Indian Motorcycle History
More than a century of heritage
The rebirth of Indian Motorcycles under the stewardship of Polaris Industries is the most significant industry development in years. Indian has been an iconic American brand for more than a century, and it still resonates among older motorcyclists.
Now with the weight of a well-capitalized, engineering-based company behind it, the latest Indians are poised for a successful resurrection. And unlike many of the pretenders to Harley-Davidson’s throne, which have a history of being quickly derided by the bar-and-shield crowd, the Indians, at worst, receive grudging respect. More often, they’re quite appreciated, as discussed in my Indian Acceptance editorial.
Catch up on the new Indians in the links below:
2014 Indian Motorcycle Review: Chief Classic, Chief Vintage and Chieftain
2014 Indian Chief – Reinventing an icon
2014 Indian Chieftain Review
2014 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special vs. Indian Chieftain – Video
So, with Indian Motorcycles once again becoming prominent, we thought we’d look back at the rich history of the marque to find its notable milestones.1901: Indian Motocycles (sic) is launched by Oscar Hedstrom and George Hendee in Springfield, MA. Prototype and two production units were built.1902: First Indian motorcycle sold to public.1903: Indian’s co-founder and chief engineer Oscar Hedstrom sets world motorcycle speed record at 56 mph.1906: Indian debuts the first American production V-Twin.1911: Indian sweeps the top three positions in first Isle of Man Mountain Course Race.1913: First swingarm and leaf-spring rear suspension in the industry is introduced. Hedstrom resigns “after disagreements with the Board of Directors regarding dubious practices to inflate the company’s stock values,” according to Wikipedia.1914: Debuts world’s first motorcycle with electric lights and starter.
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