Indian Motorcycle Company Returns

You can't keep a good brand down. The Indian Motorcycle Company is making another comeback with a line of bikes reminiscent of a bygone era.

  • the Indian Chief Vintage model from Indian Motorcycle Company parked on train tracks
    1953 meets 2009: Elegant and lavishly detailed, the Chief Vintage draws heavily from Indian Motorcycle Company’s rich heritage.
    Photo by Tom Riles

  • the Indian Chief Vintage model from Indian Motorcycle Company parked on train tracks

The latest attempt to bring the well-known Indian name back to life comes courtesy of the born-again Indian Motorcycle Company, headquartered in Kings Mountain, N.C. Indian’s new chieftains, Stephen Julius and his partner Steve Heese, have a proven track record of turning around other heritage brands that have gone under including boat companies Riva and Chris-Craft, giving them a head start on doing the same with Indian.

For 2009 there are four different Indian Chief motorcycle models — the Standard, Deluxe, Roadmaster and Vintage — all powered by the same “Powerplus” 105ci 45-degree V-twin engine. Originally developed by the Gilroy, Calif.-based company that tried and failed to relaunch Indian starting in 1998, the “Bottlecap” engine (so nicknamed for its fluted rocker covers) has been slightly over-bored from its earlier Gilroy guise for a capacity of 1,720cc, up from 1,638cc. For 2010, the Standard model will become the Classic, the Deluxe model is dropped, the Dark Horse and Bomber models are added, and the Vintage model remains.

On the Road

The chance to spend a hands-on day at the helm of each of the four different versions of the 2009 Indian Chief line came in company with head honcho Stephen Julius for part of the way, as we headed west from Kings Mountain, N.C., into the foothills of the Appalachians. Alternating mostly between the two extremes of the Chief line up (in terms of both price and specification), the single-seat 2009 Standard ($25,999) and the fully loaded Vintage ($35,499), one thing rapidly became clear as my 200-mile riding day unfolded: The new Indian is one of the most comfortable American V-twin cruisers I’ve yet sampled, with a great riding position that’s both relaxing and rewarding, with your legs stretched comfortably forward, yet not too far to sacrifice control, letting you plant your boots on the Indian’s footboards. MC

Order the November/December 2009 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the 2009 Indian Chief, including a road test by Alan Cathcart. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email. 

Info Resources

Indian Motorcycle Company

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter