Would you buy an Indian?

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by craigincali, Jul 3, 2021.

  1. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    I ride with an owner of the original '19 FTR1200. And interesting side note, the last time we were out we passed another one going the opposite way. My son-in-law's bike has the S&S high pipes though... pretty cool.



    Okay Indian guys, your turn to put out mindless rubbish against Harley...

    [​IMG]
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  2. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    Senseless name-calling and schoolyard stuff really aren't worth the effort IMHO.

    Both brands, companies, and corporate parentage have their winners and losers.

    Most of Indian and most of Harley don't appeal to me because I'm just not their type of rider or owner. That doesn't mean they are a terrible option for others though.
  3. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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  4. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    If Suzuki or BMW could sell that many tank tops and shot glasses the dealer would be full of them. It’s a lot cheaper to put that stuff on the shelves than motorcycles on the floor. And in my experience BMW & HD dealers have the most bikes on the floor. Most Japanese dealers don’t even have one of every model.
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  5. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    Seems like you're the one that's pissed. Facts have a way of doing that.

    So let's take a little deeper look at the failure of Indian in '53 and the purchase of Harley-Davidson by AMF in '69.

    In the early '50s Indian was suffering from poor management (gee a successful American company w/poor management) and several attempts to salvage ending with bankruptcy in '53. That resulted in some vertical twins carrying the Indian badge until 1960. Abysmal failures with numerous problems. After that debacle no one was interested in bailing out what was left of Indian.

    Forward to 1960s. Harley was having labor issues (among other things) that resulted in severe financial difficulties in a time when the economy as a whole was poor. Harley was purchased by American Machine and Foundry a large conglomerate with money to invest. They improved Harley's finances and in turn physical holdings. Also along the way Harley was able to purchase several businesses and secure some manufacturing contracts due their foundry which was still turning out product and had excess capacity. The aforementioned improvements to the model line as well as their properties led to Harley enhancing their standing to the point that in 1981 a group of investors from inside the company purchased the division from AMF for a rumored $80 millions USD. Further improvements inside and outside the company really led to a rebirth of Harley-Davidson.

    In the end someone with cash found Harley worth saving. Not the case with Indian which became nothing more than a fond memory.

    And I still won't buy an Indian because I don't see the dealer network gaining any strength in addition to they just aren't as well built as I'd like them to be. Not because of some ancient rivalry with H-D. I looked at and rode an FTR1200. Nice bike but not for me. My '04 Tuono does the job better.
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  6. Quedok

    Quedok Been here awhile

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    To sound diplomatic, all bikes have their plus and minus points depending who the rider is. I had a Harley Road King once because I always wanted a Harley. It looked great but the polishing of chrome kept me too busy. I commuted with it every day, it was no garage queen. Driving over the harbor bridge every night caused it to collect it's fair share of salt air but I loved the ride.
    I was a BMW rider for decades and went back to BMW with a 1996 R 1100 GS that I bought new and still ride it daily. Sometime I want a cruiser to just soak in the scenery. I like the new Harleys but I also like the new Indians. I would choose the Indian Dark Horse because of the lack of chrome. I really don't care for the all black thing but I could always paint it. What I like is that the Indian has a gear driven primary compared to the chain driven primary on the Harley. Sure it's just one detail but I don't like that chain-slap clunking into gears. Petty I know, but it's what sways my choice.
    At least we have choices, probably far too many. Without choices, we'ed all be driving Toyota Camry's.
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  7. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    who made those parallel twin motors?
    I’ve never seen one. I remember seeing the sideways V, like a moto Guzzi, that Indian made.
  8. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    At that point they were rebadged Royal Enfields.
  9. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    If I want glassware or clothing, I'm not going to a motorcycle dealer unless it is safety gear! In terms of glassware, I find European options in general to be the best.

    I expect the "Walmart experience" at general clothing retail shops but, that is a good way to turn me away if it is at a motorcycle dealership.

    In terms of motorcycles on the floor, you can view that different ways.
  10. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    Pissed? Oh heck no. I could actually care less. Just that it is so goofy how riled one can get people on this Indian/Harley thing. Just like the old days I bet. The bagger series is like two wheel NASCAR was with Chevy/Ford/Chrysler. Loyalty to the blue oval, the bow tie, and the pentastar.

    Your history was interesting, one company had no buyers taking, the other did... I thought I said that.

    I know those loyal to both brands will piss and moan and bring up everything they can think of to diss the other. Becomes humorous after realizing the pattern that starts... Each claiming the other is badly built, looks ugly... you name it. Rates up there with car tire use on the back of a motorcycle.

    As for the 2019 version FTR1200, it was darn near true to its intended design as a street tracker, not a sport or naked sport bike. Like riding an old UJM, an off road bike or like actually riding a flat tracker, which I had back in the 70s and the seating was natural. Had a few SR500s set up that way too and enjoyed the ride position. So if you were looking for a naked sport bike you'd like the Tuono better. You clearly made a good choice for you. Personally I don't like anything over around 750cc and 80 hp, and can't physically tolerate any sport or sport style naked bikes, that's me... and aging knees.

    My son-in-law is totally loving his '19 FTR1200 because he wanted what it was, but with the desire to make the tail section look like it should have instead of the tail end of some muscle cruiser. If only they hadn't waffled. I wouldn't like it because it is just too tall for me and I'd hate to drop $18,000 worth of bike on its side. Maybe a 750 version could have been a couple inches shorter.

    Incredibly enough Harley had enough guts to make what was darn near a good solo street tracker, but waffled with the styling making it a fat tired cruiser layout. A miss for us who hoped for different (notice, not better, but different). Seems no companies have the courage yet to try. Funny part is it would just take the right bodywork on a standard naked bike. Rumor is Royal Enfield may do some actual production flat track bikes, maybe they'll have the stones to put the bodywork on one of their 650s. Wish Harley would have on their 750, but no hope now.
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  11. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    One of the nails in the coffin for Indian was a failure at an attempt for a vert twin to compete with the British. It was their design and not a good one. It was actually the Scout.

    You can tell the actual Indian design by the unusual looking head with the widely spaced rocker boxes atop them

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    There were Royal Enfield engined Indians into the 60s. Floyd Clymer got the brand name in 1963, he did Royal Enfields for the big twins too.
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  12. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    That is a beautiful bike & engine. Shame.
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  13. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    Agreed! A real looker and a shame they didn't survive.
  14. Hair

    Hair I am on my way. Supporter

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    I like H-D's styling. The 1200 Custom, A Dyna and the RK are some of the nicest looking bikes ever made. But that is where my love affair stops. H-D has crapped on just about everyone that they do business with.

    I really don't like Indian's retro styling. A couple of their cruisers have fenders that don't completely cover the wheels. And from what I have read the motor is a pretty solid platform.

    Recently I was looking at a used RK. I wanted to stash it near my daughters home so I could ride when I visit her. It was a Twin cam 88. We all have heard the bad about them. However once the bad has been addressed it's a solid platform. So I found a video that shows how to fix the bad. The outer cam chain tension-er fix was easy enough. The inside one basically told me to look elsewhere.

    Maybe in a few years I will find a nice used air cooled Indian to buy. Until then I guess that I will have to shame myself into riding my BMWs and my Husky.

    Oh and one more thing. Are all the local dealers being bought up by large corps? My local Harley shop seemed to have a reasonable group running it. Then unannounced to anyone even the employees the shop was sold. Now the don't give a F attitude from the H-D shops of 20 years ago is back. That totally sucks.
  15. Oilhed

    Oilhed MarkF Supporter

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    Most of them don’t have the big fenders now. In fact I think only two models do.
  16. Monkeyshines

    Monkeyshines Long timer

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    The general belief among classic Indian aficionados and historians is that attempting to copy British parallel twins while abandoning their V twin helped usher in their demise.
  17. Sid Post

    Sid Post Middle aged rider

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    Yes, corporate ownership seems to be the modern trend thanks to the HD requirement to enlarge showrooms and carry huge stocks of clothing and other stuff. Happened locally (relative term) to the dealership I was shopping. Wonderful showroom after the remodel and lots of shirts, jackets, etc. to choose from (over 50% of the showroom) but, the old-timers that knew motorcycles were replaced by a lot of 20-somethings along with blondes in halter tops to butter me up.

    :sick
  18. anotherguy

    anotherguy Long timer

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    It was a British bike. A rebadged Royal Enfield.
  19. rc51owner

    rc51owner Been here awhile

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    They had rebadged REs as well as their own design as indicated above by @markk53. The two engines look very different in execution.

    Cheers,

    M
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  20. markk53

    markk53 jack of all trades... Super Supporter

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    Not the first ones around 1949-1953, the ones made by the original Indian Motorcycle Company were designed and made by Indian, I take it in America. Not a rebadged Royal Enfiled like those who owned the name and stuck it on Enfields during the 50s-60s, like Floyd Clymer did, trying to keep the marquee alive.

    The Royal Enfield blog notes that the 1949-53 vert twins were not Enfields and were, in fact, the only 750 vert twins built in America (I don't know if that's absolutely true, but may be). Click here Plus the following quote from Indian Motorcycle Classics:

    These bikes had British inspired designs but were designed by Indian engineer Briggs Weaver and made in the USA by Indian. click here

    Pretty sure that's sufficient evidence that the 1949-1953 vert twins were Indian designed and built in the U.S.A. Later ownership did use Royal Enfields in the mid 50s to late 60s.
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