1990s to an 82 inches (2,100 mm) wheelbase for the 502 model in the mid-2000s. This allows for a lower seat height, since the seat is more forward of the rear wheel. The lower seat height helps stabilize the bike for smaller riders.
From fairly early in their history, Boss Hoss has sold trikes with rear ends designed to look like smaller facsimiles of Chevrolet Corvettes, 57 Chevys, 32 Low-boy hot rods, or other distinctive cars. At some point, the Corvette rear end was discontinued and replaced with a narrowed 7 1/2" Ford truck rear end. As of 2005, the trikes have a new three-speed transmission that takes advantage of the extra stability and rear axle of a trike configuration.
For many years, Boss Hoss sold their bikes with a motorcycle front tire and an automotive rear tire. This is one area where the motorcycle aftermarket has come closer to the muscle car market, and Boss Hoss is now able to offer properly rounded, and still sufficiently large, motorcycle tires for the rear end. However, many still prefer a car tire. The only tire that has been certified to be used on a Boss Hoss is the Avon 230.