It's November 1997 and the much missed Kevin Ash brings us the first ride of the Boss Hoss V6
o this is the Yanks’ idea of a ladies’ bike. Almost 1000lbs of metal with a 200bhp motor lifted from a Chevrolet car. The only thing girlie about it is the pink paint job, for gawd’s sake.
The Boss Hoss, built by a Tennessee company, is vast. Psychologically it’s a bit of a problem. The first time you straddle the beast you just sit there, daring yourself to start the motor. And when you finally pluck up courage, you have to make bloody sure the throttle isn’t open, because the torque reaction from the longitudinal power unit – all those pistons bashing sideways, at once – is enough to up-end you before you’ve rolled an inch.
But once you get used to the sheer size of the beast, it really is pretty simple to ride. For a start there’s no gears to worry about. Boss Hoss’s latest innovation is a specially-designed auto gearbox.
Using it is just like selecting “drive” on an automatic car. Flick the switch on the underside of the left handlebar (this switches the box from neutral to drive), open the throttle and pull away.
The steering is slow – hardly a surprise, this – but it’s neutral and natural, and with a bit of practice, feet-up U-turns aren’t too daunting. In fact, if you’re going to put your feet down, make sure you’ve got medical cover.
The riding position is comfortable, the seat is only 26in (66cm) off the ground, and although the brake lever is a bit of a stretch, it doesn’t matter because it doesn’t do much anyway. The stoppers are lifted from a Harley, which is half the Boss Hoss’s weight, and they don’t exactly smoke rubber. There are two calipers fitted to a single rear disc. They look trick if nothing else……
And it’s quick. Off the line a big Jap sportsbike will still have the edge, but there’s a relentlessness about the way this bike hauls up to the ton that’s incredibly satisfying.
You could even go touring on one. Fuel consumption is about 29mpg and the tank (a gargantuan 27in across) holds 7.5 gallons, so the range is 220-odd miles. Just don’t wear a skirt, as that tank and the motor do spread your legs a bit, and it might look unseemly.
Oh, and there’s no storage space, so you’ll have to bungee stuff like your make-up bag to your seat.
If you find the V6 lump a bit effeminate, and you want to be seen on something seriously powerful, there are a couple of meatier bloke’s versions.
How about a 5.7 litre Chevvy V8 for £20,700? What’s that? 200bhp not enough for you? Then there’s an even more powerful ZZ4 motor from a Chevrolet Corvette. That one pumps out 355bhp and costs £23,780. That one’s quick, and it sounds awesome. It makes Ducati V-twins sound like Honda C90s. It’s just as easy to ride, although the exhaust headers get a bit hot against your ankles….
The V8’s getting an automatic gearbox for next year, too. Want one for the little lady? Course you do. Well start saving: there’s no UK importer right now, but the Belgian importer is in the process of setting up a UK dealer network.
Words Kevin Ash