Friday, January 22, 2021

Antique Indian Motorcycle Insurance

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Indian Motorcycles through the Years

Many people ask us, how do we insure our Vintage Motorcycles. There are several companies that specialize in Vintage Insurance. When you insure with one of these companies you pay liability on a sliding scale. ie the more vehichles the less expensive you pay for liability, and then you set your comprehensive coverage. This makes for some reasonable rates on insurance. Condon & Skelly is one of the companies that specialize in this insurance market. Check them out for a quote.

The Indian Motorcycle Company, America’s first motorcycle company, was founded in 1901 by engineer Oscar Hedstrom and bicycle racer George Hendee. Hedstrom began affixing small engines on Hendee’s bicycles, and from there, they quickly honed their craft, creating some of the best motorcycles of that era. Just one year later, the first Indian Motorcycle that featured innovative chain drives and streamlined styling was sold to the public. Then in 1903, Hedstrom set the world motorcycle speed record, traveling at 56 mph.

The Indian brand rolled out production two years before Harley-Davidson, and these motorcycles quickly became a force to be reckoned with, introducing the first V-twin engine, the first two-speed transmission, the first adjustable front suspension, the first electric lights and starter, and many more innovations. Indian was clearly dominant in the marketplace in its beginnings, consistently setting and breaking speed records.

The motorcycle wasn’t always called such. When motorcycles began to appear in the late 19th century, there was uncertainty about what to call them. Some people called them “motocycles”. In 1923 The Hendee Manufacturing Company chose to use this term, changing their name to the Indian Motocycle Company. It was in the 1930’s that “motocycles” became known as motorcycles.

Following WWII, Indian Motorcycles struggled with re-entry into the public market and Indian was forced to halt production in 1953, despite the Indian Chief being re-introduced two years prior as a mighty 80-cubic-inch model. The following decades involved a complex web of trademark rights issues that foiled numerous attempts to revive the Indian name. But in 1998, several formerly competing companies merged to become the Indian Motorcycle Company.

It wasn’t until very recently that a new era of Indian Motorcycles was born. The Indian Thunder Stroke III engine was introduced at Daytona Bike Week in March of this year, and the 2014 Indian Chief was unveiled at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August. Many motorcycle enthusiasts agree though, nothing compares to the classic and antique Indian Motorcycles.

No matter what type of classic or vintage motorcycle you own, we can insure it at Condon Skelly. Your vehicle will fall into the antique category if it is completely original and at least 25 years old. We insure many different types of antique cars, trucks, and motorcycles so we’ll be able to craft the perfect policy for your vehicle. Please contact us today for more information. (866) 291-5694

 

Source: Condon Skelly | Antique Indian Motorcycles Archives – Condon Skelly

1947 Indian Chief Roadmaster | History-Making Motorcycles

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The recent resurrection of Indian Motorcycle by Polaris conjures memories of the originals and engenders comparisons of the classics to the new generation.

Larry Van Horn’s 1947 Indian Chief Roadmaster is subtly better than the originals.

The recent resurrection of the Indian motorcycle name by Polaris conjures memories of the originals and engenders comparisons of the classic Indians to the new generation.

At the top of the original Indian product line in its closing years from 1947 to 1953 was the Indian Chief Roadmaster.

It was the model that out-accessorized the base Clubman and mid-range Sportsman variants offered that year. Since the Chief was the only model offered that year, and total production was only 11,849 units, finding a serviceable example can be difficult these days.

2014-1967-indian-chief-roadmaster-motorcycle-tales-32014-1967-indian-chief-roadmaster-motorcycle-tales-2

But, once found, if you know what you’re doing, as Larry Van Horn of Monroe, Wis., does, you can not only save that great bike, you may be able to make it better than the original.

Larry Van Horn is a former Suzuki Motorcycle dealership owner and also has many years of experience with automotive body and paint work. His love for classic motorcycles and skill in making machines look beautiful combined when he saw an Indian Chief still in action earning its keep on farm.

Van Horn checked into acquiring the bike and when the deal was done in 2006, he went to work getting it back to its original glory—and a little more.

Original Indians — even the top-of-the-line Roadmaster — lacked a few things that modern motorcycles have. Some affect safety, such as turn signals; some affect rideability like an electric starter; some affect bike longevity and operating status like a tachometer and engine oil temperature gauge.

With some careful reengineering during the bike’s restoration process, Van Horn managed to add all these things, and did so skillfully in a subtle way, so the bike did not lose its original character.

Adding the electric starter was more than just a convenience upgrade; Van Horn explained that he was getting to the age where using the kickstarter made getting the bike going for a ride was more of a challenge than he wanted. Tucked down low and working through the transmission, the electric starter is barely noticeable.

Adding a tachometer was a matter of personal preference. “I don’t push the bike all that hard, but I’m used to having a tachometer, so I added one,” he explained. Again, a Drag Specialties model with a small case tucked down behind the windshield makes the modern upgrade something you have to look for to notice.

“Having to rely on hand signals bothers me. I wanted turn signals, but they had to be consistent with the bike’s design and not overly noticeable,” he said. Again, using vintage style units, sized to blend with the bike’s lines filled the bill.

While those upgrades were carefully melded into the bike’s restoration to go virtually unnoticed to preserve its authenticity, the aesthetic restoration was done to be full-on gorgeous.

The bike was stripped to the frame and all the painted surfaces stripped smoothed and completely re-done with the help of friends and local artisans. A stunning two-tone paint job with hand-painted pin striping, script and graphics makes this Indian a piece of rolling classical art.

Period fringed leather bags and seat are complemented by amazing hand-made studded leather fender skirts front and rear, taking the hallmark deeply valenced fenders one step further.

The 80 cubic-inch, flat-head 42-degree V-twin motor was tuned and thoroughly cleaned, but did not require major mechanical overhaul. The major mechanical components, carburetor and ignition system were cleaned, lubed and tuned to spec, but not replaced with electronic ignition or other modern components.

Van Horn has named his breathtaking Chief Roadmaster “Indian Summer,” a name befitting not only it origins, but its late-blooming beauty and staying power.

Source: 1947 Indian Chief Roadmaster | History-Making Motorcycles

Hail to the Indian Chief Motorcycle

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This 1948 Indian Chief is one of the most important Indian motorcycles on the planet.

There’s a good chance, many years from now, that history will judge this particular red-and-white 1948 Indian Chief as one of the most important Indian motorcycles on the planet. No, it wasn’t owned by Steve McQueen or any other celebrity; it’s not a special VIN, not the only or the first or the last of anything; it certainly didn’t win any races or set any speed records either. It’s unremarkable except for one fact: This is the motorcycle that spent two years parked in the Polaris design studio, where it served as the visual inspiration and literal touchstone for the design team that reinterpreted the vintage Indian style for the modern era.

This bike isn’t a static showpiece. It’s fully operational, and Indian Product Director Gary Gray offered us the unique opportunity to ride this vintage classic side by side with the modern Chief that carries so much of its DNA in its lines and design. Gray is the person who actually located this bike for Polaris , negotiating the purchase from a Minnesota collector shortly after Polaris acquired the Indian brand in 2011. It’s a 1948 Chief with the mid-level Sportsman trim package, distinguished by the chromed crashbars, handlebar, headlight and spotlights, and “De Luxe” solo saddle. Riding this bike alongside the 2014 Chief Vintage reveals how far bikes have come in 66 years—it feels like light-years—but it’s surprising how similar the two bikes feel in certain ways. That’s a testament to the fine job Gray and company did translating the old glory to a new generation.

The first difference you notice is scale. Wheelbase and seat height are roughly similar, but the vintage bike, weighing just 550 pounds, is almost 250 pounds lighter than the modern machine. This makes the older bike easier to maneuver, especially pushing it around a parking lot, and it handles well at speed too. Sixteen-inch wheels are concealed under those deep fender skirts, and the ride is surprisingly smooth thanks to the coil-sprung, hydraulically damped girder fork and “Double Action” plunger-sprung rear frame (each shock carries two springs: a top spring for cushioning and a bottom spring for damping) that was a cut above Harley’s then-current rigid frame/sprung saddle combination.

The 74ci (1,200cc), 42-degree flathead V-twin, with roots reaching back to 1920, was already obsolete in 1948 (Harley-Davidson released its overhead-valve Panhead that same year), but with roughly 50 hp and a broad spread of torque it’s adequate for back-road cruising. Top speed is said to be near 100 mph, but it’s happier nearer the double nickel where it doesn’t feel (and sound) like it’s going to shake itself apart. Besides, the drum brakes—the front all but useless and the back not much better—can’t compete with more velocity than that.

Often copied, never equaled (until now): the original 1948 Indian Chief

The control layout is utterly unlike the modern bike. Both grips rotate. The right grip “controls” the Linkert carburetor; the left rotates the automotive-type distributor to manually retard or advance the spark for easier starting. “Controls” is in quotes because any grip input to the crude, poorly atomizing Linkert is a mere suggestion. Engine response lags behind grip input by a few seconds, and the lack of a throttle return spring and a solid throttle wire—not a cable—makes rev-matching during shifting all but impossible. Speaking of shifting, there’s no clutch lever. Instead there’s a foot clutch on the left floorboard (a rocker clutch you have to manually engage and disengage, not a spring-loaded “suicide” clutch) and a hand-shifter on the left side of the fuel tank.

Temporarily rewiring your brain to smoothly manipulate that rocker clutch with your foot and fluidly change the cantankerous, non-synchronized, three-speed gearbox with your left hand is the biggest challenge, but once you get the vintage Chief up to speed it’s a delightful back-road ride, with a perfectly upright riding position that’s more natural and less slouchy than the clamshelled hunch the newer bike demands. It’s a classic American motorcycle experience, and Gray and his team have done an excellent job of transposing this vintage vibe onto the new machine. Starting with such sound genetic material as this, though, how could they go wrong?

Source: Hail to the Indian Chief Motorcycle

Indian Motorcycle Restoration – A Labor of Love

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For Barry Teller, the recipe for a labor of love involves an engine with three speeds, 300 hours of work and approximately 1,500 moving parts.
   Four years ago, Teller received a 1937 Indian Sport Scout motorcycle packed in “many boxes,” after agreeing to take on the restoration project for a friend in Ohio in memory of his brother.
   As Teller looked over the motorcycle, he said, some of the parts inside the boxes or connected to the Sport Scout were wrong. And that is when he was determined to set out and restore the Depression-era motorcycle faithfully to its original look.
   The motorcycle, manufactured by the Indian Motorcycle Co. from 1934 to 1942, was smaller than the Chief model, Teller said, and was “a little more affordable.” The motorcycle Teller restored was purchased from the original owner’s family in the 1960s, and has been in pieces for many years.
   Teller said he scoured the nation looking for original or faithfully reproduced parts. “They’re hard to come by,” Teller said of suitable parts for the motorcycle.
   Although Teller has restored other motorcycles and mechanical items, taking on the Indian Sport Scout was mostly “for the challenge of the project.”
   While working on the Indian, Teller said he was told by a few seasoned restorers that the Sport Scout is “one of the hardest to restore.”
   “It was nerve-wracking at times,” he said. But he didn’t go at it completely alone. Another friend painted the motorcycle, while a pinstriping contact from Ohio took on the 10-hour project of applying the gold linear highlights.
   Because of its insured value — $30,000 to $40,000 — Teller said, the recipient of the motorcycle requests anonymity.
   Before packing the motorcycle for its trip south, Teller test-rode the vintage wheels through the neighborhood, but because he is used to riding only “conventional” motorcycles, his travel in nostalgia was brief. “It operates and rides differently,” he said.
   Last week, the motorcycle made its trip “home,” where it will likely be stored in a private, museum-like setting. And that is fine with Teller. “It’s like a work of art,” he said about the restored motorcycle.

‘She was a pistol’: Winnipeg teen Sadie Grimm raced into motorcycle history in 1914 Social Sharing Grimm rode her motorcycle through harsh Manitoba terrain where men failed — then did it again Darren Bernhardt · CBC News · Posted: Jun 22, 2019 6:00 AM CT | Last Updated: June 22

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She faced long odds, from swampy and rutted terrain to skepticism in a male-dominated era, but Sadie Grimm had something that trumped it all: grit.

In 1914, she did something on a motorcycle that men attempted but failed — she became the first to complete an endurance race from Winnipeg to Winnipeg Beach, across roadless marshlands.

Then the 19-year-old did it again. On the same day.

“She was a pistol, is what her grandchildren called her,” said Ross Metcalfe, a Manitoban who is president of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America and co-founder of the Antique Motorcycle Club of Manitoba.

“I call her plucky. This was something that a very phenomenal woman did 105 years ago, and she showed no fear in being able to do it.”

Sadie Grimm standing with her Indian motorcycle in June 1914. (Manitoba Free Press)

It was the first documented award in Canadian motorcycling by a woman in a competition also open to men, said Metcalfe.

“Think about the year she did it — it’s 1914, the year Nellie McClung is staging the mock parliament and pushing the government for the women’s vote. So it’s a pivotal time for women and here’s Sadie doing something no man could do,” he said.

“By our record, she’s probably the first woman in North America to win a medal or a trophy or an accomplishment on a motorcycle — and was actually able to keep it.”

An undated postcard featuring Clara Wagner and her motorcycle. (A. Loeffler)

A few years earlier, American Clara Wagner won a race between Indianapolis and Chicago but was denied the trophy because of her gender, Metcalfe said.

Race to resort town

The Winnipeg-to-Winnipeg Beach contest, open to anyone, was announced by the Manitoba Motorcycle Club in the winter of 1913-14.

A gold medal was offered up to the first person to complete the 90-kilometre one-way trek from the city to the Empress Hotel on the shore of the popular beach town.

“Winnipeg Beach was Manitoba’s Riviera, it was  was Manitoba’s Fort Lauderdale,” said Metcalfe. “It had a huge CPR four-storey hotel with balconies and it was a destination.”

Upwards of 13 trains a day would take people to Winnipeg Beach when there were no roads. (Archives of Manitoba)

But there were no roads to it. Winnipeg Beach was founded as a resort town in 1900 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, which had the only way to get there.

“The CPR once said that was the most profitable 60 miles of track in all of Canada. Upwards of 13 trains a day would take travellers to the beach and its boardwalk and the fancy hotel,” said Metcalfe.

There were cottages, a dance pavilion, a large pier, water chutes (precursors to modern water slides), and weekend boat regattas that drew as many as 10,000, according to Heritage Manitoba.

The Empress was a grand hotel along the shoreline of Winnipeg Beach. It burned down in 1935. (Archives of Manitoba)

“So motorists by 1911-12, they kind of started pointing fingers about the railroad having a monopoly to a place that we want to get to,” Metcalfe said.

So the endurance race was born and motorcycles were a natural choice. Manitoba was a hotbed for motorcycle riding and racing at the time, said Metcalfe.

“There were very many famous racers — men racers — here in Manitoba that were … setting world records,” he said, noting Joe Baribeau, who set a world record at the Kirkfield Park track in 1911 as the fastest man, averaging 60 miles per hour (nearly 100 km/h) over a distance of 100 miles (just over 160 kilometres).

“The first person on Earth to do that and it was done here in Winnipeg. Because of these people being so famous and the Manitoba Motorcycle Club being so dominant,  the Canadian Motorcycle Association … moved the Canadian championships to Manitoba in 1914.”

An undated postcard showing Winnipeg Beach and the Empress Hotel. (hippostcard.com)

The Manitoba Motorcycle Club, founded in 1911, is the oldest motorcycle club in Canada and fourth-oldest in the world, Metcalfe said. 

‘She got back on that bike’

Despite that popularity, there are no records of Grimm competing in any races prior to the endurance test. She seemed to come out of nowhere.

But Metcalfe has his theories.

It just so happened that Grimm’s boyfriend, Jim Cruikshank, was an accomplished amateur motorcycle racer and had opened a repair shop for Indian motorcycles in 1913, across from the new Yale and Northern hotels on Main Street.

Winnipeg Beach offered wooden water chutes, precursors to modern water slides, among its many attractions. (Archives of Manitoba)

Metcalfe thinks Grimm was likely taught how to ride by Cruikshank, who then provided a new, 1914 seven-horsepower Big Twin Indian motorcycle.

“A lot of those early motorcycles were very primitive, so endurance races were a way of motorcycle companies proving their worth,” he said.

Some eager riders who tried their hands at the Winnipeg to Winnipeg Beach run while the ground was still frozen turned back. Others tried in early spring but were trapped by the wetlands.

The only place where there was some semblance of a road — really more of a rutted wagon trail — was through Teulon, Metcalfe said. But it stopped about 35 kilometres short of Winnipeg Beach.

Boat regattas drew thousands of people to the shores of Winnipeg Beach. (Archives of Manitoba)

Grimm set out on the morning of June 14, 1914.

“For 25 miles she had to break gravel eight inches deep while going 30 miles an hour. She took several graceful slides but picked herself up unhurt,” the Manitoba Free Press reported at the time.

The slides were most likely less than graceful, said Metcalfe, describing them as “two or three face plants.”

“So we want to talk about plucky, I mean, she wasn’t dismayed. She got back on that bike,” he said.

Grimm went up though Selkirk to Petersfield, where the road soon became bog and potholes. After tracing things like deer trails she rode up onto the railroad track.

The pier was a popular place for strolls back in the early days in Winnipeg Beach. (Archives of Manitoba)

It was extremely bumpy “but she pounded her way up the track,” Metcalfe said.

After four hours, a slightly dirty, scratched and exhausted Grimm walked into the Empress Hotel and claimed her prize.

There were a couple of people who scoffed at the victory because she used the railroad tracks, so after she rested for a few hours, Grimm decided to make a statement.

She climbed back on the bike and drove back to Winnipeg via the Teulon route that nobody else could traverse.

“So she actually did it twice in the same day,” Metcalfe said. “It was quite a feat.”

The Free Press, under a June 20 headline that said “Lady Wins Gold Medal,” called it “one of the most strenuous rides ever attempted by a Manitoba motorcyclist.”

The route Sadie Grimm rode from Winnipeg to Winnipeg Beach, a distance of roughly 90 kilometres. (Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame)

At least one other motorcyclist also made an attempt that same day but ran out of gas west of the beach and arrived several hours too late to claim the prize.

“What Sadie Grimm did was pretty spectacular, really, when you look at it from a female perspective in Canadian and North American history,” said Metcalfe.

Arrested for impersonating men

Even two years later, in 1916, sisters Augusta and Adeline Van Buren rode their motorcycles 9,000 kilometres in 60 days across the continental United States. They wanted to prove women could ride as well as men and would be able to serve as military dispatch riders.

Augusta, 24, and Adeline, 22, dressed in military-style leggings and leather riding breeches and were stopped several times during the journey by police who took offence to the fact they wore men’s clothes, according to Anne Ruderman and Jo Giovanni’s book Adeline and Augusta Van Buren: Pioneers in Women in Motorcycling.

“They were arrested a number of times for impersonating a man, if you can believe it,” said Metcalfe.

Despite their success, the Van Buren sisters’ applications to be military dispatch riders were rejected. Reports in a motorcycling magazine of the day praised the bike but not the sisters. It also described the rigorous journey as a vacation.

Augusta, left, and Adeline Van Buren rode their motorcycles 9,000 kilometres in 60 days across the continental United States in 1916. (Van Buren Family Collection)

Following her success, Grimm became a spokesperson for the participation of women in motorcycling. In the July 1914 edition of the Winnipeg Tribune, Grimm lauded the activity as beneficial to health and the independence of women.

“The motorcycle is a great teacher.… It teaches [one] to be more independent on herself, to know that with a twist of the wrist she can control the powerful little machine that will carry her swiftly and safely wherever she wants to go,” Grimm said.

“I don’t think anyone could recommend a better doctor than nature — plenty of fresh air and exercise are the greatest health givers.”

Grimm died in February 1970 at the age of 74. In 2017, she was inducted into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

‘Empowers women to ride’

That same year, the first Sadie Grimm historic motorcycle ride to Winnipeg Beach was held. Follow-up rides have been held every June since then, doubling as a fundraiser toward a planned commemoration for Grimm.

The Women Riders Council (WRC), a member of the Coalition of Manitoba Motorcycle Groups, wants to build a picnic shelter, named in Grimm’s honour, at the spot where the Empress Hotel once stood.

A 1913 Indian motorcycle owned by Ross Metcalfe and similar to the one ridden by Sadie Grimm was on temporary display at the Winnipeg Police Museum. (Ross Metcalfe)

The Manitoba government has agreed to the proposed steel-and-concrete design with a motorcycle motif being built on the property, now owned by the province.

“It will have a motorcycle theme for the sides of it and the circles in the top, holding the roof up, will look like motorcycle wheels. So it will be a real commemoration of Sadie’s ride,” said Mary Johnson, a member of the WRC and chair of the Sadie Grimm Celebration Committee.

Sadie Grimm as seen in a photo included in the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction for the class of 2017. (Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame)

She first heard about Grimm’s story in 2014 while at the Manitoba Motorcycle Club’s induction ceremony into the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame. When Metcalfe was accepting the award, he mentioned Grimm.

“I remember thinking at the time ‘I need a piece of that [story],'” Johnson said.

She got Metcalfe to tell her everything he knew about Grimm and shortly after, she shared the story at a WRC meeting.

That’s when another member, Carolyn Peters, offered to do more research and eventually got in contact with grandchildren and a grandniece of Grimm’s in California.

They had some photos to offer up but for the most part, Grimm’s exploits were unknown to them. They always thought she was kind of cool because she was “just a little out there,” with her long fingernails painted in bright red polish that matched a similarly brilliant lipstick, said Peters.

But for the most part, Grimm was just known to them as Nana, she said. 

“It is just such an interesting story, that this woman who was very anonymous until now … had been this vivacious, independent, outspoken woman for women’s issues and women’s rights at such an early point in Manitoba history,” Peters said.

“It was really a terribly courageous thing that she did. I just think of her at this point as a really fantastic role model to young women back then in 1914 and still very relevant today.”

The dusting off of Grimm’s story immediately led to a renewed interest and ultimately, her induction into the hall of fame.

In the summer of 2015, the Antique Motorcycle Club of Manitoba (which amalgamated with the MMC in 2010) organized a Sadie Grimm run from Winnipeg to a roadhouse about halfway to Winnipeg beach.

Johnson was told the club would buy a meal for all women riders who participated. She rounded up a large group, which then finished the run to the beach in honour of Grimm.

The Sadie Grimm picnic shelter project is raising funds to create a public commemoration on the former site of the Empress Hotel in Winnipeg Beach. (Coalition of Manitoba Motorcycle Groups)

That sparked the idea for the picnic shelter, which is expected to cost $45,000.

So far, the fundraising rides and other donations have raised about $28,500.

Johnson and Peters hope the shelter will keep Grimm’s story in the public eye because of the inspiration it provides.

“When we talk to people about it they get really excited,” she said, noting one woman joins the ride every year, spurred by Grimm’s story, and “just went and bought an Indian Chief motorcycle this week.”

“It really empowers women to ride.”

Motorcycle enthusiasts soak in the exhaust at Cannonball Run (09/10/14)

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One of the oldest of the antique motorcycles that sat arrayed on Spanish Street on Tuesday afternoon was a 1916 Harley-Davidson, just a shade lighter than robin’s egg blue with a wide leather seat and broad, rounded handlebars.

Navy, red and gold pinstriping curled finely across the bicycle-looking frame, and the long, boxy gas tank bore the moniker “The Frankfurter.” Across the street, lounging in the shade on a bench outside the Brick Street Gallery antique store was the bike’s owner, Thomas Trapp.

He was one of more than 100 vintage-motorcycle enthusiasts rolling across the country in the motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run. They started in Daytona, Florida, on Friday and made a pit stop in Cape Girardeau on their way to Tacoma, Washington.

Trapp runs a Harley Davidson dealership in Frankfurt, Germany, and says the run is the apex event for old-school gearheads such as himself. As he talked about the run, his blue eyes turned bright with the type of devotion to craft, bikes and lifestyle that motorcyclists are known for.

“Let me tell you,” he said in a round German accent, “I am riding vintage bikes for 40 years. I’m racing vintage for a long time. When you are into vintage stuff, I am always searching for the new thing, a new challenge.”

(Photo)

A 1916 Harley Davidson F owned by Thomas Trapp of Germany is displayed for the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run on Tuesday in Cape Girardeau.
(Fred Lynch)

He explained Erwin “Cannon Ball” Baker’s legacy is one of the most potent allures of the run. Baker set more than 140 driving records in his day, and his reputation for marathon rides is what inspired the event.

“He made it [across the country] in 12 days,” Trapp said, “in 1914 on an Indian [motorcycle].”

The motorcycles turn heads, to be sure, but some followers had traveled a distance to see the classic machines. Dave Sickmeyer has been following the competition online since it left Daytona. He and his wife Cindy came from Steelville, Illinois, to see them. He said the engineering of the Hendersons are his favorite part.

“How long have I been riding? Oh boy,” he said.

“His whole life,” Cindy assured.

(Photo)

Ron Roberts of New Hampshire rides his 1936 Indian Chief across the Bill Emerson Memorial Bridge for the Motorcycle Cannonball Endurance Run on Tuesday in Cape Girardeau.
(Fred Lynch)

“Yeah, I’m 63; I’ve been riding since I was 12,” he said. He shifted his weight to ponder the midnight blue four-cylinder Henderson in front of him.

“Boy, I’d like to be able to buy an old bike like this, but you’re talking around 50 grand right off the bat.”

“What intrigues me is that they come from all over the world,” said Cindy. She said she was impressed by the German bike and at how old some of them were.

At 98 years old, Trapp’s bike isn’t much different from Baker’s original Indian, and the similarities don’t stop at the antique V-twin engine. The rules of the run allow for modification in the name of safety, Trapp explained, pointing at another driver rolling off his Henderson four-cylinder to fix a flat.

“See? He’s changed the wheelbase to get modern tires and a front brake from a BMW,” he said. “Which is totally fine for safety.”

But as he detailed his ride’s specs, a smile cracked across his sunburned face. He hadn’t installed a front brake. He hadn’t altered his wheelbase. What he’d done is position himself to compete in the run as a purist.

“There is nothing more in the world than the Cannonball on a Harley Davidson,” he said. “We are just about five or six people whose bikes are 1915 to 1919.”

When he brushed back his weather-beaten white-blonde hair, the inside of his right forearm bore an intricately inked rendering of a motorcycle: a 1916 Harley Davidson with a V-twin engine and a long, boxy gas tank.

“Yes, it’s the same one,” he nodded, beaming with pride.

Source: seMissourian.com: Local News: Motorcycle enthusiasts soak in the exhaust at Cannonball Run (09/10/14)

1933 Indian Four – Jay Leno

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In 1901, bicycle racer and builder George Hendee teamed up with engineer Carl Oscar Hedstrom to build a 1.75 hp single cylinder motorcycle prototype with a revolutionary chain drive. This motorized bicycle met with immediate success, and the 1933 Indian Motorcycle. Indian Motocycle Company was soon formed in Springfield, Massachusetts.

1912 Indian Single hits the street after a silly start up with Jay Leno!

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1912 Indian Single is a two-wheeler that Jay Leno just couldn’t pass up. In this episode he highlights the stock 1912 Indian Single and talks to its owner. The motorcycle was part of the Motorcycle Cannonball Ride and given its age, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. Yes, this 1912 Indian Single can still hit the streets. It’s owner Alex Trepanier tells us more about its history.

According to him, the 1912 Indian Single has been in their family since before he was born. His dad bought it for $650, back in 1962. Leno, of course, was pretty quick to offer twice the price. However, in this state, the 500cc bike has a current market value in the $70,000 range. Given the fact that it is unrestored and is still functional, the prize range makes sense.

When it comes to power, the 1912 Indian Single has a 4-horsepower single-speed. It has completed more than  3,000 miles in the Cannonball event. Also, it features a total-loss lubrication system. Thus, an interesting fact is that the engine probably consumed 5 quarts of oil each day.

Nevertheless, what Jay Leno is trying to point out is how much effort was put into making motorcycles in the early days. Not many could do it as Indian’s hand clutch and twist-grip throttle was pretty challenging. That’s why it took several false starts by Leno to make the vintage thumper run along. The 1912 Indian Single motorcycle’s top speed is around 35 mph.

But be that as it may, it surely is an exceptional experience to hop on this machine nowadays. The sound of the engine isn’t as pleasant as you would imagine but, all in all, it’s totally worth it. Check it out!

Source: 1912 Indian Single hits the street after a silly start up with Jay Leno!