Kiwi Indian Retro Chief 1930’s

kiwiindian1kiwiindian2kiwiindian3Indian motorcycles are alive. As new models produced in Kings Mountain, NC. As restorations in sheds and barns all over the world. As replica models like this 1930’s style Indian Chief built by Mike “Kiwi” Tomas in his Riverside, CA shop. As you all know now Mike devotes his business (and personal) life to reproducing high quality Indian parts and engines to give you the opportunity to ride a new model looking like the Springfield originals but with today’s reliability. As a matter of fact Mike let you choose among almost unlimited options at one condition, that it looks like a pure Indian. This one was built in-house on their proprietary frame, Kiwi Flathead 84″ engine, 4-speed transmission, leaf spring front end and rolls on 18″ wheels. Last time I saw it it was 1 month ago in Bonneville, turned into a side-car, with Mike and wife spinning on the Salts to salute the Indian Gods. At Kiwi Indian.  (pictures by HRF)

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29 Responses to “Kiwi Indian Retro Chief 1930’s”


  1. 1 David Oct 5th, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    WOW!!! And it’s in my two favorite colors!! My Dad had a Scout when he was younger but sold it long before I came along. I wish this were in my garage!!!

  2. 2 Chad Greulach Oct 5th, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Kiwi is the man!!!

  3. 3 Todd8080 Oct 5th, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    That’s what an Indian should look like!

    Kudos, Mike, for doing it right and not making concessions.

  4. 4 Grayhawk Oct 5th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    One can’t dish the lines of a 30’s Chief hardtail and enough credit is not given to Mike and his team at Kiwi and others for the strides that have been made in not only keeping the old iron alive but the modern technicalological transformation that has evolved with their having undertaken the challenge to improve a product of original crafted class created at a time of limited tooling, technology and metalurgy compared to today ;

    They have taken the old style and accomplished a rebirth of the early Indians; being enablers if you will, of the old to run with the modern day rides just as if it was yesteryear but improved on.

    Mike will be the first to tell you there are quite a few masters of old around the world contributing, keeping them alive and improving the old stuff.

    Passion and the love of the bike is what drives them and a lot of us could take a note or two from, those that live and breath the life for the love not for the stardom of self-fame.

    Master Piece: Derived from as far back as medieval times when commercial life was organized by guilds and crafts.

    An English apprentice if you will who wished to be recognized as a master, with the right to work without supervision, was required to submit some article, ( creation of a master piece), of metal, wood, stone, or leather.

    Like today’s academic dissertations, the quality of the work determined the artisan’s future, and it came to be known as a Master Piece.

    Excerpted from the Almanac no less.

    Sometimes today we seem to be commercially driven by spotlight of a given builder, The Master Builder, and the piece and all those that contributed gets lost in the lights of so called front row fame.

    Good job.

  5. 5 harry Oct 6th, 2009 at 12:06 am

    Hell of a nice bike, hell of a nice bike!!! Not too much more to say other than that…

  6. 6 LCFab Oct 6th, 2009 at 3:22 am

    Absolute fabulous bike and inspiring commitment to keep these old Indians alive. Not just alive but piling on the miles to prove their ability to run with the modern bikes, and not on some paved parkway, but beating their way through the back roads of Death Valley, South Dakota, and even Bonneville. If you ever get a chance to meet Mike, his family, and his Indians you’ll quickly realize why Kiwi is such a legendary Icon of the industry!

  7. 7 John E Adams Oct 6th, 2009 at 3:42 am

    Bravo! This is gorgeous!!!

    Cheers!

    John

  8. 8 ian Oct 6th, 2009 at 5:58 am

    another superb bike Mike – i really want one (I will add it to my Christmas List)!

  9. 9 Darin Maltsbeerger-MTI Instructor Oct 6th, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Mike is so very talented. His bikes and parts exhibit style and quality beyond most of our expectations. Great to see Cyril featuring Mike again.

  10. 10 John K. Endrizzi Oct 6th, 2009 at 7:19 am

    Not only is Mike a talented builder, he is also a warm and humble person.

  11. 11 Seymour Oct 6th, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Beautiful. I desire.

  12. 12 Joe Skonecki Oct 6th, 2009 at 9:02 am

    Way to go Mike!
    Don’t change a thing. Beautiful. Reminds me of the stories of my great-grand-dad on his. I think I’ll smoke one of his KAYWOODIEs with a fresh cup of JOE this morning.

  13. 13 Jared Oct 6th, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Mike’s work is second to none and his personality/character is as solid as is his bikes. Good for Kiwi Indian!

  14. 14 1550tc Oct 6th, 2009 at 10:11 am

    Mike

    Love the bike and i have the utmost respect for humble guys who do lots with lil!!

    Grew up around these bikes when i was a kid being a shop rat.

  15. 15 Dave Blevins Oct 6th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Always nice stuff from the Kiwi guys. Another fine machine.

  16. 16 Gina Woods Oct 6th, 2009 at 11:54 am

    I waaaaaaaant one!!! Mike does the best work around – bar none! Long live the Kiwi!
    xo signed – Some Day

  17. 17 Doc Robinson Oct 6th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Kiwi Mike, every Indian afficionado on the planet owes you for being the keeper of the flame. Keep up the brilliant work and more power to you.

  18. 18 john reed Oct 6th, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    Grayhawk,
    When I was about 15 my parents signed me over to the Atomic Energy authority
    to start an indentured English apprenticeship, after 6 years of minimal wages I became
    a very documented craftsman, and officially I have become a master craftsman only because I
    finished my apprenticeship 40 odd years ago..
    Nowadays, the media call everyone who has built a couple of bikes either master craftsman,
    or master builders, I think they are making some amazing stuff, and they have more talent than
    a lot of people I know who have done a full time apprenticeship, but as good as they are i still think they got their master status to easy.
    My advice for anyone looking for a career,
    Dont tell anyone if you can make things , Dont work in industry ,just use your talent on your own stuff,and either become a journalist or do something that gives you a good living without beating the shit out of you.
    john reed

  19. 19 James (kiwi) Oct 7th, 2009 at 12:33 am

    New Zealand was Indian country way back then.
    Indian sold more bikes in NZ than HD in those days.Pretty amazing as I believe they were a more expensive product.

    Yank bikes were more suited to our roads than the little pommie bikes but when the great depression hit the NZ Goverment were told by the British to put the sales tax up on the USA products.
    So instead of a Scout we had 350 BSA’s.
    As a matter of interest our gold reserves were in good fettle then and our Govt kept them in the Bank of England, but when the depression hit we were not allowed them back.
    So ordinary people suffered.

    Great bike

    Go KIWI

    James (Kiwi)

  20. 20 J Oct 7th, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Wow- that’s pretty interesting, James- don’t see much available about NZ history…..Very interesting about Bank of England, hmm….

    Always enjoy drooling over your bikes- you’re one of the premier people in this industry.

  21. 21 James from NZ Oct 11th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Wrong Kiwi,
    Though I’m sure we all look the same to foreigners…….sigh…lol

  22. 22 Roadside Marty Oct 11th, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    This bike does absolutely nothing but reinforce how talented Mike and the rest of his crew are and how fortunate the industry is to have such a talented, gracious man be a major part of it!! Congrats Mike as usual you deserve every bit of it! Roadside

  23. 23 Mike Kiwi Tomas, Kiwi Indian M/C Co Oct 11th, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Thanks for the great compliments. We enjoy what we do and we have a few more models in store. Things just keep on rocking along

  24. 24 Stefanie Aziere-Sattler/Art By Stefanie Oct 12th, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    You just keep topping the last ! Keep up the great work, You keep making them, I’ll keep painting them. The love of the machine is so evident in your work, what class! It is really nice to see so many recognize what great work you do. Congrats!

  25. 25 Geno Oct 12th, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Nice
    way nicer than the overpriced poser barges the other Indian makes

    good luck to Kiwi

  26. 26 Marc Mazerolle Oct 12th, 2009 at 8:32 pm

    Mike the crew at Kiwi out did themselves! Great job, love the bike.
    Thanks for all your help too Mike.

    Mazz.

  27. 27 James R. Pollard 007. Feb 8th, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Well…..my dad used to drive a 1930’s Indian chief just before the second world war, and he tried to started up the kickstart on that bike alone out to the street here in Dundas town area, and it didn’t work and tried to find out why it didn’t work……So his father came out to the street and fiddling around that damn bike started up and he didn’t know that there is a petcock left it off, and he forgot to turned on the petcock fuel line opened then and he got it started it up again and boy oh boy he did a damn thing on that bike BANG!,way he goes to work then, LOL HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!……:D

    So he used to drive that bike in a few times in the summer time though,……:)))))

  28. 28 kenny Feb 16th, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    This looks a little like the 1930 Indian Chief, Minus The Motor, 1930 Indian Chief Had A Inline 4.

  29. 29 kenny Feb 16th, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    I have photos of my Dads 1930 Indian Chief.

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