Sturgis Bike Week. Indian Concept Motorcycle

Even before I left Florida to join the rally, the whisper was that Indian Motorcycle would have a concept bike on display in Sturgis. A concept motorcycle shown to the public at the same time the company is introducing its new 2011 Blackhawk model? It’s a lot for a young manufacturer just entering its third year of production. So, I rushed to their display on Lazelle Street & 4th where I asked Indian General Manager Chris Benauer and Manager of Service & Marketing Marc Pomerantz to give me the full 411 on the solo spring seat motorcycle shown here.

While waiting for a few minutes that both Chris & Marc free themselves from prospective buyers of their bikes, I observed that the red unnamed concept motorcycle in question, even rough on its edges, was competing very well with the Chiefs in terms of interest from the public. So, here is the story given to me.

First, Indian Motorcycle has a young and very passionate team of collaborators who want the company to succeed, not only because it’s their job, love the brand but also (my analysis) because they have been challenged by all past years’ detractors who assumed that Indian could not be revived.

I have been at the Kings Mountain factory in 2008 before the first launch, met with the team, know a few of the key employees, and know for a fact that they are extremely motivated and supported by a management with strong financials.  Second, Chris Benauer explained to me that the company will not discourage anyone or group of employees to show through a concept motorcycle what they would love to ride and think is feasible in terms of cost of tooling to make it a marketable motorcycle. So, surprisingly or maybe not, Indian had no specific strategy yet with this model. Just something born from passion in a corner of the factory, a concept motorcycle that they liked to build (doesn’t mean approved) and that they decided to show on their display during this 70th rally.

Nothing revolutionary yet on this machine, most parts already being produced for the Chiefs, but still a few nice one-off touches and a special way to assemble it to make it look more retro, I would say more “Classic Indian” brand. Personally I think that this concept motorcycle is a good approach and told Chris Benauer that I would love that they push further this design by going for an even lighter and more naked look…Evidently, observation of public reactions during the rally will decide if this concept has a future.

Regarding the Chief models, I confirm that Indian sales are exactly what was told to me by Chairman Stephen Julius 2 years ago in his office as the projection for year 2010: 600 units. It’s the level at which the company just turned profitable. I continue to believe that the new Indian Motorcycle Company is there to stay. To follow…Indian Motorcycle.

22 Responses to “Sturgis Bike Week. Indian Concept Motorcycle”

  1. 1 Marc Frantz Aug 10th, 2010 at 10:19 am


    Could this be the potential ‘Scout’ model??

    Very nice!! Have a great time in Sturgis!


  2. 2 Leston Aug 10th, 2010 at 10:26 am

    i like it! besides the ugly two into one. Doesnt match the lines of anything. How abotu a snorkel? fishtail? something

  3. 3 Seymour Aug 10th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I gotta tell ya, I’m not bashing but I think they are really missing the boat. The market that would have bought that bike is long gone, never to be seen again. Indian really needs something radically different.

  4. 4 James Brandt Aug 10th, 2010 at 10:47 am

    I agree with Cyril. Can be improved by making it naked and replacing this ugly touring exhaust. Come on guys, give us a moderate priced Scout. You just did half the work.

  5. 5 Bigal Aug 10th, 2010 at 11:34 am

    I agree, and love that Cyril is making the Round Up. Keep Kruisin Kuz, you”ll need to feel the Heart Beat of the Industry! Keep Kruzing the Vendors and Manufacturers and youll know when you find the “Next Latest & Greatest, Bike, Trike, or ………….but that certainally aient where you are now at Indian!@#$%$#@#$%

  6. 6 m switzer Aug 10th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I hate 2 into 1 exhaust like this or the “Thunderheader” system but for performance it is probably the best system out there, I run dual crossover on my FLSTS

  7. 7 Keith Aug 10th, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Very Cool! Looks almost like a 101 scout

  8. 8 Sheridan Aug 10th, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    On the right track, but don’t put sprung seats on swing arm bikes!!

  9. 9 ripleyradio2.0 Aug 11th, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    that’s what I like !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! DON’T TOUCH THAT SEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If I saw this I would have never bought my 2005 softail springer classic. my age 49 we are all not yet dead, who worship at the alter of the retro bike

  10. 10 Lyle Aug 11th, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    Looks almost like a 101 Scout?!!!

    Where’s the leaf Spring, two cam flat head engine, rigid frame, inside the frame gas tanks, tank shift,?…..

    Man, your stretching the definition of “almost.”

  11. 11 fuji Aug 12th, 2010 at 7:47 am

    What more could one ask for, Here is the bike that many have wanted HD to build, Ready for your interpretation and personal flavor / self expression, without all the glitter.

    Get your crayons out and start coloring instead of complaining what if, or is it easier to complain than do.

  12. 12 Steve The Producer Johann Aug 12th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I am just glad to see these guys out doing the thing and seeing the company turn a profit is a bonus. I believe Indian needs to become one of the Big Three American made bikes next to H-D and Victory.

    Of course there are plenty of bikes being built here in the Good ol USA too many to mention. But Indian has a heritage that others have not earned as of yet.

  13. 13 Chief Waldo Aug 16th, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Concept? They painted the chrome and put on a spring seat. That’s stuff people were doing to their Gilroy Indians for years.

  14. 14 Wayne Aug 17th, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    I saw this bike in Sturgis.I loved the overall approach, but, added some minor thoughts:
    1) Replace the front fender lamp with the Chiefs 2)Clean up the black box area on the right side 3)Indian head dress on tank vs. script 4)Speedo vs. tach on tank 5)Integrated center stand needed5)Oval footboards and round mirrors
    Price it in the 18/19K range so you’re out the door with sales tax a hair under 20.

  15. 15 R. Alan Aug 21st, 2010 at 12:42 am

    Sharp bike! Headlight bracket looks a little clunky, needs to come up from underneath maybe. Slightly larger oval headlight like Gilroy Scout model and slightly lower in forks…True dual exhausts would look good with old style cigar type mufflers ending in fish tails or caddy tips…

    Looks good over all… Go Indian.

  16. 16 Dump trucks Aug 21st, 2010 at 2:53 am

    the touring exhaust is really looking ugly but apart form that bike is looking great …..

  17. 17 Lady Ojibway Aug 26th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    This is a gorgeous bike…You can tell that it is long & lean. I do agree though that the price is unrealistic. Still, if I could afford it-I would get it in pink.

  18. 18 Used Trucks Oct 4th, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Sharp bike! headlamp support seems a bit awkward, perhaps more than they need to find. Slightly larger oval lights, like the Gilroy Scout and a slightly lower forks

    Very nice Post

    Thanks you very much.. Keep It up

  19. 19 Car dealers in Illinois Oct 13th, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Indian Motorcycle is intent on slowly and methodically carving out its niche in the heavyweight cruiser motorcycle market. Indian companies will focus on supplying motorcycles which are beautifully designed, made of the highest quality materials, reliable and supported by a qualified dealer network.

  20. 20 K. Richard Youse Oct 23rd, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    As the owner of a 2009 Indian Chief Vintage (#182) and a rider of 40 years, not ever having owned a HD (and having no Harley agenda or myopia), I think the two best opinions with constructive assessments were those of Wayne’s on August 17 and R. Alan’s on August 21, 2010. They hit the nail on the head. I will add one other suggestion which you can either add to theirs or throw on the junk pile with the other critical bastards that don’t have interest in the revival of Indian Motorcycles.

    Now that you,ve proven that the 105 engine can run well, put that engine in the Scout. Take the 105 cu. in. engine, bore it out to 4.25 cu. in., beef up the clutch, valve train , connecting rods, throttle bodies, etc. and use your up and coming programmable ECU to enlarge the Chief to 120.6 cu. in. ( call it the Indian 121). There’s no use in investing the same money to de-tune the 105 down to accomodate the Scout. Give us Indian riders something to make the other boys on the block take notice. Indian was always first in delivering innovation, horsepower and cubic inches throughout their history. Beat the competition to the punch!

  21. 21 Jaggerbob Wynn Nov 6th, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    This bike need’s to be made into a military tribute Bike. One for each service. OD and White Star for Army, OD and Gold for Marines, Gray and Black for Navy and Blue and Silver For Air Force. The Dark Brown Leather Seat and Bags.would go with all colors. Just a tought from an old Green Beret.

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