In order to keep growing, one has to move out of their comfort zone. We know Indian Thunder Stroke engines, we’ve been building around them for years, but for this project we wanted to use as many stock vintage 1946-48 components as we could. It was a new type of challenge, not one of high performance and shorter lap times, but one of heritage and history.
We located an original fork and crashed, bent, original 1946 Chief frame from our good friend Mike at Kiwi Indian, a perfect donor for the project. These vintage stock frames have castings for the neck and frame joints that were connected with straight steel tubes, tack welded and brazed together, which meant we were able to grind off the tack welds then heat up the joints to melt the brazing and easily disassemble the stock frame. The modern engine is much larger, so we modified the stock castings a bit to get the correct angles needed. Some of the stock joints wouldn’t work due to the angle changes and different motor mount locations so new chromoly versions were made and aged to match. We then fabricated a swingarm and added suspension, replacing the original plunger system with this that would radically improve handling.
In the end, the bike represents the best of two very different worlds. It’s custom, it’s creative, it looks like a WWII-era Indian, but it’s reliable, starts with a button, and it’s a hell of a lot of fun to ride.