Archive for the ‘indian chief’ Tag

2015 Indian Scout – Road Test Review

A motorcycle is never just a motorcycle, and the all-new 2015 Indian Scout takes that truth to its extreme. The Sturgis Rally started 74 years ago, during the last moments of the original-lineage Indian Scout’s production. This year, after waiting nearly all of those seven decades, the rally was reunited with this sporty old friend. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? But it’s complicated.

Until last year, the mud and clay and gravel the Indian name has been dragged through for fully half of its history had been caked on thickly. Polaris, Indian’s newest owner, has done an excellent job of hosing the brand clean and giving it the fresh start it deserved. The Chief and its Chiefy siblings did that by being a new old that’s an updated reflection of the last Springfield design, using a flat-head look for its fully modern air-/oil-cooled, pushrod, OHV, 49-degree V-twin engine, with those big fenders and much chrome. But it’s not news that heritage American iron is a hot seller.

Taking a bolder route, the new Scout desires to be the potential future of a past that never happened, looking for an acceptable narrative to span back to the bike’s far-off beginnings. So does this Scout convincingly carry the Indian heritage forward, and is it functionally a motorcycle you’d want to ride?

The Scout is a modern interpretation of how the evolution of the American V-twin might have gone, without following the calculated semi-Luddite lead of the Chief. The Scout gives a modern answer to this historical question, trying to be what it would be if the model had evolved organically without interruption. There are a thousand answers to this proposition, and all of them are colored by romance, desire, and longing. So don’t insist that Indian’s answer is right or wrong; this Scout is a modern cruiser, its chassis a refraction through the lens of history, its engine a nod to modern times, its EFI for the EPA, all topped off with a damn nice old-school seat.

We’re here to tell you the bike feels good, and a primary part of this is the 69ci (1,133cc), liquid-cooled, 60-degree, V-twin engine that uses chain-driven DOHC and four valves per cylinder fed by a single 60mm throttle body. It’s a semi-dry sump design with a 9,000-rpm redline. High-ish 10.7:1 compression makes it hungry for high-test. The Scout produced 86 hp at 7,730 rpm and 64 pound-feet of torque at 3,320 rpm on the CW dyno. The bigger story on the torque curve is that there are more than 60 pound-feet from 2,400 to 7,400 rpm, and it is a gorgeous straight line of smooth delivery. The cylinders and heads have no fake cooling fins but do have structural ribbing and other aluminum-colored accents.

A six-speed transmission and a left-side final-drive belt transmit power to the rear wheel. The Scout is geared to comfortably roll along at 70 mph in sixth gear at 3,750 rpm, yet with that broad torque production it pulls away easily from a stop. Clutch feel is good, and engagement is smooth and easy.

The suspension is pretty conventional at each end: 41mm fork legs up front and dual, spring-preload-adjustable shocks out back. There’s a claimed 4.7 inches of front-wheel travel and 3.0 inches of travel at the rear. Notice the extreme rake of those shocks, to mimic the hardtail lines of the 1920s Scout. With preload in the delivered setting and without a rider in the saddle, the Scout’s rear suspension tops out with zero sag. With my 150 pounds on board, the rear end tops out on rebound when riding over large bumps. Heavier testers on staff did not experience this. A preload wrench is supplied, but there is no provision to store it on the bike.

The Scout has a single 298mm rotor at each end, with a two-piston caliper up front and a single piston out back. Other notables include a super-low 27.0-inch brown-leather-seat height (as measured in the CW shop with rear spring preload set as delivered; claimed height is 26.5 inches). The seat is so low that swinging a leg over it is no different than stepping over a crack in a root-heaved sidewalk. It’s also covered in more weather-resistant leather than that used in 2014.

The Scout has a multipiece aluminum chassis that saves weight through rational design. The front downtubes are a one-piece casting that incorporates the steering head and additionally serve as the radiator shrouds. Out back is a one-piece casting that includes the swingarm plates and tailsection. These front and rear castings bolt to the bottom front and rear of the engine, which is a stressed member without frame elements beneath it. Two side-by-side, multipiece backbones from the steering head to the rear casting tie the structure together above the engine.

Wheelbase is a rangy 61.0 inches, and the Scout is relaxed in rake and trail, having 29 degrees of the first and 4.7 inches of the latter. The wheels at both ends are of the same dimensions—16 x 3.5 inches—but carry different size Kenda tires: a 130/90-16 72H up front and a 150/80-16 71H rear. These fat tires on little wheels disguise the Scout’s smaller-than-normal size; it’s a 7/8-scale cruiser, à la Smokey Yunick.

Indian, of course, targeted the Sportster, and most of the rest of us will make that comparison too. This is valid in the market and in our minds, but the riding experience really is very different. Still: Compared to the last Sportster 1200 Custom we tested, the Scout is about 6 pounds lighter, made 18 more horsepower and 9 less pound-feet of torque, has a sixth gear, and costs $300 more than a 2014 model. Plus, there’s got to be an easy additional 40 hp hiding in this engine. Basically, it’s untenable that Indian could create the overriding competency of this bike yet have the converse incompetence for its modern, efficient powerplant of 1,133cc to not be capable of 140 hp. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to output on this engine in future models or when breathing on it, remapping it, etc.

The Scout is one of the best-balanced shapes of any cruiser-type motorcycle made, successfully carrying forward the lines and proportions of the 1928 Scout to work in the modern world, as the designers intended. The headlight is basically a copy of the one used on pre-war models, and the forward-slanting fuel tank maintains the original Scout’s go-fast look.

We were first given the chance to ride the Scout on the winding roads of South Dakota’s Black Hills then got one back at our Southern California HQ for full instrumented testing and more mileage. The seating position is right on for a 5-foot-10 rider, with a comfortable reach to the bars and foot controls, and Indian offers fitment options for riders at the far ends of adult sizes. The stock solo leather seat is grand, and after a long day on the road there was none of that burning-cheek feeling. (A passenger pad and pegs are available.) The non-adjustable hand levers are well placed, and the mirrors provide a good rear view, though adjustment tended to wander if the stalks weren’t set to allow the mirrors to be in the center of their swivel-ball adjustment range.

The Scout is smooth and swift from a dead stop. The EFI is crisp across the rev range, transitioning from on-off changes without the hesitation or glitch. The throttle has a linear, almost rheostatic relationship to engine output. At low rpm, engine vibration is close to nil. At high revs, particularly 5,000 rpm and up, the engine did produce quite a bit of a buzz. At 70 mph in sixth, the Scout engine is smooth, but a few testers sensed some buzz at 75-plus.

On the quiet end of the rev range, the Scout is tame and can be ridden as a comfortable, easy-to-handle cruiser for beginners, or it can be railed down a twisty highway as a low-slung performance bike, perfectly behaved at both ends of that scale. Third gear works great for bombing corners on a winding road, and 6,500 to 7,500 is the sweet rev range for instant-on power and prime engine braking. This is not air-cooled V-twin instant low-end response like from a 1200 Sportster.

The transmission on the Scout we rode around Sturgis was certain and smooth with short throws and no missed shifts. The 450-mile testbike we got in California was inconsistent on the 1-2 upshift and could be a bit vague on other shifts. We’d like to see more positive shift action front this gearbox.

It’s surprising that a bike so heaped with historical responsibility can also be such a hoot at bombing the twisties. The 16-inch tires work great with the well-damped suspension to make for sure handling and no skittishness in fast corners, with neutral chassis behavior even when trail braking hard down to the apex. Cornering clearance is decent for the class, but the handling character makes you wish for more lean angle.

Steering at low speeds is light and precise, and the low center of gravity rewards the use of both brakes. Although the single front disc has good feel and light effort, a second front disc would be welcome.

For comfortable, sporty cruising, and for carrying the Indian torch, the new Scout succeeds. It’s a modern interpretation of the name, a reflection of heritage, not an imitation of outdated technologies. Fit and finish is excellent, and colors include red and black plus matte finishes in smoked black and smoked silver.

Indian has made a big bet with the Scout and worked hard to make a statement at its Sturgis launch. It hired the American Motor Drome Company’s Wall of Death and Charlie Ransom (who looks as though he just stepped out of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes) to take a modded version of this bike to the boards. That was seriously impressive. It’s not common for a manufacturer to associate itself with a daredevil sideshow, yet Indian rolled out its Scout in old-school carnival style: scary, dangerous, fantastic, with no hands. And it was real. If this were the only true beginning of this Scout’s history, it’s a damn great start.

As read on: http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/10/30/2015-indian-scout-road-test-cruiser-motorcycle-review-photos-specifications/

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Part Two: A Closer Look at Indian Motorcycles

As part of our ongoing automotive and motorcycle coverage, we’re taking a couple days to take a close up look at Indian Motorcycles and the business of challenging an industry giant like Harley-Davidson. Today, we check in with an industry expert for an objective look at Indian’s operations.

Basem Wasef, motorcycle journalist, author and industry expert explained that Polaris’s resuscitation of the Indian brand has been both “brilliant and painfully obvious.”

“Polaris has applied considerable financial investment toward bringing back a legendary nameplate, creating relatively reliable modern motorcycles that pay homage to bikes which were arguably better in nostalgic retrospect than they were in reality,” Wasef said. “But at its core, Indian is less about the motorcycles themselves, and more about the power of a brand.”

Menneto evidently agrees: “We can’t build to match Harley’s capacity, but we can build a brand that’s popular as an alternative — that’s popular with a dedicated customer base with which we can build a relationship. Rather that match the size and capacity of Harley-Davidson, we’d rather compare with premium brands like BMW or Ducati.”

Wasef stressed that challenging Harley-Davidson’s market share would have been unthinkable if Polaris had created a new brand altogether.

“When it comes to brand perception, established Japanese manufactures like Suzuki, Yamaha, and Honda still can’t touch Harley-Davidson in the areas of authenticity and that inscrutable sense of cool,” Wasef added. “But by adopting a nameplate that’s older than H-D and happens to be associated with larger-than-life personalities like Steve McQueen and Burt Munro, Polaris has taken on a serious challenge and dipped their toe into a potentially lucrative business.”

Indian’s slow build is still in effect. For three years, all Indian Motorcycles built were the Chief and Chieftain models — ranging in price from about $19,000 to $23,000. For the first time since the company made its return to business, it introduced new bikes this year — expanding its line at the top and bottom with the $27,000 Roadmaster and the $10.000 Scout.

The latter is especially important as it reaches out to less affluent buyers with its smaller price tag. If Indian wants to compete with H-D, they’re now trying to get to riders when they’re young and equipped with less disposable income.

Steven D. Menneto, Vice President for Motorcycles at Indian, admitted that Indian is still not building to full capacity as that all-important five year business plan unfolds. The next phase for Indian looks to be expanding to more international markets in Europe and South Africa to diversify that brand loyalty. Only time will tell if this classic American make will stand the test of time in a new business era of high-tech and international competition.

Wasef insisted it will still take significant amounts of time to make a dent against the Harley-Davidson juggernaut.

“But, considering the aggressive product development that has occurred since the new Indian models were revealed one year ago, Indian looks like it will be a serious force to be reckoned with moving forward.”

As read on: http://www.craveonline.com/lifestyle/cars-auto-motorcyles/781713-part-two-closer-look-indian-motorcycles

THIS WEEKEND Join us for our Indian Motorcycle Demo Event – Friday & Saturday, August 22nd & 23rd

ONLY 2 MORE DAYS!!!

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**Friday Rides will take place from 11am – 6pm**
**Saturday Rides will take place from 11am – 4pm**

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Saturday’s Ride will also include our
Customer Appreciation Event!

– 10:30am – 12:30pm: 101 WRIF – FM Detroit’s Screamin Scott Randall will be here

– 12:30pm – 4:30pm: LIVE Music by The Blackjack BAND

– Food and Refreshments Saturday by Art’s Tamales!

Don’t miss your chance to ride a new Indian Motorcycles!!

http://www.ClassicMotorcyclesDetroit.com

The Redesigned 2014 Indian Motorcycle

In the decades following its bankruptcy in 1953, Indian Motorcycle was the target of several companies that tried unsuccessfully to revive the storied brand, the leading motorcycle manufacturer of its time.

But now Indian has the financial muscle to make it happen. Polaris (PII), the maker of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and Victory motorcycles, bought Indian in 2011 and is moving at full throttle to bring it back to prominence.

Standing in the way is industry giant Harley-Davidson (HOG), a longtime Indian rival back in the day that has amassed a 57% share of the heavyweight cruiser market.
Victory was built 15 years ago as a potential alternative to Harley-Davidson but has amassed only a 5% market share, largely taking a piece out of Japanese competitors Honda (HMC), Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki. Now Indian is taking aim at the market leader, even running a television ad featuring a Harley-Davidson bike sporting a for-sale sign outside the owner’s garage.

Perhaps Indian can pick up where Victory fell short, boasting a brand new motorcycle set to debut early next month and a rich heritage that rivals the lore of Harley-Davidson.
Mike Wolfe, who co-stars alongside Frank Fritz on History Channel’s “American Pickers,” likes Indian’s chances for success in the renewed rivalry.
“Will Indian take Harley-Davidson down to its knees? No, at least not right away,” said Wolfe, a pitchman for Indian who often comes across vintage bikes on his travels across the country. “But now there’s a choice.”

Blending Heritage With Modern Engineering

Founded in 1901, Indian traces its roots to the first American motorcycle. It quickly became the top motorcycle brand, having developed the first-ever V-twin motorcycle and first electric starter. The company built a reputation among everyday bikers, racers and with the military, supplying the U.S. Army with bikes such as the Chief.
When I get one of these, I’m going to be as proud as the guy who bought one in 1948.
– Mike Wolfe, “American Pickers”

The resurrected Indian seeks to combine the styling of yesteryear with modern engineering, exemplified by the 111 cubic-inch Thunder Stroke engine that will power the all-new Chief.

“It’s a phenomenal American story with an entrepreneurial spirit,” said Steve Menneto, Vice President of Motorcycles at Polaris. “We wanted to bring that forward and blend it into what we’re doing with the brand. We want to show riders what we learned from Indian’s history.”

While its heritage is a central part of what Indian is doing, the new Chief isn’t exactly your grandfather’s motorcycle. “We’re going to build bikes into the future,” Menneto added.

Wolfe, whose Antique Archaeology stores are located in LeClaire, Iowa, and Nashville, Tenn., called what Indian is doing “a sort of a double-edged sword,” as the bike builder looks to celebrate its history while “helping people understand there’s an old Indian and a new Indian.”

Menneto compared Indian’s strategy to that of General Motors’ (GM) Chevrolet, which drew on the styling of the late-1960s Camaro when it brought the model back to showrooms for 2010.

The Thunder Stroke—bigger than Harley’s 110 cubic-inch engine—was the first piece of the 2014 Chief that Indian unveiled to kick off its full re-launch. Indian’s 2013 lineup was built around a 105 cubic-inch PowerPlus engine.

Wolfe said the folks at Indian rode the original bikes as much as possible, getting a feel for how the bikes handled, the seat position and other design elements. “They took all of that knowledge with them,” he added.

“We have six or seven styling cues from the 1940s Chief and a new powertrain with the Thunder Stroke,” Menneto said. “We wanted to blend our rich history with a high quality bike and engineering ingenuity.”

Indian’s latest creation will be revealed on Aug. 3 at the 73rd Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. And two days later, the 2014 Indian Chief will be presented to a nationwide audience on “American Pickers.” Indian is also sponsoring Bike Week on the History Channel.

“I get approached by lots of brands, but this makes a lot of sense for me. I feel like I’m knowledgeable, and I’m proud to talk about Indian,” Wolfe said, noting how viewers of his show are familiar with his affection for Indian bikes. “To the average guy, he knows I’m an Indian guy.”

Gunning for Harley-Davidson

The hardest part begins after the re-launch at Sturgis, as Indian hopes an innovative new engine can rev up sales and help the brand reclaim its position as a major player in the motorcycle world.

Victory currently accounts for most of Polaris’s on-road vehicles unit, which saw its sales jump 64% last year to $240 million. Meanwhile, Harley-Davidson has annual sales of $5.6 billion, outpacing the $3.2 billion in total sales recorded by Medina, Minnesota-based Polaris last year.

Regardless, Polaris is the type of company that Indian needed to regain its stature.
“For it to be owned by Polaris is incredible,” Wolfe said. “Other companies had the passion but not the money. They were just pushing the same product forward. Polaris had the wherewithal to launch a completely new bike.”

With a starting price of $18,999, Indian hopes riders will see the value in buying a bike powered by a 111 cubic-inch engine at that price point. Harley’s Road King is comparatively priced at $17,699 but features a 103 cubic-inch engine.

“Our first goal is to make our bikes affordable. It’s premium compared to competitors, but consumers will realize the value they’re getting. The value will come forward quickly,” Menneto said.

Indian’s 2013 Chief Classic, with the 105 cubic-inch PowerPlus engine, starts at a much higher price point at $26,499.

“They’ve made a better bike and dropped the price,” Wolfe said of the soon-to-be-unveiled Chief.

A Harley-Davidson spokesperson said the company takes all competitors seriously, especially its competitors in the U.S. Competition is good for the industry, the spokesperson added.

“No question, Harley-Davidson is an excellent company and tough competition. They’ve owned the market for heavyweight V-twin motorcycles,” Menneto commented. “Indian can be, and is, a viable choice for consumers. We’re strong competition for Harley-Davidson, hopefully for a long time, and they are also strong competition for us.”
At the heart of Indian’s sales effort are independent dealers sprinkled across the U.S. and in international regions like Asia and Europe.

The company is right on schedule with bringing in dealers, Menneto said, and Indian expects to see more dealers show interest after it launches the Chief. He also noted that dealers have confidence in Polaris and its commitment to making Indian a success again.
Indian said it’s on target to have between 120 and 140 U.S. dealers in place by the end of this year.

“Our plan is to have a full dealer network in the U.S. and around the world,” Menneto explained.

Indian had its eyes on a global presence right from the start, pursuing dealers in Europe, Japan, China, India and elsewhere.

The European market presents an interesting opportunity for Indian. Many of the 40,000 Indian bikes used for military service were left behind when U.S. troops left Europe after World War II, Polaris’s most recent annual report noted, so the company expects to see strong interest in the region.

“The market is still growing. It’s still not where it was before 2008, but it’s still growing,” Menneto said, speaking about the overall market for motorcycles. “People are really enthusiastic. They’re passionate. It’s a part of their life. There’s a need for choice in the marketplace, and a lot of enthusiasts are looking for a change.”
And for Wolfe, the history and ingenuity behind Indian makes it a compelling choice.
“People want to feel pride in what they own, I don’t care what it is,” said Wolfe, who has been collecting for the last 25 years. “When I get one of these, I’m going to be as proud as the guy who bought one in 1948.”

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2013/07/19/indian-motorcycle-takes-aim-at-harley-davidson/#ixzz2a4IycG7W