Indian Motorcycle, which, having been founded in 1901, stands as the the oldest motorcycle brand in the United States, was bought recently by Polaris, the A.T.V. and snowmobile manufacturer. Polaris also owns Victory, which builds cruiser-style motorcycles in the tradition of Indian and Harley-Davidson.
“We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Polaris,” said Stephen Julius, chairman of Indian and managing director of Stellican. “Polaris will utilize its well-known strengths in engineering, manufacturing, and distribution to complete the mission we undertook upon re-launching the brand in 2006: harness the enormous potential of the Indian brand. Polaris is the most logical owner of Indian Motorcycle. Indian’s heritage brand will allow Polaris to aggressively compete across an expanded spectrum of the motorcycle market.”
With this move, Polaris brings an incredible amount of history into it’s fold. By the early 1910s, Indian motorcycle riders had been roaming the dirt trails and rolling along the wagon-wheel ruts of the Phoenix Valley and the western US (and the east for that matter) for almost a decade. Hitting the road in 1901, Indian was not only the first American motorcycle, it was the world’s best-selling bike and, having introduced the first V-twin motorcycle to the world in 1907, the most technologically advanced. Harley-Davidson 1910 models, by contrast, were all singles, producing five horsepower or less.
During World War II, the US Army requested experimental motorcycle designs suitable for desert fighting. In response to this request, Indian designed and built the 841. Approximately 1,000 841 models were built. While the 841 Indian was not used widely during WW2, the innovation involved in the design of the model did have a large effect on the motorcycle world. The 841 drive-trian configuration, using wide-angle longitudinally mounted V-twins with shaft drive, was later used on the 1953 – 1956 Victoria Bergmeister motorcycle, the Honda CX series, and, most notably, on medium- and large-sized Moto Guzzi motorcycles.
“We are excited to be part of the revitalization of a quintessentially American brand,” said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris Industries Inc. “Indian built America’s first motorcycle. With our technology and vision, we are confident we will deliver the classic Indian motorcycle, enhanced by the quality and performance for which Polaris and Victory are known.”
Indian will operate as an autonomous business unit, “building upon the potent combination of Polaris’ engineering acumen and innovative technology with Indian’s premium brand, iconic design and rich American heritage,” according to Polaris.
Phoenix Arizona motorcycle enthusiast can view a good selection of new and classic Indian bikes at Chester’s Indian Motorcycle Phoenix, located in Phoenix Arizona. In addition to the classics Phoenix Arizona auto enthusiasts may enjoy, newer models, such as the classic styled new 2011 Indian Chief Bomber, or the sleek 2011 Blackhawk, are also on offer for Phoenix Valley motorists.