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 developing an admiring fan base with its generally well-made and always handsome bikes. The company introduced three new models in 2009, despite the faltering economy, including the Coyote, which replaced the Mutt. It was intended to appeal to a broader range of riders, so it had a lower sticker price than the six other models in the Big Dog 2009 lineup—but it was by no means an entry-level ProStreet cruiser.
Like the company’s other ProStreet cruisers, the Coyote has a 1917.3cc, air-cooled, V-twin, four-stroke engine made by S&S, a pushrod valve setup, and an S&S Super G carburetor. The proprietary drivetrain is mounted on the right side for improved balance and handling; the six-speed manual transmission is made by Baker. A telescopic fork—set at a 39-degree rake—provides the front suspension; a twin-sided swing arm minimizes bumps in the rear.
Hydraulic discs with four-piston Performance Machine calipers in front and back furnish the stopping power. The standard instrument display has a speedometer, an odometer, and a tachometer. An oil temperature gauge was offered as an option.
The Coyote was the lightest of Big Dog’s bikes in 2009, a mere 665 pounds dry, with a wheelbase of 77.5 inches—not the shortest but definitely not the longest in the lineup. It owes part of its 8.5-foot length to the six-inch backbone stretch. Despite its length, reviewers commented that it handled reasonably well, but at least one reviewer noted that the bike vibrated so badly, the rearview mirrors were almost useless.
Yet, a custom chopper or cruiser is all about its looks, and the Coyote’s styling is definitely eye-catching. Big Dog custom-outfitted each machine according to the customer’s desires. A rainbow of color options and graphic packages were offered, along with chrome pipes and forks, splashy billet wheels, and an array of seats, windscreens, grips, backrests, seats, and pads.
The company closed its doors early in 2011, just one of many specialty motorcycle builders that could not survive the recession. A successor company sells accessories, clothing, and parts, not just for Big Dog bikes but for other machines as well, so parts remain available.