The 2011 Big Dog Bulldog lives up to its name. It is a squat, mean-looking, aggressive piece of machinery. A chopper fully capable of cruising, it will grab attention anywhere it rolls into town or up to the concert venue. When that fat-tired, custom-flamed bike rolls up with a fully chromed engine, exhaust, and flashing wheels, a statement will have been made. The 2011 Big Dog Bulldog comes in two models: the Bulldog Base and the Bulldog Sport. Wild custom paint graphics can be applied to either version. A fairing can be ordered that surrounds the headlight and provides a smooth areodynamic surface hiding the handlebars, a dressy touch. The fairing includes a barely-there windscreen, about three inches high at the most.
Even without customization, the frame design itself is starkly different. The front frame member, ahead of the engine, splits into twin bars curving back away from the front tire, before smoothly joining back into one as it circles back, pointing to the front – a striking touch indeed. Fenders are steel, which fits the image. Perfectly complementing that image would be a leather jacket. The price of entry is not for weak hearts at $37,400 for the Sport and $39,900 for the Base. It is interesting to note that the Bulldogs are bred in Kansas, by the Coleman family, of camp stove fame.
The engine is rubber-mounted, making touring more comfortable and smooth. Leak-proof saddlebags, made of fiberglass, will carry up to 15 pounds of gear. Handsome they are, following the curve of the rear fender, almost becoming one with it. In spite of the evoked image of the lone vagabond, a two-place seat can be ordered for bringing along a companion, and that companion as well as the operator can have a pair of footpegs to make the long journey a bit easier on the constitution. What a looker is the engine, and what a producer. It has a square bore and stroke, unusual in any powerplant. The shifting is fun, using the old-style heel and toe manual levers, the entire better to keep a good grip on those sensuously curved, swept-back handlebars. Sense of speed is heightened by the fact the operator is seated (on leather) a mere two feet off the road surface. Digital speedometer and tachometer are standard, but no high and mighty extras like a lap timer. This bike is a chopper, not a pretentious street racer with its rider leaning forward, almost prone. The 2011 Big Dog Bulldog's elongated wheelbase, with that far-forward fork and front tire, are ready to pounce, with much noise attendant. The riding position is bolt upright.