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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Lately, there has been a lot of talk around here about what is or isn't a real Indian Motorcycle, especially when it comes to the new Chieftain. It reminds me of so many Yelp reviews which start, "First off, the food isn't "authentic Mexican".

Just what is AUTHENTIC?

Is this authentic?
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What about these?
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Indian has been around for a lot of years and it experimented with a lot of styles and permutations. I am wondering, what makes a current buyer and owner believe that the permutation that they bought is any more or less authentic when it comes to being an Indian.

Is a Gilroy more authentic than a Kings Mountain or a Polaris? Or, are only the late 40s and early 50s versions "authentic" enough to be called Indians?

What if Indian hadn't gone out of business? What would they have decided an Indian in the this century would have looked like?

Harley stayed in business.

Harley.jpeg


How come their bikes don't look like this one above? Does that mean today's Harley's are not consistent with the brand - that they somehow varied from their "core" audience.

It takes either a lot of balls or just plain stupidity to lambast a company that is 5 years young and trying their best not to fossilize into something that will create brand stagnation. The FTR 1200. WTH? And that is authentic, how? Because it looks like a bike Evel Knievel would have used or a flat tracker from the late 30s when Indian actually had a wrecking crew. Google those pics yourself. HINT: They don't look like the FTR.

So the point of this thread is to ask the question, "What makes an Indian an Indian? Is the the paint schemes? Fender? (seriously, take a look at the previous pics). Is it the engine? Just what is it, because when you study Indian history, I'd say it isn't any of those. Yeh, looks seem to be important. Vintage looks seem to be in order. But why?

What are your thoughts?

What are the constituent attributes of a Harley?

How are they similar or different than Indians?

No one has yet to answer the core question that was posed because or perhaps because no one really can answer it. The fringed calvary gauntlet was thrown. Any takers?
 

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Indian is just a name with a history that can be bought and sold as the years go buy.
Just the way Harley was sold twice, once to AMF and then back to the employees.
Neither one of them is any less of an Indian or a Harley because of who owned the rights to the name at the time they made their version of the bikes....

Some are better than others and some are just cloned Harleys with Indian badging on the tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
So.... What do you think constitutes the requirements for a bike to be an "Indian" rather than something else?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I can say I know what isn't an indian.
A [email protected]#$ing Kawasaki with a war bonnet

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And yet... those Kaswasaki's were the closest to an Indian that was around for awhile, at least those built by a major corporation.
kawasaki-800-drifter-2000-700px.jpg


How is this not an Indian?
 
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All of my motorcycles are authentic. They have 2 wheels and a motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The Kawasaki Drifter was not an Indian but it had the big fenders. Fenders do not necessarily make a bike an Indian. In fact all pre-1940 Indians had open fenders as did the 1949 Scouts & Arrows. Same goes for Gilroy Scouts which had open fenders. Indian is a licensed and registered trademark now owned by Polaris Industries and they now own the manufacturing rights to the brand. For the present time they make the real Indian motorcycle.
Bingo!

So let's flush out the question - for real.

What are the constituent attributes of a Harley?

How are they similar or different than Indians?

No one has yet to answer the core question that was posed because or perhaps because no one really can answer it. The fringed calvary gauntlet was thrown. Any takers?
 

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It is a Matter of recognition to most..
The Vintage looks like an Indian... and the folks that Manufactured it own the name... therefor... it is an Indian..
Look at an '80's Harley... about any one... Recognizable as a Harley..
A couple of the other Indian name "owners" also made .a Motorcycle that was recognizable as an Indian... and were represented as such legally... must be authentic..
Some ne'er-do-wells, made a Motorcycle badged as an Indian... but it was so obviously recognized as a Harley that it is a no Brainer.. Not authentic in the sense of Brand recognition... but, officially... what ever the Brand Owner decided... prolly why they failed... The British looking version comes to mind also!!!
Just my Take... But, ask any Non Motorcycle person to look at a Bike, [without logos onto it] and tell ya what it is... may be Enlightening
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It is a Matter of recognition to most..
The Vintage looks like an Indian... and the folks that Manufactured it own the name... therefor... it is an Indian..
Look at an '80's Harley... about any one... Recognizable as a Harley..
A couple of the other Indian name "owners" also made .a Motorcycle that was recognizable as an Indian... and were represented as such legally... must be authentic..
Some ne'er-do-wells, made a Motorcycle badged as an Indian... but it was so obviously recognized as a Harley that it is a no Brainer.. Not authentic in the sense of Brand recognition... but, officially... what ever the Brand Owner decided... prolly why they failed... The British looking version comes to mind also!!!
Just my Take... But, ask any Non Motorcycle person to look at a Bike, and tell ya what it is... may be Enlightening
It must be deeper than that. I never confused a Suzuki with a Honda. Both are Japanese and both build street and dirt bikes. Yet, something is very different about each when compared to one another. The same with Yamaha. I never confuse it with either of the others. Triumph, the same.

It's more than looks. What is it? Okay, Harley, it is the engine design, sound, the frame. the ride...
 

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I think the biggest issue I and a lot of others have with the new Chieftain is it looks like they are blatantly ripping off the Street Glide. If it had been some other random more contemporary design, there would be some naysayers, but I don't think they would have caught as much flack. The FTR1200 is distinctly modern bike, albeit with a nod to Indian's racing history, but it isn't a RIP off of anything else, and it does have a historical as well as modern tie in to the brand, so that's why that bike is met with more enthusiasm, and the new Chieftain more derision.

Heck, even the original Cheiftain is arguably off script because the original company went under long before fairings came around, but they were arguably in keeping with the tradition of the brand, because Indian made bikes that could go the long haul. So people are generally fine with loose interpretation of the legacy. Indian isn't making historic replicas and most riders want modern machines with modern technology, power and convenience. But ignoring the legacy in favor of blatantly and unashamedly ripping off your biggest rival is disgusting.

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Discussion Starter #17
I think the biggest issue I and a lot of others have with the new Chieftain is it looks like they are blatantly ripping off the Street Glide. If it had been some other random more contemporary design, there would be some naysayers, but I don't think they would have caught as much flack. The FTR1200 is distinctly modern bike, albeit with a nod to Indian's racing history, but it isn't a RIP off of anything else, and it does have a historical as well as modern tie in to the brand, so that's why that bike is met with more enthusiasm, and the new Chieftain more derision.

Heck, even the original Cheiftain is arguably off script because the original company went under long before fairings came around, but they were arguably in keeping with the tradition of the brand, because Indian made bikes that could go the long haul. So people are generally fine with loose interpretation of the legacy. Indian isn't making historic replicas and most riders want modern machines with modern technology, power and convenience. But ignoring the legacy in favor of blatantly and unashamedly ripping off your biggest rival is disgusting.

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Like this...

images-7.jpeg


Conceptually, they have some history to draw from - not just looking at Harley for inspiration.
 

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Indian is just a name with a history that can be bought and sold as the years go buy.
Just the way Harley was sold twice, once to AMF and then back to the employees.
Neither one of them is any less of an Indian or a Harley because of who owned the rights to the name at the time they made their version of the bikes....

Some are better than others and some are just cloned Harleys with Indian badging on the tank.
The difference is that HD never went under,,,, close,, but no cigar. As a company, it was bought and sold a couple times but never actually went under, therefore maintaining consistency to its founding.. Indian Motorcycles went down in 53 and everything after has been a repop, a creative mental recreation of what a person (or group of people) put together as what they thought a modern day Indian may look like,, a repop.. That said,, the Drifter is just as much of an actual Indian as the Polaris is.. Both are repops built around the creative mind that I mentioned.
In staying with the theme of this thread, another very interesting thing to me is just how easy it has been for Management at Polaris to create a false company (Indian Motorcycles LCC) and do everything in their power to convince the consumer that the company is real.. I watched as they (Polaris) started this practice with their Victory model (started out with "Polaris Motorcycles" clearly marked under the Victory model name on the tank on the early 92inch I had (horrible years).. It was almost like it dawned on someone at Polaris that associating their company with their motorcycles may not be in their best interest and they had to find a way out = BINGO = drop the Victory name and dont make that mistake with their new bikes, the Polaris Indian..
Ironically, this sales pitch seems to be working cause their Indian line is still turning out bikes!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
The difference is that HD never went under,,,, close,, but no cigar. As a company, it was bought and sold a couple times but never actually went under, therefore maintaining consistency to its founding.. Indian Motorcycles went down in 53 and everything after has been a repop, a creative mental recreation of what a person (or group of people) put together as what they thought a modern day Indian may look like,, a repop.. That said,, the Drifter is just as much of an actual Indian as the Polaris is.. Both are repops built around the creative mind that I mentioned.
In staying with the theme of this thread, another very interesting thing to me is just how easy it has been for Management at Polaris to create a false company (Indian Motorcycles LCC) and do everything in their power to convince the consumer that the company is real.. I watched as they (Polaris) started this practice with their Victory model (started out with "Polaris Motorcycles" clearly marked under the Victory model name on the tank on the early 92inch I had (horrible years).. It was almost like it dawned on someone at Polaris that associating their company with their motorcycles may not be in their best interest and they had to find a way out = BINGO = drop the Victory name and dont make that mistake with their new bikes, the Polaris Indian..
Ironically, this sales pitch seems to be working cause their Indian line is still turning out bikes!!!

Therefore...Could it be said that the new Chieftain is disloyal to the Polaris Brand History?;)
 

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Like this...

View attachment 425222

Conceptually, they have some history to draw from - not just looking at Harley for inspiration.
That doesn't make it any better and arguably worse. I can kinda see more of the Victory in the fairing, mixed with HD, but the bags definitely lean HD, not Victory. Even so, that's why they killed off the perfectly good freedom 106 and other Victory elements they could have ported over to Indian, to keep the brand image distinctive. If they aren't going to, might as well switch back to calling them Victorys.

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