View Full Version : BDM has closed aka out of biz

Gas Man
04-04-2011, 03:19 PM

Another very sad day in the motorcycle industry. Last week I was informed that Big Dog Motorcycles laid off or furloughed a few more workers and that the company would probably close its doors in the next few days. This morning, Big Dog Motorcycles started to call its remaining dealers to inform them that they are done…Big Dog main lender would have already taken over the company. Practically it means that all Big Dog warranties have stopped. Big Dog Motorcycles, LLC, started production in 1994 and it is estimated that since then it has built over 25,000 motorcycles, becoming at one time the world’s largest manufacturer of custom motorcycles. The company surfed the booming years of the motorcycle industry by providing an entire line of chopper motorcycles using S&S engines, 6-speed transmissions, stretched one-piece steel tank, super fat tires, chrome components, steel fenders, and an extensive variety of custom paint colors and graphics. All models were designed and manufactured at the company’s headquarters in Wichita, Kansas.

Since 2006, like many companies in the motorcycle industry, Big Dog Motorcycles was struggling to adapt to new economic realities. President Sheldon Coleman tried different approaches, shrinking the number of employees by laying off employees or ordering furloughs, trying without success to sell out his business or to find a financial partner, launching a more reasonable priced bare-bone chopper, adapting by proposing a new bagger model, courting the Canadian and European markets, even recently trying to sell rolling chassis on eBay. It was not enough or too late. The disappearance of Big Dog Motorcycles after many of his competitors is the symbol of the end of an era that many call “The Chopper Craze”. Big Dog Motorcycles now belong to its bank. So, what’s next? Sheldon Coleman is probably going to try to achieve a new business plan that others in the same situation have tried before him. Launching a new company (for ex. Big Dog Parts) providing to actual owners of Big Dog motorcycles the parts they need to maintain their bikes on the road. For this, Coleman would have first to get from his company ‘s main lender the stock of parts that he has used as collateral for loans. Coleman owns the building across from the current headquarter, ready to be used as a base for such a new business. Manufacturing of new parts would follow, which is good news for all Big Dog riders who want to continue to enjoy their bikes. A core of Big Dog motorcycles remaining employees will probably be re-hired in the new business (to follow…)

A sad day....

04-04-2011, 04:44 PM
Not a shock. I really don't no anything about the brand (not my cup of tea). I do know they were pricey and custom bikes in a down economy, well that's tough.

04-04-2011, 04:56 PM
Not a shock. I really don't no anything about the brand (not my cup of tea). I do know they were pricey and custom bikes in a down economy, well that's tough.

A little respect please?! They're called billet barges and a couple of the guys on here have them. (ducking 9mm fire)

04-04-2011, 05:04 PM
Too bad. We don't need any more lost jobs. Shame about the company, but like Bill, I'm not shocked either. I'm sure there are a lot more manufacturers of target-specific luxury toys that are getting very close to this same end.

04-04-2011, 05:52 PM
It was interesting, in Cycle World the article discussing the end of West Coast Choppers. They mention the fad changing from long bikes (OCC) to "garage built" rat bobbers.
It is too bad, I don't want to see any bike shops close down. Big Dogs aren't my style either but after seeing Trainguy's, Chopper Dave's and crew I am impressed. The execution, fit and finsh and components are top notch. and you can use the rear for a beach ball.....:)


Gas Man
04-04-2011, 06:37 PM
You're right Chris. And as a previous owner I have a good understanding of them. Not many I know can out do me on the bdm knowledge (not to be too conceded)

Sheldon (BDM Owner) failed to adapt to lower cost bikes, that was a big factor in the failure, but not the entire answer He did try many avenues to get out of hock.
Sheldon, and a couple other great employees are going to buy back most parts from the bank auction and start a BDM Performance Parts company. It's already in the works. I will keep you all in the loop.

And I don't play beach ball Chris.

04-04-2011, 06:58 PM
A little respect please?! They're called billet barges and a couple of the guys on here have them. (ducking 9mm fire)
When I'm disrespectful you'll know it and I don't believe I was. I wish every American company nothing but success.

04-04-2011, 08:33 PM
Looks like just rumors.

Gas Man
04-04-2011, 10:14 PM
Time will tell.

I have spoke to cyril for the last couple days... helped him break this news. about 545 I spoke with Rick Fairless who also confirmed this. Hard to argue with people of that level of respect.

Gas Man
04-04-2011, 10:20 PM
The info for the article was given by BDM last week and published only today...

Confirmed just now! Posted to DealerNews as well


It's good to know your facts.

Bagger Dave
04-07-2011, 03:04 AM
Yep yep....I still love my Dog!! to each their own....cheers!

Gas Man
04-07-2011, 10:52 PM
The rumors and BS can quit... BDM admits closure with an official statement.

It's nice to cyril finally get proven. I can't believe all the nay-sayers against his post on monday.

Gas Man
04-09-2011, 09:30 AM
Confirmed again in Witchita Paper

Well at least Baker is stepping up to make their parts available. This is something that many BDM owners have wished for many many many years. Hopefully something that will bring owners back in line to the "true" Baker drivetrain line.