The 2008 Big Dog Mastiff was one of Big Dog’s Pro Street cruisers. Like all Big Dog machines, it has a 1916cc, 45-degree, V-twin S&S motor and a Baker Drivetrain six-speed transmission, mounted on the right side to distribute the weight more evenly and improve balance. Based in Wichita, Kansas, Big Dog Motorcycles began going after Harley-Davidson’s high-end market in 1994, making customized bikes on a production line, and developed an admiring fan base with its generally well-made and always handsome bikes. The company produced just 3500 motorcycles in 2008, all of them featuring that same big V-twin engine. As the economy went downhill in 2008, the custom motorcycle market went with it, and the company closed its doors in 2011.
A long, low cruiser that clears the ground by just four inches, the Mastiff has two-inch-over forks, a six-inch backbone stretch, and a 39-degree rake. The rear suspension is a well-dampened twin-sided swing arm. The brakes, front and rear, are hydraulic disc. The Mastiff had been substantially revised in 2006, so the changes in 2008 were just tweaks. Some models got fuel injectors in 2008, replacing the Super G carburetor that Big Dog had been using for years. Mastiff buyers got their choice: carburetor or fuel injectors. Big Dog reworked the clutch for all of its motorcycles in 2008, resulting in easier and smoother shifting.
Since Big Dog took a custom order for each bike it made, the Mastiff’s options list is a long one. A buyer chose the color from a palette of seven base paints and then selected one of the 70 graphic packages. You could get Big Radius or Mean Mother exhausts. A raft of accessories were available: a variety of mounting plates, an assortment of pegs, backrest pads, tail bags, tool rolls, sissy bars, a luggage rack, tools, several different seat styles, tinted or clear windscreens in two different sizes, and a custom suspension kit were just a few of the choices. If a buyer was really practical, he or she could even add an oil temperature gauge.
The Mastiff is a handsome cruiser with a softail-style frame and lots of custom chrome, designed to offer plenty of power on the highway. At 708 pounds and with a 300mm-wide rear end, the Mastiff is indeed a big dog.