The New Indian Motorcycle’s Rumble Is Sweet Music For Bikers Around The World

Cyril-Huze-Indian1With online and social media fueling the conversation in the entire motorcycle world, the new Indian Motorcycle’s future is surely the most discussed topic of 2013. Although the brand new 2014 Chief model will not be unveiled until Sturgis Bike Week (August  3rd to 11th), your online comments in my daily magazine, Facebook and Twitter pages show that the teaser launch campaign has been extremely successful: unveiling of engine sound, features and pictures, then of Chief’s silhouette and price have all been exciting news for Indian’s fans and turned most remaining skeptics into supporters. Barring a major disappointment at unveiling, something highly improbable, I can now say that the Indian Motorcycle brand was already re-born when Polaris bought it 2 years ago. But what does its future look like?

Recently, Steve Menneto, Vice President Of Motorcycles at Polaris Industries stated that to break even, the company just needs to capture 4 to 5% of the US heavy weight cruiser market (primary competitor Harley-Davidson is the leader in the US with a 57% market share.) Menneto didn’t mention how long he thinks it would take, but it is reasonable to think, as I do, that Indian Motorcycle’s objective could be reached in the US in 2 to 3 years or maybe less…

Cyril-Huze-Indian2Although the main focus of this summer’s Indian launch is the US, let’s not forget that Polaris’ expansion strategy is international. Indian is a new immediately available asset for Polaris to sell more of its heavy weight motorcycles around the world. These 4 to 5% in the US could lead very fast to many more Indians sold in several countries. I don’t know of any new or of “re-born” motorcycle brands ever launched domestically and abroad simultaneously or close to it. Polaris is in the unique position to be able to do both with Indian in one year or less. Not only because of Indian’s international brand appeal, but also because Polaris being the global leader in off-road/adventure vehicles, has already in place an international structure that could be used, if necessary, to sell Indian motorcycles in foreign markets. Unnoticed by many, including members of the press, there is an Indian Motorcycle official web page (just look at the screenshot above) where Indian says it clear:  “We Are Coming… in Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, India, China, etc…

Cyril-Huze-Indian3All legendary motorcycle brands and successful motorcycle models are built around a great engine. Although the new Indian Chief has not yet been ridden on the road by the media and the public at large, reading the foreign motorcycle press, I can tell you that the all new Thunder Stroke 111 is widely acclaimed by professionals and bikers alike for its conception and architecture, its size (as a matter of principle and symbolically done on purpose 1″ bigger than Harley’s 110″ Twin Cam) and looks (that can be qualified as “flamboyant art-deco styling”) With Polaris Industries’ engineering background and expertise, there are few doubts that in terms of technical features, Indian Motorcycle can easily rival Harley-Davidson engineering and go compete wherever in the world the Milwaukee manufacturer is present or is going to go next to acquire new market shares.

Indian Motorcycle is already re-born a superstar. A blessing although somewhat a risk because expectations are so high. If anything needs to be perfected, the company has, contrary to all post-1953 former Indian name owners, the technical and financial resources to correct and improve, to follow-up with the release of new models able to satisfy the taste and expectations of different groups of bikers with different financial means and belonging to different cultures in different markets. Polaris Industries made it clear since Indian’s acquisition 2 years ago, in substance stating that “With Indian we work for the long term and will not give up.” Simply because the company knows very well that only Indian can do what Victory was unable to do, to seriously compete with  Harley-Davidson both here and abroad.

Added 06/20/13 at 7.30 a.m. USA ET.

Indian Motorcycle Australia’s “One-Eleven Originals” Fully Subscribed. Indian Motorcycle Australia is pleased to announce that the first 111 bikes, known as the “One-Eleven Originals” have been sold.Prospective owners that placed their deposits have already started to receive part of the special ” One-Eleven Original Kits” that contains exclusive shirt, Indian warbonnet paperweight, Indian belt and belt-buckle. On the back of such strong local pre-sale orders, the Australian dealers will receive additional launch inventory allowing them to continue to take orders for bikes beyond the first 111 for potential delivery this year. The first 111 owners will all get an invite to the official launch of the all-new Indian Chief Motorcycle being held in Sydney between August 3-11 and be amongst the first in the world (with those present in Sturgis) to see the new model.

Barnett Harley-Davidson

28 Responses to “The New Indian Motorcycle’s Rumble Is Sweet Music For Bikers Around The World”


  1. 1 Greg Keller Jun 20th, 2013 at 8:28 am

    The anticipation surrounding the reveal of the new Chief in Sturgis is going to reach fever pitch.

  2. 2 P. Sanford Jun 20th, 2013 at 8:31 am

    A little bit upset that there is no “One-Eleven Originals” offered in the US. Or did I miss it?

  3. 3 Steve Carr Jun 20th, 2013 at 8:34 am

    maybe if the reps would answer calls and emails about potential shops becoming dealers, it might help them reach their goal.

    Steve Carr
    Samson V-Twin
    Samson Alabama

  4. 4 Shifter Jun 20th, 2013 at 8:43 am

    Yep, I heard a couple of dealers stating that it’s difficult to get contact with Indian to become a US dealer. I guess Indian is overwhelmed with requests. Good for them. But Cyril should investigate and report.

  5. 5 Bruce Reynard Jun 20th, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Still waiting for the reveal to know if I want to cheat on HD.

  6. 6 Terence Tory Jun 20th, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Steve Carr.I guess you have to email and make a reservation.

  7. 7 Art Welch Jun 20th, 2013 at 9:13 am

    We’ve been taking deposits ever since the Engine Reveal at http://www.indiantwincities.com

  8. 8 Pat Savage Jun 20th, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Awesome article Cyril! Pernission please to reblog!

    Savage

  9. 9 Rodent Jun 20th, 2013 at 10:58 am

    We will soon see if its hype over substance

  10. 10 Bludog Jun 20th, 2013 at 11:27 am

    For better or worse, the Indian effort is going to be a marketing case study for years to come. If the unveil in Sturgis fails to deliver a product that meets expectations, recovery is going to be a long road. The motor demonstrates an ample basis for the confidence behind the approach, it just kills me that I’ve had to scrub my plans to be there.

  11. 11 Blackmax Jun 20th, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Yes, Rodent, will we see….
    Come August, I guess we will All, see
    The campaign is sheer genius!
    You can tell by every time Cyril puts another nugget on the blog, by the amount of response….
    I’m just as eager as the next guy, putting off buying a Victory Cross Country
    to see what Indian shows up with and so far, so good !!!!!

    Hey Robert, if you’re out there, don;t forget me for a test ride!!!!
    LOL !!!!!

  12. 12 Bago Jun 20th, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    What you will see in Sturgis is a warmed over version the existing overpriced King’s Mountain chief. New engine, tranny, better dash/gauge cluster, fuel gauge, etc. The entry price point is way lower finally. Basically the wish list of current and previous owners of the PP105 King’s Mountain Chiefs has been fulfilled for the most part.

    However, the 2014 Chief will not be way different looking than the existing 2009-2013 Chiefs. If you are looking or hoping for an all new Indian to blow you away, keep waiting. No new Scout, no 4 cylinder engine, etc. I mean get, real, how much do you expect Polaris to be able to deliver since buying Indian back in April of 2011. That’s only 2 years ago!

    Read this article about the buyout:
    http://cyrilhuzeblog.com/2011/04/19/breaking-news-polaris-buys-indian-motorcycle-limited/
    See that Blackhawk? Save it and bring it with you to Sturgis. It’s what you will be comparing when you finally get to see the new 2014 Polaris Indian.

    If I’m wrong you can give me a bad time in August. If I’m right, you can buy me new lithium batteries for my Baccarat crystal ball. Till August, enjoy the rumor mill.

  13. 13 Scott Bourne Jun 20th, 2013 at 10:37 pm

    Well Indian is very good at keeping secrets but in my case, the secrets cost them a sale. If I had info on the bike today I might wait to buy one. But I want a bike now so I’m going with Victory. This cute trick of building faux interest based on secrecy is very tiresome.

  14. 14 Andrew stonestreet Jun 21st, 2013 at 6:22 am

    It is challenging that there is no specific date for the unvail at Sturgis so ppl can plan events. The best thing Indian could do is take full bike orders now and deliver off the truck at Sturgis. Then you create a world wide event for a Sturgis 111 Indian ride like no other. I’m told the bike won’t we ready off the line till later. Push a little OT and lets make it happen!

    I would order today if that could occur.

  15. 15 Doc Robinson Jun 21st, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Aussies began buying Indian motocycles from the very early days. There has always been a passionate following of the marque down here that continues unabated to this day. Check out the annual Harley V Indian, The Great Race, which celebrated its 20th Anniversary in 2012 and in 2013 witnessed 140 Motorcycles, 70 Harleys and 70 Indians participating in the 21st Annual event. You can find it at http://www.great-race.com.au. For many reasons it comes as no surprise to me that those first 111 Indian motorcycles offered down under were quickly subscribed.

  16. 16 Rick Lossner Jun 21st, 2013 at 10:04 am

    I’ll be riding one the following week of Sturgis ; Demo rides to be held at the Indian Dealer in the Twin Cities, MN.

    I have to admit, I’d probably have put in an order by now ( dealers are taking down payments to put you on a list).. but, being kept in the dark has had the opposite effect with me…. so I’ve become disinterested-patient.

    However, if that demo ride goes well and it meets/exceeds expectations… I’ll be looking for that ‘list’ to scribble my name on….

    The Indian HD war is about to resume…………….

  17. 17 Bud Jun 21st, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    I bet they sell a bunch of crate engines. Bring on the custom builders already.

  18. 18 x-H-D Rider Jun 21st, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    It sucks that Polaris is putting so much into Indian and letting Victory quality fall off.
    You guys wanting Indian get ready for replacement parts you’ll Find Polaris charges ten times more for parts then H-D does. Spark plug wire $56.00 one amber reflector $10.95 and they can fix there out of round pulleys or repair there radios.

  19. 19 Mac miss Jun 21st, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    Scout , scout , scout , what % of the market is sportster and why aren’t we herring about a new kick ass scout .

  20. 20 baert342 Jun 21st, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Shame about it not being an air cooled engine. I notice in just about picture of the engine Indian omits the ugly oil cooler radiator that mounts out front. It is an air and oil cooled engine.

  21. 21 BobS Jun 21st, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    It better be an air/oil cooled system similar to Victory’s. Either that or just go full on liquid cooled. Vic’s don’t overheat or have to go into “parade” mode or shut the rear cylinder down at idle to keep from roasting the rider. That’s a good thing.

  22. 22 roscoe Jun 22nd, 2013 at 7:48 am

    The silhouette is nice, but I sure wouldn’t pre-order one, or plan on purchasing one until I see the real deal, live, in the flesh.

  23. 23 roscoe Jun 22nd, 2013 at 9:39 am

    P.S.

    It looks to me like those are covers on the heads, the fins look odd.

    It might look better if it wasn’t all chromed out.
    I like the looks of a Shovelhead with the aluminum cases/heads and the cast barrels. It’s a “mechanical” look.
    Just like the inline fours from Honda.

    Sometimes, there can be too many shiny parts.

  24. 24 Keith Jun 22nd, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Can’t WAIT!!! The engine is gorgeous!!! Now, let’s get some more dealers going!

  25. 25 Brett Jun 22nd, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Well there is enough going on with Polaris not wanting to deal with the Warranties owners of the Chiefs made before bought the brand, but they took on the warranties with the purchase, that Polaris could be going down the road so many other have trying to get the brand afloat again.

    They have big dollars behind it this time….but I know for a fact many are not happy with what is going on with their $35K bikes that have ECM/BCM issues & at least 1 guy has had his bike in a dealership for over a year waiting for the fix from Polaris only to find out in August they will be trying very hard to no longer support these bikes, although they made them in their Spirit Lake facility for at least the last 2 years, no they HAVE to have parts to support these don’t they? These would be the same parts that the 2009-2011 bikes need.

    Stuff like this will crush any hopes Polaris has of capturing their 5%. I have a Harley & a Gilroy Indian….the last version before the version Polaris bought….with what I hear, a bad ending to these stories will keep me from buying a Polaris bike.

  26. 26 Terence Tory Jun 22nd, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    If people are expecting an “olde worlde”vintage looking Indian engine in the flesh they are sure to be disappointed.It’s a thoroughly modern motor cloaked in nostalgic alloy covers,and that is good.

  27. 27 Stephen Waite Jun 27th, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Like some of our fellow dealers, we have numerous deposits for the All New 2014 Indian Chief Motorcycle. Our current clientele are extremely excited to add the all new 2014 Indian Chief Motorcycle to their current Kings Mountain ERA Indian Chief Motorcycle.

    As for the Kings Mountain ERA Indian Chief’s, Polaris has been extremely supportive of these models, hence the desire of current Indian owners to purchase a second or even third Indian Chief from us.

    These current Kings Mountain Indian Chief Motorcycles were released in 2009 however after purchasing the company in April 2011 Polaris continued to built the same Chief in 2012 & 2013. As a dealer servicing these beautifully unique Indian Chief Motorcycles, Polaris has done exceptionally backing the product.

    We’re also seeing an additional demographic placing deposits on this New Indian Chief built by Polaris.

    “Indian Motorcycles are not our Granddad’s or our Father’s Indian’s anymore they’ve bridging the generation gap”.

    Stephen Waite
    Indian Motorcycle of Northern New Jersey

  1. 1 2014 Indian Chief Is Already a Star [Photo Gallery] | SuperbikeSA Pingback on Jun 20th, 2013 at 1:38 pm
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