Indian Rides Again!

Much like the Phoenix, the legendary mythical bird from Greek Mythology that was reborn from its own ashes, so too has Indian motorcycles been reborn out of the ashes of the Gilroy collapse in 2003. This time its third go round will be under the auspices of London based Stellican Ltd. and take place in the most unlikely of places, Kings Mountain, North Carolina. As we went to press we learned that final testing has been completed on several 2009 Indian Chief Prototypes and production will begin almost Immediately with first deliveries scheduled for this fall.

The plan as it stands now is to build just 750 bikes this year and sell them all thru the company’s on site dealership in Kings Mountain as well as thru their website. In fact you can place a deposit today and order a new Chief simply by visiting their website. There will be 4 models: Standard, Deluxe, Roadmaster and Vintage and they will vary in price from $30,999.00 to $34,499.00. Customers will be given a wide range of equipment and trim choices via a lengthy options list. Power will come from an upgraded and completely redesigned PowerPlus 105, perhaps the prettiest looking motor you will ever see. It will also feature a six speed transmission with a fuel injection option. Upgraded ignition, electronics, wiring and more seek to eliminate many of the sore spots of the previous bikes. Parts that were polished or anodized on the previous models will be show chromed on the new bikes. Looking thru the website as well as many Indian bike blogs it certainly seems like the new company has done its homework and listened to the market as well as previous owners of the Gilroy-built Indians. It is unknown at press time which if any of the new parts will be interchangeable or replaceable on the previous bikes.

While the first bikes will be sold factory direct, Indian is in the process of establishing 30 independent dealerships around the country and hopes to have them all in place by the end of 2008. Los Angeles has already been picked for a dealership location, along with New York.

Although Indian could not have picked a worse economy to bring its products to market in, they have some advantages that another “new” company would envy: A huge and ultra-loyal fan base and perhaps the world’s most recognizable motorcycle!

Is there anyone who doesn’t know an Indian Chief when they see one? It is by every industry standard the quintessential classic bike.

If Stellican-Indian does what they said they would do, which is to produce a high quality, bulletproof bike that runs and handles and stays together, then they have a very good shot at success. Remember that the so called “Gilroy” Indian was its own worst enemy, with regard to quality control. Still 35K is very pricey when you look at the competition from Harley, Victory, Yamaha and others for the big cruiser dollar so Indian may have an uphill battle once the cult fans and aficionados get their bikes, and Indian has to compete in the real market.

Only time will tell if they make it but wouldn’t it be great if they did? For those of you going to Sturgis, Indian will be showing its new bikes there or you can check them out on the Indian motorcycle company’s website: www.indianmotorcycles.com

MD

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About Mike Dalgaard