1940 Indian Chief
It was the biggest manufacturer of motorcycles in the USA from 1901 till 1953, when it stopped its activity.
The first models were one-cylinder.
The legendary American company Indian has still been the legend of American roads. Though these motorcycles were produced half a century ago (from 1901 till 1953), the enthusiasts preserved more than 50,000 motorcycles of that firm up to now. These bikes used to compete directly with the production of Harley-Davidson.
The history of the company Indian began on the cycle race track in the American backs in the summer of 1900. For the manufacturer of bicycles George Hendee cycle races were not only a business, but the way of life, as he himself had been a famous racer in the recent past. The engineer Oscar Hedstrom tried to spark the interest of sportsmen in the motorcycle of his construction for a motor-paced race, a very popular competition at that time, when a bicyclist, following a heavy truck in the “vacuum bag”, could develop high speed. But eventually he got interested Hendee: the manufacturer liked the motorcycle so much, that he offered Oscar to organize a co-producing in Springfield, Massachusets. The partners decided to give their darling the outright American name – Indian that means Amerindian – aboriginal of America.
The first motorcycle Indian, come out into the world in 1901, was characterized by greatly advanced for its time design. Firstly, the manufacturer refused from a familiar at that time bicycle frame. A specially made construction had a tube of a large diameter, where the dry cells of the ignition system were located. The engine itself played the role of a seat tube, it was a one-cylinder four-stroke aggregate of 260 cc displacement and 1.75 hp output with an automatic intake valve. The manufacturer placed the fuel tank in the buildup of the rear wing.
Besides, the chain gearing from the engine to the rear wheel was employed, while all the other motorcycle producers of those times preferred belt-drive: it was thought that the jerk at the motor starting will break the chain. By the 1911 season a racing motorcycle fitted with a two-cylinder V-shaped 1,000 cc engine, which had four-valve cylinder heads, was built. This machine overmastered all American speed records soon! Moreover, practically no one company-manufacturer coul offer electric headlights and a starter. And more than this, - virtually everything you can see in modern motorcycles – was created by the company Indian.