Indian Motorcycle… The Resurrection — Ultimate MotorCycling

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Indian Power Plus

Indian Motorcycle… The Resurrection

Motorcycle Company

Rolling toward Kings Mountain, the smooth, three-lane interstate twists and bends, slowly ahead of me into the distance. by a lush wall of trees out their early summer the moving picture is framed a perfectly blue, cloudless Beneath me the steady rhythm of a V-twin is setting the pace, as shades of amethyst, emerald and play in the chrome headlight in

It is warm but not hot, and the steady of air invigorates my soul; as each grows more vital, I at one with the machine. As the miles effortlessly by, the philosophy, spirit, and of the new Indian Motorcycle Company now crystal clear.

Looking five years, there serious doubts over the of the Indian Motorcycle brand. A of nine companies had been the trademark in 1999, and they together to produce the first new motorcycles since 1953. in Gilroy, Calif. the company’s carried the great names of the Scout, and Spirit.

Initially Wisconsin-built SS Cycle engines, by the company was building its own Powerplus 100 requisitioning a name that back to 1916. Production of motorcycles continued until 2003, when the company into bankruptcy. By this some 12,000 motorcycles, both power plants, had sold.

Reliability issues these machines, known as Gilroy Indians, and Indian production ceased.

This did not remain for long, though. already resurrected the famous and Riva boat companies, lightning rod Stephen Julius and his Business School classmate Heese purchased the intellectual rights and went to work on the Motorcycle Company.

Spending much of the next researching the industry and putting a new in place, by September 2006 a new had been found for Indian in Kings Mountain. Moving the to this location provided with a number of benefits. A friendly state, North has an international airport with flights to Heese’s London as well as a temperate climate and proximity to the fabulous riding in the Great Smoky Mountains.

this was happening, the heart and of the new Indian Motorcycle Company was formed. Hand picking a of highly skilled engineers, and developers from the motorcycle Julius assembled his dream Bringing decades of experience the American V-twin world, the of each member is reflected in Manager Chris Bernauer’s as he gives me a personal tour of the new

Watching his craftsmen hand-assemble the new Plus 105 engine, Bernauer me to Indian Motorcycle Company and Facility Manager Wes Robison. It is not be affected by their passion as explain all the detailed engineering and that has been put into the new The outward appearance and architecture from the Gilroy era, but plated cylinders are used in of cast-iron liners.

The crankshaft, the and many other internal are new.

As we walk through the Motorcycle Company assembly Robison fills me in on a lot of details Indian’s testing processes, the durability tests that are in Arizona to how the bump tests are out in Wisconsin, as well as the work has been done on the suspension.

Bernauer takes me over to a bin metal cylinder base “We don’t have to compromise on in any area,” he says, explaining the of using metal, rather paper, gaskets. “We can also very quickly to specific With a small group of 15 there are no committees to appease, and is something that makes the so exciting. It is a theme that I with everyone from Metcalf, Lead Project to the Vice President of Engineering, Glaja.

One of the first people by Julius, Glaja revels in the nature of the company, and the chance to to build his engineering and development with the best in the business. I ask him why he made the move to Indian Company he told me, “Harley-Davidson was in the ’80s by a group of enthusiasts, and where they are now!”

It has a challenging position for Glaja, the early realization that Gilroy tooling and plans provide no support for the new company. from scratch, he had to completely for production, as Wes Indian Motorcycle Robison began transforming the Kings Mountain factory to a plant.

Suppliers had to be sourced, meant the individual quality of part had to be evaluated-Indian currently has 120 suppliers on the books.

There is, of a huge benefit to working for a owned by world-renowned businessmen carries one of the most famous motorcycle names on the gas tank-big anxious to work with a prestigious company approach all the time. Magneti Marelli now the superb electronic closed fuel injection, and Mahle the new pistons.

Working my way along the assembly Robison stops to point out the harness. “We completely redesigned he tells me, and looking at the new harness and attached with surgical the attention to detail is exemplary. on to an assembled Chief Standard-there are models based around the platform for 2009-I learn bike is tested, ridden, and again, before being off. Every new unit with signed documentation the engine builder and a two-year mileage warranty-its own birth of sorts.

Indian Motorcycle employees are chosen for their with as much precision as the components, and Robison tells me the philosophy used in the hiring “You can pretty much a motorcycle person to do any facet of business because they get he says. “It’s a lot harder to someone qualified only to do the job and them to be a motorcyclist.” Of course, was quick to point out it is not set in stone new employees ride, as Indian is interested in hiring young, technicians with new ideas they can bring to the two-wheeled

With Indian building machines, there is no compromise. sumptuous paintwork and mirror-finish each hand-assembled component and flows with an exacting The large signature teardrop streams back to the one piece, fuel tank emblazoned either the world famous headdress logo or Indian depending on the model.

The deeply Indian fenders are coated in the lake reflection quality and are a large component of the signature look. There are different for each of the four models and all wrap around spoked wheels. The chrome-shielded, two-into-one steel exhaust exits the to the right and integrates a catalytic for emissions compliance. Controls are of cruisers, with floorboards, shift, and wide, pullback

Switches for turn signals, and headlight position are all standard with no surprises in the way they

Modern touches abound Brembo four-piston calipers on dual floating rotors, and a efficient belt drive power to the rear wheel a six-speed gearbox. An analogue sits atop the gas tank all the usual warning lights, and a tachometer is available if you toggle the function switch located on the handlebar.

Swinging a leg over the Chief Vintage for my test I slip effortlessly into the double stitched leather and crank up the engine. Firing and urgently to life, it is time for a in the country and a visit to Indian’s American dealership, Indian Charlotte. Here, I have promised a chat with Mark Moses.

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Pulling in the hydraulic clutch, first is selected with a definitive big thump. Rolling on the throttle, I hit the for the first time on an Indian

The ride to Charlotte is a short and mixture of country roads and enough to let me know this is the real deal. Neutral great brakes, and smooth make the ride experience as as the summer day I am riding through, and the engine marches to the charming of its own drum. Acceleration is effortless as we with precision through the Bible belt roads, Baptist churches and lazy along the way.

The first generation Chief the Kings Mountain factory a smile as I think of my discussion Glaja, Development and Test Jean-Marc David, and Jere RD specialist. As grounded as they are in their foundation and laying to ensure this solid results in a permanent structure, it take long to get a glimpse their dreams. A dirt to go head-to-head with Harley,

A modern version of Burt land speed record A line of dirt bikes for the With Indian Motorcycle’s depth of talent surrounding me, it as if anything is possible as the future

Arriving at Indian’s flagship Moses greets me and we step his life. Surrounded by Indians, and present, it is evident he must blood ties somewhere in his to founding fathers Hendee and I learn there are currently 14

These are a mixture of stand-alone and brand facilities, and each of a very strong performer in the industry.

His Charlotte dealership was as the model for all Indian dealerships, and has the of an upscale fashion boutique, bordering on minimalist in its design. colors, textures and brickwork, with old photographs and memorabilia Indian’s glory days the walls, and there is space each bike to move. A clothing section shows off own exclusive brand of apparel, and a clean, modern service lives in the rear.

Moses his stuff.

I ask him how well the brand is received by older Indian and he surprises me by saying there is support. One of the first things during the re-birth was to interview Gilroy Indian customers, produced some very results. Most were passionate about the brand, unhappy with reliability

With the team back at Mountain working overtime to this is never again a and quality people like running dealerships, it is no wonder is such a pervasive, positive in the North Carolina air.

in the saddle and heading to base to end my Mother Nature is presenting me the perfect analogy to conclude my with Indian. As the sun starts to sink into the western igniting cinnamon, scarlet and collages in the dazzling chrome, the way is clear and brightly lit. The rain clouds of Indian’s have cleared, making way for an future.

Stephen Julius has put an team together to produce a product for the discerning individual, some cool, innovative coming for 2010. Starting realistic and achievable goals, Motorcycle Company is back, and it is to be convinced that the brand is to stay. Photos by Tom Riles

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