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. As the economy went downhill in 2008, the custom motorcycle market went with it, and the company closed its doors in 2011. In 2009, one of its bestselling bikes was the Mastiff, which had been revised in 2006 and carried over with just a few alterations in succeeding years.
The 2009 Big Dog Mastiff was one of the company’s Pro Street cruisers. Like all Big Dog machines, it has a 1,916cc, V-twin, S&S, four-stroke engine and a Baker Drivetrain six-speed transmission, mounted on the right side to distribute the weight more evenly and improve balance. 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 single hydraulic discs with four-piston calipers. Although the company switched some of its models to fuel injection in 2008 and 2009, it continued to offer Mastiff buyers their choice: the Super G carburetor that Big Dog had been using for years or fuel injectors.
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—only the speedometer, odometer, and tachometer were standard.
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 without fuel or oil and a 300mm-wide rear tire, the Mastiff is indeed a big dog.