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Indian Motorcycle’s debut at Long Beach IMS

By Kip Woodring

LONG BEACH, CALIF., DEC. 7—The anniversary of our nation’s entry into a global conflict, some 71 years ago, was also, somewhat prophetically, a declaration of similar magnitude by Polaris Industries. Only this time the declaration applies to the worldwide competition within the motorcycle industry for the heavyweight market and, make no mistake, the company has the strategy, the muscle and the ammunition.

To entertain (not to mention educate and impress) that increasingly rare and solitary beast known as “gearhead”, there was—believe it or not—an actual engine cutaway! Quite fitting actually, as this American motorcycle manufacturer has every right to be as proud of the jewelry and precision within as the glitter and bling on the outside. In other words, nice motor Guys!

To entertain (not to mention educate and impress) that increasingly rare and solitary beast known as “gearhead”, there was—believe it or not—an actual engine cutaway! Quite fitting actually, as this American motorcycle manufacturer has every right to be as proud of the jewelry and precision within as the glitter and bling on the outside. In other words, nice motor Guys!

First, there’s the 2013 Indian lineup, looking remarkably like the previous Indian machines provided by the good folks at Kings Mountain, North Carolina… or Gilroy, California, for that matter. These are the so-called “legacy” Indians—perversely the first of the last of their kind. There can be little doubt that they are the best of the breed, the style dazzling and the quality practically oozing from gleaming chrome and perfect paint, but going much deeper than that. Sure, the perception is that Indians are a tad expensive, but stop and look—then think—about what you get for your money. From the genuine Baker 6-speed transmission, to the Brembo brakes and beyond, to the chrome fork sliders, hand controls, switch gear and more, almost all of which would be extra-cost items on competitive machines. Seen as what it is—built-in quality, extra value and exclusivity—Indian motorcycles are worth the investment. Get one of these limited production masterpieces while you can! When they are gone, you will not see their like again.

What you will see (come Daytona Bike Week in March) is what you can only hear for the time being… the new Indian engine! When you go to Indianmotorcycle.com for details, specs, accessories and pricing—be sure to listen to the sound clip—then imagine the machine it will power. I dare you!

To know where you’re going—you‘ve got to know where you’ve been. With Indian today, that trajectory is clear (and sustainable) at last. A visitor to the booth at the IMS show in Long Beach could trace Indian from the beginning in 1901 to the products of today and the new bikes in the (assured) future.

To know where you’re going—you‘ve got to know where you’ve been. With Indian today, that trajectory is clear (and sustainable) at last. A visitor to the booth at the IMS show in Long Beach could trace Indian from the beginning in 1901 to the products of today and the new bikes in the (assured) future.

What you can more easily imagine is the bright, long future of this legendary brand name, because it is abundantly clear from what was shown and what was said—Polaris is all-in on Indian. Better yet—they have the talent, the tools, the commitment and the wherewithal to put the product where their corporate mouth is. In their own words, they are proud and aware of the role they play as caretaker, custodian and creator of Indian motorcycles… past, present and future. The Iron Redskin has a worthy wigwam, happy hunting grounds and modern weaponry, and a new chapter in store, at last.

Not to be overshadowed, Victory brought to the party a Ness customized Cross Country—complete with rock guitarist who plugged into the sound system on the bike and entertained the crowd

Not to be overshadowed, Victory brought to the party a Ness customized Cross Country—complete with rock guitarist who plugged into the sound system on the bike and entertained the crowd

Meanwhile—across the aisle from the oldest brand of American motorcycle is the newest. Victory Motorcycles have gone from strength to strength in just the last few years of a history dating back to 1992—all this in an economy that bode against it! It all happens on the back of a continuously increasing flow of truly new and innovative machines and technology. There’s justifiable corporate pride in that, as evidenced by the machines on display representing the 2013 model lineup, but perhaps mostly by virtue of the one and only cutaway engine on display by any of the many manufacturers at the International Motorcycle Show. A very impressive engine it is, too. Not less impressive—the chassis—of which that stout 106″ becomes a strengthening member. The resulting platform in turn becomes the repository for many a stylish suit of sheet metal, in a range of tastes from ultra modern to trendy traditional. Victory is intentionally walking a path all its own, in order to offer genuine alternatives in the big cruiser and touring classes. A mark of the success in passage on the road less traveled is the massive increase in traffic. Victory is victorious, in that they are earning customers and respect with every passing model year, and this one is no exception. With the introduction of the new Boardwalk, and the proliferation of the Cross Country and Vision models—mostly customized by the Ness family—these machines and the entire Victory lineup are gaining fans by leaps and bounds. Of course there’s plenty more where those came from (www.victorymotorcycles.com), but see for yourselves and then you can be (or buy) the Judge.

No small nod to the performance of past Indians was evident in the presence of an old flathead dirt tracker and the Burt Munro Special… The World’s Fastest Indian. The only thing that sounded better than Indian’s new engine was Burt’s old one… which was fired up on more than one occasion during the show.

No small nod to the performance of past Indians was evident in the presence of an old flathead dirt tracker and the Burt Munro Special… The World’s Fastest Indian. The only thing that sounded better than Indian’s new engine was Burt’s old one… which was fired up on more than one occasion during the show.

Here’s the thing, folks—these are all serious machines with highly individual qualities and identities, built in the U.S.A. by a dedicated parent company who is trying harder all the time. Because I like that, I like the odds… love the products… and advise you to look for more (a lot more) of all of it in the coming months and years.

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