The Big Car Database

Indian Motorcycles

Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company
Fate Liquidated
Founded 1901
  • George M. Hendee
  • Oscar Hedstrom
Headquarters Springfield, Massachusetts, United States
Key people
  • George M. Hendee
Products Motorcycles

Indian is an American brand of motorcycles originally produced from 1901 to 1953 in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States.

Hendee Manufacturing Company initially produced the motorcycles, but the name was changed to the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company in 1928.

The Indian factory team took the first three places in the 1911 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy. During the 1910s, Indian became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. Indian's most popular models were the Scout, made from 1920 to 1946, and the Chief, made from 1922 until 1953, when the Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company went bankrupt. Various organizations tried to perpetuate the Indian Brand name in subsequent years, with limited success.

In 2011, Polaris Industries purchased Indian Motorcycles and moved operations from North Carolina and merged them into their existing facilities in Minnesota and Iowa. Since August 2013, Polaris has marketed multiple modern Indian motorcycles that reflect Indian's traditional styling.


Early years – Hendee and Hedstrom

Oscar Hedstrom with the first prototype of Indian
1920 Indian Powerplus

The "Indian Motocycle Co." was founded as the Hendee Manufacturing Company by George M. Hendee in 1897 to manufacture bicycles. These were initially badged as "Silver King" and "Silver Queen" brands but the name "American Indian", quickly shortened to just "Indian", was adopted by Hendee from 1898 onwards because it gave better product recognition in export markets. Oscar Hedstrom joined in 1900. Both Hendee and Hedstrom were former bicycle racers and manufacturers, and they teamed up to produce a motorcycle with a 1.75 bhp, single-cylinder engine in Hendee's home town of Springfield. The motorcycle was successful and sales increased dramatically during the next decade.

In 1901, a prototype and two production units of the diamond framed Indian Single were successfully designed, built and tested. The first Indian motorcycles, having chain drives and streamlined styling, were sold to the public in 1902. In 1903, Indian's co-founder and chief engineer Oscar Hedstrom set the world motorcycle speed record of 56 mph.[citation needed] In 1904 the company introduced the deep red color that would become Indian's trademark. Annual production of Indian motorcycles then exceeded 500, rising to a peak of 32,000 in 1913. The engines of the Indian Single were built by the Aurora Firm in Illinois under license from the Hendee Mfg. Co. until 1906.

Aurora produced engines under license for Indian from about 1901 to 1907; however they were also allowed to sell Indian design engines to third parties and pay Indian a fee. After 1907, Aurora could make its own complete motorcycles, which it did as Thor, and Indian began manufacturing its own engines.

Competitive successes

Indian 1911
1912 Indian Board Track Racer, on display at the California Automobile Museum

In 1905, Indian built its first V-twin factory racer, and in following years made a strong showing in racing and record-breaking. In 1907, the company introduced the first street version V-twin and a roadster styled after the factory racer. The roadster can be distinguished from the racers by the presence of twist grip linkages.[verification needed] One of the firm's most famous riders was Erwin "Cannonball" Baker, who set many long-distance records. In 1914, he rode an Indian across America, from San Diego to New York, in a record 11 days, 12 hours and ten minutes. Baker's mount in subsequent years was the Powerplus, a side-valve V-twin, which was introduced in 1916. Its 61ci (1000 cc), 42 degree V-twin engine was more powerful and quieter than previous designs, giving a top speed of 60 mph (96 km/h). The Powerplus was highly successful, both as a roadster and as the basis for racing bikes. It remained in production with few changes until 1924.

"Wouldn't You Like to Be With Them?" A 1915 advertisement for the Indian Motocycle.

Competition success played a big part in Indian's rapid growth and spurred technical innovation as well. One of the American firm's best early results came in the Isle of Man TT in 1911, when Indian riders Oliver Cyril Godfrey, Franklin and Moorehouse finished first, second and third. Indian star Jake DeRosier set several speed records, both in America and at Brooklands in Britain, and won an estimated 900 races on dirt and board tracks. He left Indian for Excelsior and died in 1913, aged 33, of injuries sustained in a board track race crash with Charles "Fearless" Balke, who later became Indian's top rider. Work at the Indian factory was stopped while DeRosier's funeral procession passed by.

Oscar Hedstrom left Indian in 1913 after disagreements with the board of directors regarding dubious practices to inflate the company's stock value. George Hendee resigned in 1916.

Lightweights 1916-1919

Indian introduced the 221 cc single cylinder two-stroke Model K "Featherweight" in 1916. The Model K had an open cradle frame with the engine as a stressed member and a pivoting front fork that had been used earlier on single-cylinder motorcycles but had mostly been replaced on other Indian motorcycles by a leaf-sprung trailing link fork.

The Model K was manufactured for one year and was replaced in 1917 by the Model O. The Model O had a four-stroke flat-twin engine and a new frame, but retained the pivoting fork at the front. The Model O was manufactured until 1919.

World War I

As the US entered World War I, Indian sold most of its Powerplus line in 1917 and 1918 to the United States government, starving its network of dealers. This blow to domestic availability of the motorcycles led to a loss of dealers from which Indian never quite recovered. While the motorcycles were popular in the military, post-war demand was then taken up by other manufacturers to whom many of the previously loyal Indian dealers turned. While Indian shared in the business boom of the 1920s, it had lost its Number One position in the US market to Harley-Davidson.

Inter-war era

Indian Scouts in police service, 1920s

The Scout and Chief V-twins, introduced in the early 1920s, became the Springfield firm's most successful models. Designed by Charles Franklin, the middleweight Scout and larger Chief shared a 42-degree V-twin engine layout. Both models gained a reputation for strength and reliability.

1939 Indian Dispatch Tow, 3-wheeler

In 1930, Indian merged with Du Pont Motors. DuPont Motors founder E. Paul DuPont ceased production of duPont automobiles and concentrated the company's resources on Indian. DuPont's paint industry connections resulted in no fewer than 24 color options in 1934. Models of that era had Indian's famous head-dress logo on the gas tank. Indian's huge Springfield factory was known as the Wigwam, and native American imagery was much used in advertising.

In 1940, Indian sold nearly as many motorcycles as its major rival, Harley-Davidson. During this time, Indian also manufactured other products such as aircraft engines, bicycles, boat motors and air conditioners.


1920 Indian Scout
Main article: Indian Scout (motorcycle)

The Indian Scout was built from 1920 through 1949. It rivaled the Chief as Indian's most important model.

The Scout was introduced for 1920. Designed by Charles B. Franklin, the Scout had its gearbox bolted to the engine and was driven by gears instead of by belt or chain. The engine originally displaced 37 cu in (610 cc); the Scout 45, with a displacement of 45 cu in (740 cc), became available in 1927 to compete with the Excelsior Super X. A front brake became standard on the original Scout early in 1928.

Later in 1928, the Scout and Scout 45 were replaced by the Model 101 Scout. Another Franklin design, the 101 Scout had a longer wheelbase and lower seat height than the original. The 101 Scout was well known for its handling.

The 101 Scout was replaced by the Standard Scout for 1932. The Standard Scout shared its frame with the Chief and the Four; as a result, the Standard Scout was heavier and less nimble than the 101.

A second line of Scouts was introduced for 1933. Based on the frame of the discontinued Indian Prince single-cylinder motorcycle, the Motoplane used the 45 cubic inch engine from the Standard Scout while the Pony Scout had a reduced displacement of 30.5 cu in (500 cc). In 1934 the Motoplane was replaced by the Sport Scout with a heavier but stiffer frame better able to withstand the power of the 45 cubic inch engine, while the Pony Scout, later renamed the Junior Scout, was continued with the Prince/Motoplane frame. Between the introduction of the Sport Scout in 1934 and the discontinuation of the Standard Scout in 1937 there were three Scout models (Pony/Junior, Standard, and Sport) with three different frames. The Sport Scout and the Junior Scout were continued until civilian production was interrupted in early 1942.


1928 Indian Big Chief with sidecar
Main article: Indian Chief (motorcycle)

Introduced in 1922, the Indian Chief had a 1,000 cc (61 cubic inches) engine based on the Powerplus engine; a year later the engine was enlarged to 1,200 cc (73 cubic inches). Numerous improvements were made to the Chief over the years, including the provision of a front brake in 1928.

In 1940, all models were fitted with the large skirted fenders that became an Indian trademark, and the Chief gained a new sprung frame that was superior to rival Harley's unsprung rear end. The 1940s Chiefs were handsome and comfortable machines, capable of 85 mph (137 km/h) in standard form and over 100 mph (160 km/h) when tuned, although their increased weight hampered acceleration.

The 1948 Chief had a 74 cubic inch engine, hand shift and foot clutch. While one handlebar grip controlled the throttle the other was a manual spark advance.

In 1950, the V-twin engine was enlarged to 1,300 cc (79 cubic inches) and telescopic forks were adopted. But Indian's financial problems meant that few bikes were built. Production of the Chief ended in 1953.


1928 Indian 402
Main article: Indian Four

Indian purchased the Ace Motor Corporation in 1927 and moved production of the 4-cylinder Ace motorcycle to Springfield. It was marketed as the Indian Ace in 1927.

In 1928, the Indian Ace was replaced by the Indian 401, a development of the Ace designed by Arthur O. Lemon, former Chief Engineer at Ace, who was employed by Indian when they bought Ace. The Ace's leading-link forks and central coil spring were replaced by Indian's trailing-link forks and quarter-elliptic leaf spring.

In 1929, the Indian 401 was replaced by the Indian 402 which received a stronger twin-downtube frame based on the 101 Scout frame and a sturdier five-bearing crankshaft than the Ace, which only had a three-bearing crankshaft.

1939 Indian 4, in the "World's Fair" color scheme, in commemoration of the 1939 New York World's Fair. On display at Clark's Trading Post, Lincoln, New Hampshire.

Despite the low demand for luxury motorcycles during the Great Depression, Indian not only continued production of the Four, but continued to develop the motorcycle. One of the less popular versions of the Four was the "upside down" engine on the 1936-37 models. While earlier (and later) Fours had inlet-over-exhaust (IOE) cylinder heads with overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves, the 1936-1937 Indian Four had a unique EOI cylinder head, with the positions reversed. In theory, this would improve fuel vaporization, and the new engine was more powerful. However, the new system made the cylinder head, and the rider's inseam, very hot. This, along with an exhaust valvetrain that required frequent adjustment, caused sales to drop. The addition of dual carburetors in 1937 did not revive interest. The design was returned to the original configuration in 1938.

Like the Chief, the Four was given large, skirted fenders and plunger rear suspension in 1940. In 1941, the 18-inch wheels of previous models were replaced with 16-inch wheels with balloon tires.

The Indian Four was discontinued in 1942. Recognition of the historical significance of the 1940 four-cylinder model was made with an August 2006 United States Postal Service 39-cent stamp issue, part of a four panel set entitled American Motorcycles. A 1941 model is part of the Smithsonian Motorcycle Collection on display at the National Museum of American History.

World War II

1942 Indian Scout 500, the 741, used by the US Army.

Chiefs, Scouts, and Junior Scouts were all used in small numbers for various purposes by the United States Army in World War II, and extensively by allied overseas British and Commonwealth military forces under the Lend/Lease Program. However, none of these could unseat the Harley-Davidson WLA as the motorcycle mainly used by the US Army. The early version was based on the 750 cc (46 cu in) Scout 640, and compared directly with Harley-Davidson's WLA, but was either too expensive or heavy, or a combination of both. Indian's eventual offer, the 500 cc (31 cu in) 741B was not selected to gain a US Military contract. Indian also made a version based on the 1,200 cc (73 cu in) Chief, the 344. Approximately 1,000 experimental versions mounting the 750 cc motor sideways and using shaft drive, as on a modern Moto Guzzi, the 841, were also tried.


Main article: Indian 841

During World War II, the US Army requested experimental motorcycle designs suitable for desert fighting. In response to this request, Indian designed and built the 841. Approximately 1,056 models were built.

The Indian 841 was heavily inspired by the BMW R71 motorcycle (which, though not used by the German Army later was the basis for the Soviet M72, which is the basis for the Ural and Chiang Jiang motorcycle) as was its competitor, the Harley-Davidson XA. However, unlike the XA, the 841 was not a copy of the R71. Although its tubular frame, plunger rear suspension, and shaft drive were similar to the BMW's, the 841 was different from the BMW in several aspects, most noticeably so with its 90-degree longitudinal-crankshaft V-twin engine and girder fork.

The Indian 841 and the Harley-Davidson XA were both tested by the Army, but neither motorcycle was adopted for wider military use. It was determined that the Jeep was more suitable for the roles and missions for which these motorcycles had been intended.

Post-war decline and demise

1950 Indian Chief Black Hawk

In 1945, a group headed by Ralph B. Rogers purchased a controlling interest of the company. On November 1, 1945, duPont formally turned the operations of Indian over to Rogers. Under Rogers' control, Indian discontinued the Scout and began to manufacture lightweight motorcycles such as the 149 Arrow, the Super Scout 249, both introduced in 1949, and the 250 Warrior, introduced in 1950. In 1947, the Indian-head fender light, also known as the “war bonnet”, was introduced. The war bonnet backlit lamp was found only on the front fender of an authentic Indian Motorcycle. Chrome components made their debut. Production of traditional Indians was extremely limited in 1949, and no 1949 Chiefs are known to exist. All product manufacturing ended in 1953.

Corporate successors

Rebadged imported Royal Enfields

Brockhouse Engineering acquired the rights to the Indian name after Indian went under in 1953. From 1955 through 1960, they imported English Royal Enfield motorcycles, mildly customized them in the US, and sold them as Indians. Almost all Royal Enfield models had a corresponding Indian model in the USA. The models were Indian Chief, Trailblazer, Apache (all three were 700 cc twins), Tomahawk (500 cc twin), Woodsman (500 cc single), Westerner (500 cc single), Hounds Arrow (250 cc single), Fire Arrow (250 cc single), Lance (150 cc 2-stroke single) and a 3-wheeled Patrol Car (350 cc single).

In 1960, the Indian name was bought by AMC of the UK. Royal Enfield being their competition, they abruptly stopped all Enfield-based Indian models except the 700 cc Chief. Their plan was to sell Matchless and AJS motorcycles badged as Indians. However, the venture ended when AMC itself went into liquidation in 1962.

Floyd Clymer imports, 1963-1977

1972 Indian MM-5A minibike

From the 1960s, entrepreneur Floyd Clymer began using the Indian name, apparently without purchasing it from the last known legitimate trademark holder.[citation needed] He attached it to imported motorcycles, commissioned to Italian ex-pilot and engineer Leopoldo Tartarini, owner of Italjet Moto, to manufacture Minarelli-engined 50 cc minibikes under the Indian Papoose name. These were successful so Clymer commissioned Tartarini to build full-size Indian motorcycles based on the Italjet Griffon design, fitted with Royal Enfield Interceptor 750 cc parallel-twin engines.

A further development was the Indian Velo 500, a limited-production run using a Velocette single-cylinder engine and gearbox with mainly Italian cycle parts, including a lightweight frame from the Italjet company, Marzocchi front forks with Grimeca front hub having a twin-leading shoe brake, Borrani aluminium rims and quickly-detachable tank and seat, resulting in a weight-saving of 45 lb (20 kg) compared to the traditional Velocette Venom.

The project ended abruptly due to Clymer's death and the failure of Velocette, with 200 machines shipped to US and a further 50 remaining in Italy, which were bought by London Velocette dealer Geoff Dodkin. When roadtesting, UK monthly magazine Motorcycle Sport described it as "British engineering and Italian styling in a package originally intended for the American market", reporting that Dodkin would supply his bikes with either a standard Venom engine specification, or, at higher cost, a Thruxton version.

After Clymer's death in 1970 his widow sold the alleged Indian trademark to Los Angeles attorney Alan Newman, who continued to import minicycles made by ItalJet, and later manufactured in a wholly owned assembly plant located in Taipei (Taiwan). Several models with engine displacement between 50 cc and 175 cc were produced, mostly fitted with Italian two-stroke engines made either by Italjet or Franco Morini.

In 1974, Newman planned to revive large-capacity machines as the Indian 900, using a Ducati 860 cc engine and commissioned Leo Tartarini of Italjet to produce a prototype. The project failed, leaving the prototype as the only survivor.

Sales of Newman's Indians were dwindling by 1975. The company was declared bankrupt in January 1977,.

Other attempts, 1977-1999

The right to the brand name passed through a succession of owners and became a subject of competing claims in the 1980s. By 1992, the Clymer claim to the trademark had been transferred to Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Co. Inc. of Berlin, a corporation headed by Philip S. Zanghi.

In June 1994, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Wayne Baughman, president of Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Incorporated, presented, started, and rode a prototype Indian Century V-Twin Chief. Baughman had made previous statements about building new motorcycles under the Indian brand but this was his first appearance with a working motorcycle.

Neither Zanghi nor Baughman began production of motorcycles. In August 1997, Zanghi was convicted of securities fraud, tax evasion, and money laundering.

In January 1998, Eller Industries was given permission to purchase the Indian copyright from the receivers of the previous owner. Eller Industries hired Roush Industries to design the engine for the motorcycle, and was negotiating with the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians to build a motorcycle factory on their tribal land. Three renderings, one each of a cruiser, a sport cruiser, and a sport bike, on frames specified by suspension designer James Parker, were shown to the motorcycling press in February 1998.

Eller Industries arranged a public unveiling of the cruiser prototype for November 1998, but was prevented from showing the prototype by a restraining order from the receiver, who said that Eller had failed to meet the terms of its obligations. The contract was withdrawn after the company missed its deadline to close the deal and could not agree with the receiver to an extension on the deadline. Other conditions, including payment of administrative costs and presenting a working prototype, were also not met by Eller Industries. Based on this, a Federal bankruptcy court in Denver, Colorado, allowed the sale of the trademark to IMCOA Licensing America Inc. in December 1998.

Indian Motorcycle Company of America (1999–2003)

The Indian Motorcycle Company of America was formed from the merger of nine companies, including manufacturer California Motorcycle Company (CMC) and IMCOA Licensing America Inc., which was awarded the Indian trademark by the Federal District Court of Colorado in 1998. The new company began manufacturing motorcycles in 1999 at the former CMC's facilities in Gilroy, California. The first "Gilroy Indian" model was a new design called the Chief. Scout and Spirit models were also manufactured from 2001. These bikes were initially made with off-the-shelf 88 cubic inch S&S engines, but later used the 100-cubic-inch (1,600 cc) Powerplus (bottlecap) engine design from 2002 to 2003. The Indian Motorcycle Corporation went into bankruptcy and ceased all production operations in Gilroy on September 19, 2003.

Indian Motorcycle Company (2006-2011)

Indian Motorcycle Company
Headquarters Medina, Minnesota, USA
Key people
Stephen Julius
Steve Heese
Products Motorcycle, Accessories, Apparel, and Gifts
Number of employees
Parent Polaris Industries
Stellican Indian in characteristic Indian red color in Brighton (UK)

On July 20, 2006, the newly formed Indian Motorcycle Company, owned largely by Stellican Limited, a London-based private equity firm, announced its new home in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, where it has restarted the Indian motorcycle brand, manufacturing Indian Chief motorcycles in limited numbers, with a focus on exclusivity rather than performance. Starting out where the defunct Gilroy IMC operation left off in 2003, the "Kings Mountain" models were continuation models based on the new series of motorcycles developed in 1999. The 2009 Indian Chief incorporated a redesigned 105-cubic-inch (1,720 cc) Powerplus V-twin powertrain with electronic closed-loop sequential-port fuel injection, and a charging system providing increased capacity for the electronic fuel injection.

Stellican Indian at the Ace Cafe, London (UK)

Polaris Acquisition (since 2011)

In April 2011, Polaris Industries, the off-road and leisure vehicle maker and parent-company of Victory Motorcycles, announced its intention to acquire Indian Motorcycle. Indian's production facilities were moved to Spirit Lake, Iowa, where production began on August 5, 2011. In March 2013, Indian unveiled their new 111 cubic inches (1.82 l) "Thunder Stroke" engine, and began to sell their newly designed motorcycles based on it in August 2013.

Current production

On August 3, 2013, Polaris announced three all-new Indian-branded motorcycles based on the traditional styling of the Indian marque, along with the Thunder Stroke 111 V-twin engine. The motor has a triple-cam design with a chain-driven center cam turning front and rear cams via gears, permitting parallel placement of the pushrods to give a similar appearance to older Indian designs. It is air cooled, with large traditional fins and an airbox in the cast aluminum frame. All Indians using the Thunder Stroke 111 engine share this aluminum frame design, though the wheelbase and front end rake vary depending on model. The integrated transmission is also gear-driven.

Since 2013, Indian has expanded its line up to ten models. Of these, seven models had Thunderstroke 111 engines, while two models used the smaller engine displacement, liquid cooled Scout engine. The Scout has a 69 cu in (1,130 cm3) engine, while the Scout 60 has its eponymous 61 cu in (1,000 cm3) engine. The Scout 60 is considered Indian's entry level motorcycle.

Chief Classic (2014– )

The standard Chief Classic has the valanced fenders and the lighted "war bonnet" on the front fender. Cruise control, antilock braking system, keyless starting, and electronic fuel injection are standard on this and all other models. It has a six-speed transmission and manually-adjustable single-shock swingarm.

Chief Vintage (2014– )

2014 Indian Chief Vintage

The Indian Chief Vintage shares the chassis, drivetrain, and styling of the Chief Classic, and adds tan leather quick-release saddlebags, matching tan leather two-up seat, additional chrome trim, quick-release windshield, and a six-speed transmission.

Springfield (2016– )

2016 Indian Springfield

The Springfield was introduced in March 2016 during Daytona Bike week. It is named after the birthplace of Indian Motorcycles, Springfield, Massachusetts. The Springfield is a bit of a hybrid bike, sharing steering geometry and hardbags with the Chieftain and RoadMaster models but is equipped with a quick detach windshield like the Vintage. It also boasts an adjustable rear air shock like the other touring models.

Chieftain (2014– )

The Indian Chieftain touring motorcycle is the first Indian model with front fairing and hard saddlebags. It has a stereo with speakers in the fairing, Bluetooth media players, tire pressure sensors, air-adjustable rear shock, and motorized windshield adjustment. Initial reports from the press were favorable for styling, performance, and handling. The Chieftain was named 2013 Motorcycle of the Year by RoadRunner Motorcycle Touring & Travel magazine.

Scout (2015– )

The Indian Scout was introduced at the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as a 2015 model. The 2015 Scout is a cruiser with a 1,133 cc (69.1 cu in) liquid-cooled, double overhead camshaft V-twin engine and a frame formed by multiple aluminum alloy castings bolted to each other and to the engine. The Indian Scout was named 2015 Motorcycle of the year by

Scout Sixty (2016– )

The Indian Scout Sixty was introduced in November 2015 as a 2016 model. The Scout Sixty is a cruiser with a 999 cc (61.0 cu in) liquid-cooled, double overhead camshaft V-twin engine. The new Scout Sixty has many of the same features as the 2014 Scout, but with a smaller 999 cc engine.

Roadmaster (2015– )

The Indian Roadmaster was introduced at the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally shortly before the Scout. The Roadmaster is a Chieftain with an added trunk, front fairing lowers, heated seats, heated grips, LED headlights, passenger floorboards, and a rear crash bar. The Roadmaster had been developed before the Chieftain. Cycle World recorded 72.4 hp (54.0 kW) @ 4,440 rpm and 102.7 lb·ft (139.2 N·m) @ 2,480 rpm at the rear tire. They also recorded a tested 1/4 mile time of 13.91 seconds at 94.44 mph (151.99 km/h) and a 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 km/h) acceleration at 5.2 seconds, a 60 to 0 mph (97 to 0 km/h) braking distance of 125 ft (38 m), and fuel economy of 35.9 mpg‑US (6.55 L/100 km; 43.1 mpg‑imp).

Chief Dark Horse (2016– )

The 2016 Indian Dark Horse was introduced on Valentine's Day 2015. It is based on a Chief Classic painted in flat black, with the driving lights, oil cooler, analog fuel gauge, passenger pillion and passenger pegs removed.

Chieftain Dark Horse (2016– )

The 2016 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse was introduced on May 2016. It has a full fairing and hard saddlebags, but lacks other accessories in the Chieftain line. It has a claimed 119.2 lb·ft (161.6 N·m) @ 3000 rpm and a dry weight of 803 lb (364 kg).

RoadMaster Classic (2017- )

The 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic was introduced in February of 2017. It has the traditional styling tan leather bags and trunk along with heated seats, heated grips, LED headlights, passenger floorboards, and rear crash bars. It does not have the hard front lowers found on the original Roadmaster.

Land speed records

Between 1962 and 1967, Burt Munro from New Zealand used a modified 1920s Indian Scout to set a number of land speed records, as dramatised in the 2005 film The World's Fastest Indian. In 2014 Indian had a similar custom streamliner built, the Spirit of Munro, to promote their new 111 cubic-inch engine and challenge speed records.

Compare features of Indian motorcycles



Named after the birthplace of Indian Motorcycle and designed for a pure riding experience, the Indian Springfield is a soulful and versatile new addition to the 2016 lineup. It features true, authentic American craftsmanship, superior refinement and only the most essential touring features for the ultimate in open road touring without distractions. The Springfield was revealed at the North Turn Resturant in Daytona beach, Florida where the racers of old used to run at breakneck speeds trying to win the famed Daytona 200 race.


Designed in conjunction with Brian Klock and his inspired team at Klock Werks in Mitchell, S.D., the Limited Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Springfield and Chief Vintage models both feature an array of genuine Indian Motorcycle accessories and custom accessories, as well as Jack Daniel’s-inspired custom paint and logos, badging, leather saddle and saddlebags. Each fender is inscribed with the names of the seven Master Distillers who have overseen the Jack Daniel’s distilling process over its 150-year history, and an inscription of Jack Daniel’s “Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix” mantra reminds riders that drinking and riding are meant to be enjoyed separately. Both models also come with a custom-printed Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrel top to commemorate each bike, a two-year unlimited mileage factory warranty and free membership in the Indian Motorcycle Riders Group for one year. Each motorcycle will be hand-painted and built in Indian Motorcycle's Spirt Lake, Iowa plant.


"A bagger with undeniable presence, the 2016 Chieftain Dark Horse offers a ton of matte black, a flicker of chrome, and a wealth of features to roll as one of the most bad-ass American-made V-twin touring bikes on the market. By all but eliminating chrome from the motorcycle, the Dark Horse conveys an aggressive attitude that demands attention for all the right reasons. Powered by the celebrated Thunder Stroke® 111 engine and built upon the same highly lauded chassis and suspension as the Indian Chieftain, the edgy new Chieftain Dark Horse comes from the factory outfitted with a solo seat and short, tinted power windscreen, yet maintains its spacious hard bags, ABS, electronic cruise control, integrated premium audio system and remote key fob with keyless ignition."


Indian Motorcycle raised the bar yet again, redefining premium motorcycles with Ride Command, motorcycling’s most advanced yet user-friendly infotainment system. Sporting the industry’s largest and brightest touchscreen display, highest resolution and fastest response time, Indian Motorcycle masterfully fuses state-of-the-art technologies with iconic styling. Fully integrated into the dash for an up-close rider experience, Ride Command offers an intuitive interface, customizable information displays, glove-compatible two-finger touch capabilities, and easy navigation to points of interest, like gas stations and restaurants. The breakthrough new Ride Command infotainment system comes standard on the 2017 Chieftain and Roadmaster.



In mid-February, the Indian Chief Dark Horse was introduced in Chicago in conjunction with the Progressive® International Motorcycle Show (IMS). Despite freezing temperatures, a ride-in was held involving several local riders and several Indian Motorcycle employees riding the new blacked-out cruiser, which attracted large crowds when displayed at the Chicago IMS.


In March, Indian Motorcycle had a tremendous presence at Daytona Bike Week, where the brand provided a new record number of Indian Motorcycle Demo Rides, hosted an Indian Motorcycle Riders’ Group Bike Week Party, and celebrated the first Bike Week with the new Indian Motorcycle Daytona Beach dealership open on Beach Street. The demo rides featured the complete lineup, including the recently introduced Indian Chief Dark Horse.

In April, Indian Motorcycle announced a partnership with the United Service Organizations (USO), a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting U.S. troops and their families worldwide. Indian Motorcycle donated $100,000 to the USO to celebrate the partnership, and the USO became the official nonprofit partner of the Indian Motorcycle Riders’ Group (IMRG) so riders could partner with local USO centers. Indian Motorcycle supporter and USO Tour veteran Zac Brown and Zac Brown Band also donated concert tickets for troops and their families for select stops on the band’s 2015 tour.

In May, an Indian Scout special military-themed custom created by the team at Klock Werks made its debut. Indian Motorcycle commissioned the custom to mark the start of the brand’s partnership with the USO. It was displayed at numerous events throughout the year. The bike had matte green paint like that of a vintage military bike, genuine Indian Motorcycle Accessory saddlebags, a Klock Werks "Klassic" seat kit, leather wraps for the base of the quick-detach windshield, and a custom gun scabbard mount etched with both the USO and Indian Motorcycle logos.


Indian Motorcycle dealers across North America hosted the Great American Summer Cookout on June 13, Dealers provided participants with food, free gifts, the opportunity to donate to the USO, and a chance to register to win a Zac Brown Concert experience.

In November, during the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show the Indian Scout Sixty was revealed. True to the craftsmanship, reliability and legendary agility of the Indian Scout, the new Scout Sixty shares the identical chassis, suspension, brakes and core engine — all mated with a new 60 cubic inch engine. Custom builder Roland Sands joined the party aboard 1 of 5 custom built Hooligan Scout Sixty's at a warehouse down on the Long Beach docks. These 5 bikes are set to race in the upcoming SuperHooligan series co-sponsored by Roland Sands and Indian Motorcycle at race tracks around the country.


Indian Motorcycle accelerated its historic journey toward the official return to professional flat track racing with the public debut of the Indian Scout FTR750 on August 7 at the legendary Buffalo Chip venue in Sturgis, South Dakota. On-hand for the epic, invitation-only event were Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman, two surviving members of the legendary Indian Wrecking Crew, both AMA Hall of Famers, along with hundreds of motorcycle industry dignitaries and members of the press. The Debut of the Indian Scout FTR750 featured the #51 as a nod to Bill Tuman being the last factory racer to win a National on an Indian Motorcycle.


The Indian Scout FTR750 is a clean-sheet design racing machine developed by the Indian Motorcycle Racing engineering and design teams. The bike is powered by a purpose-developed, high performance 750cc V-Twin engine and features a unique, ultra-light steel frame, large centrally located airbox and sleek lightweight carbon fiber body. Much like the design philosophy behind Indian Motorcycle’s family of production bikes, the design and engineering teams built the FTR750 to artfully combine state-of-the-art technologies with design elements from legendary Indian racing models from history.


Indian Motorcycle was in the spotlight throughout Daytona Bike Week 2014. The brand had displays and retail outlets at several locations, had an action-packed display at Daytona Int’l. Speedway, treated thousands of demo riders to their first rides on the 2014 models, and launched the new Indian Motorcycle® Riders Group. Company personnel also connected with vintage Indian Motorcycle enthusiasts at their annual Bike Week gathering, and rode along on a group ride up the coast to St. Augustine.

The new Indian Motorcycle® Riders Group (IMRG) was introduced during Daytona Bike Week 2014. The I.M.R.G. provides Indian Motorcycle owners and their friends with special member benefits and the opportunity to connect with fellow riders. Local I.M.R.G. chapters are forming in conjunction with Indian Motorcycle dealerships, and these chapters help dealerships host open houses, demo events, and charity rides, they hold chapter meetings and parties, enjoy group rides, and more.

Among the motorcycles making the 11-day, 3,350-mile trip across America in the Cannon Ball Centennial Ride was “Elnora,” a specially equipped Indian Chief Classic. The bike, which was beefed up for the extensive off-road riding in remote desert and mountain areas, was ridden from San Diego to New York City. Riders accurately traced the legendary route first ridden 100 years earlier by Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker on a 1914 Indian V-Twin.

4 named the Indian Chief as its 2014 Cruiser of the Year, and in the process honored both the Indian Chief Classic and Indian Chief Vintage. The editors praised the brand “for creating such an authentic machine. Authentic, that’s the right word for the Indian Chief, the proper blend of history and technology seemingly without compromise.”

American Luxury rolled onto the open road in late July when the all-new Indian Roadmaster was introduced. Christened with a historic Indian Motorcycle model name, the Indian Roadmaster carries riders into a new generation of luxury touring. It is equipped with comfort and convenience features that deliver an incredible ride experience; ample storage space, including a large, lockable trunk; and advanced electronics such as premium audio and Bluetooth® connectivity.


The talk of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally was the historic unveiling of the all-new Indian Scout. It marked the return of one of the most esteemed names in high-performance motorcycle history. The sporty new Indian Scout was introduced on a Saturday night at a special downtown Sturgis site that featured a Wall of Death. The Wall of Death riders took a custom-painted new Indian Scout up on the wall. The 2015 Indian Scout is a stylish, modern cruiser with a 69ci liquid-cooled engine churning out 100 horsepower.

The Indian Motorcycle Inaugural Ride for I.M.R.G. members featured perfect October weather, scenic Tennessee hills and country roads, an incredible BBQ lunch at the Jack Daniels Distillery, and great new Indian Motorcycle friends. The Inaugural Ride in late October was a tremendous success as hundreds of riders logged thousands of great miles during some unforgettable days in Nashville and rural Tennessee.

Steve Menneto, Vice President Motorcycles, was named Motorcyclist of the Year by Motorcyclist Magazine. The editors honored him for his vision and leadership as Indian Motorcycle was relaunched with a new model lineup in 2013 and continued its momentum and lineup growth in 2014. He also received the V-Twin Excellence Award as 2014 Industry Leader of the Year, and was elected in 2014 to serve a two-year term on the Motorcycle Industry Country Board of Directors.


As part of the lead-up to the introduction of the new Indian Motorcycle models, Indian Motorcycle displayed and started the powerful new Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin engine in March at Daytona Bike Week. “Honoring Our Past. Powering Our Future” was the theme of the event, which included TV star Mike Wolfe. The Thunder Stroke 111 was unveiled on a stage at a party on Main Street in Daytona Beach, and when it was fired up, the overflow crowd was thrilled. Plus, a replica of the Munro Special streamliner – powered by a Thunder Stroke 111 – was driven into the party. The engine and streamliner were subsequently displayed at the Indian Motorcycle exhibit at Daytona Int’l. Speedway throughout Bike Week.

History was made on the night of Saturday, August 3, outside the Sturgis [S.D.] Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame, where the new generation of Indian Motorcycle models was unveiled to an audience filling Main Street and a global audience following the action online. Company officials rode the all-new 2014 Indian Chief Classic, Indian Chief Vintage, and Indian Chieftain onto elevated platforms outside the museum, with TV star and Indian Motorcycle collector Mike Wolfe among those taking part. All three models were powered by the all-new Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin. As soon as the new models were introduced, a large fleet of the bikes was unloaded from trucks at a demo ride site at the edge of town, and the first Indian Motorcycle Demo Rides were offered the following day.

A fleet of demo trucks began bringing the latest Indian Motorcycle models to riders from coast to coast starting in 2013. Each year, tens of thousands of riders enjoy the Indian Motorcycle riding experience at demo events held at motorcycle rallies and Indian Motorcycle dealerships.


On April 19, Polaris Industries, manufacturer of snowmobiles, off-road vehicles (ORVs), small electric-powered vehicles, and parent company of Victory Motorcycles, announced the acquisition of Indian Motorcycle. Manufacturing was relocated to the Polaris production facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and engineering was moved primarily to the Polaris Product Development Center in Wyoming, Minnesota.2011


Stellican Ltd., a London-based private equity firm, purchased the Indian Motorcycle assets and established an Indian Motorcycle Company manufacturing facility in Kings Mountain, N.C. A modest number of Indian Chief units with 105-ci V-twin engines were produced between 2008-2011, when Stellican sold Indian Motorcycle to Polaris Industries Inc.



Indian Motorcycle Company of America went bankrupt and ended production.


Brand-exclusive production of Indian Motorcycle models resumed in 1998. A merger of nine companies formed the Indian Motorcycle Company of America (IMCA), which opened a production facility in Gilroy, California. The IMCA produced Chief, Scout, and Spirit models powered by engines acquired from S&S Cycle, Inc.


After Floyd Clymer’s death, his attorney, Alan Newman, acquired the Indian Motorcycle trademark and continued to sell small bikes carrying the Indian brand name. Most of these bikes were produced in Taiwan and had displacements between 50cc and 175cc. Other units were rebranded Italian mini-bikes. Sales declined throughout the 1970s and operations ceased in 1977.


Indian Motorcycle performance fueled Burt Munro’s dogged pursuit of a world land speed record. The underfinanced New Zealander would not be denied, and he and his heavily modified Indian Scout finally set a world record of 183.586 mph in 1967 on the Bonneville Salt Flats. The record still stands, and, in fact, the speed was corrected to 184.087 mph by the AMA in 2014. Munro was 68 years old when he set the record, and his story was later the basis for the popular motion picture, “The World’s Fastest Indian.” The bike on which he set the record started as a 1926 600cc Indian Scout.



Associated Motorcycles sold all Indian Motorcycle rights to Joseph Berliner, who never used the brand name.


Associated Motorcycles purchased Indian Sales Corporation.


Brockhouse Engineering purchased the rights to the Indian Motorcycle name and sold imported Royal Enfield models branded as Indian Motorcycle models until 1960.


Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company ceased operations and discontinue\d production of all models.


Racers Bobby Hill, Bill Tuman, and Ernie Beckman dominated on dirt and road courses in the late-1940s and into the 1950s. Among their signature wins were three straight Springfield Mile victories. Hill won the Springfield Mile in 1951 and 1952 and Tuman won it in 1953. The three also won season points titles and major events from coast to coast.


John Brockhouse replaces Rogers as president of Indian Motorcycle Company.

The Indian Chief received new, telescopic front forks, and its V-twin displacement was increased to 80-ci or 1300cc. Additional lightweight models, the Warrior and Warrior TT, were introduced.


Company President Ralph B. Rogers and a team of executives toured the country to introduce new vertical twin, 440cc Indian Scout models and vertical single, 220cc Indian Arrow models. These were viewed as sporty, lightweight models that could compete for sales against the growing number of lightweight foreign imports.


The first post-war lineup consisted only of the Indian Chief as design and production were ramped up for consumer models after being focused on military bikes during the war.


The Du Pont brothers sold the company to Ralph B. Rogers. Rogers also purchased the Torque Manufacturing Co., in part to utilize the talents of former Indian Motorcycle engineer G. Briggs Weaver, who worked for Torque and was designing several models Rogers wanted Indian Motorcycle to produce.


Indian Motorcycle was producing the Model 841 for the U.S. Army. The Model 841 was powered by a 45-ci, side-valve V-twin, with cylinders longitudinally at a 90-degree angle. The engine was air-cooled and the bike used shaft drive. With its focus on production of military motorcycles, for the United States and its allies, the company provided very few units for consumers.


Of the 10,431 units the company produced, 5,000 were built for the French government for use in the early stages of WW II.

The new models featured stylish skirted fenders and full chain guards, and the Indian Chief and Indian Four received a new sprung frame.


The Jackpine Gypsies, a Sturgis, S.D., Indian Motorcycle club, held a race called the Black Hills Classic that went on to be held annually and evolved into the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The driving force behind the event was J.C. (Clarence) “Pappy” Hoel, the local Indian Motorcycle dealer.

Several Indian Motorcycle production models featured instrument panels atop their fuel tanks.


Ed Kretz won the first Daytona 200 on a race-prepped Indian Sport Scout. Running 200 miles on the historic beach race course that included running sand and on the paved Highway A1A on each lap, Kretz won in impressive fashion despite falling twice during the race.


In mid-1935, Indian Motorcycle introduced the 1936 “upside-down” Four, which had an EOI – exhaust over intake – design. The exhaust valves were on top and the inlet valves and carburetor were below.


The Sport Scout was introduced and featured stylish flared fenders and, on the sides of the fuel tank, the headdress graphic with the Indian Motorcycle script logo. The engine was a stressed member of the chassis for strength and weight savings, and the had a 45-ci engine.


The nation’s poor economy depressed motorcycle sales, including those of Indian Motorcycle, which produced only 1,667 units in 1933. The company did introduce the new Motoplane, essentially a 45-ci version of the Scout Pony. It was the only year the Motoplane was produced.


The Series 101 Scout was replaced by the new Model 203 Scout, which was essentially a Scout engine in an Indian Chief frame. Plus, the Scout Pony was introduced, a 30.50-ci twin that was akin to a two-cylinder Prince, the single that had been dropped from the line in 1929. The Scout Pony was in the lineup from 1932-1941.


The company resumed introducing annual model lineups, usually around Labor Day each year.


E. Paul Du Pont sold his share of DuPont automobile to Indian Motorcycle and, along with his brother Francis, bought a large share of Indian Motorcycle stock. E. Paul forced out the company’s existing management team, and put Loring F. “Joe” Hosley, in charge of day-to-day operations at the Springfield factory. Hosley had previously been production manager at DuPont Motors, a car manufacturer.


The company purchased the Hartford Outboard Motor Company and began producing outboard motors in the same plant where motorcycles were produced. The company also produced other non-motorcycle products such as shock absorbers, ventilators, electric refrigerators, and even cars, but these ventures did not benefit the company’s bottom line.

The Prince single was dropped from the lineup, and the Indian Ace name was dropped in favor of the Indian Four, which was built on an all-Indian Motorcycle frame.


From 1928-1931, there were no dated models, such as a 1928 model, because the company adopted a stance of releasing new or improved product as soon as it was ready for market, not releasing model year lineups. That said, it was in 1928 that the Indian Ace, with the first Indian Motorcycle-built four, replaced the previous model with the Ace engine.

The original Indian Scout was replaced by the new Series 101 Indian Scout, which featured a new frame with more fork rake, longer wheelbase, and lower seat. It used the 45-ci, 750cc V-twin engine.


Indian Motorcycle introduced the 45-ci, 750cc V-twin engine, essentially a larger version of the Scout engine. This engine was a "happy combination of bore, stroke, and other factors, and the motor seemed to work better than it should have." It was introduced on a Police Special, a Scout frame with this larger engine, which would go on to be viewed as one of the best engines Indian Motorcycle ever built.

Indian Motorcycle purchased Ace Motor Corporation and released the Indian Ace based on the Ace inline four-cylinder engine. This meant the 1927 Indian Motorcycle lineup had a single, twin, and four-cylinder models. This engine was used from 1928-1942 in models such as the Indian Ace and later the Indian Four.


The single-cylinder, side-valve, 21.35-ci, 350cc Prince was introduced. It didn’t sell well, especially as an export because a steep increase in motorcycle tariffs virtually eliminated sales to Great Britain. The Standard was dropped from the lineup in 1925.


Indian Motorcycle introduced a 74-ci, 1200cc engine in a model called the “Big Chief.” It became the industry’s best-selling model, and rounded out an Indian Motorcycle lineup that also included the Scout, Indian Chief, and the Standard.

In November, the company changed its name from The Hendee Manufacturing Company to The Indian Motocycle Company – no “r” in motocycle when the word was used with the name Indian.


The Indian Chief was introduced. Considered a “big Scout,” it had a 61ci, 1000cc engine based on the Powerplus. The Powerplus, meanwhile, was renamed the “Standard” so buyers wouldn’t think it had more power than the new Indian Chief.


In October 1919, the company introduced the first Indian Scout, a mid-sized model with a 606cc side-valve V-twin engine. It was reliable, fast, and highly maneuverable, and it enticed many people to start riding.


The United States entered into WW I and Indian Motorcycle dedicated much of its production to the war effort. As a result, dealers had limited inventory and retail sales dropped significantly. The company provided the U.S. military with nearly 50,000 motorcycles from 1917-1919, most of them based on the Indian Powerplus model. This durable, dependable, and powerful model served the troops well.


Co-founder George Hendee resigned as company president.

The company introduced the Powerplus, one of its most legendary engines. The 1000cc engine was a 42-degree V-twin flathead with side-valves. The valves on the side resulted in cleaner and quieter operation, and the engine produced more power than its predecessors, giving selected models a top speed of 60 mph. The 1916 model lineup also included the new Featherweight single-cylinder two-stroke, which lasted only one year in the line.


Co-founder George Hendee resigned as general manager but remained the company president.

Racing on a motorcycle with an early experimental version of a side-vale engine, Erwin “Cannonball” Baker set the fast time in a Three-Flag run from Canada to Mexico via California, which he completed in three and a half days.


The Hendee Special was introduced and it featured the first electric start on a motorcycle. However, there was no generator, and batteries of the time were not always reliable, so the model was only in the lineup for one year. The 1914 model line also featured electric lights on every model.

On May 14, Erwin “Cannonball” Baker rode from San Diego to the east Coast in a new record time of 11 days, 12 hours, 10 minutes.


Indian Motorcycle introduced the swing arm rear suspension design called the Cradle Spring Frame. It was featured on all 1913 models, all of which were painted Indian Red.

Oscar Hedstrom, one of the company’s original partners and the driving force of innovative Indian Motorcycle engineering, retired on March 1.

It was a year of record sales as 32,000 Indian Motorcycle units were sold.


It was a year of significant racing victories, including: Volney Davis rode from San Francisco to New York City in a record time of 20 days, 9 hours, 11 minutes; Indian Motorcycle racers Oliver Godfrey, Charles Franklin, and A.J. Moorehouse finished first, second, and third, respectively, in the Isle of Man Senior TT; and Erwin G. “Cannonball” Baker won The President’s Race in Indianapolis.


Indian Motorcycle introduced several advancements on its 1910 models, including a leaf-spring front fork and an automatic oil pump. Some models also had a 2-speed transmission, floorboards, starter hand cranks, and the Indian Motorcycle script logo.


Indian Motorcycle introduced the “loop frame” that was more similar to racing motorcycle design than the previous “diamond frame” that originated with bicycles.


The company moved from the Worthington Street facility to a new factory at State Street and Wilbraham Road in Springfield. The larger plant and expanded workforce let Indian Motorcycle begin producing its own engines, ending its contract with the Aurora company.

American T.K. Hastings rode an Indian Motorcycle to victory in a 1,000-mile reliability trial in England.


Indian Motorcycle dealers George Holden (of Cleveland) and Louis J. Mueller (of Springfield) rode an Indian Motorcycle from San Francisco to New York City in a then-record 31 1/2 days without any mechanical problems.

The first V-twin factory race bike was built, and Indian Motorcycle models continued their impressive string of racing success. A version of the racing engine was introduced in consumer models for the 1907 model year, making the 39-ci (633 cc), 42-degree V-twin the first American V-twin production motorcycle engines.


The earliest bikes were Royal Blue or the optional black paint, but this year the company introduced a deep red called Vermillion, which became better known as “Indian Red.”


Company co-founder and chief engineer Oscar Hedstrom rode one of his motorcycles to a new world speed record of 56 mph. The same year, he also won an endurance race from New York City to Springfield and back.


The first Indian Motorcycle was sold to a retail customer. It had chain drive and a single-cylinder engine built by the Aurora [Illinois] Automatic Machinery Co., the company with whom Hendee and Hedstrom contracted for engine production.

In its public racing debut, an Indian Motorcycle won an endurance race from Boston to New York City.


Bicycle racing promoter and former bicycle racing champion George Hendee hired Oscar Hedstrom to build gasoline engine-powered bicycles to pace bicycle races. In February, Hedstrom began work on the motorized pacing bicycle in a shop in Middletown, Connecticut. He completed the first motorized bike in May and shipped it the 38 miles to Hendee in Springfield, Massachusetts. The machine, and the other two bikes Hedstrom built in 1901, proved to be powerful and reliable, establishing the company’s reputation for outstanding performance. Later that year the company’s first factory was established on Worthington Street in downtown Springfield.


George M. Hendee founded a bicycle production company called the Hendee Manufacturing Company. The bicycles carried brand names such as Silver King, Silver Queen, and American Indian, which was shortened to simply “Indian” and became Hendee’s primary brand name.