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Indian Motorcycles: America’s First Motorcycle Essay

Essay Topic:

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The specific purpose of this presentation is to inform the audience and give a brief insight into the history of the Indian Motorcycle Company. The desired outcome of this presentation is to give a sense of understanding to the audience with regards to Indian Motorcycles. 1. Introduction Indian Motorcycles – An exquisitely designed machine, a thrilling history and a wellknown rivalry with its competition Harley Davidson, makes the Indian Motorcycle a legend in its own time. The history of the Indian Motorcycle dates back to the turn of the 20th century.

They have taken our troops into two World Wars and have set land speed records, one of which still stands today. a. America’s love for the motorcycle began in 1900 with bicycle racer George M. Hendee and engineering wizard Carl Oscar Hedstrom. In 1901, the partners, who were both former bicycle racers, unveiled their first creation, the 1901 Single.

This was a 1.75 bhp, single cylinder engine in Hendee’s home town of Springfield. b. The Indian Motorcycle was produced from 1901 to 1944 under the Indian name. In 1945, the company was sold and consolidated into the Torque Engineering Company. Later, the company was divided, with manufacturing going to the Atlas Corporation and distribution to The Indian Sales Corporation. Following the war, Indian struggled with re-entry into the public market. In 1953, with sales continuing to plummet, Indian was forced to halt production. c. After numerous attempts to revive the Indian name since its close in 1953, several formerly competing companies merge to become the Indian Motorcycle Company in 1998. Manufacturing begins in 1999, but the venture proves unsuccessful, and 2003 is the company’s final model year.

d. In 2004, Stephen Julius and Steve Heese, business partners who resurrected the dying Chris-Craft Boat Company, turned their attention to Indian. They acquired the trademark rights and in 2008 production began. In 2009, Indians start rolling of the assembly line in Kings Mountain, NC. and production continues through today. 2. Competition and the Indian a. One of the American firm’s best early results came in the Isle of Man TT race in 1911, when Indian riders Godfrey, Franklin and Moorehouse finished first, second and third. b. Indian star Jake De Rosier set several speed records both in America and at Brooklands in England, and won an estimated 900 races on dirt-tracks. He left Indian for Excelsior and died in 1913, aged 33, of injuries sustained in a race crash. c. In 1967, New Zealander Herbert “Burt” Munro, a 68 year old grandfather, used a self-modified 1920s Indian Scout to an under-1000cc land-speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats which clocked him at a top speed of 206

3 miles per hour. Forty four years later, Munro and his Indian’s record still stands. This was dramatized in the 2005 film “The World’s Fastest Indian”. 3. Modern Marvels a. In 1904, Indian wins the Gold Medal for Mechanical Excellence at the St. Louis Exposition. b. In 1906, Indian released the first American production V-Twin. More than 100 years later, the V-Twin engine remains most popular cruiser-motorcycle engine design. c. In 1940, Indian engineers incorporate the use of “plunger”. This is a spring, coupled to an oil-dampened shaft, and together becomes rear suspension.

d. In 1943, Indian wins the coveted Army-Navy Production Award for its highly advanced shaft-drive, four-speed motorcycle built for the military. 4. Indian Models a. Indian introduced the Twin in 1907. b. In 1920, Indian expanded the model lineup to five. c. The revolutionary Scout, the 95 mph Chief, the even more powerful Big Chief, the lightweight Prince and the awesome 4-cylinder Four. d. In 1932, The Pony Scout and the Sport Scout were both introduced.

5. Conclusion In conclusion, Indian Motorcycles have withstood the test of time, although hard times did fall upon them and bankruptcy was filed. Production was halted for a number of years, but in the end America’s First Motorcycle has solidified its name in America’s history books. Indian Motorcycles proved to be engineering marvels from the first moment of conception through today. From the battlefields of World War 1 and 2 to the racetracks of days gone by, Indian Motorcycles are an American Icon.


Johnstone, G. “Classic Motorcycles” p. 44, 46-47 Tiger Books International PLC, 1993 Franklin’s Indians: “Irish motorcycle racer Charles B Franklin, designer of the Indian Scout & Chief”, by Harry V Sucher, Tim Pickering, Liam Diamond and Harry Havelin, pp. 46-50, Panther Publishing Ltd, 2011 Wilson, H. The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle p. 11 Dorling-Kindersley Limited, 1995 Wilson, H. The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle p. 108-109 Dorling-Kindersley Limited, 1995 “Online Museum for Indian Bicycles”. Retrieved 2011-10-03 Wilson, H. The Ultimate Motorcycle Book p. 31 Dorling-Kindersley Limited, 1993 Wilson, H. The Encyclopedia of the Motorcycle p. 271 Dorling-Kindersley Limited, 1995 Wilson, H. The Ultimate Motorcycle Book p. 37 Dorling-Kindersley Limited, 1993 http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/

Description of Visuals

Title Slide 1– This slide introduces my presentation, states my name, date, class/number and Professor. Introduction Slide 2 – With this slide, I formally introduce my presentation. I used colors that are appealing to the eyes and relevant to the colors of my topic. The picture is a vintage Indian sign displaying one of Indians first logos. Main Point Slide 3 – This slide displays pictures of each of the two men that started Indian Motorcycles and gives a brief history of the men. Slide 4 – This slide describes more history and the picture represents a 1940’s logo. Slide 5 – This slide continues with history and the picture is of the traditional Indian Head Fender Light. Slide 6 – This slides finishes out the history portion of my presentation and the picture is of Indians biggest motorcycle “The Big Chief”. Slide 7 – With this slide, I introduce the competition part of my presentation and the picture is of an Indian hill climb race. Slide 8 – The slide talks about the racing efforts and the pictures are of two of Team Indian’s top racers.

Slide 9 – This slide talks about the record setting Herbert “Burt” Munro and his top speed of 205 mph. The picture is of Mr. Munro and his machine. Slide 10 – With this slide, I introduce the engineering achievements and awards that Indian won. The pictures are of a V-Twin engine, a military Indian and the Indian corporate factory. Slide 11 – This slide list the various models that Indian produced and the pictures are of the Sport Scout, the V-Twin and the Pony Scout. Conclusion Slide 12 – This slide re-visits the main points of the presentation and finishes off with a Famous Indian Motorcycle quote. No pictures as of yet.

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Indian Motorcycles: America’s First Motorcycle. (2016, Nov 09). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/indian-motorcycles-americas-first-motorcycle-essay

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