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January 17, 2013Indian Motorcycle – The Legend Returns!
If you’re a lifelong motorcycle lover, then you know the Indian Motorcycle Company. Founded in 1901 (even before Harley-Davidson), the company’s tradition of stylish, powerful bikes has kept them in the minds of motorcycle enthusiasts throughout the years—despite a tumultuous business history (recently profiled in Forbes). But now, after surviving years of turmoil, the Indian Motorcycle Company has been revived, and a new era has begun with the release of the 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition, unveiled at this year’s International Motorcycle Show in Long Beach, Ca.
Forbes contributor Jason Fogelson covered the Indian Motorcycle unveiling in Long Beach and profiled the company’s up-and-down business history in a recent article for the financial magazine. Indian Motorcycle, currently owned by Polaris, began selling bikes in the early 1900s and became popular after enjoying racing success. The company’s financial woes began in 1953 when it went out of business after sales plummeted. The brand maintained relevancy until 1977, as countries around the world slapped the Indian name on various bikes. The Indian Motorcycle name fell into obscurity from 1977 to 1998 while a number of legal proceedings that would determine the brand’s future took place. The legal negotiations eventually led to the formation of the Indian Motorcycle Company of America in 1998. But despite all best efforts, the company was again bankrupt by 2003. A private equity firm rebuilt the company in 2006, and Polaris (the powersports behemoth behind Victory) entered the picture in 2011.
The 2013 Indian Chief Vintage Final Edition, weighing a hefty 753 pounds without fluids, will be sold at Indian Motorcycle dealerships across North America. The bike retails for $37,599 in North America and $39,599 in Canada. According to the official company press release, the bike is “designed to commemorate the end of one era in motorcycling, and the beginning of another.” The bike boasts the signature features of a true Indian masterpiece—a deeply valenced front fender, a fringed leather seat, art-deco paint, and A LOT of chrome embellishment. The engine specs are equally impressive— a 1.7 liter air-cooled 45-degree V-Twin that makes roughly 65 horsepower and 95 lb-ft of torque. As Fogelson reports, “the bike is built to cruise, tour and look great doing it, not to compete with sportbikes or other hotrods.”
Indian’s five-model 2013 line-up includes:
- Chief Vintage Final Edition
- The Chief Classic (starting at $26,499)
- The Chief Dark Horse (starting at $27,999)
- The Chief Vintage (starting at $36,899)
- The Chief Vintage Limited Edition (starting at $37,899)
Many motorcycles buffs wrote Indian’s early 2000-era models off as lackluster Harley knock offs, so the brand’s new lineup will face an uphill battle. But the strength and history behind the Indian Motorcycle brand and the enthusiasm behind its revival has Indian fans hopeful that, this time, the legend is back for good.
Source: “Indian Motorcycle Rides Again”