When it concerns time-honored American motorcycles, Indian is definitely a challenger for the peak spot through loyal fans and riders around the world.But what is the history of Indian? take it a ride through us together we explore the creation and also adversity of one American favorite.

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Table that Contents:

1897: George M. Hendee started his bicycle production company and referred to as it the Hendee production Company. One of the brand surname bicycles was dubbed the American Indian, which was eventually shortened come be called “Indian” and declared together Hendee’s main brand name. The surname stuck, and also so a legend to be born.

1901: This was vital year for Indian. It to be in may of this year that thefirst gasoline-engine Indian bicyclewas completed by Oscar Hedstrom who was tasked by Hendee to design an engine-powered bicycle to speed bicycle races. The machine was completed in might of that year and also soon established Indian’s reputation together a robust and also reliable machine. This same year, Indian additionally built its very first factory in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.


1902: The very first motorcycle under the Indian name, i beg your pardon featured a chain drive and also single-cylinder engine, was sold to a retail customer. That year, Indian had actually its gyeongju debut, wherein it won an endurance race from Boston to new York City. A soon-to-be award-winning history of racing was established.

1903: Oscar Hedstrom, who was the company co-founder and chief engineer, rode among his Indian design a record-setting rate of 56 mph.

1904: when the first bikes were only available in royal Blue or black paint, Indian quickly released a brand-new color option that came to be a clip for the brand: Indian Red.

1906: Indian built their an initial V-twin factory race bike and also continued to include a wire of gyeongju victories to your name. Soon, a version of the racing engine was watched on customer 1907 models. The 633 cc, 42-degree V-twin to be the first American V-twin manufacturing motorcycle engines.

1910: In the years between 1906 and also 1910, several advancements were made consisting of a “loop frame” similar to racing design, leaf-spring prior fork, and an automatic oil pump. This year additionally saw the development of the well known Indian script logo which is still found on their motorcyclestoday.

1916: The firm introduces the Powerplus engine, a legend 1000cc engine with a 42-degree V-twin flathead v side valves because that cleaner and quieter operation. The Powerplus produced much more power and also resulted in equipments that can have a top speed of 60 mph.

1917: When the United says entered people War I, Indian Motorcycle dedicated its manufacturing abilities come the battle effort. The company detailed the U.S. Armed forces with motorcycles based upon the Indian Powerplus model, and virtually 50,000 motorcycles were provided by the troops.

1919: The an initial of a legacy, the Indian Scout, to be produced. The Scout, a mid-sized model that to be fast and highly maneuverable, had a 606 cc side-valve V-twin engine.

1922: Indian introduced what they taken into consideration a “Big Scout,” the Indian Chief. The bike had actually a 61ci, 1000cc engine the was based on the Powerplus. One year later, the large Chief was released. It had a 74ci, 1200 cc engine and also quickly came to be the industry’s best-seller.

1927: Indian released the Police unique which ran a 45ci, 750cc V-twin engine ~ above a reconnaissance frame. This specific model would come to be known as among the ideal engines ever developed by Indian Motorcycle.

1928: The brand-new Series 101 Indian Scout replaced the original Indian Scout. The series 101 featured a 45-ci, 750cc V-twin engine, longer wheelbase, lower seat, and a brand-new frame with an ext fork rake.

1934: Although the company introduced yearly model lineups approximately Labor Day every year, the country was in the throes the the great Depression. Motorcycle sales suffered, yet the firm introduced such models as the sport Scout, Motoplane, enlightenment Pony, and also Model 203 Scout.

1938: an Indian Motorcycle club referred to as the "Jackpine Gypsies" the end of Sturgis, south Dakota, hosted a race referred to as the black color Hills standard that prospered to come to be the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

1940: The people was inching closer come war, and Indianproduced 5,000 systems for the French federal government to usage in the at an early stage days that WWII.


Indian Motorcycles in WWII: just as Harley-Davidson had the WLA, Indianproduced theModel 841 because that the U.S. Army. It was powered by a 45-ci, side-valve V-twin air-cooled engine. Indian concentrated primarily ~ above the war effort, and also very few units were produced for consumers.

1948: Company president Ralph B. Rogers toured the country to introduce the new vertical single, 220cc Indian arrowhead models and also the upright twin, 440cc Indian reconnaissance models. This sporty, lightweight motorcycles were seen as an excellent competition against imports.

1951: Famed Indian racers such together Bill Tuman, Ernie Beckman, and also Bobby Hill dominated the dirt track in the late 40’s and also early 50’s as component of the “Indian Wrecking Crew.”

1953: Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing agency ceased operations and discontinued production of all models.

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As any type of fan knows, after the halt in operations developing motorcycles, Indian continued to do their note in background by overcoming the track and making the document books. In 1967, 68-year-old Burt Munro and also his amendment 1926 600cc Indian Scout collection a human being record that 184.087 mph top top the Bonneville Salt Flats. The document still stands come this day, and also Munro’s story was later on told in the well-known movie, “The world Fastest Indian.”

In 2003, the company declared bankruptcy and were bought and sold a couple of times v the comes years. Not much of Indian to be heard until 2011 once the company was got by Polaris Industries. Because then, the agency has on regular basis been unveiling brand-new models, designs, and breakthroughs to your lineups. By continuing to produce versatile enhancements to their historic roster, Indian Motorcycles have regulated to host onto the background of the agency with vintage architecture elements that include soul to their looks.