December 30, 2008
Indian Motorcycle & Indian Motorcycle Parts
Indian Motorcycles was the largest manufacturer for many years early in the history of American motorcycling. I am curious why there seems to be so much more activity here at the on-line motorcycle magazine and motorcycle forum for early Harleys than for early Indian motorcycles.
After all Indian motorcycles were built starting in 1900, while Harley motorcycles were not produced until 1903, 1904 or even 1905 depending on which version of Harley history you want to believe. This 1904 Indian motorcycle was called a Camelback because of the tank on the rear motorcycle fender under the seat of this Indian motorcycle. Basically a bicycle, the very early Indian motorcycles were quite simple compared to later Indian motorcycle models.
Indian created some advanced air-cooled V-twin models like this red one and even experimented with electric start options. The early electric start Indian motorcycle was never successful because they could not make a battery that could handle the requirements.
It wasn’t long before Indian motorcycle riders began experimenting with mixing and matching Indian motorcycle parts from one model to another. The Chout was created by some enterprising Indian owners by mounting the larger and stronger Indian Chief engine in the smaller and more nimble Indian motorcycle Scout frame. With such a strong history and powerful following I continue to wonder why this forum tends ot have significantly more early Harley motorcycle owners and enthusiasts than early Indian motorcycle enthusiasts. But frankly, I love them all.