The history of the Indian motorcycle is a legendary one and staring in 2008, you can own your own new Indian motorcycle. The Indian Motorcycle Company opened a new factory in North Carolina and will be producing new motorcycles with the look and feel of the historic racers. Old models have an almost cult-like following, making them hard to come by. New models will let everyone have the opportunity to own one of these great machines.
The Indian motorcycle was designed and created by George M. Hendee and Carl Oscar Hedstrom. The 1904 Indian Single introduced the signature red color along with the company to the United States. In the years that followed, the Indian’s popularity increased.
The Indian soon become known for its racing ability. In 1911, Indians placed first, second, and third at the Isle of Man TT. Erwin “Cannonball” Baker rode one across the United States in 1914, setting a record of 11 days and 12 hours. Other riders set additional records in the early twentieth century with the bike.
The Scout and the Chief V-Twins were introduced in the early 1920s and would become the company’s best selling models. The two cycles had reputations for reliability and strength over other motorcycles of the time, including Harley Davidson’s. Models of the 1930s often featured the head dress logo on the gas tank which became a much sought after logo.
Indian motorcycles were used in both world wars to help soldiers navigate quickly through various terrains. The company kept up production during the wars, although racing was suspended. The company also manufactured airplane engines, boat motors, and bicycles during the early twentieth century.
During the late 1940s, the company experienced a decline under new leadership. All manufacture halted in the early 1950s. Some imported motorcycles were given the name Indian, but the legitimate trademark rights became mired under competing claims.
A company in Gilroy, California began manufacture in the late 1990s of motorcycles under the Indian name after they purchased the trademark. The motorcycles have been known as the Gilroy Indians. However, the company folded in 2003.
In July 2006, the Indian Motorcycle Company was reformed and it began making plans for production of new Indian motorcycles. They plan to release a Chief model with the classic fenders.
The new Indian motorcycle will rest on a long and storied history. Enthusiasts are looking forward to the new release and the new model will introduce a whole new generation to the motorcycle line.