Boss Hoss

in Boss

Boss Hoss currently offers motorcycles and trikes equipped with either a small block or big block V8 engine with a semi-automatic transmission with reverse. They also offer a number of accessories for their bikes and trikes.

Despite a car-sized 8.5-US-gallon (32 l) gas tank, the bikes only get motorcycle-like distance on a single tank, due to 25 mpg-US (0.094 L/km) maximum gas mileage for the small block and 18 mpg-US (0.13 L/km) maximum gas mileage for the big block. The trikes have an additional 3.5 US gallons (13 l) of reserve.


From the creation in 1990, the Boss Hoss bikes were all "kit" bikes meaning a frame and other equipment were shipped to the consumer from Boss Hoss. The consumer was then responsible for adding their own engine and additional touches that allowed them to customize the bike. In 1996 Boss Hoss started to manufacture the bikes from their own factory and headquarters located in Dyersburg, TN. From that point no more "kit" bikes were sold. The "kit bikes" were titled as BHC-2 bikes while the factory built bikes were titled as BHC-3 bikes. The titling difference made a large difference with insurance companies due to liability concerns.

In 1996 the Chevrolet ZZ4 350 cubic inch (5.7 liter) block was the standard issue engine in the bikes. The ZZ4 block is a crate motor designed and built by Chevrolet that creates 355 hp (265 kW) standard power to the crank at approximately 6000 rpm. The standard block is primarily made of cast iron while the heads are aluminum. A factory option for the bike also includes a GM "hot cam" which replaces the camshaft, pushrods, rocker arms, and springs in the heads for a new total power of 385 hp (287 kW). In 2000, Boss Hoss added the "Stud Hoss" to their line-up which includes a massive 502ci ([8.2 liter]) Chevrolet big block with 502 hp (374 kW) standard power. The Stud Hoss has been a very popular bike with bike owners.

In 1997 and 1998 models years Boss Hoss offered a 4.0 Chevrolet V6 engine in the bikes. They narrowed and shortened the frame for the conversion but sold very few bikes due to the popularity of the larger power engines.

The torque produced by these engines while at a stop is known for a more violent pull to the right when revved up quickly. The pull is not evident when the bike is in motion.

The engines have always been mounted longitudinally, with the crank pointed to the back of the bike. You would find the same configuration in nearly all traditional rear wheel drive V8 vehicles such as the Corvette, Pick-Ups, or Hot-Rods.

Fairly common engine-related modifications for a Boss Hoss are nitrous kits, blowers, turbos, fuel injection, and camshaft changes.


The first Boss Hosses offered included a one-speed manual transmission with a standard motorcycle hand clutch. The bikes used a standard 10 spline 12" disc ceramic clutch plate all hooked to a worm gear drive box that had an attached sprocket. The first bikes were chain driven but changed to 1.5" wide Dayton belts in the early 1990s. The ratio of the gear box used was 1:1.5. In 1999 a one-speed semi-automatic transmission was available for the motorcycles that utilized a torque converter. In 2001, a one-speed semi-automatic transmission with overdrive became standard with a heel-toe shifter and a reverse gear.

Most Boss Hoss owners believe the transmission, made by Nesco, has been the weakest link in the design of the bike. However, additional measures have been taken to increase the strength of the transmission by installing hardened planetaries and changing seals.

Boss Hoss trikes have always offered a three-speed semi-automatic transmission with a real reverse gear.


Early Boss Hoss releases were considered cumbersome and unfinished. The bikes were difficult to ride, and were largely considered an expensive novelty. Since they were fitting a high-end automotive motor onto a motorcycle frame, they found themselves stuck between using parts from the Harley Davidson aftermarket and the muscle car aftermarket. They were stuck somewhere between Kryakyn and Edelbrock and this left the bikes with an unbalanced appearance as well as unbalanced hardware capabilities.

Early models were almost as notable for their jury rigged appearance as they were for their impressive girth and conspicuous V8 engine. They often had substantial amounts of thermal tape around the manifold and upper exhaust as well as ad hoc heat shields that appeared to be reused from other applications. The distributor was cumbersomely situated directly in front of the seat and there were numerous other finish flaws. Also, the large radiator was conspicuous for its boxiness and lack of ornamentation on such an otherwise curvy and stylish machine.

In the late 1990s, a new custom 4130 chromoly frame helped address a lot of the visual balance issues and accommodated solutions to a lot of the mechanical balance issues. The heat shielding issues were solved and the large radiator was dressed up with chrome screens and frames. The radiator is still the Boss Hoss's weakest aesthetic feature, but there has been vast improvement. The 2006 models dress up the enormous radiator as well as or better than the much smaller radiators of other high-volume manufacturers.

Current models have all the details of high end custom bikes, like braided lines, hidden wiring, and a chrome swingarm. They also have custom appearance parts that only Boss Hoss bikes use, like chrome heat shields for V8 manifolds, as well as Boss Hoss labeled gauges.

They have also lengthened the bike over the years, going up to a 78 inch (198 cm) wheelbase in the late 1990s to an 82 inch (208 cm) wheelbase for the 502 model in the mid-2000s. This allows for a lower seat height, since the seat is more forward of the rear wheel. The lower seat height helps stabilize the bike for smaller riders.

At 1300 lb (590 kg) they are easily the heaviest bikes in production, fully three times the weight of nearly all sport bikes, and almost four times the weight of the 341 lb 2007 Honda CBR600RR. However, they are also about four times as powerful, and unlikely to wheelie under hard acceleration.


From fairly early in their history, Boss Hoss has sold trikes with rear ends designed to look like smaller facsimiles of Chevrolet Corvettes, 57 Chevys, 32 Low-boy hot rods, or other distinctive cars. At some point, the Corvette rear end was discontinued and replaced with a 2000 Sierra truck rear end. As of 2006, the trikes have a new three-speed transmission that takes advantage of the extra stability and rear axle of a trike configuration.


For many years, Boss Hoss sold their bikes with a motorcycle front tire and an automotive rear tire. This is one area where the motorcycle aftermarket has come closer to the muscle car market, and Boss Hoss is now able to offer properly rounded, and still sufficiently large, motorcycle tires for the rear end. The only tire that has been certified to be used on a Boss Hoss is the Avon 230.


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See also

Millyard Viper V10

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Boss Hoss motorcycles

Official site

Photos of Boss Hosses

A Boss Hoss custom built for John Deere(requires log-in)

Some of the baddest Boss Hoss Motorcycles from

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Categories: Motorcycle manufacturers of the United States | Companies based in Tennessee | Dyer County, Tennessee | Companies established in 1990Hidden categories: Articles needing additional references from July 2009 | All articles needing additional references
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This article was published on 2011/01/27