Indian Indians

December 20, 2013

All Posts, News

On January 22 of the new year, Polaris Industries will begin selling its Indian brand motorcycles in India. Polaris began selling Victory motorcycles in India last month. India is the world’s second largest motorcycle market.

Polaris will sell all three Indian models currently in production – the Chieftain, Chief Vintage and Chief Classic. Harley-Davidson and Britain’s Triumph are also active in the Indian market.

Harley has been exporting “complete knockdown kits” to India from the United States. The kits, basically a disassembled motorcycle, are reassembled at a plant in northern India. Importing the Harleys as kits and assembling them on the subcontinent significantly reduces Indian import tariffs and reduces the cost of buying a Harley there. Harley has also announced that it will begin selling new and smaller Harleys in India. Those 500cc and 750cc bikes will be built entirely in India.

Polaris intends to export completely assembled, American built Indians to India. In the United States, the least expensive Indian model, called the Chief Classic, has a sticker price of $18,999. In India the same bike may sell for as little as $32,372. The top of the line Indian, the Chieftain, costs $22,999 in the United States. In India the bike may cost as much as $56,665.

Polaris Indians

Polaris began making Victory Motorcycles in 1998. Victory directly competes with Harley-Davidson in the United States and most Victory owners think it is the superior motorcycle. Polaris bought the Indian brand three years ago and introduced the current models at Sturgis last August.

All three Indians are powered by a new, fuel injected, 111 cubic inch motor called the “Thunderstroke” that delivers 119 foot-pounds of torque. The bikes feature a six speed transmission

Polaris Indians are 800 pound nostalgia wagons featuring fender skirts and war bonnets. Indians have a 5.5 gallon gas tank which the company believes should keep the bike running for about 220 miles.

The Indian Brand

Indian was founded in 1901 In Springfield, Massachusetts, built the first V-Twin engines, was important in American motorcycle racing through the Second World War and went out of business in 1953. Multiple entrepreneurs tried to revive the brand during the Rich Urban Biker boom of the 1980s and 90s. For years, bikers joked that if you wanted a new Indian you should buy a 40-year-old Harley.

There were attempts to revive the motorcycles in 1955, 1963, 1970, 1994 and 1998. The Indian Motorcycle Company of America owned the brand from 1999 through 2003. Indian Motorcycle Company built a limited number of motorcycles in North Carolina between 2006 and 2011. Minnesota based Polaris brought the rights to call motorcycles “Indians” three years ago.


, ,

18 Responses to “Indian Indians”

  1. fayettenamhoe Says:

    now, Indian motors with their total loss oil, buy me a quart, 60 grade, so sorry she lied to me, pancakes rule, blockheads too, buy a name, be sure to be branded as you putt and put down the road, don’t get hurt, to quote “Lou Reed”—- “blood on the curb” not on my side walk she still smiles at me, even when i’m dying, hahahahahahaha

  2. fayettenamhoe Says:

    dam baby buy me another putdown, she haunts my dreams, i need anther obsolite garbage can to ride

  3. vc Says:

    Im into the Indians. My father was a WWII vet who instilled the “If it ain’t British or American keep your ass off it” mentality in me. I’ve owned dozens of Triumphs and Harleys plus one Norton. While I don’t have anything against the Victory bikes, they’re just not for me. They’re too streamlined. Theres not enough of a mechanical look about them for me. Not so with the Indian. They hit the mark. Finally a company with enough of a financial backing to go somewhere with the line. If they build an in-line four that stays as true to the originals as well as the new Chiefs, I’ll sign the loan papers in a heartbeat

  4. Indethinker Says:

    Indie, what loyal Harley rider could let that “oldest motorcycle brand in the world still in production” slide?!

    Enfield was dissolved in1971, and production didn’t start in india tilln1956. The name might be old, but…

    Enfields started in 1901 in Britain, continued thru 1970, the Enfields made in India were made under license from 1956 even after the UK factories closed they kept going and are still producting to the present day thus making them the oldest continually manufactuered bike company in the world. The oldest continuously producted model is the Bullet since 1948 I have a ’67 which I’m pottering around on in Baja at the present time.
    It’s my understanding HD were founded in 1903, and there was a 3 week strike in the late 1960’s which stopped production, not splitting grey hairs but us single thumper riders have to grab what ever little credit we can ;-)

  5. VINCE 1%er Says:

    @Mike184 :
    Yes the Mo.Co. has NO spine or intestinal fortitude(or Budget & Balls…?)
    To compete with smaller engine Guys Schooled,Backed,Endorsed or Supported from S&S (like MyselF) to swing the V-Twin Thing into Full Gear and Open Public Alignment and Competition without the MAJOR $$$$$ BACKING.
    WHATEVER Happened to “Run What Ya Brung” Bracket and one off drag Racing…?
    I’m a PROUD and New School S&S Big ” Guy…..but I RESPECT & APPRECIATE The OLD SCHOOL Realm and all of the REAL DEAL Guys that helped US Get There -TODAY.

    I Have an 89 FXR Street Rig /Everyday Ride that runs HIGH 9’s on PUMP GAS which I’ll Pilot & Race anyone from H-D’s New School and Antagonistic Assinine /Corporate Bullshit Realm/Environment Team. These New Wave/TODAY H-D Assclowns have NO Idea what the Real Deal IS on the street with their belt rear wheel driven garbage wagons and 110 Screami Eagle shitbox Twin Cams as opposed to what I’ve Been Building,RACING and Riding for Years.
    I’ve earned MORE $$$ against the new crowd CVO and other sissys w/their Stroked & Otherwise baFukkingloney Bikes and Bullshit Engines than I can Print.

    On The Other Hand…I’d Ride a Chieftan to Sturgis If Offered the Chance……than Burn that skinny tire offa the RIM at the Smokeout-only to walk away Sad & saying: OK…..
    Vince 1%ER

  6. Mike 184 Says:


    Kinda a chickenshit move by the Mo. Co. to pull funding from AHRDA. Looks like will only have 1 Harley drag to go to this year in Rockingham and that will be IHRA Nitrojam. I think a few moved on over to NHRA, but we used to get 2 AHRDA races here every year…. Sux. Ray Price HD actually funded the last race here of 2013…Which coincided with a big run.. to the south… I had a blast for sure!

  7. skycechyx Says:

    Royal Enfields are also cool looking bikes, I like almost all bikes except those cafe racers & the new style baggers.
    Steel Horse Saloon here in Phx is having a European bike show this Sunday, they’ve listed a few bikes I’ve never heard of.

  8. Sieg Says:

    Indie, what loyal Harley rider could let that “oldest motorcycle brand in the world still in production” slide?!

    Enfield was dissolved in1971, and production didn’t start in india tilln1956. The name might be old, but…

    Sweet little bikes, tho.


  9. indethinker Says:

    biggest sellers in India are Royal Enfields that have been made continuously there since around 1956, Royal Enfield is now the oldest motorcycle brand in the world still in production with the Bullet model enjoying the longest motorcycle production run of all time, if you like an “old” thumper with modern technology check them out !

  10. VINCE 1%er Says:

    FF ; I’m Not exactly “off” of 95 or 91 here in Connecticut but ask Rebel to forward Me your email address and I’ll be happy to reply to you.
    @ Paladin :
    I agree with Your opinions and technical points regarding the “Indian” V-twin.

    To be honest – I’m an exclusive S&S 145″ or bigger or TP 131″ or bigger Evo Engine Builder/User. They Both have 1 Piece Forged Cranks,Pins,Flywheel Builds – and I use Titanium Rods and Valvetrain components (expensive but stronger than God Himself). Also the JIMS USA and R&R Motors are Great as well (all 1 Piece cranks,pins etc). We also have Paul Matyka up here in Bristol Connecticut that builds the *Ultimate* 160″ and UP to 200″ plus V Twin Monsters that run on Gasoline. All AHDRA guys go to Paul & He’s the real deal “Guru” as far as Hi-Performance American V Twin goes.

    (Even Vance & Hines and H-D Screamin Eagle are afraid of Racing Pauls Engines)

    But I Thank You for your input & reply regarding the Indian.
    A Good technical gearhead/motorhead conversation is much more gratifying & satisfying than some of the other “pissing up a rope” threads & other stuff (but I Digress).
    In Closing I Hope Everyone HERE had a Great Christmas & are Looking Forward to a Healthy,Happy & Prosperous NEW YEAR 2014.

    FUCK ALL the feds,cops,pigs, lapd,nypd,ct state pig assholes,atf,barnyard undercovers,fbi(famous but incompetent) ciccone,steve “can I lick your ass cooke”,jay RAT CUNT fake bitch scumbag dobyns, And ANYONE who doesn’t think like Me. (Smile,Wink Wink and Smile again).
    Vince 1%ER

  11. Sieg Says:

    Indians were most excellent machines. Years ahead of their time, their technology put Harley’s to shame. I’m a lifelong HD owner, but the truth is the truth. They were kinda like Packards, or Tuckers. Too far ahead of the curve to make enough money to stay open.

    That said, I can definitely see why people want to resurrect them.

    I went into the Mercury plant in Stillwater, Oklahoma, to do some service work on a machine there. They were making the LT-5 Corvette engine there then, and were making the prototype engines for the “new” Indians. They had a few done and on the test-stand, got to hear it run, and it sounded like a little freakin Chevy. I THINK that was when the father/son combo owned the marque, I disremember their name, but they put some serious money into the gig and lost it all.

    Apropos of nothing at all.


  12. slycechyx Says:

    I love my little Sporty, but have always love the look of Indians & hats off to them for never changing their looks.

  13. Cap'n Bill Says:

    I don’t understand why so many different companies try to bring Indian back from the grave.
    But, then, I don’t understand a lot of things…
    Respects & Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays, etc., & so forth…

  14. Rich B Says:

    I’m looking forward to the Scouts. Hopefully, they’ll do up a 74 or 80 cubic inch Thunderstroke and put it into a lightweight Bobber type bike.

  15. Paladin Says:

    Vince 1%er,

    I don’t own an Indian. However; technologically, the Indian’s engine surpasses the Harley’s in many ways. Some of which are: 1) The Indian’s flywheels, crank pin, output and pinion shaft are of a one piece design, which eliminates any possibility of flywheel shift. 2) The Indian’s connecting rods run side-by-side. This eliminates the Harley’s weaker, male/female rod setup. 3) Because the Indian’s rods run on plain, automotive style bearings, they have a greater load carrying capability than the Harley’s rods which run on roller bearings. Plain bearings have a greater load bearing surface area.

    If the Indian motorcycle bores you, that’s fine. But to state that the parts you use to build your bikes are superior and are what real motorcycles are made of, just ain’t so.

    I too have built my share of custom, high performance bikes and cars. Rebel has, and can send you pictures of my latest ride. If Rebel didn’t save them, I can re-send them, and he can forward them to you.

    Long May You Ride (to those that deserve to),


  16. Sieg Says:

    Indian in india…the Gods are mourning.

    First big-sled I ever rode was a late-forties Chief, full-bagger, suicide, all the fun stuff. My buddies big brother had jut finishing restoring it, this is in the sixties, so it was pretty labor-intensive, and had just gotten the tanks, with the full headdress, put back on.

    We were drooling, and he fired it up, got off, and told me to take it around the block.

    “but what if I drop it, Billy?”


    Now, I was just shy of 13, close to six feet tall, and proly went maybe a hundred pounds. Took it around the block-in first gear-about five times, and the rest is history.


  17. YYZ Skinhead Says:

    You know what would be really cool of H-D? Exporting American workers to assemble their bikes once the component parts arrive in Asia.

    YYZ Skinhead

  18. FF Says:

    @Vince 1%

    I have an Army Reserve drill coming up in January in New Windsor CT. If your shop is off 95 or 91, if I have time on the way up or back I’d like to stop by your shop and check out your work. Thanks.

    Peace and Respect


  19. VINCE 1%er Says:

    While Indian is a decently made ,Nostalgic ,OLD SCHOOL DERIVATIVE STYLE, DESIGN and Cool Motorcycle-I’ll stick with MY TRIED,TRUE AND SUPERIOR S&S MOTORS and BAKER DRIVETRAIN Transmission & Primary LOADED Custom Composites that I build INTO SMALL PRO-STREET Chassis with FORM FIT & FUNCTION at THE FOREFRONT OF What Real Motorcycles are made of.
    WHILE I CAN Appreciate the INDIAN Legacy , Design and Style……It just bores me *IF*I had to ride one and be stuck with it in lieu of another older H-D or a a basket case that I can turn into a REAL Killer Ride with my vision & talent.

Leave a Reply