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http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/motorcycles/news/born-again-the-return-of-indian-motorcycles-15510955

When Steve Menneto, vice president of motorcycles at Polaris Industries, unveiled Indian's all-new Thunder Stroke 111 engine at Daytona Bike Week in March, motorcycle enthusiasts were giddy with anticipation. Polaris bought the nearly dormant Indian Motorcycle brand in 2011. Would the company be able to revive it? The undeniably beautiful piece of engineering didn't disappoint. But Indian's new Thunder Stroke also represents something deeper for throttle twisters: the restoration of one of America's most iconic motorcycle brands.

The original Indian motorcycle company was once a superstar. After its founding in 1901, Indian's bikes went on to win major international racing victories, and by the 1910s the company was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. Indian was technically innovative, too, introducing the first electric starter in 1914 and its first four-cylinder bike in 1927, providing serious competition for its principal American rival, Harley-Davidson.

Then disaster struck when management made a series of terrible business decisions, plunging the company into bankruptcy in 1953. For decades the brand foundered, with rights to the name changing hands numerous times and no all-new bikes being made until the late 1990s. Despite paying homage to the original Indian's flamboyant art deco styling, with its deeply valanced fenders, these newer Indians lacked advanced engineering and sales subsequently lagged.

"When I started at Polaris in 2008, we brought in the consulting firm McKinsey," Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries, says. "Their analysis said we built great bikes but could use a great name. That led to the acquisition of Indian." Using experience from its modest-selling Victory motorcycles and successful portfolio of off-road vehicles, Polaris began a fast-paced program to completely reengineer the Indian bikes and their engines, forgoing any parts sharing between its two motorcycle brands.

Every memorable motorcycle is built around a great engine, and Polaris has made a large investment in making the all-new Thunder Stroke 111 motor a force to reckon with. The engine's architecture and exterior sculpting echo classic Indian engines with their parallel pushrods and downward-facing exhausts. Engineers say it will produce a ground-pounding 115 lb-ft of torque, and it's no accident that the 111-cubic-inch V-twin is slightly bigger than Harley's grandest engine, the 110-cubic-inch twin cam.

Menneto is confident in Indian's future prospects. "We're capable of giving Harley a run for their money in technical features," he says. The all-new Indian bike, set to debut in August at the Sturgis, S.D., bike rally, will bear the brand's heralded Chief model name. With the price starting at $18,999, Indian executives say they can break even by capturing just 4 or 5 percent of the heavyweight cruiser market. That's not enough to cause panic in Milwaukee, where Harley oversees the company's 57 percent overall market share, but the bosses in Wisconsin can't be sleeping easy with the thought of their old rival and freshly engineered Indian machinery hitting the roads.

Read more: Born Again: The Return of Indian Motorcycles - Popular Mechanics
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Is it August yet? wac
 

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I'm not a huge Indian fan, but I dig their styling.
The question is: Can I put a Thunder Stroke 111 in my XCT? :)
 

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I'm not a huge Indian fan, but I dig their styling.
The question is: Can I put a Thunder Stroke 111 in my XCT? :)
There ya go, how bitchin would that be?
 

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Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full...

v3j97q.jpg
 

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Man, I want a food chain analogy for Victory too! Think we qualify as an apex predator? Like a mountain lion or an alligator or somethin? :ltr:
 

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I thought a mountain lion is a great symbol, American, big, sleek, powerful.

But then I remembered this
The Big Moe
 

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I am glad that there is another American made option out there but they don't quite do it for me. My grandfather had one after he got back from the Korean War and always raved about them, I wonder if the luster is gone? I think you will see Polaris advertise Indian like they have never advertised Victory. The article to me makes Victory seem like a niche bike, is that the case? Not for me!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I am glad that there is another American made option out there but they don't quite do it for me. My grandfather had one after he got back from the Korean War and always raved about them, I wonder if the luster is gone? I think you will see Polaris advertise Indian like they have never advertised Victory. The article to me makes Victory seem like a niche bike, is that the case? Not for me!
I see a lot of Victory motorcycle ads. One got me into the store for a $100 test ride challenge. I ended up buying a Kingpin that I test rode.

Harley Davidson does a much better job in-store at most locations but that's not part of the ad campaigns. Harley has a lot of help from a very loyal fanbase that markets for them.
 

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I thought a mountain lion is a great symbol, American, big, sleek, powerful.
I wonder how many people would see that and say "Wow, Jaguar makes bikes now, too?" :D
 

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Hate to disappoint but it is my opinion that most riders know the Indian is just a purchased badge bought and sold over the years and is not a company that has been in production since their inception and has come back from the brink three times, There is a Gilroy Indian for sale here, pristine with 3K miles and its been sitting for 8 months at $12K. Not exactly a collector but it LOOKS like a "real Indian" .

I fear "Indian" is to Polaris what "Star" is to Yamaha. A nice attempt at stepping out but no one will be fooled into buying the heritage of the Indian motorcycle company. Kind of like good Elvis Impersonator. Looks and sounds like the real thing...but it's not.

Polaris needs to stop bringing focus to Harley in their adverts too and quit licking HDs boots.

"According to Polk data, in 2012, for the fifth straight year, Harley-Davidson was the number one seller of new street motorcycles (all engine sizes) in the United States to young adults ages 18-34, women, African-Americans and Hispanics, as well as Caucasian men ages 35 plus. The newly available data shows that Harley-Davidson experienced a double-digit market share gain from 2008 to 2012 in the U.S.with these customer groups".

Harley is getting them young with $7K bikes. Polaris has no such market. People who are buying $20,000+ Harly baggers in the next couple weeks and months are well aware the Indian is coming and are still buying all the baggers HD can make. They are the same people who would rather pay $35K for a pristine new 1968 Camaro SS than a 2013 Camaro SS. The burping and belching,shaking and idiosyncrasies of that tractor motor are what they want. Not a another look a like of a defunct brand built bu a Snowmobile company this time around. They are not Victory buyers. They will like them well enough but like Victory before Indian, only a handful will step out of the dark side and into the light. The dealer network will still not be there.

Polaris won't be able to fool many or enough into thinking the Indian is an "Indian" with the same tradition and Heritage of Willie Davidson's miraculous return of the MOCO from the dead the third time. It will be an Indian look alike. Lots of pomp and glimmers will lead to the dilution of Victory if its successful. UNLESS they also release a $7000 "Scout" for the yougins buying up those 883s,

At the end of the day only people who want a "metric" wrapped in the US Flag will buy a Polaris product. Most will still want and buy a Harley "Gwaaatdaym" Davidson...yes some ONLY to answer the age old question when asked what kind of bike they ride ...... " a Harley"......... nothing else needs to be said. There are no follow up qualifying questions . no "Who makes that?" or at worse the "Why didn't you buy a Harley?" Then they have to go into the age old bashing mode. Jokes posers, oil spots, broken down, to justify their choice. This is exactly what Polaris is doing more subtlety in their advertising. But everyday People don't care about all that. they just will dismiss it as usual as "not being a Harley".

I also notice when people get a compliment from a Harley rider they post it like some kind of honor in their respective forums....I cannot imagine anyone in a Harley forum posting with pride how they got a complement from a Yamaha or Victory rider. It is what it is.

Polaris needs to start up their own tradition and heritage and keep their dealer base in the money. Stop discounting bikes like metrics. Protect the dealers. The Wilmington Polaris dealer gave up the bike line and kept the ATVs and power sports. Now Vic owners who bought bikes in Wilmington have to go all the way to Jacksonville for warranty service. That would piss me off.

Polaris needs to keep their dealer networks alive and more Harley like if they are going to try to emulate the heritage and tradition and hope for the Indian. Otherwise they will end up with another Gilroy sitting on some consignment floor with scared buyers.

I hope Indian does well But not well enough to dilute the Victory line. I don't see a lot of Harley owners any more than curious.
 

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Well, that's not a new concept. The Pretendian argument has more grey hair than a lot of folks. It's shot full of holes, but it's got legs.

There are kit car Lotuses that use Volkswagen powerplants and are summarily dismissed as posers regardless of how much work and care went into their construction. OTOH there are Lotus repops that use original prints and they get ribbons at Concourse d'Elegance because they are considered honest efforts to extend the marque.

Triumphs are Triumphs. The power of legacy is clear in some models. No direct lineage but a successful resurrection of an icon. Maybe in some back alley in London there's a bunch of ton uppers that call them Trump ups but to the huge majority of motorcyclists globally they are Triumphs. And no, most Triumph owners don't become Triumph owners by running out and buying restored Bonnies or TT's with their disposable income. They buy new ones. If the disposable income and garage space keeps coming, old Trumpets get a new home but the owners new Trumpets don't wait for an old 650 to join the stable to call themselves Triumph owners.

Having owned vintage and Gilroy and having been an antique guy since panheads were not old enough to qualify, I have heard all the Pretendian arguments by some of the most wikid hardcore Hendee aficionados. It's hokum. A bike is what it is. It's a commercial enterprise and the money, time and R&D that get it into the marketplace define it. If plastering the Indian script all over the tanks is what Polaris wants to do, then having bought that right it is their soap, shower and pecker and they can wash it as they see fit. They could take a 106 and put it in a scooter frame and call it an Indian and it would be.

Same as Kings Mountain, same as Gilroy who in their times got legal rights to sell a motorcycle sporting the Chiefs head. Same as a laundry list of Indian tribes, importers, repair manual tycoons and con men who failed to corral the rights to manufacture in their attempts insisting that they deserved the marque.

The Hendee ownership is a tale of corruption and ineptitude and the original machine suffered more than a decade of seeing the script pasted onto imported iron. Complaints about Indian not being original are in fact testimony to the carrying on of its storied history in the same fashion George and his bunch did with the original.

I won't presume success for Polaris but I will give them kudos for putting real muscle into the design of the engine. I doubt that if Indian had survived under it's original charter that it would have evolved into what the Polaris engine is. What the Polaris engine is though, is an oath to do an honest effort to bring Indian back. That much is clear and is why I will even bother with Sturgis again. This motor is the product of a vision to resurrect a great American icon. In an era when American manufacturing is practically extinct Polaris has not equivocated an iota. They are in it hard. I don't care if you call it apple pan dowdy. It's all balls.

One brand of motorcycle ever put the fear of bajeebuz into the MoCo. That at a time that Indian was in the ownership of some less than spectacular businessmen. If the worst that can be said about the new Indian is that it is in the hands of a multibillion dollar international motorsports conglomerate, I would venture to guess that it's in Harleys best interest to start stocking the snack room vending machines with Depends because things are going to get shittier than they already are.

Kaw sold a knock off that did pretty well. The owners worked hard to gussy it up to as close to original as they could manage right down to the script and the fringe. It succeeded largely, I think, because it was cheap. It ran well, it looked convincing, albeit 3/4 scale, but mostly it was cheap. Gilroys were not. Kings Mountains were not. 19k for a Polaris version is. In todays premium motorcycle marketplace you say you can sell a bike for under 20 then the marketplace will give you the chance to prove it. That number there likely has put Willies panties in a bigger bunch than anything else said about the new Indian.

Harley has sat on their gold plated BVD's and watched the "other" brands emulate them. This isn't emulation. Polaris is making Indian motorcycles and they are beating the drums, wearing the paint and doing the dance.
 

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Harley has sat on their gold plated BVD's and watched the "other" brands emulate them. This isn't emulation. Polaris is making Indian motorcycles and they are beating the drums, wearing the paint and doing the dance.
At the end of the day the statement will be the same....

"It's not a Harley" It IS emulation though. There is no lineage to the original. Its a Polaris stencil. Their idea of an "Indian could have been" Polaris is a company that invented the snowmobile in 1954 and started making bikes 12 years ago! This is an attempt to revive an Iconic brand long dead once again. Victory has done well but Harley has not blinked and is selling more bikes than anyone put together. Considering a vast majority of Vic riders are ex Harley riders that speaks volumes.

Even Triumph is looking rather foolish with their fake carbs on their EFI bikes...Really?

Very few have your grasp on the Indian's sullied history and foibles except for the recent failed attempts at becoming an "iconic" brand by this one and that one.

Their advertising contains very nice looking Harleys. At the end of the day all that will be said is "its a nice copy of an Indian" Will that be enough to knock the MOCO off its lofty perch? I doubt it They don't have the Lineage intact to claim otherwise. or the dealer network and parts support.

I respect their attempt. But I would not run out and buy one given the recent history of the Indian brand and a new design. We all remember Victory's early growing pains in their motorcycles well.

I hope they do well. If they do well Harley will step up. No other company has made Harley better than Polaris. If they ever get the dealer on every corner and parts bin HD has Harley should then worry. Until then it will be a niche bike...and Polaris makes a far far far better motorcycle than the MOCO....but "it still won't be a Harley" and to far too many that alone will make all the difference.

Again Harley is featured.....This is the wrong way to go. Victory for 12 years has proven only a handful of Harley owners will cross the tracks.
http://youtu.be/r4bEXmanRVc
 

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I hope Indian does well But not well enough to dilute the Victory line. I don't see a lot of Harley owners any more than curious.
Since the weather finally became more conducive to riding around here, I've noticed the Harleys have started selling pretty well. The Vic dealers OTOH seem to be hanging on by their used car sales or the sales of their metric counterparts.

It just blows me away...as a guy who never considered croozers much more than bar hopping toys, I find myself tickled daily with what a great, well rounded bike my Vic is. How such a fantastic American product can remain so unloved just boggles the mind.

It's too bad the general public doesn't have the traditionalist mindset of the biking community. When GM was selling crap and Toyota was selling cheap, reliable transportation, America dumped GM like week old Sushi. Seems bikers can be gouged indefinitely and still remain steadfast over some notion of heritage. Odd, but if GM could have pulled that off, Michigan might still be a hub of American prosperity.
 

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Since the weather finally became more conducive to riding around here, I've noticed the Harleys have started selling pretty well. The Vic dealers OTOH seem to be hanging on by their used car sales or the sales of their metric counterparts.

It just blows me away...as a guy who never considered croozers much more than bar hopping toys, I find myself tickled daily with what a great, well rounded bike my Vic is. How such a fantastic American product can remain so unloved just boggles the mind.

It's too bad the general public doesn't have the traditionalist mindset of the biking community. When GM was selling crap and Toyota was selling cheap, reliable transportation, America dumped GM like week old Sushi. Seems bikers can be gouged indefinitely and still remain steadfast over some notion of heritage. Odd, but if GM could have pulled that off, Michigan might still be a hub of American prosperity.
Very well said and poignant. Anyone who doubts the Harley Mystique is living in denial. To many people just riding a motorcycle defies logic, never mind the brand. I have always been baffled by the the power of branding.

Rolex is a shitty watch that needs adjustment and maintenance as is Steinway but both are built by people who likely wear Casios and play Yamahas.

Harley has achieved a status that has nothing to do with whats inside. When a brand achieved that. Nothing can catch up....only imitate and sell because it's insides are better.

Harley Dealerships are perfectly designed boutiques. Like Lexus without the perceived reliability of the latter. Brilliant. ALL because of the combination of the Internet bubble and Harley's inability to mass produce more than 330K bikes to millions of suddenly moneyed people who had to buy a Harley Davidson to go with their BMW 328i. The more rare the bike got the more people wanted them.

Therein began the real Tradition and Heritage" and it never left. If and when the economy heats up again Harley will again be in the enviable position of selling more bikes than it can make. Those with used low mileage $11K ones will ride free. A good reason to find one today. LOL. Although Harley's biggest competition is Harley!

Used Harleys. They are not selling as fast as they used to and prices are way down. Buy low sell high....
 

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Harley Davidson has been around 110 years! They make beautiful looking motorcycles.

Victory is here for 15 years this 4th of July. In 15 years they have become the new American motorcycle that looks different and is engineered better and turns more heads than any other bike since the Honda Rune. The new American Indian no doubt will do the same. But if anyone thinks that Polaris is trying to be the #1 dog on the planet over night! Well we wont be around to see it.

Who cares that HD has their market place other than HD themselves. Polaris is kicking ASS with higher profit margins enough to aquire and risk taking on the Indian emblem except this time we have an in house powerhouse of a motor and a mother company that will get the job done just like it has in the 1st 15 short years of Victory. Just imagine the excitement when the new Indian hits the streets. What a conversation piece. Any naysayers will just have to be put back in their HD saddles and only wish they could have a bike like the Indian or Victory.

Indian will not hurt the Vic name just like it wont hurt HD's. Stop comparing to HD!!!! There is no comparison! They build CRAP!!! :ltr: As far as the advertisement that some feel is tasteless, I love it. Bring it! it's opening eyes and creating excitement. I have 2 friends that are postponing buying an American bike till they see and hopefully ride the Indian. The Victory CC and Vision is what one is leaning to. The other drank the orange koolaid although his research and seat of pants tells him which is the better bike. He just cant man up to his HD family members and friends like I did.

What we are seeing is an honest AMERICAN move into manufacturing an Honest American ICON that I for one will own and park PROUDLY next to my other American motorcycle and when I do that people will still say where's the Harley? I will say I had a choice and this is what I picked.
 

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Slickvic, that's what I'm talking' bout! Nailed it.
 

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.....when I do that people will still say where's the Harley? I will say I had a choice and this is what I picked.
Victory owners are saying that everyday...When will the time come when no one asks "Where's the Harley?" THAT is when you know Polaris is on it's way to becoming an equal "American standard".

Will Another remake of the Indian do that? Or will it be relegated to the "nice bike...but it's not a Harley" tune.

Will the look be too nostalgic with the deep fenders and fringe?
 

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Victory owners are saying that everyday...When will the time come when no one asks "Where's the Harley?" THAT is when you know Polaris is on it's way to becoming an equal "American standard".

Will Another remake of the Indian do that? Or will it be relegated to the "nice bike...but it's not a Harley" tune.

Will the look be too nostalgic with the deep fenders and fringe?
Mr. Frog, I hear what your saying. I don't understand why your saying it especially on this site. But none the less I hear you. Bottom line is you cant take 110 years of success and compare to it. Give Harley every bit of praise if you want. They earned it.

I love the brand. What I love more is the fact that we are going to have three AMERICAN motorcycles to choose from and the best part of this reality is that each will make each other better. Imagine Victory and Indian failing because somebody poisoned the nations water supply with orange Koolaid. What a boring slow unreliable ride it would be.

I don't see a signature on your post so I have to believe that you are a HD owner. More power to ya brother. Like I said, I love the brand but I love my Cross Country more. Now come on and get excited like the rest of us and praise the fact that AMERICAN manufacturing is still Alive and well ! I'm sure the new Indian will be here for a good long while and lets hope they are. Enjoy this cause it is history in the making and you will be here to witness it.cheers
 
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