Indian Reveals the Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin

Indian Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin

Indian Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin

Indian Motorcycles has been teasing the introduction of their new engine for months and they've finally revealed their all new Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin. Although it's a brand new engine, they drew heavily from classic Indian engine designs. The 49 degree, 111 cubic inch V-Twin has 3 cams, parallel pushrods and down firing exhausts. The intake is on the left. It's unit construction providing direct drive between the crankshaft and clutch. The 6 speed overdrive transmission handles the 115+ foot pounds of torque.

Indian Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin

Indian Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin

If you look at the Thunder Stroke and compare it to an original, it's obvious how much they wanted to bring the design forward, right down to the cooling fins, which leads me to believe the motorcycle it's destined for will follow the same idea.

Polaris looks like they're doing it right so far, this is a good looking engine. It will be interesting to see what the whole package looks like.

Link: Indian Motorcycles

Internal animation video below:


  1. JP Kalishek says

    they went for the flat head look. Congrats Polaris.I liked Roush’s take on what a modern Indian should be, but I think this looks cooler. Best thing. it aint a Harley clone claiming to be from Springfield.

    Now, as I’m not a cruiser rider, get with it and make us a Tracker for the AMA and street. While your at it how about a return to the Isle.

  2. Nortley says

    A flattie in 2013??? Fooled me too for a moment. Beautiful, may it run as well as it looks.

  3. John says

    Engine looks great. I hope on top of classic bikes they come up with something a bit different to build around it.

  4. says

    Interesting retro-influenced styling.

    I would strongly suspect that the “down-firing exhaust ports” will be a power-limiting feature when it comes to aftermarket modification. But, the engine style that simulates the flathead apparently was the over-riding factor in their decision, and not power.
    Perhaps with 111 cubes, they feel that they have enough power and aren’t concerned about the dragstrip performance.

    Overall, it looks quite nice, and gives that “retro” appearance which people seem to love, without having any of that off-putting requirement for knowing about real vintage engines.
    It looks like it has a good shot at being popular.

  5. Steve says

    Beautiful motor, hope the finished bike dumps the clownish look of the current Indians.

    Yes! A tracker version would be very nice.

  6. Cameron says

    That is a fantastic modern interpretation of an old flathead. Great work Polaris. Can’t wait for your interpretation of where Indian Motorcycles would be if it kept racing! Please, please, steal some ideas from John Britten. Hossak girder front end is a must!

  7. says

    So this is what it has degenerated into…building fake Flathead motors, endorsed by cable TV stars that pick through other peoples garbage. Lowest possible common denominator, and propagation of ignorance, in a desperate quest to crack the Harley code. History doomed to repeat itself, American motorcycling doomed to endure even more shameless ignorance. When will the suffering end?

    • Nobody says

      Yeah, almost as bad as building a fake ’30’s roadster for a retired broadcast TV star…

        • Nobody says

          Paul knows.

          What I’m waiting for is someone to explain (among other things) why this twin is 20 inches wide* – that is wider than some modern fours. Not good for anyone hoping for a big streetfighter or anything else worth staying awake on around this engine.

          * According to KC’s article now on CW…

          • says

            Perhaps Paul knows you name, but I do not, And if you are going to post ignorant quips about my previous projects I think that I deserve to know your real name. Mine is JT Nesbitt, I build stuff. And you?

              • Nobody says

                I agree with you far more often than not – really. We could have a very late evening talking about this and who knows what else – and have a lot of fun doing so. I think.

                I’m looking forward to what I’m guessing is your imminent HFL article…

    • Domino says

      I have built my FXR low and lean.. Ness digger style of old.. cuz that’s what I grew up with, and really like.. however the FXR is better than what we rode in the 70’s, and still, I somewhat emulate that old style.

      This motor appears very X-wedge like and retro styled. It appeals to motorcycle enthusiasts like me.. and there are a lot of us..

      I have torn apart, hot rodded, and rebuilt tons of bikes with my old craftsman toolbox outta my garage …….. Trust me .. I am not “fooled”… and this is not a “fake” flathead. It is what it is. Please, give us backyard mechanics a little more credit.

      p.s. I rode a friends Hellcat and it was way bitchin… but hey, my RD350 cafe really trips my trigger… Dave

      • says

        OK Backyard mechanic, lets see if this direct quote from their website gives you pause….
        “By 1915 parallel pushrods had become a hallmark of Indian Motorcycle design, a feature continued on the new engine”
        Find anything suspiciously stinky with this marketing message?

        • Paul Crowe says

          JT, could you summarize just exactly what your issue is with this engine? If it’s styled to look like an early flathead, so what? If some like it and others don’t, what difference does it make? Motorcycle design is totally subjective, your view of how things should be is correct for you, others may disagree.

          You don’t like it, got that, but is it really “American motorcycling doomed … etc.?” I think you’re just a wee bit over the top on this, but I’m listening, please explain.

          • says

            Gladly Paul.
            This is a question of honesty. The thing that I cherish above all else is my understanding and appreciation for our collective history as American motorcyclists. The new Indian did not earn that history, they have merely bought it, and when they distort facts to make money, I have a problem with it, as should we all. The way I see it, their history is merely on loan from US and we should be vigilant for any twisting of the facts.
            The first inkling of the distortions have already appeared. As you well know, the commercial sidevalve Indian v-twins Did not even have pushrods, much less pushrod tubes. A small thing perhaps, but think about the message that it is sending.
            Someone in their organization actually made the decision to tell a little lie, in order to prop up a styling exercise, rewriting history to suit a corporate message. It is the intent to conceal, shade, and obscure that has turned American motorcycling into the marketing exercise that it is today.
            I don’t like that. It bothers me, and if is is a sign of things to come, it should bother you too.

            • woodco100 says

              I think I agree. Ohhhh, lets call it a Thunderstroke motor, what does that mean?

              I love metric cruisers but enough with the change your motors designation to CI instead of CC (Suzuki) small cc bikes that look just like Sportys (Honda), Fake Electra and Street Glides (Kawasaki) and the very worst…bolt on air cooling fins on a water cooled motor (Yamaha Royalstar).

            • Sid says

              So why did Confederate use a COPY of an HD motor JT?
              The same exact reason Polaris built a flathead-looking motor:

              to cash-in.

              The big difference:
              Polaris is cashing in on Indian’s look and history as opposed to Confederate’s approach of tagging along to the marketshare built by HD. The worst part, you & Confedrate tagged along with a copy of HDs motor. So, while you preach about honesty in American motorcycle design, it can be argued you were part of much less authenticity with Confederate’s Hellcat. Exhausts through the swing arm? It was done decades ago.

    • Sid says

      And what engine was used by Confederate while you worked there? A Harley copy!

      What’s worse?
      Building a motorcycle with a copy of an HD motor -OR-
      Going after HDs cash cow nostalgic cruiser market with an engine of their own design?

      I saw your rant against Victory when they revealed the “Core” concept. That bike is no more a copy of the Wraith than the Wraith is a copy of the original boardtrack bikes.

      Your argument & criticism are weak & hypocritical due to the Hellcat’s power plant

  8. 2WheelFan says

    That’s pretty cynical JT. American motorcycling is defined by cost reductions and low quality, brought to you by the factory that hasn’t done anything new of significance since 1984… the suffering will end when Indian Motorcycles brings you a quality American motorcycle!

      • Mister X says

        Mr. (I build stuff) Nesbitt, it’s possible that you’ve been breathing fabrication fumes too often and it’s affecting you’re perceptions of reality, you might want to step outside and get a breath of fresh air and then consider this…

        The ‘average’ motorcyclist wouldn’t know a flat head engine from an OHV, OHC or other form factor (Guzzi, BMW, etc), particularly most of those born after the 60’s. Oh, and most of them wouldn’t care what kind of engine cylinder head design it had as long as they liked the looks of it.

        And further, it’s a styling design choice, but apparently you feel that every designer/builder of a new engine should only make engines to your visual and/or technical specifications? That would come off as more than a bit narcissistic to be sure, and from you postings it certainly does come off that way.

        Perhaps you’ve forgotten what the true essence of Motorcycling is all about, FUN, and that includes liking the STYLE of one’s bike. It appears to me that you’ve lost your way. I suggest a leisurely country ride on a Hodaka Ace 100 and an open face helmet and goggles as therapy.

      • Nortley says

        Sort of like my building a 60s cafe racer around an evo engine. But, it turns the wheels and looks part of the package. Where Polaris goes with this engine probably hangs more on the surrounding package than the engine itself. The earlier Indians were simply overpriced, that they were powered by H-D clones probably mattered less to prospective buyers than looks, as noted by Mr X. Hopefully Polaris’s capacity for production will keep the price affordable so that those of us who can tell one engine from another will have a chance to appreciate them.

  9. paolo says

    That’s a nice lookin motor! Love the retro style.!
    Polaris seem to have it covered. For those that want overhead cam, multivalve cylinder motors encased in a modern interpretation of a classic American bike, Victory. For those that want retro pushrod motors and an homage to the past, Indian. Well done!! Can not wait to see the completed product.

  10. idontknow! says

    Looks as though this engine has chewed away at someone’s anal orifice and big ego

    Polaris brought it to the table and created a piece of art supportive of the brand and its heritage. Well done

    Oh ! I know Ya’ll weren’t asked for your two cent ideas as an artist/designer .

  11. says

    I have to say that I understand JT Nesbitt’s point of view, and the same types of thoughts passed through my mind.
    This may not be the time or place to discuss this issue, but the truth is that yes, this IS what modern motorcycling has “degenerated into”. And maybe it would be a good topic on its own.

    The popularity of the “retro” craze, as we’ve seen it, is essentially based upon people’s desires for the classic charm and appeal of real vintage motorcycles. However, the modern motorcycling public is sadly lacking in the ability to operate and maintain(or even understand) such machines, and therefore don’t own them. And the EPA/Euro3 or whatever other dictates from the ivory towers have forced these machines out of production anyway.

    So, the manufacturers which obviously want to sell large numbers of motorcycles have had to respond with “the lowest common denominator” motorcycles that meet the needs of “the lowest common denominator” consumer. This way there are no barriers to purchase, as long as the consumer can get the loan.

    The “retro” motorcycle image is what a significant segment of the market wants to have themselves photographed with, so they get a sanitized “replica” which gives a shallow “nod” to the appearance of the vintage, without requiring anything from the owner in terms of skill. It’s all taken care of by the dealer. So, it’s not scary.

    And this is what it has come to.
    We can debate why it has come to this, but this is the sad state of affairs today.
    Perhaps it is the cynical views of some old timers who have seen the whole history unfold. But it is a viable view of what has occurred, and the observations are pretty damn dead-on, even if some people don’t want to hear it.

    I’m not trying to make anyone feel uncomfortable with my comments, but it really may be time to have a good close look at what has happened to motorcycling, and analyze whether this is really constituting a “good direction” or not. Even though there may be nothing that any of us can do to change it, regardless of if we want to or not.

    • Rob says

      I think there are bikes for everyone these days. We need to accept that we are going to get more specialised bike builders and custom style bikes being made in volume. This engine might not be everyones idea of the right way to go, some will like it. Nothing wrong with criticising apparent shortcomings or faults and suggesting improvements though.

    • bart43 says

      I’ve been riding for 4o years, have had a couple of ’46 Indians and a dozen HDs. I don’t agree with your statements at all, it’s elitist for starters. The new 111 Thunderstroke motor looks lovely and like a great engine to me (except for that bloody oil cooler.)

  12. Tin Man 2 says

    Looks to be a compact lump, keeping the tranny close to the engine may allow for frame design out of the ordinary for a cruiser. IMHO the heads look a bit like mushrooms on a short stalk but I will wait to see it in a bike before making a final judgement. All in All it looks expensive and with High Quality fit and finish, very important on a High End bike. Good Job Polaris.

  13. 51panrider says

    I think that the Bottlecap Power Plus Motor was much better looking. In fact, one of the best looking V-Twins on the Market since the Panhead. Polaris could have saved a lot of coin just perfecting the already loved Powerplus. Good luck to Indian/Polaris anyway….

  14. Seymour says

    “Based around an engine that’s primary function is to fool onlookers into thinking that it is something that it is not…..?”

    just think how pissed off the general public is going to be when they find out it is overhead valve. Holy crap! I can’t wait to fool my mother, the gullible old gal!

  15. John F says

    Good looking motor for the wanabee’s.
    Burt Munro would despair :(
    More of the same with a different name.

  16. says

    Seems to me that those people in love with all things modern can buy the Victory Vision or a Gold Wing or a BMW 1600. Those who like retro style can buy a Harley or the new Indian or a Triumph. I’m not sure why anyone needs to cop an attitude about what Polaris is doing; their effort seems legitimate, thorough, and well financed, unlike past incarnations of Indian.

    If I have a complaint it will be that the new Indian will likely be out of my price range. I’d love to have an original Indian Chief as an homage to my dad who was an Indian dealer, but an original Chief is out of my price range even more.

    I wish Polaris all the best with the Indian brand. I just hope they latch on to the guts of the Indian heritage and go dirt track racing. That’s when we’ll know they are deadly serious about being the real deal.

  17. blackbird says

    I’m all for American companies doing well and this engine looks like it has the right stuff. The bike is going to be good, too. Count on it. The video is great and the sound is right. Would like to see it in slo-mo.

  18. joe says

    I guess many people are turning to the retro models because they are in general, good looking, reliable and simple. Not everyone wants all the unnecessary electronic wizardry that is fitted to the latest motorcycles. Fly by wire throttle, traction control, cruise control, radiators, water hoses, and lots of plastic paneling etc. We should think ourselves lucky that we still have the choice to buy whatever style of motorcycle we want. The Indian has given us yet another great addition to that choice.

    • says

      I tottally agree with how gratefull we should feel with the freedom we have to choose what we want to ride and what we think looks good. I fear what the furture is about to hand us, a motorcycle with battery packs desquised as primarys and cylinder barrells. Maybe an on board cd that would play engine noises while we wait for the electrical blackout to end so we can go ride 30miles .

  19. Panagiotis says

    This is a beautiful engine that most of all matches the retro appearance of the Indian logo which in my opinion is the limiting factor in any design around it. The lines and theme of the brand pretty much dictate the overall style of the product in this case. I could do with less width but overall the concept is aesthetically pleasing and I can already imagine a nice modern bobber built around it. The presentation with the Monroe tribute bike is much less than I would expect though, nothing positive to say there. Can’t wait to get my hands on one a 111 and see what I can build around it. From their wording on the video and elsewhere it seems they will be offering in in crate form, I hope they do and soon.

    • Lee says

      I don’t know, the “Spirit of Munro”, while certainly a promotional instrument, is also a tribute to the man, in my opinion. By dedicating it to him, they are recognizing him and his achivements. No, it isn’t a replica of the original, nor is it an updated version, but it does pay tribute to the man and whether by design or accident, it does honor him. For some reason, I have a feeling that ole Burt is looking down, from heaven, with a big smile of satsifaction on his face.

      • Mike says

        Nah !!!, He`d be really confused. He was a basic bloke with a dream of his own.
        This is just a corporation trying to cash in on a legend. Sorta like the Von Dutch fashion thing.
        Harley in the old days tried to distance themselves from the “outlaw biker” image. Then they turned around & made a fortune selling that image to trendy rich people.

  20. Lee says

    As someone said above, “FUN” is what motorcycling is all about, and someone else also made the very relivent statement, “Be thankful that we have choices here.” Polaris realizes or learned, just like Von Beals and Harley-Davidson did, that “He that controls history, controls the future.” That for a particular segiment of the motorcycling community, this is what they want. For whatever reason(s), the past, retro, nostalgia, is the key to their survival and prosperity. Harley reached back into it’s history, and found success, their key is their past. Polaris is taking the same approach, but their efforts are more a two-pronged thrust. Victory offers the “modern” thrust, more modern, cutting edge development and technology, but they also see, as Harley-Davidson did, that the past also offers success. What better way to bring back that past, then to breath life back into the iconic Indian Brand. The old Indian suffered enough indignity. He was drug through the mud, much too much, after the old Springfield plant went out of business, in 1953. Come on, re-badged imports (though there was/is nothing wrong with Endfields and Vincents) and the ultimate insult, foreign made scooters/mopeds, not to mention the Gilroy fiasco/muddled legal dealings with the California Motorcycle Company. I applaud the King’s Mountain Group, for saving the brand, but they still had the “Harley-clone” that Gilroy had spawned. They kept the brand alive, but did not have the resources to further develop it. Now, Polaris, who does have the resources, is breathing new life into the old Indian and returning him to his more traditional standing. That is the second thrust of the two-prong thrust. They have Victory, for those that want the modern approach and Indian, for the more retro, nostalgic crowd. They, with this engine, have done a great job of bringing back the more traditional Indian look and appeal. Hopefully, the bike they build around it will do the same. This first step, I’m sure, will be a revised Indian “Chief”, hopefully, in short order, they will bring out/revive the “Scout” as well. The only reservation that I have, was stated above as well — price! Both the Kings Mountain and Polaris produced Indians are expensive! Costing way more than a Harley-Davidson, I’m afraid that the price will put them out of reach of many, who would love to own and ride one. That is the only “Achilles-heal” to this whole endevor.

  21. Fred says

    Lovely engine; but here we go again. All of the talk about a “premium” motorcycle is code for high cost. Indians (and H-D as well) were about transportation a man could afford. Not so these days, now any new product is introduced for the affluent, or at least it seems that way, with perhaps one exception – Triumph. John Bloor knew that to succeed he would have to appeal to their traditional customers, even while having to meet the current motor vehicle regulations. True their largest selling model (the Bonneville) did not appear for several years, but he realized sales to the “great unwashed” were where his real customer base resided.
    Sadly, there are few who actually know of the true rivalry between Indian and Harley-Davidson, and those who do, were well aware that any Indian based around an H-D cloned engine would be doomed to failure. Amongst the true Indian fans, motorcycles of that type simply are not recognized as Indians.
    Polaris is to congratulated for having good intentions, but I believe they took the wrong direction when they selected a V-twin. They already build a good one with the Victory bikes; why not build a latter-day inline Four, which would instantly set them apart from everyone else.
    Having closely followed the development of the Excelsior-Henderson Super X, purchasing one (which I still own and ride), and watching the company collapse, I sincerely wish Polaris well in this endeavor. Perhaps their very strong financial position will somewhat insure success.

    • Medicated Steve says

      I agree. My grand father had multiple harleys and indians. Today if you buy an indian or high end harley you are either rich, or its your last bike for quite some time. Geez I’m telling ya, crossplane crackshaft inline 4. You wouldn’t be able to keep them in stock.

  22. Walt says

    I am a “form follows function” guy, so this design should offend me. It doesn’t, not entirely — looks pretty cool, in my eye. As an OHV cloaked in flathead clothes it is sort of phony, but much of what motorcycle manufacturers do in design is dictated by ancient history.

    For instance: Now that BMW twins are liquid cooled, the advantage of the boxer design is limited to its reduced vibration at speed . . . and the fact that it LOOKS like a Beemer. Triumph’s big T-bird is a vertical twin because it LOOKS like a Triumph. Harley is locked into V-twins because Harleys ARE V-twins. Ducati too. Honda rolls out its new air cooled UJM because it stirs nostalgia for Hondas of old.

    Engine design on un-faired bikes is open for the world to see. No wonder it’s crucial to the brand.

  23. HoughMade says

    Judging the engine purely on looks….and hey, what else would you judge an engine on…’s a winner!

  24. says

    Well as the owner of a ’48 Chief I’m glad that at least now the name is owned by an experienced motorcycle company. As for the engine aesthetics, I think it’s attractive even though it’s not what it appears (flathead). Going along with the trend of naming Harley motors based on their appearance (knuckle-pan-shovel) perhaps this will be called the “dickhead”.

    (Well I think that’s funny.)

  25. Brian says

    Guys, I think the company that should be concerned is S&S. The engine is a pretty close knock off of their wide angle V-Twin. I’m guessing that S&S was involved in the R&D. The exhaust port extension is a separate part, so maybe the ports can be set-up to flow better if you wanted them to for performance.

    • Lee says

      But then, the S&S engine, that the Indian Powerstroke “bottle cap” engine was based on was/is a copy of the Harley-Davidson “Evo”, so, it kind of becomes a “vicious circle.” Perhaps S&S was involved, but maybe not. They probably aren’t concerned, I doubt it will cut into their business.

  26. B50 Jim says

    Good-looking engine! Reflects the vintage vibe of the Indian side-valves but with the performance and reliability of a modern powerplant. I’d have to see the side cutaway view of the exhaust ports before I judged them, but if, as Brian suggests, they can be swapped for something that doesn’t do a U-turn, I approve. Most street riders aren’t concerned with out-and-out performance anyway; a good-looking Indian that does the original proud would be just the ticket for most riders. As for cost — walk into a Harley Dealer and start listing options for a new bike, and you’ll probably be into Indian territory (sorry ’bout that) before very long.

    The big question is: will the market respond to a modern version of a classic bike few people outside of the enthusiast community remember? Polaris has the chutzpah and marketing department to pull it off; let’s hope they succeed!

  27. Paulinator says

    Ya, I’m with JT on this one. At first glance I thought “WOW that’s cool”…quickly followed by “Hey wwwwwwwait aaaa minute”. The rocker covers would be made out of ABS if it could take the heat. It appears that the script-writers, stylists and bean-counters had stroke over the designers and engineers. Hopefully it was just a concession, and that the rest of the effort is sound.

    I think that Aniket’s Musket pushes my buttons because its just so honest in its form.

  28. Garren says

    I must say I love the engine. it has the old school look that alot of us really dig. I mean look at the new cars with the old looks coming back into style. Mustang for one. How bout the challenger? Blend the old with the new I say. thats my style anyway. I believe the bike with this engine will be a hit. but it will probably be priced out of my range but do I want one. Does anyone want to buy a Harley? You go Polaris keep up the good work and bring the price down a little.

  29. Brian says

    Take a second and go on the S&S web site. Look at the valve train, it’s exactly like the S&S motor. If I’m not mistaken, S&S made the Indian round cylinder engine.S&S has started to do a lot more outside work, now that their chopper engine business has all but gone away. I find it interesting, all the opinions about the engine design. Look at it this way, there will be billet valve covers, cam covers, and primary covers, within 6 months that you all can buy, in 10 different designs. Let’s hope that they put this engine in a real modern frame with good brakes, real forks and shocks, and no fringe.on the fenders, or for that matter bloated fenders.

    • Lee says

      I can’t argur with you here Brian. You’re right, S&S did make the original engine, for the new Indian, the Gilroy Indian. First year, it was a straight S&S engine. Then, they developed the Powerstroke, the first of the round cylinder “Bottle Cap” engines, 100 cubic inch displacement. When the Kings Mountain group took over and began their production of Indian bikes, they increased the size of the Powerstroke to 105 cubes. Believe they made more changes well, back to more square cylinders, but they retained the “Bottle Cap” covers. This is everything that I have been able to read about it — hopefully, not passing any bum scoop.

      You are right, it does look like the S&S valve train, but is that by design in cooperation with S&S or a function of the layout of this particular engine? Maybe that is the way that they had to do the valve train for this particular engine. Yor are also absolutely correct, there will be allot of aftermarket products, that will come out, very soon. That is the way that the industry works. I’m sure there will be some quite interesting projects, builds, etc., with this new engine as it’s base.

      Finally, what I would like to see Indian do is kind of like what Triumph has done. Branch out a bit, to appeal to a large segiment of the Motorcycle community. Do as you say, put the new engine “in a real modern frame with good brakes, real forks and shocks, and no fringe.on the fenders, or for that matter bloated fenders”, for those that want to more modern tech. But also appeal to the “traditional” crowd, that wants the more nostalgic look of the “Old” Indian, with more the traditional look. Go for the sportbike crowd and the “modern” cruiser crowd as well. Triumph seems to do that pretty well and I don’t see why Indian/Polaris cannot as well.

  30. GenWaylaid says

    Oh wait, that’s ThunderstrOke. Great, now I have AC/DC playing in my head for no reason.

  31. Lincoln says

    Yes. My first thought was its similar to an S&S X-Wedge. Three cam system and all. Not sure about those rocker boxes though. Looking forward to seeing the complete machine.

  32. Medicated Steve says

    First of all. JT is right in a few ways. I mean they could have at least hidden the pushrod tubes right? I imagine anyone who sees those tubes and still thinks its a flathead needs to insert foot in mouth. I do however find myself wearing a smile when hearing it in that videoclip. I imagine a super retro looking bike and not something awkward like the victory line. (Btw that is strictly my opinion.) Honestly, they should have scraped the whole v-twin thing and done an inline four with a crossplane crankshaft. (That is also my opinion only.)

  33. 51panrider says

    Hopefully they wiil set the price the same as H-D but the Victorys are already priced the same. If Indian takes off and I hope it does, I would expect a Water cooled inline Four that looks similar to the Old ones to appear on the Market…

  34. Peter88 says

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Polaris purchase Motus and use that motor as a modern American made 4-cylinder for the Indian line.

  35. Medicated Steve says

    Here’s one more thing, are you telling me that with modern fuel injection and the metals that we use in production today they couldnt build a 111 flathead that would perform? You could still separate intake and exhaust valves utilizing twin cams. You might even be able to make the valve timing variable. Obviously there are many setbacks to flat heads, but i’m sure that the right guy behind the drawing board could make a pretty usable modern day flat-head. Look at what kids do with 5hp briggs engines.

  36. WRXr says

    1. Some seem to think this is a copy of an X-Wedge, but with a differenv V-Angle and threfore a different bottom end casting) and a VERYdifferent head, I don’t see how that could be.

    2. So it looks like an old Flathead. I’m not put off. It looks GOOD. Very Good. And that’s the bottom line. The down firing exhaust helps make it more compact and can allow for some more interesting framing.

    3. Because some flak in their PR agency doesn’t know what a pushrod when he sees one, doesn’t make this a bad engine or a bad company. Bad performance, bad reliability, and bad looks make it a bad engine. So far it isn’t BAD anything.

  37. Penectomy says

    My disappointment is that this seems to indicate Indian is just going to be a retro inspired luxury barge. How many more HD inspired bikes do we need? Isn’t the cruiser marker saturated? I was really hoping Polaris would do something different with Indian. More Triumph and less HD. Build a couple cruisers but also build an engine to use in something modern looking. No more skirts and fringe!

    Something that makes the rider not want to wear a leather vest and ditch the helmet.

    • Doug S. says

      You are not alone. The hope is that the cruiser sales will help with other models (sport tourer, sportbike, etc.) Check out the cruiser sales’ numbers in this post:

      Things have changed since those 2002 figures. e.g.the age of those buyers is at least 10 years older now. Hopefully Indian or Victory realize that the baby boom cruiser riders aren’t going to be replaced in the same volume, especially since many young riders today are accustomed to performance bikes that weigh at least a 1/3 less. Maybe Motus & EBR can be brought into the Polaris line-up?

      A concern is that a high Indian price tag will not generate huge sales volumes to develop or acquire other models. The Chief should not be priced too much more than a Roadking and a Scout should be right around the other HD big twin models.

  38. RJ says

    I agree that an inline four Chief would be really cool, but Indian would still need a v-twin motor for a new Scout. Maybe we’ll see a four in the future….? I am not a fan of designing an OHV to look like a flathead either (not true to the design), but overall the design looks well refined. I do have a few comments on the look. I would like to see unpolished fins (a cast look), brushed or bead blasted rocker covers, and a better defined air cleaner shape. The air cleaner looks too soft — I think the engine needs to look “tougher” than the polished gem it is appearing to be. Maybe Indian could (and probably will?) experiment with finishes. I suppose it is all chrome for the unveiling. Last comment I have is the “timer” cover and primary cover graphics are the same – the primary cover graphic just mirrored the chief head (lazy solution IMHO). The primary cover needs it’s own graphic – right now it’s just too big and trying too hard….. Otherwise, congrats to Polaris / Indian on their new motor and I am looking forward to seeing the bike in the future.

  39. Kerry says

    JT Nesbitt for President!!!!!!!

    Not a joke, just a play on the old Dan Gurney for President bumper sticker and the real sentiment that I am glad JT is the tip of the spear in stabbing indian in the heart for its decision to explot a brand history and some retro styling rather than contribute something of substance to the motorcycle zeitgeist.

    By the way, anyone who is fooled into thinking this is a “simple” motorcycle like the motorcycles of yore just because it is old isn’t all that bright. There is nothing “simple” about ANY modern motorcycle, retro or otherwise. It is still EFI, you still need a programmer to “tune” it and pull error codes – you can’t just slap a carb and some points on it for when one of the injectors is failing to inject or the electronic advance stops working. However, all the things that make it not simple make it reliable which is really all any new bike buying idiot wants anyway.

  40. says

    I feel we shuld give the new indian a chance, so what if the eng looks like a retro flathead, it is great looking engine. Much better than the Harleys in Indian clothing we have seen before { at a price way above the worth of all there bolted up aftermarket products } Now if Indian will just take it to the next level. It seems to me that the Indian of old was a progressive company. Hence the Indian four. I am also aware that they did not build the four, but my point is that I believe had The real Indian survived it would be a much different motorcycle than the wana be indians last attempts. I too hope to see a range of different purpose bikes, Im sure they have thier sites set on H.D. and thats o k just continue to build purpose built bike as well, like in the days of old. I have rode Harleys all my life , but would support a real indian comback just as I felt about Excelsior henderson.

    • says

      Just to clarify regarding the Indian four. Indian did produce the 4 cyl bike. they just outsoursed the engine from Ace I believe. Build us an inline 4 again Indian

  41. Roadglideracer says

    I like on the video, at the end, it says choice is coming…..I’ll still chose my 45 degree HD….sorry Indian, to many misses in the past.

  42. Kerry says

    No, but plenty want NEW bikes without a thought cost of ownership or what goes into to repairing one. There has been a slow shift in manufacturing from motorcycles you can repair and maintain yourself to motorcycles that can ONLY be serviced by professionals with specalized tools, and the buying public seems largely ok with this. Indian has gone out of it’s way to make this engine needelessly complicated purely for the sake of “retro” looks (three camshafts? so you can have parallel pushrods? are you serious) and I am reading a few comments here about how it is a “retro” engine so it must be simple.

    “Make it reliable, give me a warranty, and I don’t have to worry about it past that” should not be the mantra of those buying new bikes.

  43. B50 Jim says

    C’mon, guys, lighten up! Polaris is in business to SELL products, and if a retro-styled Indian tickles riders’ fancies enough that they show up, cash in hand, at the Indian dealer; that is the desired result. What is retro, anyway? All Harleys look to the past for their styling; in fact, H-D proudly admits its V-twin heritage. It’s what the customers want, and that’s what they get. If each new model from any manufacturer came with the newest and latest design, what would motorcycles look like by now? A motorcycle by its very nature is “retro”.

    When BSA designed its unit twin in the early 60s, the purists howled that it didn’t have convoluted shapes and lumps concealing trains of gears driving outmoded magnetos, “an answer to a question nobody had asked.” The new “power egg” design (unfortunate name, that) was clean and simple, with no leak-prone pushrod tubes or rocker boxes, and holds up well even now, but, as with all designs, it’s a matter of taste. On the other hand, look at Aniket’s Musket; stylistically it’s a throwback but so nicely done it’s a work of art.

    Designing in improved reliability and better rideability through higher technology increases market share for any manufacturer. Contrary to some of the posts here, most riders would rather RIDE than spend their afternoons getting greasy and grubby from fixing their bikes, only to have to do it again the next weekend. As a rider of vintage English bikes who once rode a Yamaha, I can speak with some authority here. When I want to ride, I DON’T want to drag out the tools before I can even start the bike. I like working on them, but there is a great attraction to “climb on, push a button and go.” How many riders under the age of 40 even remember the days of wrenches and pipe burns, anyway?

  44. says

    I’m not blaming Polaris for the predicament that the whole motorcycling industry is in.
    They are just trying to cope with the situation that has slowly evolved over the last 40 years.

    I personally think that it’s time to step back and look at what motorcycling really is, and work on ways to get back to it.
    At its core, motorcycles are lower cost alternatives to cars, for transportation purposes. That’s what they are. People bought them and maintained them themselves with their own skills, as part of the low cost of ownership.
    They were standard style, and if anyone wanted to modify them for special purposes, they did it themselves with some ingenuity, and maybe some parts from some racer-types that sold aftermarket goods. They made it the way they wanted it to be, themselves.
    They did the overhauls, and the oil changes, and the electrical work, and what-have-you on the bikes in their own garage or driveway.
    The entry cost was low, the cost to own was low, and the way the bike looked and performed was limited only by the owner and his imagination and desire and budget. They were personal machines which had sweat and blood invested in them by the proud owners. They had “soul”.
    This is what people are yearning for with the “retro” craze, even if they don’t even realize it. It’s not just a “look”. It’s a desire to return to a time when we weren’t herded like cattle, and sheared like sheep.

    So now, we have companies who basically make some new sterile road conveyance which is covered in some plastic “styling” to make it vaguely resemble something from the past, in the hopes that it will attract buyers who are looking back at those times. Herding the people with styling cues and advertising, with prices more than twice what a new car costs, chaining them to the dealership for complex maintenance that costs hundreds or even thousands for a dealer visit, “pre-customized” by the factory at high cost to fit the trite “pirate cruiser” mold, or the “Walter Mitty racer” mold, or the other few styling themes that the marketing departments have determined to be what will be sold en-masse to the public.

    But it’s not the same thing. Just covering some new kitchen appliance with the shapes that are somewhat reminiscent of “old timey” products isn’t where it’s at. It’s just more of the fakery that people are trying to get away from.
    The problem is now covered so deep in confusion, that people don’t even remember what was down at the bottom of it, way back when. And it has gotten to the point where people who don’t remember what it’s all about think this is “normal”, and are perfectly content to be fed this stuff because it seems “convenient” and they have never seen any other way.

    We have a problem, Houston.
    And unfortunately, a lot of it happened to spill out on a Polaris/Indian article, but the problem is endemic in the industry.
    It’s not Indian’s fault. They are in it with the rest of us.
    We need to get back to the roots.

    All just IMHO.
    Sorry if it was boring.

    What is being produced today, for the most part, are

    • bart43 says

      If you can get back to the ‘roots with an engine that was so basic you could fix certain things with a drift and a hammer (like the 50’s – 60’s) but still meet modern mileage/emissions than let us know. LOL.
      As for those bad mouthing the new 111 you’re nothing more than a preening group who believes they should be the last word in appropriate bike/motor design. You’re laughable.

      • bart43 says

        PS. as to real bikers who used to be able to fix their bikes years ago, I guess you haven’t seen the thousands upon thousands of shovels and pans opened up in recent years showing the terrible hack jobs by all those know it all wrenches. To find one that was kept together properly is a rare motor indeed.

  45. B50 Jim says

    When I worked for an independent garage back in the late 70s / early 80s, a lot of the problems that came in could have been fixed easily by the owners if they had the skill and knowledge. We scoffed but realized that was how we made our livings. Most drivers simply wanted their cars to get them where they wanted to go; they weren’t interested in hot-rodding.

    Motorcycles in days BH (before Honda) were such contankerous and problematic machines that owners HAD to be able to work on them or give up riding.

    Tom Lyons is correct in that motorcycles traditionally were a less-expensive alternative to cars and owners modified and upgraded them using their own skills and ingenuity; but AC (after Honda) that was less and less the case as motorcycles became reliable and easier to maintain. Manufacturers discovered a huge market for reliable, dependable bikes — most riders didn’t want to tinker endlessly; they wanted to ride. Generations of riders grew up who didn’t even know what was in the tool roll supplied with their bikes — the dealer could perform what maintenance was necessary. Those riders who wanted to modify their bikes were free to do so but most simply rode.

    Today’s bikes are much like today’s cars — tamper-proof. Riders are discouraged from making any modifications that will upset the bike’s emission levels and operation. That’s life today. Those few riders remaining who want to modify their bikes have to buy older machines and got to work — we see the results all the time on The Kneeslider. Customization isn’t dead; it’s just limited to the few who still want to do it.

  46. says

    Nice. Kind off. But so artificial. Guess that there are tons of electronic gizmo’s involved in spite of the classic looks.. I wonder what bikes would we ride if there should not have been marketeers in this universe?

    • bart43 says

      Don’t know about you but I like electronic gizmos….EFI for instance, they work great. I can now also diagnose a problem by simply plugging in a jack and reading a computer screen. get real.

  47. Paul Crowe says

    If you build a new house today and it’s styled to look like an early colonial mansion, or an English Tudor cottage or a Mexican hacienda, should you also leave out today’s plumbing, heating and electrical systems to be properly authentic or can we appreciate the style without duplicating the originals right down to their lack of modern technology?

    Once motorcycles took the leap from functional everyday transportation to leisure time hobby, style became one of the strongest selling points. Style makes money for Harley the same way it makes money for various race replicas and off road adventure bikes. Sure, there’s a lot of talk about the technology, but to the customer, it may not be all that important. Every BMW GS riding down city streets or GSX-R in a suburban driveway shows style means a lot, tech, often not so much.

    Polaris is going to be condemned no matter what it does, whether it goes for the old style or redesigns a whole new image for Indian, but style based on the originals is a good choice as a starting point, and critics saying the new customers just want reliability with the original style are correct, but it’s no criticism. If you’re going to pay a hefty price for a bike, you expect it to work. What’s wrong with that? If you want to wrench on an original, buy an original.

    I’m really not sure what all of the fuss is about. If you like classic style you’re unlikely to buy some swoopy new design, Indian is betting on classic. I think it’s a good bet. Classic style with modern tech and reliability? An even better bet.

    • cycledave says

      couldn’t have said any better. I really like what Polaris is trying to do for Indian. Coming from the snowmobile world, Polaris knows tradition. The famous Indy line of what is also considered the wedge platform, dominated the snowmobile market from the early 80’s to the mid 90’s. The Indy was so popular, Polaris brought it back, albeit in a new chassis that rings back some of the wedge design.

  48. says

    got a chance to read these postings, finally. thank god there’s still a place to have an intelligent conversation about these things (thanks kneeslider!).

    JT’s kicked off a great conversation on design, integrity, and consumption. a bunch of us here have jumped in… to elaborate on or defend a position from one of these three perspectives. the challenge is they’re all correct. but i think there’s something here that can also resolve, so it’s not to say “let’s all just get along.” it’s more to say, let’s use this tension to advance the conversation, a market we deeply care about, and perhaps even our condition as ‘people.’

    regarding the ‘design’ perspective of things, when delivered from a ‘true’ designer, the conversation quickly moves to finding and defending some sort of ‘truth’–which is just core to who JT is, or anyone in that class of design. we need these guys around. they’re a declining natural resource in this country (my worry). as some have reacted on this thread and others have on other points JT tends to make when he pops up, eventually he begins to look like a foreign visitor from a foreign land.

    those of us who see him as most foreign probably want to consume and buy and stand around things that _look_ good. that’s fine. that’s what we’re into. i like buying nice stuff and having a story constructed to make me feel even better about the purchase. i get brands. i even like them. i assemble things around me over time and they begin to construct a picture about myself. it’s a dialectic through consumption. some might see it as craven (craftsmen in particular); others, myself included, see it as another level of learning through action… in this case it’s ‘buying’ on a gut level or a conscientious level. for someone like me without a lot of talent (compared to the likes of great designers) that’s one of my main ways of interacting with the world and learning about myself.

    i recently finished a book by richard sennet book called simplly ‘crafstmanship.’ he sets out to define it, track its history and establish a defense for its value. it’s brilliant and you should read it–no matter who you are :o). i immediately went from that into ‘shopclass as soulcraft’ by matthew crawford. he has a slightly more ’embattled’ view of the need for and value of working with your hands and making stuff. neither guy gets it entirely right in terms of their search for a true definition of craftsmanship and why it’s in the ‘state’ it’s in (my opinion). both have bits and pieces that are right, which is forming a language for a more robust conversation… and i’m super excited that’s emerging.

    truth and reflection in a design are crucial. i had the incredibly lucky pleasure of spending a day at the barber motorcycle museum with JT and brian case a few months back in birmingham. walking the displays and reflecting on the stages of design as seen through their eyes… holy-wow. look one way through the telescope at a hundred years of history. then look the other way through a hundred years of possibility with these two guys and you’ll be humble forever.

    brian made an off-hand point about engines–in large part because he’s spent a ton of his own time designing the motus, the only new engine in the states created from scratch in a very long time… too long. he was taken by the design cues and little things like the likelihood of finding a name stamped on an engine block. his point on design is crucial to this thread: “the exterior of a design should reflect what’s going on inside.”

    great designers look for that because it’s a level of ‘truth’ in the design and it reveals aspects of a conversation that can be had with the design. these guys spend their days walking the world looking for cues in the physical world that will let them continue that conversation with it–and therefore with themselves.

    but ‘truth’ is a lofty statement and likely to put many guys on this thread off (i’m guessing) because it deifies to some extent what designers do… in many cases just as naturally as breathing. but this constant conversation with the physical world around them is meaningful to them. and it’s why the rest of us look at them as ‘difficult to connect with’, or ‘ornery’, or ‘not realistic’. foreigners.

    if there are lies (or, even to be more kind, ‘mis-cues’) woven into the physical fabric of their lives, guys like JT, brian case and others are horrified, and rightfully so. how are you ever supposed to have a meaningful conversation that advances the art and science of design if there are lies embedded in it? you can’t. suddenly you don’t know what’s real or true… or worse, in a consumer-driven economy, you can’t make a valid point with your audience because they are permanently deluded.

    it’s all perfectly evident in this thread, unfolding after JT’s comment. we’re all playing our part.

    time will reveal truth (tempus veritas revelat). as people, we work at finding truth through conversation, interaction, and engagement. that’s the whole point of a thread after a web posting like this. falsities in the conversation cause weaknesses in the dialectic. none of us is lying here. we’re representing our point of view. i think JT’s saying the design is lying. and, if it is, what’s that saying about the company who is representing it…. and in his case, the guys on the design team, marketing team or elsewhere who are letting it happen. those of us who consume say, ‘let them do it, we like buying their stuff.’ fine, we’re all right in our own way. but…

    eventually the weaknesses in conversation, design, or relationships crumble off. at an industry level and perhaps at a societal level, i wonder if we’re looking at crumbs brushed from the table or a glacier setting up to calve off. the ‘fake’ will rot away. JT seems to want a design ethic in his industry of passion to re-spark and he’s utterly confounded that others don’t seem to grasp the same horror.

    i hope i’ve added at least a layer here’s that’s helpful. it’s exciting to see a conversation like this break out on a motorcycle publication. where better, though, right?

  49. s.frei says

    the reason an outsider must advise the bloggers above , is the missmeaning and wrong information cursing around: the first american V2 was done 1906 by INDIAN. the flathead mentioned came long after the powerplus (since 1916 by gustafson) and was hold till 1953 . it was a sidevalve which won all races (you do remember the 1920scout of burt munro, right?) , we also remeber all the 10s, 20s. and 30s races , were faked “buddies” HD claimed to do something.
    that company today exist barely only tks to reagan (american buy american!) were they were helped and the only remaining american in the 80s. cagiva bought (italians),failed, and HD a “faked” order and obligation to buy american, did the rest (policebikes). the evolution and V-Rod are done by germany (porsche eng.).
    today we’re sharing “ride to live” sh.. like, to pay for a V2 which has 3different oils, still running an 1930 tecnology and needed for any screw special tools, a repair shop and programed failures (little shoes inside). magneto buried und coupling, belt takes 3 hrs to change etc. etc. you call this a novelty ?