Many superlatives have been written about this amazing Big Dog, in fact, the Wolf won V-Twins coveted Best Bike of 2009. This time, a Wolf with brand new SuperTrapp exhaust pipes lay in wait. I want to hear the mighty S&S 121ci X-Wedge engine howl and ride to Wolf Mountain Sanctuary. Located in Lucerne valley, its home to wolves rescued from owners who mistakenly believe that cute little wolf puppies will make domestic house pets. Wolves can grow to 180 lbs and are able to jump an eight foot fence. When the call of the wild cries and they want out…they get out. When I want out? Nothing sooths this savage beast more than riding a Big Dog Wolf motorcycle.
Wolf Mountain Sanctuary lay on the back side of the San Bernardino Mountain range and is the perfect excuse to ride the Rim of the World Scenic Highway (SR18) through Big Bear. Let’s see how this nine plus foot chopper handles the mountain twisties. Always a spectacular motorcycle ride (except in winter) the views are breathtaking and roads well maintained. City Creek Road, SR330, turns into Rim of the World Highway and peaks at over 7600 feet before reaching Big Bear Lake. Built in 1915 it’s a 101 mile route traversing the rim of the San Bernardino Mountains from Cajon Pass to San Gorgionio pass. At that time lots on the lake in Big Bear were selling for $150 bucks. My stunning grey and black Wolf has a comfy 2-up seat and sissy bar allowing me to bring a Dowco Iron Rider overnight bag. With adjustable Velcro straps it fits snugly onto virtually any sissy bar and easily holds my camera, accessories water and other goodies. The Iron Rider series has six different pieces of luggage that mix and match to your luggage needs. Made from durable polyester each bag offers storage areas, exterior pockets, webbing, interior compartments, strong molded handles and rain covers are included.
The Wolf is surprisingly nimble considering its length primarily because of its unique rim/tire combination. Instead of following fat tire trends, the smaller 220/50R-20 rear coupled with a visually impressive 130/60R-23 front tire creates better physical balance. Four-piston calipers put the bite on the rotors for confident braking. The seamless aerodynamics of this bike is stunning and its esthetic is uniquely Big Dog Wolf. Traveling with a group of Triumph riders they were astounded at the Wolfs cornering capability. Yes, the foot pegs touched down occasionally but with a little reshaping it’s uncanny how well this big bike banks.
Rolling into Big Bear Lake the cooler temps and mountain air are refreshing but it’s only fleeting because Lucerne Valley lies on the desert floor down the backside of the mountain. Turning left on Division Road you’ll make an immediate right on SR 38 which again turns back into the 18 to Wolf Mountain Sanctuary. Encountering brief thunderstorms the road became streaked with loose gravel, coupled with 15 mph hairpin turns it’s best to take your time. Back down to 3200 feet, you leave behind the cool scent and shade of pine forests and enter the dry arid desert.
Once here, they stay for life and her wolves require 130 lbs of meat daily. Tonya sold her Harley to start Wolf Mountain 30 years ago and the 20 dollar donation for the experience this is well worth it.
Back tracking, ascend again to Big Bear and back on the 18 only now veer onto the 138. As you drop elevation on the 138 multiple hair pin turns cascade into rollercoaster rhythms. The Wolf handles himself honorably; I am easily able to shift the 770 lbs side to side elegantly through the slaloms while still working on the shape of those foot pegs for the perfect lean angle. The terrain flattens out somewhat and a magnificent view of Silverwood Lake comes into view.
Finally dropping down into the Mojave, terrain again becomes an arid desert and crosses the Cajon Pass and 15 Freeway. The 2 freeway juncture (Angeles Crest highway) is only six miles from the small ski town of Wrightwood. The Yodeler is biker friendly and a great place to stop for lunch. They’ve been serving patrons for decades offering a menu of Yodeler Dogs, flame broiled half pound Yodeler burgers and gourmet Yodeler pizzas.
Again, backtracking the 138 to the 15 south it’s homeward bound and a good 250 mile day. The adjustable rear suspension provides comfort and style for a long haul (it’s also pre-wired for an aftermarket air-ride suspension). The 2-up seat is a must for serious touring and perfectly contours to your lower spine providing excellent lumbar support. Arm and leg extension is extremely comfortable and with a sissy bar for luggage, the Wolf actually is a very rideable chopper for those 300 mile days. I doubt many Wolf owners will intentionally push lean angle limits as much as press tends to do but, it’s nothing that a bench grinder can’t fix.
Not to sound snooty, but when you roll in with a bike that looks like this, you stand out from the crowd. The sheer grace of form, elegance in design yet muscular demeanor of this motorcycle is awesome. The big bad Wolf owns the road and taming this beast is much easier than you may think. But, beneath Wolfs sleek lines lay a snarling X-Wedge and the ferocious growl of a predator that will always be wild.