The New Indian Motorcycle By Polaris. Moving Away From The Chief To A New Scout Or Bobber Type Model?

When in April 2011 Minnesota based Polaris announced they purchased Indian Motorcycle, the acquisition raised a lot of questions that I summarize. 1- which way the OEM manufacturer would design the new model(s) 2- what would be the range of prices 3- how the iconic brand would cohabit with Victory 4-  when the new Polaris/Indian motorcycle(s) would be announced?

Don’t expect many updates by Polaris until they feel ready, maybe in the second half of 2013 … or much later. There is absolutely no doubt in the industry that the company has the capabilities,, design resources, engineering knowledge and technical abilities to build a quality motorcycle. But with the Indian name on a motorcycle, the issue for Polaris is way beyond manufacturing another nice bike. It’s about perpetuating the brand mystique that some say has been damaged by the tentatives for relaunch by the 2 former manufacturers, Gilroy then Kings Mountain Indian.

In 2008, I remember being invited by the then Indian Kings Mountain’s chairman Stephen Julius at his plant in North Carolina. It was 6 months before the launch of the new Indian Chief. Right away, he asked me what I thought he should do next (after the Chief.) Told him, a very affordable new Scout type model. I reported this discussion in a follow-up article in my website and most of you agreed in “comments” that a “Scout or Bobber For All” should be the way to go. Trust me, Polaris executives are very attentive to most of your wishes, if not all, and I can tell you that a modern version of the Scout or a new Bobber is probably the direction that the Minnesota company is taking right now.

So, let’s imagine how a “new Indian with heritage” should look. What should power it? At what price? Discreetly, with a confidentiality agreement signed by participants, my sources tell me that Polaris is conducting some focus groups during motorcycle events to see how bikers (with for priority Harley riders ) react to a certain number of sketches. A couple of custom builders have also given some feed back to Polaris.

Looks? Evidently, while being different, should offer an instant visual identification to the original Springfield’s bikes, probably those  produced between 1920 and 1946 if it’s a new Scout. Meaning middle weight, low (would attract interest of women, too) and quite “naked”. Power? It has to uphold Indian’s pre-1953 legendary reputation for power and durability, I am pretty certain that Polaris knows very well that they can’t expect success using a modern Power-Plus “Bottlecap” V-Twin engine as used on the current Indian Chief models. Nor can they use the modern Victory engine without turning off all potential clients who want an Indian, not a Kings Mountain Chief nor a Victory re-dressed as an Indian motorcycle. So, which type of engine will be chosen? I bet for a motor with a beautiful retro appearance (why not, for example, with Excelsior Henderson cosmetics) but for reasons of economy and federal legislation, using current modern Victory internal components. Price? All market studies show the largest motorcycle sales potential right now in the US (and probably also in Europe) in the $12,000 to $15,000 range.

And while you and me are thinking about what we would like the new Indian to be, Polaris is selling its 2013 Indian Chief models, the Chief Classic, the Chief Dark Horse, the Chief Vintage, and the Chief Vintage LE with the first model (the Classic) priced at $26,499 and the high-end one (Vintage LE) priced at $37,899. Another source tells me that only about a couple of hundred  frames from the Kings Mountain Indian era (did you know they were made in Italy) are left at the Polaris Indian factory. Probably enough to build Indian Chiefs until the launch of the brand new Indian model, then a complete phase out? A couple of things I am strongly convinced about are: that with the right new Indian model Polaris could sell more of them in one year than they sell new Victory motorcycles, so potentially bringing more profit to Polaris; that a successful new Indian will be purchased in majority by those who would instead have bought a new or used Harley; that after a few years of success with  the Indian brand, it could become so big for Polaris that it could relegate Victory to a second-tier brand, for example limited to touring bikes. We all wish success to Polaris and it’s a very exciting time for those working on this project and for all of us observers. Those belonging to the custom motorcycle industry can also imagine how a very successful  Indian model could create in just a few months a brand new after-market parts industry…Well, time will tell if I am right. I am sure that one day many among you will remind me today’s predictions… What are yours?

55 Responses to “The New Indian Motorcycle By Polaris. Moving Away From The Chief To A New Scout Or Bobber Type Model?”

  1. 1 Seymour Sep 13th, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I am happy that Indian is in good hands. There are those that say Indian died in 1953, but they (we) are getting old and dying off too. It will be interesting to see how valuable or interesting the Indian name is, into the future..

  2. 2 Matt Sep 13th, 2012 at 9:56 am

    Triumph has successfully been able to keep true to it’s iconic heritage without relying on nostalgia alone to sell bikes. Personally I would love to see Indian eventually branch out as a performance brand as well. I think it would be nice to see America become a major competitor in Moto GP and I can think of no more fitting brand to do it then Indian.

  3. 3 rodent Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Lets hope that Polaris don’t screw up like so many of the pretenders to the Indian Brand.

  4. 4 Kirk Perry Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:17 am

    Welp…. it won’t have a flathead motor, but will have disc brakes, so Polaris either makes a “new OHV motor”, but it will look like a blockhead Harley, so why not make it a vertical twin, like Indian made before they closed? All of the Indians were vertical twins when they were made in ….Canada…right? 1961-1963. The Chief, The Tomahawk, etc. all vertical twins. Matchless motors? Forgot, but I received a color brochure back in the 60’s when they made the motor change from V-Twin to vertical.

  5. 5 burnout Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:22 am

    My opinion is keep it Indian exclusively whichever way they go with the engine. Oh and don’t label “Indian by Polaris” anywhere on the bike! peace

  6. 6 BobS Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:36 am

    I predict the Chief will carry on as the ” heritage ” model with the bottle cap air cooled V-twin. But I also predict that a bunch of engineering that was to become Victory is now going to become Indian. I predict a second Indian model with a sand cast aluminum frame and a new engine.

  7. 7 CafeSportyTC Sep 13th, 2012 at 11:48 am

    The Bottle-cap i think will end up massively re-worked. I believe they will also make a scout model to compete directly with the sportster. Get some younger folks in early and create a little loyalty. I would love to see Indian do what Triumph did. Make an Indian four Sport tourer or something of that line. I think its time to pass on the all out nostalgia line and concentrate on moving forward, envision what indian would be today as a direct competitor to Harley, and unlike Harley, expand their coverage….

  8. 8 X HD rider Sep 13th, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Polaris / Victory has to fix there problems with the Victory first

    Polaris / Victory has the worst dealers in the country and need to fix them

    No one is going to shell out $36 thousand or even $30 thousand for a un proven bike that has no value

  9. 9 dmj Sep 13th, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Just don’t let the ness family anywhere near the project. They could do this right and sell a mess of them. A ness Indian, is that even possible?

  10. 10 M.F.S. Sep 13th, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    I am afraid the bean counters will win the design battle. Too bad!!

  11. 11 Dave Sep 13th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I think it would be good for indian to be the “harley fighter” then they can take victory off on a tangent. Perhaps a sport-bike or some sports tourers in the Triumph or BMW target audience.

  12. 12 Eric L Sep 13th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    I think a vintage Indian under 15,000 would be a good sell. Many like myself would love a vintage Indian but don’t have the technical skills to ensure an old motorcycle is running properly. Modern technology with a 30s style. I would buy it immediately. Indian is a great Brand, I would love to own one.

  13. 13 Brandon Sep 13th, 2012 at 2:11 pm

    I think that Cyril may know a little bit more than what he wrote. So, he must be right.

  14. 14 Manxman Sep 13th, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    The best, most reliable post-1953 “Indians” ,imho, were those built by Kawasaki and sold as the Drifter, both as as a Scout sized 800 and a Chief sized 1500. They had the looks and the prices were right, plus they’ve held their value.

  15. 15 deadwood1783 Sep 13th, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I wish them nothing but success. But if they can’t find a way to cut that price point down to an area where people who actually want them can buy them, they are doomed. Upper thirty’s is beyond ridiculous for the current rehashed Kings Mountain bikes that were nothing but trouble to begin with. Polaris can make this work, They have the best chance of anyone who has tried to revive that marquee to date.Question is will they? Or will they just try to be another overpriced niche bike? Make them clean, reliable and affordable or just go ahead and cut your losses now.

  16. 16 Zipper Sep 13th, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    I believe all the Indian vertical twins were Royal Enfields. “But Anyway” Polaris has a long road ahead. I wish them success. Be nice to see some competition for HD and create new jobs in the states. ..Z

  17. 17 BluDog Sep 13th, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    The potential is there. Indian has to rank as one of the iconic brands but Polaris will have to credibly earn identification with that brand by providing performance that lives up to the legend, expand the market base by offering price competitive bikes unlike the 36k barges and rapidly grow what could be a mother lode of an aftermarket for parts. They’ve recently invested a lot in victory and that’s a wild card in this mix.

    I was really hoping that the homework had be done before the acquisition and that Polaris would make a splash in the 2013 model year, but that’s not going to happen. I still wish nothing but the best as the Chiefs really appeal to me but not enough to justify the road king and a half price.

  18. 18 Now&Zen Sep 14th, 2012 at 7:04 am

    I’ll predict that Indian will be in fact Dead Man Walking with Polaris becoming just one more in what has been a very long line of owners messing up the storied Heritage of Indian

    I’ll also predict that Polaris’s Indian will in fact steal sales from its Victory brand : bringing Victory down with it as well

    As well as with the continuing decline of large cruiser sales both in the US and abroad : to say that the Polaris Indian will be a 100 days too late and a few thousand dollars short

    In closing as JT Nesbit has so often stated I’ll also predict that the Polaris Indian will in fact be nothing more than a badge engineered Polaris with a few Indian styling cues in a vain attempt to distinguish the Indian from its no doubt lower priced Victory cousin

    Its a shame really . Watching a legendary name be dragged thru the mud over and over again like this . Indian really does deserve better .

  19. 19 Trail Boss Sep 14th, 2012 at 7:24 am

    “A couple of things I am strongly convinced about are: that with the right new Indian model Polaris could sell more of them in one year than they sell new Victory motorcycles, so potentially bringing more profit to Polaris; that a successful new Indian will be purchased in majority by those who would instead have bought a new or used Harley; that after a few years of success with the Indian brand, it could become so big for Polaris that it could relegate Victory to a second-tier brand, for example limited to touring bikes. We all wish success to Polaris and it’s a very exciting time for those working on this project and for all of us observers.”

    Those are bold and optimistic comments, Cyril! I hope you are correct in your assessment. I ride and own a Hinckley Triumph. I’m impressed with the progress of Hinckley Triumph, going their own way, and still producing quality products throughout their ranges. I’ve ridden a number of H-D Sportsters and big twins but wouldn’t want to own any of them. So that leaves me with Triumph and Victory to even consider, although I did briefly look at BMW and Moto Guzzi. If Polaris Indian can build something unique and innovative, given the history and performance of the pre-1954 history, Indian would be at the very top of the list for me.

  20. 20 Rick Lossner Sep 14th, 2012 at 7:30 am

    First of all .. people DO shell out this sort of $$$ 30k..36k… if you think they don’t, look in the mirror and you see the real issue… just sayn’

    Gilroys’ were visually stunning bikes… as were the KM versions… One has to believe in less than 12 months we’ll yet another stunning bike….. There is a hard core following of both those versions , salivating in the background waiting to see what’s coming out…

    I’m betting on a Scout of sorts to come in under $20k, a Chief in the upper 20s and into the 30s… and some Chief touring variation that competes with HD’s Glides … who knows what the cost is of that ..

    If they pump of the PP105 ( rework, etc) to a respectable size and power band, no reason these shouldn’t compete head on with the HD CVO’s … to include their price point.

  21. 21 Scootertrash Sep 14th, 2012 at 7:54 am

    I have to agree with Now&Zen. Bad timing for Polaris

  22. 22 SIGFREED Sep 14th, 2012 at 8:24 am

    It seems the problem is in fact Polaris itself.

    Polaris do not understand the ‘cruiser’ market.

    1. VICTORY: the “Performance Cruiser” is somewhat of an enigma. There is undoubtedly a very limited market for the ‘performance cruiser’ in the USA – the people and the geography (and matters related) are just too different from the “performance cruiser’s” core domain – Europe. If Polaris is trying to establish a “performance cruiser” market then they must focus their energies on Europe (eg lead it with Germany and France) and all sales in the US = a bonus (iow sort of the reverse of HD – viz they focus on the US and Europe(etc) = a bonus). I do not rate the Ness-clan, rather get someone like Roland Sands or Marcus Waltz on board, or both…

    2. INDIAN: if you are exclusively targeting the top-end (wherewithal) niche of the cruiser market then you are daft if you want to do it with a ‘production bike’ that looks like (little more than) a “me-too” HD – YOU WILL FAIL, period. Strategically it is sensible to lead the US onslaught with the Indian brand (it has the lineage). Tactically there will have to be parity- or a greater ‘value’ in the purchase of an Indian versus a top-end HD – iow the group that will buy a CVO HD and/or a heavily modified/enhanced HD (ie the >$25k niche). The said value must be a very strong lineage (not negotiable and a bit more than just funny fenders and a badge), solid engineering, re-sale value, exclusivity in aesthetics (without looking hideous), etc. Certainly not an easy design brief, but there are talents exceptional enough to pull it off – evidently not anybody currently on their payroll. If I were Polaris – I would have tasked five of the top custom bike designers, with a strong affinity for traditional quality ‘values’, to design their “Indian” and then take the best cues to the ‘production CAD crowd’. I would say the noted Cyril Huze should feature on such a list…

  23. 23 Mike Greenwald Sep 14th, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Success of the Indian marque and remaining true to the success of the brand rather than the excess of the Juneau Avenue junkies will come from the owner/client. The H-D owner has many aftermarket parts available, racing brackets and organizations that are devoted and devised strictly for the brand. The biggest decision will be the ease of choice to cut up and modify the Indian to win against another V-twin product. This assumes that Indian is already predestined to be another V-Twin product throughout the line up of models. Will the home garage mechanic/owner be able to modify this product in such a way that will exceed the H-D marque in any way shape or form? Will the home customizer be able to modify this bike in such a way that will keep the integrity of the Indian brand and not become another Harley clone?

    What will Indian offer to the new owner that will generate interest, loyalty and tradition. What will Indian offer to the new owner that will create loyalty to the brand?

  24. 24 Dave Blevins Sep 14th, 2012 at 9:59 am

    Here’s a thought… don’t remake another Chief for a few years, instead only the Scout. But a newly styled street stompin’ Scout. In this way, the trap of copying everyone elses idea of the cruiser Indian is avoided until the brand is once again desired and worthwhile.
    A strong, air cooled v-twin about 110-120 horsepower 5 speed not to compete so much with a Sportster or a crotch rocket, but more in terms of a Dyna on steroids. Light, agile, strong, yet easy to fit a broad segment of riders tall or short, young and older, male or female, and less intimidating than a Hyabusa, still having a satisfying growl and respectable power and handling, sort of a 60s-70s muscle car approach put toward a bike.
    In this way the classic Indian ideal is not gut-shot if the brand doesn’t suceed, but if it catches on, the desire to bring on a new heavy cruiser Chief might seem more enticing. And if you do bring back the Chief, build it as much to mimic the 50s era Indian Chief as possible. None of this mono shock crap, I mean the old Chief, but with improved engine and stronger frame, things that can be achieved with modern metals and engineering without losing that classic look and feel.
    Recent history has proven that just releasing a “new” Chief a failure’. I believe the Indian’s future is in its past.

  25. 25 Shanedrive Sep 14th, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I’ll be watching. If the product line takes off, I’ll be making the proper “special tools” purchases as needed to service them. Hope they support the new bikes w/good quality of literature. (service manuals) which is vital to me as a service shop. My library is my single largest investment. I also am 100% certain that whatever Polaris does, the bikes will be EFI. I look forward to it.
    Over ‘n out

  26. 26 BlueStrada Sep 14th, 2012 at 10:30 am

    Let’s hope they get it right “the first time”… Even Victory would be further ahead if they hadn’t gotten off on the wrong foot to begin with… As for the ‘posers’ building Indians… the Kings Mountain bikes were way better than most people knew about. Chris Bernauer learned a great deal from his days at HD… and built the best bike possible… but no one really knew that until you looked really close at it.. If it wasn’t for his determination to build such a great product…. Polaris would have never been interested.

  27. 27 roscoe Sep 14th, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    My hope is to see them make a new modern Indian that is nothing like the original.

    Trying to live in the past is, (sorry for the pun) getting old!

    Make a fast, powerful, reliable, affordable bike to compete with the Big4.

    Make a motorcycle, not a fashion statement, or a lifestyle.


  28. 28 bobs56 Sep 14th, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Matt’s “Moto GP” idea is beyond stupid, no one wants yet another fucking sports bike with a radiator hanging off it covered in plastic.

    Roscoe, Polaris is certainly capable of making a “fast, powerfull, reliable, affordable” bike while retaining its classic design cues, no one wants a weird looking Indian.

    Dave Blevins idea of a Scout first avoiding the Chief trap is very sound thinking.

    The idea of Polaris getting the top 5 bike builders who have a classics sensibility to build bikes to draw upon is another excellent idea.

  29. 29 Iron Horse Sep 14th, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    You have a killer idea Mr. Blevins…let’s hope that the guys at Polaris are reading this blog and take some of these comments to heart. While I’m sure it would never happen, I’d personally like to see an Indian 4. So how about it Polaris, a Sport Scout and an Indian 4?

  30. 30 roscoe Sep 15th, 2012 at 12:11 am


    There are alot of people that would like a sports bike with a radiator hanging off it.

    A weird looking Indian?…….. it’s in the eye of the beholder.

    The idea of getting the top 5 builders is a bad idea, those guys are already building bikes of their own. Why build more of the same?

    I, for one, don’t want to see a “classic” Indian, not only would it take away from the originals, it’s boring and I wouldn’t buy one. I would be more inclined to buy something along the lines of Buell if I want a sportbike, or a Vision if I want a cruiser/tourer.

  31. 31 Are you kidding Sep 15th, 2012 at 12:18 am

    Blue Strada,

    CB was an Idiot. Strange that he hasn’t been able to get back into the market. Even Polaris didn’t want him. He didn’t build squat. He knew about sportster platforms. That was it. Who in the hell did you get YOUR information from? That guy was nothing more than a puppet on a string that had no inter personal communication skills.

  32. 32 brymob Sep 15th, 2012 at 4:03 am

    A bit of history on the Indian after the 2nd world war Indian made a single called 149 Arrow 220cc
    and a twin 249 Scout 440cc the reason was the guys who had been in the war had in many cases rode the british bikes BSA,Notron,Triumph,etc. and the Indian company felt that they would be able to sell these smaller Indians to a lot of the rreturning vets. but the British went off the gold standard and that ment that the Indians where priced higher that the bikes from Britian, in 1950 th 440Scout was now a 500cc Warrior Indian had a factory rider named Eddy Kretz who did quite well on the bike but with mismanagement Indian was never able to recover and met their demise in 1953/54,I had the
    440 Scout it was as nice bike but I was mostly riding my 1947 EL 61″Knucklehead. The vertical engine Indians where made buy an Indian company Torque manufacturing in Hartford Con.
    If any one would like more info. get in your search engine and it will give you all the info !

  33. 33 Seymour Sep 15th, 2012 at 9:44 am

    LOL Are You Kidding, yeah your inter personal communication skills are great!

  34. 34 deadwood1783 Sep 15th, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Well “are you kidding” is right. CB was a only a notch below intolerable when interacting with others. I can’t speak to his engineering skills one way or another, but he’s not a guy I would ever want representing my company to potential customers. Nick Glaja had been with Polaris before he went to HD and then to Indian. Whatever happened to him? He was one of the engineers who helped develop the HD Advanced cooling system which never went to production. Well I guess it sorta did in the XR with added oil cooling around the exhaust valve. Same concept was to be used on baggers with a radiator hidden in the fairing lowers using tradional “water cooling”.

  35. 35 Rob Sep 16th, 2012 at 1:33 am

    The economy is getting worse.Gas prices are rising. If the current administration returns ,mix the ever worsening economy with an out of control EPA, you can forget Indian…………

  36. 36 Romano Sep 16th, 2012 at 9:05 am

    Rob. You are another misinformed republican. The Obama administration has discussed several times closing EPA because “it acts stupid.” By the way, Obama is going to be re-elected with a 5% lead. Easy. Bet? A very good thing for America.

  37. 37 Dennis P Farley Sep 16th, 2012 at 9:57 am

    What would be wrong with a “Flathead” engine? Using contemporary technology a “hydraulically activated” underhead valve engine, with a large displacement high torque capability (2 liter+) “Flattie” would satisfy the “Nostalgia” market and give useable “Street Power” to a “Bobber” type “Scout”. Give it big heavy flywheels and a rideable 1.90 or 2.00 rear wheel, and classic 50’s bobber style, with the “User Friendly” (read easily modified) exhaust system, and a price tag that competes with the big Japanese “V Twins” (around $15,000) and you could have a winner. You have to bring “New Riders” into the hobby, that isn’t going to happen with $20,000 + motorcycles, the market isnt there.

    I used to ride Harleys, but the price became prohibitive, I have an XV1900 Star Roadliner that does everything that the Harleys did but better, it is bigger, faster and stops better than any stock Harley that I’ve ever owned, and I’d never spend the money on a new Harley again, as there are so much better products available today.

    If Triumph came out with a “Four Cylinder” inline engine with a prettier engine (looking like an “Indian Four”) than their ugly three cylinder bike I’d buy one, again for around $20,000, not more. I can build a nice “Shovelhead” “Bobber” for around $10,000 or less why not price something in that range?

  38. 38 Woody Sep 16th, 2012 at 10:12 am

    “There are alot of people that would like a sports bike with a radiator hanging off it.” Quite possibly true, but please don’t hang the Indian name on it. Polaris could have tossed the the Victory brand on a “sports bike with a radiator hanging off it” anytime they felt like it. People expect a certain feel with anything denoted as an Indian, and if there’s not going to be a new design with a nostalgic angle to it, it might just as well be another Road King/Heritage amalgam with Drifter fenders. (which would also be a failure) A straight four would be a great way to have something unique, desireable, and a continuation of one the best looking bike themes ever.
    It would best be done with a shaft drive that could look period correct and yet low maintenance and efficient. Personally I wouldn’t care if it was “lower” HP bike, if it meant correct styling and rideability. If I want a VMax I know where the dealership is. Just because something is expensive doesn’t have to mean it’s fast, I learned that early on with Harley.

  39. 39 Blackmax Sep 16th, 2012 at 10:50 am

    Everyone makes valid points
    in the end it’s up to the powers-that-be at Polaris (not Victory) to decide how they’re going to handle this, after all it is their money / R & D.
    Just an opinion, yes I would like to see a entry level bobber along the lines of a “Judge / High Ball
    and carry it up all the way to a high dollar marquee “Chief”, with a proprietry engine.
    If not the “Power Plus / Bottle cap, then something else they has dependeabilty of modern tech and produces decent power out of the box, but with a few nostagic nods to the past.
    I’ve got a felling they won;t let us down, but no matter what they do
    not everybodty will like it / approve of it and people will get on here & complain …..
    The market (that means Us) will ultimatly decide wheather its a hit or not.

  40. 40 roscoe Sep 16th, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    There ya go, making sense.

    We all sound like a bunch of jailhouse lawyers.

  41. 41 Icrashalot Sep 16th, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    I’m a Vic owner, had 2. I like both of them (A Kingpin and now a Cross Roads) but I also own other bikes, all Japanese. A KLR, a air cooled 4 cyl. and a ‘crotch rocket’. I’m 42, make good money and don’t even think about gas prices when it comes to bikes. I’ve ridden around the country, to the corner store and on the best curvy roads in NY, Texas and CA. I’m the guy Indian should try to bring in (I’m not anti-HD, just prefer not to own one but have ridden many).
    They will start with a air/air-oil cooled V twin because that is the “American” bike engine. It will be expensive and therefore I won’t buy one. The Cross Roads is a perfect V twin for me. Roomy, plenty of power, looks good (to me) and isn’t a full-on ‘heavy’ touring bike but is capable of doing most of my riding/traveling with ease.
    Hopefully they will look at the 4cyl. bikes Indian used to make and eventually introduce something along those lines. Triumphs 3 cyl. monster motored beast is OK, but I wouldn’t buy one new. Shrink the engine, down to 100c.i., somehow engineer it to not have liquid cooling (oil cooler yes, coolant and radiator no) and give it the ground clearance of the Cross Roads with a seating position more like a Vmax and I’m interested. Power and handling without my knees being behind me (sport bike) or my feet 3 feet ahead of me (current cruiser style). Seat at about 30″ since it won’t be geared towards women or beginners. Don’t lock yourself into the giant fenders look.
    But none of that will happen. They will tkae the current bike, put a unit construction Vtwin/tranny in and call it an Indian.
    And to the history lessons in some posts: I’ve always read that Indians death was in a large part a result of not getting the contract for World War 2 bikes. They lost it because they built the bike to the design specs the War Dept. gave them (for a 500cc bike of a certain max weight) and HD submitted their 750cc bike which was chosen for it’s superior power while it’s larger than specs engine and heavier than specs weight was completely ignored (sounds like typical war contract favoritism to me). HD made bank off of the war, Indian made squat. Surplus post war bikes were everywhere and were HD, leading to HD developing a larger post-war customer base. Indian tried to bring in the Brit bikes but it was already too late. Like I said, that’s how I’ve always read it.
    And JT Nesbitt is a tool. Who cares what he think. Pompous d-bag, builds the same thing every Ness/Sands/Billy Lane/whichever customizer does, a HD based Vtwin. His might have different frames, forks, whatever, but it isn’t anything radically ‘new’, he just gets press. That people suck his balls makes me sad. And as a Victory owner I’m very anti-Ness bikes. Performance over looks for me.

  42. 42 Rob Sep 16th, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    Romano: not a repub, ind. And yeah,this administration does lot of talking and discussing……………but they rarely take action;and when they do it’s almost always failure.

  43. 43 Bean're Sep 17th, 2012 at 9:09 am

    If Polaris can build a successful motorcycle company from scratch ( without copying a motor from another manufacturer) I have a feeling they can pull of some great stuff with Indian. I’m behind them 100%

  44. 44 Reyn Mansson Sep 17th, 2012 at 9:47 am

    A in-line longitudinal 4-cylinder grand touring bike as the top of the line would be intriguing. A tribute to a legendary motorcycle and would have a techno appeal. An under 1000cc Scout with performance intentions that could be a parallel twin gives you a possible $9999 base model and a v-twin “vintage look” with one frame and motor available in 3 or 4 trim levels from naked to bagger gives the brand range.

  45. 45 Mazz Sep 17th, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I am truly hoping you are right. Affordable, traditional with just the right amount of “modern” and definatley not a “Victory”!! I personally feel they should not be sold together, keep the brands seperate even though they will probably share elements. They need to learn from the past failures of Indian Motorcycle and ensure that they build and sell these machines for many years to come. They also need to learn from HD, who, I feel, and remember this is only my opinion, have been steadily moving away from what was working towards what sells. I would like the choice of what to buy, whether it be an Indian, Victory or HD, and that choice should be clear to me not clouded by a motorcycle’s magazine “comparison” test. I truly hope Polaris keeps all nations they are going to sell to in mind, not just the US. Keeping the Indian nameplate alive should not be the only directive, you know?

  46. 46 CafeSportyTC Sep 17th, 2012 at 11:38 am

    Bobs56, I for one would love to see an American Superbike with an Indian name on the tank instead of Buell, nothing against Eric , i would love to see some competition. and Racing sells bikes. it would be nice to see a American made Crotch rocket… and if you can get several american companies to compete you will also get competitive prices. Besides it would be kinda catchy if you named it something like “Commanche” or “Apache Warrior” something like that….

  47. 47 Ben Sep 17th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    A cafe racer style scout with some nostalgic cues for under $15k might work well. It would appeal to both fans of classic bikes and to a younger generation.

  48. 48 Gary Gullikson Sep 17th, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I have been riding Indian Chieves (?) since age 15 in 1953 and have been passionate about the look of the 40’s through 53’s. My first ride was on the back of a kid’s ’40 Sport Scout. When I first saw a Gilroy Indian Chief and subsequent marketing attempts, I was very disappointed that the rear fender looked gargantuan and misshapen to house the drive belt and enclosed rear suspension. I did not like the lack of daylight through the engine cylinders, and massive front fender/front fork design. I think that the average older biker that loved the old Indians would have the same feelings. The general impression is of bloated and unnecessary massiveness like a cartoon caricature of a real Chief.

    It may be that a modern version of a true vintage styled Indian Chief with girder forks,may not sell well because it is after all, a copy of a classic. I do think that If Polaris could slim down the vintage Chief and make it affordable, they would sell more to older riders. The idea of a nice running in-line 4 with 40’s styling has a lot of appeal, I could even accept a radiator to keep the rear cylinders from overheating.

  49. 49 TROPICAL WILLIE Sep 17th, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    LONG LIVE INDIANS,good luck

  50. 50 craig Sep 18th, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    i am not happy with polaris company because they werent too kind with all dealers because their pressure on them to sell,do all govt paperworks,keeping fillout to polaris.they do have still have problems with engineering that need alot improving engineerings.indian should be kept same all engines need improving engineering,doent need to sell to too expensive prices.thats crazy.indian should be same everything not changing.

  51. 51 Pop Sep 18th, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Indian has a more storied history than practically any other automotive product, and yep, Gilroy and Kings Mountain are full chapters. Polaris chapter is being written and may well be a long chapter, or perhaps shorter than either Gilroy or Stellican.
    The bottlecap probably will not find its way into the next generation. That doesn’t mean it’s done, it just seems unlikely that a company sporting a full motorsport R&D would carry it forward in a flagship product. The bottlecap has a following and has matured. I owned one and will own another, but it won’t come from Polaris.
    I agree that a Scout would find a market. It did for Gilroy and those bikes are still eyecatchers today. It didn’t save the factory from itself anymor than the Chief did. When Stellican set up shop the same advise was offered to them. Build a Scout, make it affordable. They had a different plan and they stuck to it.
    Anyway, to somehow expect Indian to survive without the iconic valenced fenders is expecting more out of the buying public than I think that they are inclined to provide. Indian IS retro, Indian IS deco. Assuming that Polaris follows through the motor will be of their design, the cost of the inaugural units will be hefty and those units will reflect what the motorcycling world visualizes when they see the chiefs head and the big cursive “I” on the tank.
    I wish them luck.

  52. 52 alan rand Sep 22nd, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    I’m thinking big bore short stroke ohc engine with liquid cooling, (fan/radiator under fuel tank?), and cam covers that emulate a flathead engine. 850cc entry level scout sport maybe with 6 speed integrated trans and chain drive. you have to consider that indian had an inline 4 cylinder running protype in 1948 or so much like the 750 honda of 1967. if they had perfected and released such a model it was have totally changed the face of cycling today. i threw that thought in because it would be a natural direction to take indian if polaris built superbike style indians with inline high power 4s. also consider if al crocker had not left indian and they had used his engine design on a light weight scout model. once again history would have been drastically altered in biking. such a machine would have easily bested any and all competetion in that day with a cruising speed of 70+ mph in 1938…by looking at indians past polaris could build some amazing competetively priced motorcycles.,

  53. 53 Den Nov 11th, 2012 at 2:28 am

    Indian 4 based on a honda 750 four style motor with a shaft drive,street fighter style lean and mean not the big fat bagger style.Would appeal to younger riders, with an option for a touring model for those that want it.nuff said.

  54. 54 Dave harris Jan 7th, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    I have faith that Polaris will pull this off just fine. The Victory engine is so bullet proof and strong, they could probably get away with just changing the cosmetics of the engine while retaining the innards. The new Indian will be able to have it’s own persona or character with Victory components well hidden. It can’t be like a pontiac version of a chevy or mercury version of a ford it must forge it’s own Identity with homage paid to it’s best bikes of the past. Hope they stay away from push rods though. Make cam chain tube look like the presence of push rods if there are still people in love with such archaic techknowlodgy. Take a lesson from the Harley marketing people who have done a phenominal job of selling beautiful bikes despite inferior engines. An Indian with a strong dependable powerplant will sell well. Please Polaris, just don’t even think about dropping the Victory line. Many folks think you have to be 75 years of age to want an Indian or a Harley. Keep some good V Twins for the young folks who would rather ride than fix. You can run these new Vic engines all summer long without even checking the oil. The Indian should have that type of reliability. Take a look at Toyota. They have built some really ugly cars that sell well because of their reliability record.A good looking bike with that type of reputation will be around a long time.

  55. 55 Michael Rivera Feb 9th, 2013 at 4:27 am

    I ride a 2003 Indian Chief and love its looks and power, but my Wife asked if they made a lighter,lower basic bike she could start out on and I had to say sorry dear. I think the potential is there if they made a basic solo-seat short stroke Bobber for under 20 Grand. Hang the engine low in the frame and give it a boxy in the frame gas tank and it would sell off of the assembly line. This would get the Kids excited about being part of the Indian family. I have young and old standing next to my bike every time I come out of a store, asking if Indians are still being made. Women love the look of the fenders and classic lines of old bikes. We can only hope, Polaris make it so!

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Cyril Huze