Boss Hoss is a motorcycle company, founded by Monte Warne in 1990 and based in Dyersburg, Tennessee, that distinguishes itself for making motorcycles and trikes equipped with General Motors V8 engines and semi-automatic transmissions. By the mid-90's, Boss Hoss was selling 300 vehicles per year. As of some time in 2006, Boss Hoss has sold over 4000 vehicles.
Boss Hoss bikes and trikes are noted not only for their power and size, but for their strikingly minimal vibration, especially when compared to that of V-twin or single-cylinder motorcycles. The dampening effect of the unusually great mass and relatively high number of engine cylinders combine with the very tall gears of the semi-automatic transmission to provide what is often described as "vibration free acceleration". This has led some dealers and riders to affectionately describe the Boss Hoss as a "big scooter".
Despite a car-sized 8.5 U.S. gallon (32 liter) gas tank, the bikes only get motorcycle-like distance on a single tank, due to 25 mile per gallon (9.4 L/100 km) maximum gas mileage for the small block and 18 mile per gallon (13.1 L/100 km) maximum gas mileage for the big block. The trikes have an additional 3.5 U.S. gallons (13 liters) of reserve.
Overall, Boss Hoss motorcycles are rated somewhat below average for reliability, but obviously very highly for engine performance. Astonishingly, and in spite of the intended vulgar looks, current models are also rated very highly for their aesthetics.
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 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 . In 2000, Boss Hoss added the "Stud Hoss" to their line-up which includes a massive 502ci ([8.2 liter]) Chevrolet big block with 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.
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 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 labelled 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 accelleration.