Tuesday, May 28, 2024

The Indian Enfield

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In the 1955 Indian started to import English built motorcycles, and branded them Indian Motorcycles. This was under a five year contract with Royal Enfield, which ran from 1955 – 1959 inclusive. After 1953 the Indian name survived only as the Indian Sales Corporation. The Indian Sales Corporation primarily imported Royal Enfields. These bikes were branded as Indian motorcycles for the American market. The imported motorcycles ranged in size from 150cc to the largest 750cc twin model. One model they imported was the Royal Enfield Bullet. This model was called the Indian Woodsman, and Westerner for the US market. Amazingly this same bike is still in production and is being imported into the United States as the Enfield Bullet.
Now one may ask, how can this be when Royal Enfield went out of business in 1970 ? It is not generally known that the Royal Enfield – after the closure in England – nevertheless went on in another place where the classic already had been manufactured for years. The Royal Enfield was also being manufactured in India. This was owing to the fact that the Indian government had set about purchasing a large number of motorcycles for its police and army in 1955. They needed a solid, economical, maneuverable and reliable motorcycle in order to cope with the miserable roads of the mountainous regions, the heat in the deserts and the humidity of the tropical rain forest. After doing a lot of testing of various brands, the Bullet of the Royal Enfield company was chosen as the most suitable. Thus the Indian government ordered 800 of the 350 cc model in England.
The Royal Enfield company was not able to keep up with the sizable orders coming in from India and a decision was made then to form an independent Indian firm (Enfield India) with British tools in Tiruvottiyur, Madras. There, various Bullet models were manufactured similary to those from England during the 1955 model year. After the closure of the Royal Enfield company, Enfield India was alone in manufacturing the Bullet.
During the 1980’s, the Bullet started being exported to foreign markets, among others, to it’s native country, England, and by the mid 90s the gradually refined classic was for sale in more than 20 countries including Canada and the USA among others. To this day more than half a million Enfields have come out of the modern production line in India, where six different models are being manufactured. On all the models, old traditions like the hand painted golden pinstripes on the tank and the mudguards are maintained. Where on earth did you ever see the like of it?
The Enfield Bullet comes in two versions – a 350 cc and a 500 cc. At the moment Enfield Bullet is available in three variant types: Standard, Deluxe and a Army model. The only difference between the standard and the deluxe models is that the deluxe model has a chrome plated tank, chrome plated mudguards, and chrome air cleaner.
The standard model comes in the colors grey, green, and black. The deluxe model is available in black, red and blue. It is possible to obtain the motorcycle in other colors as well. For both models, an option is available to convert the foot shift to the right side, instead of the British Left Side.
It can be said that everybody stares at the Bullet. Only a few own one. Everywhere you go, you will be turning heads, as people look at your new classic motorcycle. The 1999 Bullet is still a 1955 motorcycle. It’s a rickety ride compared to anything modern. It has huge amounts of character. For just under $4,000, it’s a reasonably priced bike. The Enfield India does have modern hand controls, mirrors, shocks and a seat that works, although, purchasing one of the accessory seats may be more comfortable. The motor is very peppy and has a high amount of torque, for a single. The quality is good, remember they now have 40 years experience building this motorcycle ! Most reviewers relate that overall the bike is very reliable, as well. In an age when we seem fascinated with what is classic, the Royal Enfield works. It’s a classic, hands down. You’ll be the first on the block with one of these. All that is needed, is to add the Indian Script to the tank, and you can claim it is an “Indian Enfield.”
Technical specifications
Engine 4 stroke, air-cooled, OHV
Displacement 499cc
BoreXstroke 84x90mm
Max. bhp 22bhp@5400rpm
Max. torque 3.5 kgm/3000rpm
Compression ratio 6.5:1
Transmission Four-speed gear box
Special features
– Top speed of 125 kmph
– Unique neutral finder lever
– Fuel consumption of 70 mpg
– Stunning black paint finish with gold line on fuel tank
– Tiger-head headlamp casing design
– Pilot lamp for parking
– Unique silencer beat
– Fulcrum lever on main stand for easy parking
– Adjustable rear shock absorbers
For more info please contact the U.S. Distributor:
Classic Motorworks PO BOX 917; Fairbault, MN 55021.
Phone: 800-201-7472. http://www.enfieldmotorcycles.com

George Tinkham’s WWII motorcycle on display at Lincoln museum

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By Tara McClellan McAndrew
Correspondent
Posted Jun 16, 2019 at 7:22 PM Updated Jun 16, 2019 at 7:22 PM

Why you should know him:

George Tinkham, a Springfield attorney and motorcycle collector, has a motorcycle manufactured for World War II in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s current exhibition marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Tinkham bought his 1942 Indian model 841 through eBay.

What was your motorcycle made for?

“Solely for desert warfare during WWII. It’s a very specialized type of war equipment. (The Allies) knew there’d be fighting in North Africa. They suspected they might fight in the outback in Australia, so they needed a motorcycle that could handle the abrasive environment of a desert. … That’s why (it was made with) the shaft drive, where you have your entire drivetrain sealed against the outside environment.”

To protect from overheating, “it had air-cooled V-Twin engines.” To decrease the effects of a bumpy ride, it had rear suspension instead of the common rigid frame. So the soldier could keep his hands on the handlebars, “they used a hand clutch — you just reach out with your fingers to pull in the clutch, and a foot shift — you shift the gears with your foot.”

Was your bike used in the war?

“I wish I could say this was a pivotal piece of machinery in Patton’s march across the Sahara, but I can’t. … (The bike’s) history was lost when the person two owners ago bought it, we think at an auction, but he did not keep great records. Whether any Indian 841s actually came close to seeing action is unclear.”

When did you learn about this type of motorcycle?

“When I was a farm kid back in the ’50s, I didn’t understand why motorcycles had the design they did. I thought, ‘Why don’t they put the cylinders out in the air where they belong, sideways, so they could get cooled? Why don’t they use a shaft drive?’ When I was older, I found out that Indian made such a motorcycle and owning one was one of my dreams.”

What condition was the Indian in when you bought it?

“It ran horribly, but it did run. I was excited to have it, but I realized I had a real project on my hands.” Tinkham’s been working on the bike ever since and can drive it now. “I tell people, ‘The bike’s a bit rough, but everything’s there, everything works. It starts first kick and I wish I could say the same thing about me.’”

What do you use the bike for?

“I use it for numerous displays, not static displays. I think a motorcycle is a dynamic piece of art, so it’s better appreciated in motion. We have local motorcycle events, like the ABATE Freedom Rally, the Vintage Iron Riders Park and Display at the Springfield Mile races … and having it at the ALPLM is a way for me to share it with the world.”

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.

Along for the Ride with ‘Fast Eddie’

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FOX TOWNSHIP, Pa. — A short film about a Sullivan County man’s love for racing motorcycles was recently released on YouTube.

“Fast Eddie” tells the story of what motorcycle racing life was like in the 1950s.

Ed Fisher, also known as Fast Eddie, began racing motorcycles when he was 16 years old. Now at 94, the former racing legend still enjoys riding, just at a slower pace.

Fisher was born in Lancaster County in 1925, and he loves to ride motorcycles. If you give Fisher two wheels, handlebars, and an open road, he will fly right on by. Fisher brought his first motorcycle, an Indian Scout Pony, in 1941 and hasn’t looked back.

After just celebrating his 94th birthday, the man from Shunk still loves to ride his bike in Sullivan County and beyond.

“You are out in the open. You see your surroundings much better, and normally it is nice fresh air,” said Fisher.

“Fast Eddie” is a documentary on YouTube that focuses on Fisher’s racing days in the 1950s. One of biggest wins of Fisher’s career was the 1953 Laconia 100-mile National Championship in New Hampshire.

“And you went off blacktop onto the sand, then sand onto the blacktop onto a 90-degree turn which got pretty slippery. If you learned to maneuver that good, that is how you make good time.”

Fisher eventually stopped racing professionally in 1957 and was voted into the American Motorcyclist Assocation Hall of Fame in 2002.

“You can’t say I think I have done something better than everybody else, but just being recognized as being one of the top competitors in your day. (It means a lot?) Yeah, yeah.”

Fisher says he will continue to ride his motorcycles until he can’t.

Crocker Motorcycle Company Resurrected- Quail Motorcycle Gathering

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Crocker & Indian Shared a history – Let’s read about the revival….

After nearly twelve years of hassles and legal setbacks, a brand-new Crocker Big-Twin motorcycle has emerged from a hangar in SoCal. Learn more at Cycle World now.

After nearly twelve years of hassles, legal setbacks, a change of countries, and one nasty recession, a brand-new Crocker Big-Tank motorcycle has emerged from a hangar in SoCal. Michael Schacht is at no loss for words in describing the ordeal he’s overcome to reach the point of turning a key, kicking over the 80 cubic-inch V-Twin, and hearing an engine he literally built from scratch rumble into throaty life. His first complete Crocker sits unpainted, brazed joints bright and cast iron dull, spun metal fenders covered with a zillion tiny scratches, the big aluminum tanks resplendent in their own bare-metal shine.

Schacht was a staunch Indian man a dozen years ago, and still rides a 1929 ‘101’ Scout nearly every day. His restored Indians brought him to the attention of a branding company who owned the Indian name in Canada. His machines were used for promo work and he gradually became ‘involved’ with the company, which was mostly interested in T-shirt sales at that time. When talk began of making an Indian motorcycle by re-badging a Ural, Schacht ran away. The idea of resurrecting an important American motorcycle marque stuck with him though, and while looking over two Crockers at a friend’s restoration shop, the big light went on and his destiny was set. “The Crocker name is so pure, nobody had tried to make a new one, even though several people tried to claim the name. It took some work, but I was finally able to secure the name with the intention of starting production of Crockers.”

Few people have made an entire motorcycle from scratch. Schacht admits he knew little of making castings, metallurgy or even production machining before he embarked on his dream.  “I was lucky, and hired some incredibly talented people. I moved my facilities from Canada to Southern California, so that the Crocker would be made 100% in the U.S.A. It was important to me that such a historic name was built, again, in the country it started from. This is an all-American deal.” Schacht also wasn’t an expert on Crockers, but enlisted the help of collectors who are, such as Chuck Vernon. “These guys are the keepers of the flame. They know everything about these machines and helped me tremendously to sort out exactly how the original Crocker was made.” While the new Crocker is as faithful to Al Crocker’s original machine as possible, a few of the materials have been upgraded. “Better steels are available now, stronger and lighter, and while the appearance is identical with a 1939 bike, what’s inside is better.”

The Crocker Motorcycle Company does not, Schacht insists, produce ‘replicas’ of the motorcycles last produced in 1942. “These are continuation machines, built by the legal owner of the Crocker motorcyclename.” The new engine is certainly more powerful than a standard 61-inch Crocker from the 30s, pumping out a whopping 85 horses from the 80-inch V-Twin to push the same 500 pound machine. “We’ve just finished it, and there are a few minor bugs to sort out, but basically, she’s the best sounding motorcycle I’ve ever heard, is really, really fast, and handles beautifully. That was one of my biggest surprises about the Crocker; this is a serious performance machine.”

Stay tuned to Cycle World for additional information about production plans for these machines and a potential modern “retro-bike” in the works.

Source: Crocker Motorcycle Company Resurrected- Quail Motorcycle Gathering

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.

Indian Motorcycle was LPD’s first vehicle buy

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LACONIA — Laconia Motorcycle Week dates back to a gathering held in 1916, which is why the rally bills itself as the oldest in the world. The Laconia Police Department’s motorcycling tradition is nearly as long, it turns out.

In fact, the Harley-Davidson that was purchased in 1920 – for $632, from Laconia Tire Company – was the first vehicle purchased by the department. Prior to that, Robin Moyer said, patrols were done using private vehicles, or with cars rented or leased from local dealerships.

Moyer manages the information systems and accreditations for the Laconia Police Department. She also serves as the department’s historian. She can’t point to a record explaining why Chief Charles Harvell, who served the city until 1933, saw fit to use city money to buy a motorcycle. However, other departments around the country had started rolling motorcycle patrols, the first being Detroit in 1908, and Harvell likely saw the same advantages in 1920 that Matt Canfield, the current chief, sees today.

The Laconia Police Department has a long tradition of maintaining at least one, usually two, motorcycles in its fleet. It currently has a pair of Harleys, Canfield said, and there are two officers who have gone through special training to use them on patrol.

“They’re very maneuverable,” Canfield said, which is useful when an officer has to respond to a call in the middle of a crowded situation, such as Weirs Beach during Laconia Motorcycle Week, for example.

But the motorcycles are useful during the rest of the year, too, Canfield said.

“We do use them all spring, summer and fall,” he said. Officers doing traffic enforcement find that motorcycles have a “sleek profile,” Canfield said, and motorists don’t spot the officer as quickly as they would a larger police vehicle.

And, because the rider is more exposed on a motorcycle, Canfield said they allow officers an opportunity to connect with members of the public.

“You drive these down to a city park, kids love them,” he said. “The motorcycle, it’s a completely different vibe. It’s important that the kids realize that the police are their friends.”

Maneuverability

Motorcycles can weave through traffic and they can also navigate a variety of surfaces. In 1920s many of Laconia’s roads were dirt and were likely of varying condition.

“Maneuverability is still one of the selling points of a motorcycle,” Moyer said. One of the city’s early motorcycle officers was Charles “Mickey” Dunleavey, who started as a part-time officer in 1925 and eventually retired as chief in 1962. He was a veteran of World War I, as were many police officers in the ‘20s. They likely saw motorcycles during their service, as the machines were used to transport wounded soldiers, deliver messages and even as a platform for machine guns.

If motorcycles could be used to navigate a battlefield, they should be just fine on a potholed dirt road.

Another early devotee of motorcycles was Lawrence Carpenter, who was a part-time officer in Laconia who later became part of the State Police.

While the city’s first motorcycle was a Harley-Davidson, its next two, purchased in 1924 and 1927, were both built by the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company, of Springfield, Massachusetts.

In Carpenter’s mind, the Indians were the superior machine, his son, also named Lawrence, wrote in a piece for the now-closed Police Motorcyle Museum.

Carpenter, his son wrote, purchased many Indian motorcycles for his own personal use, often picking them up directly from the factory.

“He was not happy when personally informed by John Griffin that the State would be purchasing Harley Davidsons, as they were preferred by the majority of the officers. Carpenter swore that he never lost a vehicle he was pursuing until forced to ride a Harley. He was known to have stated that a Harley would make a good anchor for a boat. Carpenter continued to purchase his own Indians and use them on his job whenever he could. He bought a new bike every year, sometimes more than one.”

The Indian name is now used on motorcycles manufactured by Polaris, and since Carpenter retired, there are several more options for modern police motorcycles, including from BMW and Kawasaki.

Canfield doesn’t ride, so he said he didn’t consider switching to another brand for his department.

“The Harley is what the officers prefer,” Canfield said.

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