Based in Wichita, Kansas, Big Dog Motorcycles targeted the production/custom market, manufacturing just 3500 motorcycles in 2008, the year the company introduced the Big Dog Mutt, positioning it as an ""entry-level"" cruiser. By entry-level, the company meant that it was a somewhat stripped-down version of its high-end, detail-loaded motorcycles. The cruiser got its name, Mutt, not only because it combined elements of other motorcycles made by the company but also because it’s an acronym: Motorcycle Under Twenty-five Thousand. As the economy went downhill in 2008, the custom motorcycle market went with it. The Mutt was Big Dog’s attempt to change with the times. Unfortunately, the company closed its doors in 2011.
Like all Big Dog machines, the Mutt 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. Although other models in 2008 got fuel injectors, the Mutt has the Super G carburetor that Big Dog had been using for years. Big Dog reworked the clutch for all of its motorcycles in 2008, making shifting easier and smoother.
As a mutt—in the sense of mixed breed dog—this air-cooled machine borrowed its stretched, softail style and front forks from Big Dog’s Mastiff and its 3.8-gallon tank and fenders from the Chopper. While the Mutt is a little shorter than other Big Dog bikes, it’s still eight and a half feet long, and it weighs in at 682 pounds without fuel or oil. It is the narrowest machine Big Dog makes, partly because it has the thinnest tires, which are mounted on eye-catching 80-spoke wheels.
The low, 24.3-inch seat works well with the angle of the handlebars and controls to make the rider comfortable. A telescopic fork and twin-sided swing arm are well dampened, so suspension is generally also good. The brakes, front and rear, are hydraulic disc. Original buyers ordered the custom paint and graphics of their choice from a rainbow of options.
It may not have been the priciest bike in Big Dog’s lineup, but no one is going to mistake the Mutt for a low-end, Chinese-made cruiser. Nor, with its powerful engine, is it really for the beginning rider, regardless of the manufacturer’s claim. The styling is elegant, and the handling agile. It’s rider-friendly and versatile.