New Big Dog: Kansas Motorcycle Works

September 9, 2014
Bryan Harley
By Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it’s chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to ‘Merican, he rides ‘em all.

They came. They went. Big Dog Motorcycles got into the fat-backed chopper craze at the height of its popularity, celebrating 25,000 production units on its 15th anniversary in 2009. Two years later, the business went under, decreasing sales and loans for discretionary income dried up. Thus the fad of 10-foot-long choppers with monster V-Twins, 300mm rears, and an overabundance of polished chrome rose and fell in the U.S.

But the market for these styles of motorcycles hadn’t completely dried up, shifting to other parts of the world to locales like Qatar, Indonesia, and Europe.

“When Big Dog Motorcycles closed, our distributors in Europe decided, we were starting to see a lot of growth there, in Europe, and without a supply of motorcycles it left an opportunity for a group like ourselves to come in and design a motorcycle that works on a global scale,” said Matt Moore of Kansas Motorcycle Works on YouTube.

Moore is the former Director of Sales for Big Dog who helped run BDM Performance Parts after the motorcycle division went down. BDM Performance Parts was the company formed afterwards that sold parts and accessories to Big Dog and Harley owners which Intrust Bank foreclosed on November of 2013. Now Moore is helping spearhead Kansas Motorcycle Works along with Ivan Dewit, the duo drawing on their experiences with Big Dog, Ultra Cycles and Volvo.

Kansas Motorcycle Works is a garage that keeps busy by repairing and customizing Big Dogs and comparable choppers, but also lists two production bikes on its website, the Regulator and Gunfighter. The formula is familiar, an 111 cubic-inch S&S engine with S&S Super E Carbs in an oversized frame, its 41mm telescopic fork 10-inches over stock. Both motorcycles run a Jims 6-speed transmission, Performance Machine 4-piston calipers all-the-way-around, and 250mm Avons out back. They two mirror the Big Dog Ridgeback and Mastiff, the primary differences intake and pipes. Prices for each reportedly starts at $28,950.

The Kansas Motorcycle Works website states, “The first prototypes were completed and debuted in May 2013 at the Big Bike Europe expo in Essen, Germany. The Motorcycles carry a full ‘Certificate-of-Conformity’ AKA ‘Type Approval’ that certify the motorcycles conform to road-going regulations in Europe and most other countries in the world. KMW is currently seeking honorable dealerships to join our growing network and customers seeking the American Chopper Experience.”

According to a report, the bikes aren’t certified yet for the United States but Moore is working on it. Meanwhile, it will be building the models in limited production for distribution in Europe.

Trends are cyclical, so these style of motorcycles will eventually creep back into vogue, but not anytime soon in the US market. But a sliver of a market exists in other countries, and Moore had the right connections and know-how from his Big Dog days to get his bikes to one of those markets. Including a shop and offering service on the thousands of Big Dog Motorcycles still out there strengthens his business portfolio, especially with the network of former dealers he’s already plugged into. We just saw quite a few on the road in Sturgis last month, so the style hasn’t faded for all. Kansas Motorcycle Works is banking on the fact it won’t.