Indian Bikes: The Popular Models of the Company

Indian | March 30, 2011

Indian bikes were produced from the 1901 till 1953. The company manufacturing these bikes was located in Springfield, Massachusetts of the United States. During its initial days, the company was known as Hendee Manufacturing Company; however, later in the year 1928 it was renamed as Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company. The decade of the 1910s saw the company growing into as the largest motorcycle producer of the world. The most celebrated model of Indian bikes was the Scout built from the year 1920 till 1946 and Chief manufacture from the 1922 till 1953. However, in 1953 the company declared itself to be bankrupt and eventually the production of Indian motorcycles stopped. However, the name Indian is used by several successors, out of which the most recent one is a company producing Indian motorcycles from 2006. Here we’ll get acquainted with the two popular Indian bike models mentioned above, the Indian Chief and the Indian Scout.

The Chief was first built in 1922. The first series of these bikes ran on 1000 cc or 61 cu in engines. This engine specification of the Chief was borrowed from another bike model of the company, the Powerplus. The following year i.e. 1923 saw modifications in the engine specification of the bike. The 1023 model of the Indian Chief had a 1,200 cc or 73 cu in engine. Since then till the final production of the Chief, the designers have included a number of new features to this bike series from Indian Motorcycles. One of the most notable changes was found in the 1928 model of the Chief. The 1929 Chief bikes had a front brake, which was not available in the models of the previous years.

The year 1940 was probably the year when the Chief experienced maximum number of alterations in its features. In 1940, all the Indian Bikes of this series got skirted fenders. Other than that, sprung frames were also added to the Chiefs of this year. The 1940 Chief bikes were capable of running at a speed of 85 mph or 136 km/hour, which was quite high considering the other bikes of that era. When tuned, this bike could deliver a speed of up to 100 mph or 160 km/hour.

The Indian Scout was the other admired model from the house of Indian Motorcycles. It had a 3-speed transmission and was equipped with helical gear sets. The Scout was the only Indian model that could compete with the Chief when it comes to popularity.

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