~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Switching Brands

1927 Indian Scout 45

Switching photos from our Triumph theme we are back to my favorite brand, the Indian.  In this case a very nice 1927 Indian Scout 45 I've seen at different times here in Arizona.

There is not a more storied motorcycle brand than Indian, it has it's own mystique, a grand history in racing, and some legendary styling.  Decades of missteps by Indian management finally brought the Indian company down in 1953 and later, sloppy efforts to revive it with questionable machines, even mini bikes, carrying the famed Indian name, tarnished the brand in the 60s and early '70s.

A 1947 Chief looks skeptical about the whole deal
Later the "Gilroy Indians" would commit the ultimate insult to the Indian heritage by building bikes using clone H-D motors and slapping the Indian name on them.  Ugh.  I always considered the 1999 Kawasaki Drifter a better, more honest homage to Indian than the Gilroy models created by investors who thought they could buy a piece of motorcycle history and re-sell it with impunity.

More recently the Indian name and manufacturing has landed with Polaris Industries, makers of the Victory line of cruisers.  Victory has proven that they know how to build a quality machine and with the deep pockets of Polaris behind Indian now, the grand old marque may finally have a chance at a comeback as a real rider's machine and not a marketing hoax or boutique bike that few can afford.


Jac Brown said...


I especially like the light and the color of the Scout and the cool curve of the shadow of the handlebar. The reflection in the shift ball isn't bad either.

I have a coworker who rides a 1940 something chief as his main ride. He has about 60k miles on it over the last 5 or so years. A very cool bike, but the truth is that it is old and worn, so keeping on the road can be a handful.

Here is hoping that Polaris is true to the legend.

Geoff James said...

I'm a fan of Indians too Doug. The genuine World's Fastest Indian is still on display in a hardware store in NZ, not far from where Burt Munro lived: http://www.ehayes.co.nz/burt-munro/

Webster World said...

Indian does have a good life coming from Polaris. Agree on it's past and the wouldbe builders. I wish those boys would have done better with the Henderson. I did not like it's front end but I thought it was cool someone had brought it back. Just the wrong people.

Ali said...

Hi Doug,

I have an 09 ST1300 & is really fighting hard the urge to trade her in for a 1200RT & so ran a google search on them both & eventually came across your blog (the 2005 post RT vs ST) & believe it or not, have spent the past 4 1/2 hours going through your older posts & am glad I did.. very nice blog indeed :-)

One very pleasant coincidence was the January 2007 post,, I opened the page & the first thing that came out was a BMW K1200LT & actually January 2007 was when I bought an LT after having stopped biking for 17 years for reasons beyond me. That by the way was the day I got married too.

My best wishes

Doug Klassen said...

Thanks for the comment, guys.

Ali, thanks for taking the time to read through the old posts. You're one tough hombre! After I bought my ST I sometimes wished I'd purchased the lighter weight BMW R1200RT but then that extra $5k came to mind again. The ST is such a refined machine, it's difficult to go wrong with one of those. A friend put over 200k miles on her ST1100 in 6 years and with minimal issues beyond normal maintenance. Hard to argue with a record like that.

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