Indian motorcycles

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by HIKO, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer


    As You probably know the Polaris factory near Minneapolis in Medina Minnesota, which is an American state, mostly consisting of Scandinavian originated people, now owns the Indian Brand and they just presented the new Indian engine concept.

    They already have the Victory Brand and they are by far much better bikes than Harley.

    Polaris is an old Snowmobile company and it is rather good. Their factories are really up to date. I’ve been there a few times. I think that they are also number one in ATV:s or maybe the Chinese have taken over…

    They also had a 50% interest in KTM a few years ago but for some reason that cooperation failed……… I think I know why.

    Here You can see the Indian engine concept and I am quite sure it will be a success in the long run. Indian is a famous brand name and Polaris is a decent manufacturing Company.


    Their Victory Motorcycle Brand I think is already sold in Thailand but I haven’t seen any bikes on the road yet, Anyhow here You can see their products from one of my friend’s homepage. He is importer of Victory and Polaris to Finland and also a smaller brand called HONDA…

    In Thailand I found a Facebook page for Victory so probably the bikes are on the road already

    MP-Terveisin HIKO
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  3. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Great Info Hiko. Don't Worry about the Polaris ATV, it will be quite some Time before the Chinese Match them! There is an Article about Indian in the Motorcycle USA Magazine. Interesting to See they have built a Stream-liner in Tribute and Remembrance of Burt Munro the Legend from New Zealand! I am Sure that Indian Motorcycles have a Healthy Future to look forward to if they are anything like Victory or Polaris! Be interesting to see if they end up in Thailand? I am also keen to See the first Production Models!
  4. That's a very sweeping statement there HIKO! Personally I think the bodywork on the fully dressed Victory is absolutely hideous and I wouldn't want to be seen on one!

    You have to bear in mind that when you get into the realm of buying a big long distance touring bagger, a lot of prospective owners are going for looks as much as practicality and performance etc. I mean ok, an Electra Glide Ultra Classic may not do much more than 180kmph, but do you really want it to? I think a lot of Harley and Indian buyers wouldn't mind admitting that a lot of it is that you're buying "into the dream" and that you've got an icon between your legs :wink: ....... and a Victory, BMW, Gold Wing etc just doesn't cut it..... for me, anyway! When Triumph brought out the Rocket III Touring I was really hoping for some Indian/Harley "bling" to make that baby stand out in the crowd but nope, it just looks like a Honda VTX (ie boring!).

    (Tried to upload some pics of Indians and Victory's I took in Seoul but now cannot upload a pic from my computer, and I don't know what "Add an image from Url" means!)
  5. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer


    Ian You are always so very kind to me

    "Baakwan nitnoy" maybe....

    But Polaris is damned good and so is Victory, much better than Harley...

    Since my English is a little bad I didn’t really understand what the Africa Twin guy meant “Sweeping Statement ” If it is good I accept it, if it is bad I still stand behind my sometimes a little provocative opinions. Regrets I had a few but then again to few to mention (from My Way song)

    Anyhow anybody who owns a Africa Twin is forgiven, I still have a few If somebody needs,,,

    But Yes I share Your opinion that all those plastic tourers are a little….

    And nobody can compete with Honda Gold Wing. I have sold a few hundreds of them and nobody can compete with them in Quality,

    Yamaha tried with their Yamaha Venture


    The bike was shit with the plastics. Terrible noise after some ten thousand kilometers from all the plastic parts on the body work. But Yamaha had good luck, The engine (V4) was damned good and from that they created the very succesfull Vee-Max which is still used today. And that is a funny bike. I have had a few…

    Suzuki tried with their Suzuki Cavalcade:


    Same story the plastic bodywork was terrible and I do not think that Suzuki succeeded to recover the money for the engine development.

    Then Kawasaki had a good try, I think that the bikes were made in USA and it was a six cylinder parallel engine and a damned good engine. But the bike was terrible heavy.

    The bike looked like this:


    I started to import them direct from the States making the Kawasaki importer in Finland a little upset. But I sold it some 30% more cheap than they official importer and the consumers liked that/ The bikes came from the US in wooden boxes. From Japan they came in metal boxes. But the wood was very useful because we could warm up our Saunas with the wood.

    But the bikes were terrible heavy and it took the whole night to put them together from the crates and a few beers,,,

    I drove quite a lot with those bikes and it was a little special. The central stand was impossible to use because the bike was to heavy. A little later I found out that there was an other helpful device next to the main stand that helped You to get the power to get the bike up on the mainstand…I assume that the helping device was called leverage in English….

    Sometimes the bike fall down and if You wanted to lift it up You could do it immediately after it falled down when You had some Adrenaline in Your blood. One minute later it was impossible…

    And here is the new modelbut that is a V2


    When I was a month ago at the motorcycle exhibition in Helsinki I had a half hour chat with the owner of the Kawasaki importer and I think we are friends still. He told me that their business is now 70% Russia. Finland with it”s 5 million people is only 200 km away from Vladimir Putin’s hometown St. Petersburg and there is some quite wealthy ten million people living in that area….

    My friend is also representing Piaggio, Aprillia, Derbi and Massey Ferguson and many other brands both in Finland and in Russia but he is 10 years younger than me. Lifes go by… Harley he just lost because Harley took over the importmanship. That is life….

    But he said something that still warms my heart.” Hiko I miss the times when You were in the business, then We had fun, now it is only boring logistics.” I got tears in my eyes but I think he said something that some people should think about…Business should be about people…

    Actually I was a rather big KawasaKi dealer sometimes but I have had a few legal fights with them also but he is a good guy...and we are still good friends and that is important.

    But back to Indian. Yes I have in some computers a long story about the Indian Brand. The Indian Brand name has been raped over the last 50 years by many people,

    One of them the former owner of the Classic Cycle World Magazine in USA Floyd Clymer, who also made some work shop manuals later. Maybe someone of You have seen them.

    He died just before they launched the Indian Interceptor 700 cc which was a technical failure. The engine only lasted some 2000 km and it was made by the Royal Enfield Factory in England, The bikes were assembled at the Italjet factory in Italy and on the tanks it said INDIAN. They also made some other stupid models with the Indian Brand name. I think that the “rape” of the Indian name was not conducted by Floyd Clymer himself but by a greedy lawyer who took “care” OF HIS HERITAGE.

    Anyhow the greedy lawyer had a few hundred Royal Interceptor Engines in a ware house in the Kingdom Of Elisabeth and some Rickmann brothers bought them and from there they got a little push to their Metisse business.

    Here is the original Indian Italjet made Interceptor :

    And here is the Rickmann Brothers made version:

    But now I think I have to stop even if I could tell You motorcycle stories for hours,

    MP-Terveisin HIKO

    I have a few thousand pages about the Honda Gold Wing Story which I maybe publish some day….
  6. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer

  7. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer

    HI HI

    I am still trying to find my Indian files but I will tell the long story about the Indian motorcycle history in the near future.

    While You are waiting pls look at the promo for the Anthony Hopkins movie "the Worlds Fastest Indian" which is based on the story of New Zeelander Burt Munro who travelled to the Bonneville Salt Desert to show that he is the fastest guy on earth. I have the whole movie but I must try to figure out who to put it up in the Cyberworld...

    Here is the Promo at least:

    No the Indian Enfield factory never got hold of the Indian name ( and by that time it was still only Enfield, they got hold of the whole ROYAL Enfield brand just some five years ago)

    I am not even sure how legally Floyd Clymer and his lawyers used the brand Indian. If You look for legal documents from those years You will find tens of cases where companies are fighting for the rights to use the Indian Brand name...

    Yes Rickmanns did beautiful bikes named Metisse and the brothers Derek and Don??? were good MX-drivers. I have seen them in action at the Swedish Knutstorp Track in 1958 at the Trophe Des Nations world championships close to our Summerhouse in Sweden... I do have some black/white pictures from that race also. The most beatifull Metisse Bike was the one they built for Steve MQueen with a Triumph engine and in green color.

    MP-Terveisin HIKO
  8. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    Victory do make a much better bike regarding engine , paint finish and chassis and brakes than HD , more power more reliability , more stopping power and handling quality .......however HD still win on styling in most cases .....Polaris will make agfreat product with indian in terms of quality ,,,just hope the styleist arnt too heavy handed.
  9. KZ25

    KZ25 Ol'Timer

    When I lived in the US and mentioned I ride motorcycles people asked me: "Do you have a Harley?" and hid their disappointment when I said no.

    HD has just such a strong image, representing adventure, excitement, masculinity, owning one instantly puts hair on your chest and makes you "da man"...

    The Japanese tried hard to copy something they didn't really understand and built some reliable, technologically advanced cruisers for half the price of a Harley but could never reach the mysticism of a real American Harley.
    Victory has the problem that it is American but doesn't have the street cred of HD. They're regarded as copies or clones just like the Japs only they're American. They're not the real thing, no matter what kind of tough names they come up with for their products. Highball, Hardball, Hammer...? And especially the tourers look hideous with all that plastic.
    They may have a chance if the Indian bike looks as good as the engine does, they captured the flair of the old Indian quite well and hid the modern features. But I read somewhere that the bike will be built in small numbers only and it will be very expensive, so you won't see many on the road, probably only at exhibitions and Sturgis.
  10. Good post...... I'm in complete agreement with you. When you put "Harley" and "mysticism" in the same sentence, you hit the nail on the head.
  11. HIKO

    HIKO Ol'Timer

    Martin and KZ25

    In principle I can agree with You but just a few facts. Remember that in the 1920:s Indian was a bigger brand and probably of higher quality. Indian sold almost as many bikes like Harley up to 1940. In the 1950:s the Harley Quality was very poor and it didn’t help that the Bowling lane company AMF Harley was a little of a joke until AMF sold to some investors and one family member Willie G. Davidson in 1981. It was very much his design and PR-work, together with the investors update knowledge of production and quality control that created the Harley Legend that we know today. And Ronald Reagan also helped a little by putting trade restrictions on over 700 cc Japanese bikes…

    But today it is difficult to copy the Harley concept, Harley is Harley. but remember that the Indian brand is 1 year more old than Harley and that in the early days Indian outsold Harley both in numbers, quality and product developments. So what Polaris have done with Victory is damned good machine but they do not have the Harley Heritage with Victory. But they seem to be building up the Indian heritage quite efficiently. They may be able to compete with Harley and Harley lost quite a few dollars on their MV-Agusta failure….And remember also that the Honda Gold Wing heritage is much stronger than the Harley Davidson Electra Glide heritage…So it can be done…

    That is all this time.

    MP-Terveisin HIKO
  12. monsterman

    monsterman Ol'Timer

    During the 1930s - 1950s Harley ruthlessly drove all the other American brands to the wall with a mixture of commercial blackmail and heavy handed political lobbying , that backfired on them when the retailers who had lost USA franchises and did not want to under the oppressive HD banner switched to british and later jap machinery who also sold a newer type of lightweight powerful machine that was more in tune with the times ..
  13. Hoof Hearted

    Hoof Hearted New Member

    At the end of last year I made a decision to buy a new bike. I had set my mind on a new HD Road King and had visited the HD dealer in Bangkok at the beginning of January to negotiate a deal. They talked me into waiting to the end of January and to visit them at the Bangkok Motorcycle Festival because they may be offering special deals at the festival. I figured waiting a few more weeks wouldn't hurt. Well I visited the Harley stand at the festival and was a little disappointed in that they didn't even display any of the new bikes and there wasn’t really any deal to be made. In fact they had put the prices up due to the tax increases.

    I ended up wandering around looking at various other brands of bikes until I got to the Victory stand. Walking across their stand I saw the black Cross Country and knew that it was the bike that I wanted. It just caught my attention and really stood out. I had never seen a Victory bike in the flesh before that day. Looking at the bike on the stand I could see that Victory had put a lot of effort into making a practical bike and that they had paid attention to details that Harley didn't seem to notice. A good example is the hard bags. With one hand you can open the Victory bags, the Harley bags are like opening a Chinese puzzle and need two hands. Also I would say that the fit and finish on the Victory is much better.

    I realize that if a person is a diehard Harley fan they are not going to accept any other brand. Previously Harley fans used the "not made in the USA" as the excuse not to purchase anything else. Seems that now they have to admit that they are just biased and have drunk the juice and brought into the Harley is the best mantra.

    So currently I own one of the few and probably the first registered Victory motorcycles in Thailand. If any Harley owners are in Bangkok and want to compare bikes drop me a PM and I'll try to meet up.
  14. KZ25

    KZ25 Ol'Timer

    Good first post!
    The first paragraph made me laugh: you want to buy a HD that costs what - one million? - and they send you away, telling you to wait! That's a joke already!
    Then you wait for the Big Day, the Bangkok Motorcycle Festival, and they have nothing new to show! That's also a joke.
    On top of that there was no deal (not funny) but the prices went up!
    So you are at the Festival, everything motorcycle related is there, and you come across a company which is rivaling HD and has its sh!t together and you buy a bike from them!
    Very, very funny!
    You should send HD an email, thanking them for the opportunity they gave you to buy a Victory!

    Changing brands is often not easy, one is used to the company's products and your friends know you as the "Beemer-guy" or the "Honda-dude" because you've been talking about your brand being the best.
    Now you buy something else - what happened? Your brand is not good after all? You can't afford it anymore? Did you mess up and they don't sell to you anymore?
    Not many people believe that change is good, that you have a good reason to change your brand. Most people are stuck with what they decided years ago, too phlegmatic to think critically and to realize that the world around them changed and that there are better products out there.
    Many Harley riders are in their sixties now and would be better off with a Versys or even a T-Max, but they wouldn't be seen dead on anything non-American.
    Congrats at having the guts to buy a brand that is probably making a better cruiser but doesn't have the image of the lone rider.
    But getting HD riders to admit that the Victory may be not half bad won't be easy...!
    What Victory needs is product placement in a good movie - something like the Terminator riding a Victory, not a Harley, and build their own myth.

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