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The Inside Story of the Indian Arrow

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By T.A. Hodgdon

SOME FOLKS collect stamps­, some go for photography in a big way, others spend all their spare time on the golf course-but my hobby is motorcycling. If I live to be a hun­dred I will never forget the thrill I had when, at the age of 16, I took delivery of my first brand new mo­torcycle. It was a Cleveland Light­weight, and it was so beautiful that I could hardly believe it was really mine.

It had fenders and frame finished in lustrous black enamel, gasoline tank and toolbox painted in gleam­ing blue, and the wheels were painted cream color! It had a small, single cylinder engine, 2 speeds, and a long lever beside the tank, to operate the clutch. The gold letters on the tank spelled out the name “Cleveland,” and I thought they, too, were beautiful. But that was as far as I saw.

My view, at 16 years of age, was limited to what I could see in the gleaming new motorcycle. Little did I realize that you cannot judge a motorcycle from its looks alone. Lit­tle did I dream of the vast amount of engineering and testing work which must be done at the factory before a new model is placed on the market.

In the years since that day when the new Cleveland dazzled me with its three-color paint job, I have owned many, many motorcycles of all sizes, makes and types, Some have been good, others excellent, and still others not so good. Why were some better than others? The answer is in the painstaking care put into engineer­ing and testing-before the models were ever placed on the market.

WE ARE TAKEN BEHIND THE SCENES ON THE 4th of July, this year, I was privileged to see, and ride, the new Indian Arrow, the single cylinder overhead valve, four-speed lightweight which is now being bought by riders all over the country, as fast as Indian can turn them off the production line of the new Indian factory. More than that I was privileged to have a full hour’s talk with G. Briggs Weaver, the designer of the Arrow, and William Bandlow, one of the testers who has pounded the new Arrow over thousands of miles of road tests.

In that interview my eyes were opened to many interesting facts which I had not realized-and which I know will be of intense interest to all motorcycle enthusiasts. Here, you may read some of my questions and Mr. Weaver’s answers.

As you read the answers, keep in mind that Mr.. Weaver is probably the smartest motorcycle designer in the world today. He is a former In­dianapolis Racing Car designer, was the creator of the Indian Sport Scout which has blazed such a trail of vic­tories in major competitive events over the past 10 years, designer of the Indian Shaft Drive Military mo­torcycle, and more recently designer of the new Indian Scout Vertical twin.

AT LAST WE LEARN HOW A NEW MOTORCYCLE IS BORN

SITTING in Mr. Weaver’s study, facing him and Bill Bandlow, a test rider, we asked

Q: “How long ago was design work started on this new Indian Arrow which is now sitting out here in the yard ready for me to ride?”

ANS: “We started on it four years ago, after the Management and Sales Department outlined what was want­ed. We have worked four years to perfect it-to make absolutely cer­tain, by all known engineering and testing means-that it is by far the best and most serviceable lightweight motorcycle that has ever been pro­duced.

“We know that some motorcycle designs have been produced and re­leased to the public in as little time as a year or two, but we at Indian do not believe in that “rush it through” policy. Time, testing, more engi­neering, more testing, and consist­ent, painstaking follow through is the only policy upon which we work. It has to be right in all respects before we O. K. it for production.”

Q: “What was the basic idea­ … what did you set out to design in the new Arrow Single?”

ANS: “We set out to produce a lightweight motorcycle that would weigh not over 250 lbs.-would be capable of 60 miles per hour top speed, have excellent acceleration, and be extremely durable-able to average road speeds on a trip as good as other road traffic, including larger motorcycles and cars. In short-a lightweight that was tough in ability to take punishment of sustained high speeds-not a `featherweight’ for short trips-but a real serviceable lightweight motorcycle.”

Q: “Do you feel that you have achieved it?”

ANS: “We know that we have.”

Q: “How can you be sure?”

ANS: “Our extensive program of testing, year after year under my close personal observation, each day over those years, has enabled us to eliminate, one after another any mi­nor points which could give trouble, until we have a very sound, reliable motorcycle, which our young, strong, test riders are unable to break down, even when they deliberately set out to “ride it to destruction.”

Q:          “How was the road test pro­gram conducted?”

ANS: “Well, our 75,000 miles of road testing on this new design were conducted in two stages. We started by designing and constructing two pilot models. These were put on the road three years ago, and sent out on the road in the hands of testers who were ordered to report every 6 or 8 hours, on general handling, charac­teristics, riding qualities, arrange­ment of controls, operation of clutch, gearbox, brakes, and all other details in the motorcycle.

“Each item was carefully watched, findings noted, and careful records made. Occasional modifications were made. Each small improvement made the motorcycle better, and prepared it for the day we would start the second stage of road testing.”

Q: “What was the second stage of road testing ?”

ANS:     “I will let Bill Bandlow, who did a great deal of that road testing, answer that one.”

BILL, who has been a motorcycle rider for fifteen years, and who was a Flight Instructor in Texas for three years during the war, grinned and said, “When the day came that the models were ready for the acid test, my boss, Clarence Bergsma, head of the Testing Department, told us to take those motorcycles out, pile up the mileage, day after day, seek out the worst roads we could find-pound the daylights out of ’em-in fact, beat ’em up. We did, for weeks on end. Most of us on the testing end had been riding big Chiefs and Sport Scouts, and we had our eyes opened to what a lightweight motorcycle really can do.

“We were told to ride these models just as fast as we could hour after hour, and that is what we did. We soon, changed our ideas-found this new lightweight could maintain al­most as high road speeds as even a big Chief with an engine several times as big! Now I don’t mean it’s as fast on the straightaway-but be­cause of its lighter weight and abil­ity to hold the road-it can make wonderful time on the curved and winding roads. I think Mr. Weaver can give you an example of what I mean.”

“Yes,” said Mr. Weaver, “we had a good example a few weeks ago. A young man left Springfield on the Arrow, headed for the Laconia Races.    He made the 160 miles in 31/2 hours over exceedingly twisting, tor­tuous roads, at average speed of close to 45 miles per hour-and you wouldn’t make that trip in a car in any better time than that.”

“Yes,” cut in Bandlow, the tester “-and you probably wouldn’t make it any faster on a big `61′ or `74’­you wouldn’t go `boiling’ into those winding roads on a big, heavy ma­chine, as fast as you could on the Arrow, because of the ease of han­dling on the turns.”

Q: “Mr. Weaver, tell me of a spe­cific instance of a high speed test with the new model.”

ANS: “First of all-our own test­ers have never been able to break one up-over thousands of miles of speed. We took one of the new models to a place where there is no speed limit-­the famous Harrisburg Turnpike, the super speed highway that runs across Pennsylvania. We put a test­er on it-told him to turn it on-full speed, and hold it on full throttle for the entire 156 mile run, up long hills and down long hills-a supreme test of any engine. Only in the tunnels did he ease off on the throttle. The new model took the full throttle beat­ing for the 156 miles without a mur­mur. There wasn’t even an oil leak showing, and she idled like a kitten after 156 miles on wide open throt­tle!”

Q: “After you were satisfied with the pilot models, what was the next step?”

ANS: “The pilot models were now put aside, and we built several pro­totypes of production models, that is, we incorporated all the improvements the pilot models had shown neces­sary. These models were duplicates of the motorcycles later to be put into production. We now started all over again with the heavy road testing program-told the testers to take the prototype models out and beat ’em up -and this continued for months, un­til we were satisfied the models to be put into production were perfect.”

Q: “Now, gentlemen, how do you account for this extreme durability from a motorcycle of only performance inches piston displacement, and weighing only 250 pounds?”

ANS: “From a durability angle we put only the best of materials and most modern design into the new Arrow-and that goes for the new Vertical Twin Scout as well. For in­stance the cylinder is of iron, with aluminum alloy finning cast onto the process developed during the war for air cooled engines. A very high percentage of the working parts throughout the whole motorcycle are of highest grade alloy steels-parts which in most motorcycles would be made of less expensive material. We further added strength and saved weight by using die castings wher­ever possible.            We have spared no expense in design, testing, or in tool­ing, to make the new models extreme­ly durable and reliable no matter how the rider flogs the machine.”

Then Bill Bandlow added, in typi­cal tester’s jargon, “Ted, you can take this Arrow out on the road, crack the whip, dig in the spurs, tuck in your elbows-and roll ‘er up to maximum “revs” for hours at a time and you can’t hurt it.”

MR. WEAVER then continued: “To get excellent acceleration and a good turn of high speed, we have both an engine and transmission that reduce friction to the lowest possible degree. The whole mecha­nism runs free and easily, largely on ball or roller bearings. Proper lu­brication of each bearing has been most carefully worked out. For in­stance, the connecting rod lower end bearing receives fresh oil under 50 pounds pressure from the instant the engine is started.

“Having thus reduced friction to a minimum, the power output can be utilized for the acceleration and speed the rider wants, rather than in over­coming the friction that is found in less carefully engineered motorcy­cles. That is a long story-and there is a great deal in it. More could be told about it if we had the space.

“The engine, of 13 cubic inches piston displacement, is of overhead valve design which gives extremely snappy performance. Clutch is cork faced, with eight friction surfaces; the transmission has four speeds, runs on ball and roller bearings; the wheels are on roller and ball bearings. As a result of this expensive con­struction, we are positive this motor­cycle will surpass in performance anything of its size, as well as many motorcycles having considerably more power.”

Q: “All the experienced riders who have ridden the Arrow tell me it holds the road exceptionally well feels very steady-has no bounce or weaving, on any road, at any speed. How did you accomplish this?”

ANS: “I will be frank-we started by designing into the motorcycle all the knowledge of road-holding we have gained in our many years of racing success. While this is no rac­ing motorcycle, it is a well known fact that the race course has been the proving ground for outstanding au­tomotive developments.”

WE TRY THE ARROW ON THE ROAD AFTER thanking Mr. Weaver for his courtesies and for a mighty interesting hour, we started out to ride this- wonderful new motorcycle -our head filled with a new concep­tion of the vast amount of engineer­ing and test work that made it pos­sible.

The road holding is exceptionally good, and we found it hard to believe we were on a lightweight: The en­gine is a sweet running mechanism that seems to be happy in any of the four gears, even on a wide open throt­tle in second or third. .

On the model we rode, vibration at any speed is positively not there she is smooth as glass from zero to 63 miles per hour, the top speed we hit. We like the gear ratios, which are 17 to one in low, 11.69 to one in second, 7.4 in third and 6.12 to one in fourth.

EXCELLENT PERFORMANCE AFTER checking the speedometer with one we knew to be right on the button, we made tests in all four speeds-found these results: In low gear, 30 miles per hour. In second gear 41 miles per hour. In third 55, and in fourth, 63 miles per hour, and if we had let ‘er roll a bit farther think she would have touched 65. The new. Indian Arrow is a thor­oughbred-worthy of its long line of illustrious ancestors, the product of an excellent modern engineering and test-program, covering four years. THE END

Indian Motorcycle Military Legacy

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    America’s first motorcycle company, today announced its Scout Inspired Custom Series; a chronology of the rich, century-long history of the Indian(R) Scout(TM) motorcycle. Throughout 2015, Indian Motorcycle will unveil a series of custom Indian Scouts designed and crafted by some of America’s leading custom bike builders — each designed to celebrate an important Indian Scout milestone or achievement since its debut in 1920. Each of the custom Scouts will be accompanied by vignettes to share the legacy of the Indian Scout.

To kick-off the series, Indian Motorcycle today launched the Custom Military Scout in a vignette narrated by Mark Wahlberg. The Custom Military Scout is a tribute to the company’s nearly 100-year history of supporting the U.S. Military and to celebrate Indian Motorcycle’s partnership with USO. The Custom Military Scout was designed and built by world-renowned custom builder Klock Werks Kustom Cycles of Mitchell, South Dakota.

“Klock Werks Kustom Cycles is honored to partner with Indian Motorcycle on a project that pays tribute to the USO and their outstanding work on behalf of the dedicated men and women of our U.S. Armed Forces,” said Brian Klock, founder of Klock Werks. “Indian Motorcycle has a long and impressive legacy of supporting the U.S. Military dating back to WWI and all of us at Klock Werks are humbled to play a role in this important and historic endeavor.”

The Custom Military Scout is built on the award-winning 2015 Indian Scout platform, sporting a matte green paint indicative of a vintage military bike that was perfectly applied by Brad Smith of The Factory Match. It utilizes taillights that are modern street legal reproductions on a custom bracket to mimic the original military-style lights. The Custom Military Scout features Genuine Indian Motorcycle Accessory leather saddlebags, a Klock Werks “Klassic” seat kit and leather wraps for the base of the Indian accessory quick-detach windshield — all upholstered using matching leather hides. A custom gun scabbard mount holds a Thompson sub-machine gun with a custom gunstock by Boyds Gunstocks of Mitchell, SD etched with both the USO and Indian Motorcycle logos.

“Today we are proud to launch our Scout Inspired Custom Series with our inaugural episode dedicated to the USO and our mutual support of the U.S. Military and their families, and we are grateful to brand ambassador Mark Wahlberg and our friends at Klock Werks for their support and fine craftsmanship,” said Steve Menneto, Polaris Industries vice president of motorcycles. “The Indian Scout has built a long and storied legacy of racing wins, world records, engineering innovations and industry firsts, and along the way it has won the hearts and minds of fans around the world. Those achievements have materially impacted our current and future direction for the Indian Scout marque, and we look forward to telling some of those important stories through our Scout Inspired Custom Series.”

The Custom Military Scout and accompanying video vignette narrated by Mark Wahlberg can be found by visiting www.indianmotorcycle.com, along with upcoming stories in the Scout Inspired Custom Series.

ABOUT THE USO The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors, troops in transition and families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff.

ABOUT KLOCK WERKS Located in Mitchell, South Dakota, Klock Werks has grown from humble beginnings to an internationally recognized brand. Achieving status as “Air Management Experts,” Klock Werks credits this to the success of the original patented, Flare(TM) Windshield. Also supplying fenders, handlebars, and other motorcycle parts, Klock Werks proudly leads the industry through innovation in design and quality of materials and fitment. Team Klock Werks has been successful for years designing parts, creating custom motorcycles and setting records on the Bonneville Salt Flats. You will find motorcycles, family, and faith at the core of Klock Werks, along with a commitment to caring for the needs of enthusiasts around the world who enjoy their products.

ABOUT INDIAN MOTORCYCLE(R) Indian Motorcycle, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Polaris Industries Inc. is America’s first motorcycle company. Founded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle has won the hearts of motorcyclists around the world and earned distinction as one of America’s most legendary and iconic brands through unrivaled racing dominance, engineering prowess and countless innovations and industry firsts. Today that heritage and passion is reignited under new brand stewardship. To learn more, please visit www.indianmotorcycle.com.

Crocker Motorcycles- First Ride Review

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When the new Crocker motorcycle was unveiled at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering last May, Michael Schacht, who owns the Crocker name and built that first prototype, told me I could have a test ride next time I was in L.A. That would mean I’d be the only person besides Schacht to have ridden the new bike. I couldn’t  pass up an opportunity like that, so I met him at his warehouse/assembly shop, where sat the rough makings of the next 15 Crocker V-Twins.

Yep, Schacht is already making a limited run. As he put it, “Whether I have orders or not, I’m just going to build them.” He has invested heavily in cash, time and reputation to make the patterns and cast the parts necessary to build a whole motorcycle, and that first Crocker Big Tank discussed in Cycle World last May was made from the same batch of rough metal seen in these photos.

A deconstructed motorcycle is an excellent teaching device, and Schacht pointed out the changes that Al Crocker incorporated during the evolution of his big Twin between 1936 and 1942, when WWII restrictions put an end to civilian motorcycle production. Schacht doesn’t reproduce the first hemi-head engine, which powered the rare original models Crocker built in 1936. Although the hemi variant commands the biggest prices from collectors, issues with rapid wear on the valve gear means the later parallel-valve heads are more suitable for the modern road. Those first hemis had open rockers, springs and valves, whereas the valve gear in the later engine was totally enclosed. Because of these issues, the hemispherical cylinder head is the only option not available when ordering a new Crocker V-Twin. The early Small Tank frame with different steering-head lugs and unbraced gearbox/lower-frame castings is ready to assemble, as is the later Big Tank style, which most newbies love, since they’re more glamorous. Aficionados prefer the smaller tank, which really shows off that fantastic big Twin engine.

Michael Schacht has something to prove. He’s happy to regale anyone within earshot with tales of attempted intimidation from a few old-time Crocker collectors who take serious issue with his style, his business methods and perhaps the mere fact that he’s done what they said couldn’t be done. In a way, his tales mirror the difficulties Al Crocker faced after building a better bike than Indian and Harley, the last two American motorcycle manufacturers left standing following the Depression. After H-D allegedly threatened its wheel supplier (Kelsey-Hayes) with a massive loss of business if that company sold wheels to Crocker, Al suddenly found he couldn’t buy wheels for his bikes. Solution? If you wanted a Crocker, you had to supply your own wheels.

Such tales are meat and drink to Crocker lovers, who have embellished the reputation of their favorite marque to such effect that you’ll need $300K to buy an original. Schacht is asking half that for his new machine.

How does it compare to the originals? Schacht’s test machine is completely paint-free to show the world how it was built and that it’s indeed all-new. It’s a Big Tank, with those lovely cast-aluminum panniers customizers have been copying for 70 years now. Same with the taillight, as seen (ironically) on thousands of Harleys and bobbed Triumphs through the decades. Like George Brough, Al Crocker was a masterful stylist; unlike GB, he was also a trained engineer, and with the help of Paul Bigsby (inventor of the “whammy bar” on electric guitars), he built his own engine and gearbox. Those designs were an advance on anything available in the U.S. at the time, even after H-D introduced its Knucklehead six months after Crocker got the jump on big

Source: Crocker Motorcycles- First Ride Review

Crocker Motorcycle Company Resurrected- Quail Motorcycle Gathering

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Crocker & Indian Shared a history – Let’s read about the revival….

After nearly twelve years of hassles and legal setbacks, a brand-new Crocker Big-Twin motorcycle has emerged from a hangar in SoCal. Learn more at Cycle World now.

After nearly twelve years of hassles, legal setbacks, a change of countries, and one nasty recession, a brand-new Crocker Big-Tank motorcycle has emerged from a hangar in SoCal. Michael Schacht is at no loss for words in describing the ordeal he’s overcome to reach the point of turning a key, kicking over the 80 cubic-inch V-Twin, and hearing an engine he literally built from scratch rumble into throaty life. His first complete Crocker sits unpainted, brazed joints bright and cast iron dull, spun metal fenders covered with a zillion tiny scratches, the big aluminum tanks resplendent in their own bare-metal shine.

Schacht was a staunch Indian man a dozen years ago, and still rides a 1929 ‘101’ Scout nearly every day. His restored Indians brought him to the attention of a branding company who owned the Indian name in Canada. His machines were used for promo work and he gradually became ‘involved’ with the company, which was mostly interested in T-shirt sales at that time. When talk began of making an Indian motorcycle by re-badging a Ural, Schacht ran away. The idea of resurrecting an important American motorcycle marque stuck with him though, and while looking over two Crockers at a friend’s restoration shop, the big light went on and his destiny was set. “The Crocker name is so pure, nobody had tried to make a new one, even though several people tried to claim the name. It took some work, but I was finally able to secure the name with the intention of starting production of Crockers.”

Few people have made an entire motorcycle from scratch. Schacht admits he knew little of making castings, metallurgy or even production machining before he embarked on his dream.  “I was lucky, and hired some incredibly talented people. I moved my facilities from Canada to Southern California, so that the Crocker would be made 100% in the U.S.A. It was important to me that such a historic name was built, again, in the country it started from. This is an all-American deal.” Schacht also wasn’t an expert on Crockers, but enlisted the help of collectors who are, such as Chuck Vernon. “These guys are the keepers of the flame. They know everything about these machines and helped me tremendously to sort out exactly how the original Crocker was made.” While the new Crocker is as faithful to Al Crocker’s original machine as possible, a few of the materials have been upgraded. “Better steels are available now, stronger and lighter, and while the appearance is identical with a 1939 bike, what’s inside is better.”

The Crocker Motorcycle Company does not, Schacht insists, produce ‘replicas’ of the motorcycles last produced in 1942. “These are continuation machines, built by the legal owner of the Crocker motorcyclename.” The new engine is certainly more powerful than a standard 61-inch Crocker from the 30s, pumping out a whopping 85 horses from the 80-inch V-Twin to push the same 500 pound machine. “We’ve just finished it, and there are a few minor bugs to sort out, but basically, she’s the best sounding motorcycle I’ve ever heard, is really, really fast, and handles beautifully. That was one of my biggest surprises about the Crocker; this is a serious performance machine.”

Stay tuned to Cycle World for additional information about production plans for these machines and a potential modern “retro-bike” in the works.

Source: Crocker Motorcycle Company Resurrected- Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Indian Motorcycles- History of America’s Oldest Motorcycle Brand

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High on the list of truths universally acknowledged must be the fact that the Indian Motorcycle, as a legend, a logo and a symbol ranks up there with the golden arches and the three-pointed star, with power and value beyond calculation. On the other hand, naming your daughter Baby Ruth doesn’t ensure she will hit 60 homers a season against big-league pitching. To collect on the promise of legend and esteem, you gotta have a product.

We are concerned here with the Indian, originally spelled Motocycle by the founders, as currently offered by Polaris Industries. To fully appreciate this, we’ll have to look back 60 years, to an un­disputed tragedy.

At the close of WWII, a prosperous and product-starved public was ready to buy just about anything. The car and motor­cycle makers had learned a lot during the war, but they were canny enough to offer the old versions while testing and refining the new. The 1947 Harley-Davidsons, Fords, Chevys, Dodges, etc., were identical to the 1941 models, while the improved models—the ohv Oldsmobile engine and the telescopic-fork Hydra-Glide—didn’t get here until 1949.

But at the Wigwam, as always, things were different. E. Paul DuPont, who owned Indian and kept the brand in business through the Great Depression, sold his shares in the company. The new owners had new ideas—vision, one could say. The firm’s chief engineer had designed a radical line of really new machines, modular in that there would be a Single, a Twin and a Four, all using the same basic design, all overhead valve, foot shift and hand clutch, suspension fore and aft, with the writing on the tank being the only clue as to what was what.

Indian Scout

Further, the new president embarked on a revolutionary ad campaign. As the Japanese say, he reckoned to enlarge the pie, rather than fight over slices. The completely different motorcycles were launched in 1945, with a completely different campaign endorsed by baseball, show business and movie stars.

But wait: Doesn’t this sound like Honda in 1959, meeting the nicest people and all that? Yes. But for one thing, Honda’s dealer network was based on new people who mostly ran hardware or sporting-goods stores, and for another, Honda’s engineering raised the bar worldwide.

Indian’s new bikes—the Single and Twin (the inline-Four never got past the prototype stage)—were disasters. When they didn’t blow up, they broke down. The motorcycling community was small, and everybody knew how bad the new models were. Add to that, the old dealer network, the guys who’d raised a stink when the evergreen Scout was abandoned and stormed the boardroom demanding a new one, wasn’t always that happy with the new people.

Suffice it here to say that everything that could go wrong did. The money ran out and Indian’s new owners begged for help. The English brands were doing well, so Indian asked to distribute several makes. A partnership was formed, and before you could say the camel’s nose was in the tent, the Indian visionaries were out, the English owned Indian and production of the new models was immediately stopped. The final production run of the final genuine Indians, the Blackhawk version of the side-valve 80-inch Chief, came in 1953.

There followed a run of Royal Enfields and later, Matchlesses labeled Indian, but fooling nobody. Next, a puzzle and struggle over ownership of the script, name and symbols. There were Matchless-Indians, then a run of Italian Indians backed by entrepreneur Floyd Clymer, first road bikes and then motocross.

Indian Enfield

Next, a series of failures on a different stage: promoters with big plans and no money, who never made any motorcycles. A serious effort appeared in 1999. There was a major market at the time for full-dress Harleys and look-alike rivals from the major brands. Indian of America had a factory in Gilroy, California, and produced a viable machine, a big Twin styled like the old Chief and powered by a version of a Harley clone. But the funding wasn’t enough, sales did not meet hopes and the firm went bankrupt in 2003. Three years later, another group of investors picked up the baton and began building the same sort of repro-Indian Chief, this time with modern engineering as in EFI and a bigger V-Twin than Indian Motocycle ever dreamed of—all of it just in time for the bottom to drop out of the market.

But the true revival, one can only hope, came in 2011, when Polaris bought the struggling brand. What’s the difference this time? The lesson since the debacle in 1945 is clear: It’s a heap more difficult to produce a viable motorcycle than all those dreamers and promoters realized. They all had the script and the logo and the legend, but not one had a product to match the hype, good intentions or no.

In contrast, Triumph, with a logo and badge nearly as good, was revived and still thrives simply because it had 1) the capital to invest; and 2) a properly engineered machine that created its own market. It didn’t revise the classic Bonneville Twin until the big Triples proved that the product matched the promotion. Knock wood, those Indian dealers who stormed the boardroom demanding a new Scout in 1947, may soon get their wish. Except there is a very good chance it will be a Chief.

I don’t hear anybody complaining.

Source: Indian Motorcycles- History of America’s Oldest Motorcycle Brand