According to rumors, Harley-Davidson was not the first American motorcycle company to create big bikes. At the time just a few years before the 20th century started in Springfield, Massachusetts – which was then the nation’s industrial heartland – Hendee Manufacturing Co. started production of Indian motorcycles there long before anyone even heard of Harley-Davidson.
The Birth of Indian Motorcycles
The famous gunmaker, Smith & Wesson and first American car company, launched in 1896 – Duryea Motor Wagon Co., also started out in Springfield Massachusetts. George M. Hendee was a famed bicycle rider in his youth and when he retired he started his own motorcycle business so he could impart his knowledge and experience in motorcycle design to people.
The Indian Chief
The skirted fenders and a prominent swept-back Indian chief-in-headdress ornament was not used for the Indian Chief model until the 1940s, despite it being often associated with art deco streamlining.
If anything, these are more seen in the new Indian motorcycles’ Roadmaster Classic, which are its styling cues. All the standard features and more has been fitted to this heavyweight highway cruiser which includes tons of leather, loads of chrome, two-tone paint, a large touring saddle and every rider’s favorite – valanced fenders.
The Roadmaster Classic
Reid Wilson, who is the marketing director for Indian Motorcycles was particularly proud of their Roadmaster Classic. Calling it “an undeniably beautiful motorcycle” and he thinks that their bike-loving customers have been asking for for quite some time now.
However, among all the Indian models to have ever graced the streets of America, none is as ever popular as the Scout. The smaller and lightweight Scout was the first Indian motorcycle to win the very first Daytona 200 motorcycle race in 1937, and because of that it became the people’s favorite. It is known as the world’s first sports bike which also became the challenger for Harley-Davidson motorcycles.