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Polaris Reveals Plans for Indian Motorcycles

I spoke with Gabe this afternoon, and he just returned from the 2012 Victory motorcycle launch in Park City, Utah.  He will be reporting on his riding impressions and changes to the line-up early next week, but he informed me of a conversation with the manager of both Victory and Indian Motorcycles (both owned by parent company Polaris) regarding the future plans for Indian Motorcycles, which was recently acquired by Polaris.

Gabe was advised that Polaris intends to position Indian Motorcycles as a premium brand above Victory Motorcycles. Polaris will begin by improving the existing  Indian machines (one of which is pictured), followed by the introduction of newly developed premium Indian motorcycles.  Manufacturing of the Indian bikes will be transferred to the Spirit Lake facility where Victory motorcycles are currently assembled.

90 Comments

  1. baxterblue says:

    Moving the intake to the other side of the motor does not make the engine modern or unique.

  2. Scruby says:

    I don’t like cruisers,but that is one nice looking motorbike.I won’t give up my Sprint 1050 for it,but still,it looks great.

  3. yellowhammer says:

    good grief – can you imagine what a repulsive obamanation that bike will look like after ness and son have puked all over it?!?!?!

    • kpaul says:

      You missed spelled abomination. Obamation is not a word and is not a true and honest assessment of whose to blame. I love Ness designs and they are very successful in the market place

      • yellowhammer says:

        I did not misspell it – check your OWN spelling, eat your own danged peas, and give me my change back.

  4. John Mc Dowell says:

    So, I like the look, but it has been done before. Now, for the future, let us take the “Scout” theme to be an air/oil cooled adventure bike, only LIGHT WEIGHT. Put some engineering behide a magnesium/aluminum/titanium engine and frame, and keep it under 400lbs. 750-800cc V-twin, 6-speed. Start now, tease us every 6-months, sell it in two years. Price it right.

  5. Auphliam says:

    I swear half you “commenters” are deranged. That is a picture of an existing Indian, not anything Polaris/Victory has built. Buncha freakin idiots. LOL You guys should try using your brains for more than just skull stuffing.

    and you dare call others “poseurs”

    • Kjazz says:

      “Polaris will begin by improving the existing Indian machines (one of which is pictured)”

      That line certainly is debatable as to its exact meaning. I’m not sure if that was cleverly designed to be vague or just poorly written. So are we to understand that this is a photo of the “improved” machine… or is this what they started with before “improvements”? Either way, my guess is, the word “improving” suggests that any changes to this bike as shown will be (or were) minimal. Which takes us back to nearly everyone’s comments previously which still begs the question…

      Why build another clone…..?

  6. Hot Dog says:

    Polaris, what the hell are you thinking? Another poseur in a market place that’s flooded with pretenders, that’s going to be a hard sell. It’ll probably sell like hot cakes because Americans are more concerned about a purchased personna than actual function. Go figure.

  7. sherm says:

    If Indian is to be the high (expensive) end of the Polaris cruiser line, won’t that be sort of a putdown for the rest of their bikes? Maybe some potential buyers will think that the Victory line (of very good cruisers) is less than it really is.

    The original Indian was also known for racetrack performance. If Polaris used the Indian name to single out the high performance end of the Victory line, and went all out on performance capabilities for the Victory “Indians”, they might make a nitch – especially for the aging crotch rocketeers. Of course no nitch will be worth it if the bikes are priced way above the rest of the line.

    What do I know?

    • Neil says:

      No it won’t. I sat on a Victory the other day. Killer seat. Very nice looks. Nice motor. If you want to cruise, the Victorys are nice. They look and ride nice. That’s all they are supposed to do. Looks nicer than a Hardley Davidson IMHO. Just sold my Sportster because it could not take the frost heaves here in the Northeast.

  8. Blackcayman says:

    Do we need a third made in the USA big twin? I thought Polaris would be smart enough to launch another line of motorcycles by now that weren’t me-too Big, Heavy Twins (like how I avoided calling them clones cuz they aren’t). Triumph rose from the scrap heap of gone but not forgotten motorcycle brands and look how they create interesting motorcycles that compete in many different classes. Sure they started with vertical twins to play off of there heritage and get buyers who wanted an old Triumph but wanted a modern reliable bike – but at the same time they are right there building relevant modern motorcycles – remember the Speed Triple? They have had a top competitor in the Naked Hooligan category for years.

    It’s just not possible that three different motorcycle companies would slavishly build motorcycles with barely updated 1930s technology. 800 lb. burblers by the dozen…forever…really?

    I hope Polaris is smart enough to build bikes for more than the old rich guys who want Big Twins that look like old Indians. While they’re at it a great name like Victory Motorcycles and they don’t make a race bike of any kind???? How about a lightweight V-Twin Superbike? OK take a few years to let the economy recover and then you better get with it.

    HD, Victory and Indian…all fighting over the same shrinking market share – just doesn’t make sense.

  9. jimmi says:

    Those of us who love bikes as much as we claim would not think to bash any unique creation as steeped in history as the Indian Motorcycle Co. Still, as much as I can appreciate the styling and layout of the original design, I think Polaris would do well to try and capture the essence of what the brand represented back when it was leader of the pack and translate that into a fresh and advanced modern age design. I won’t purport to know what that really entails, whether it be a break-through technology or just a beautiful reworking of the sheet metal…but something more than a valenced fender to make it really stand apart.

  10. KLRRDR says:

    Come on. Indian came and went,had 3 ’39 ’40 ’41 great machines. These things are like going to a swap meet and getting a repop anything. Yes it does the job but you know it will never be the real thing. Ever hear of “new COKE”?

  11. Agent55 says:

    I agree Indian only makes sense as a step-up from the Victory brand (read: history), but bottom line: Polaris really needs to sell more bikes. Their numbers are microscopic relative HD, and you better believe Victory wants some of that demographic desperately. Taking on a exclusive brand that barely cracked 500 bikes sold in the last 2 years isn’t going to get those numbers.

  12. Leo says:

    I was pretty stoked to hear that Polaris had acquired Indian until I read things like “…Polaris intends to position Indian Motorcycles as a premium brand above Victory Motorcycles”. I can hope they bring the price down within reach but something is telling me to not hold my breath.

  13. dabimf says:

    I like the look of the Indian. However, Kawasaki tried the look and sold a few but not enough to keep the line going. The makers of Victory need to expand their dealership system. Dealers are hard to find. They also need to educate the sales people about their products. I visited the only dealership some what near where I live recently. Kind of sad when the customer knows more about their bikes than the only sales person there.
    Polaris will suceed with the Indian only if the price is low enough for people to justify returning to the brand.

  14. kpaul says:

    Smart move by Polaris. I love Indian styling…The art deco fenders etc. I liked the Chief better than the Scout..If you don’t have a heritage buy it. Next move buy Buell but give Erik total control of the product. Polaris has large network of dealers for its products. Watch out Harley. The fall of the dollar (it’s going fall farther you heard it hear first) gives Polaris a real edge against foreign competition. Too bad Harley isn’t smart enough to use it some folks could still have jobs. Oh I forgot I sold my HD stock years go before it tanked. Whew!!

    • Dannytheman says:

      Try looking up Harley stock before you speak. August 21st, 2009 I purchased shares at 22 bucks, it is now at 39 and was at 45 last week. that is over a 30% increase. You shouldn’t be so anti Harley all the time.
      I might make a move on the new Chief if they roll them out.

      • Steve says:

        I agree….Harley stock moved up $10 in a few weeks based on increased sales#’s ….. not the sign of a dying company…

        HD is always rated as one of the better dividend paying stocks…

        yes… kpaul… you should back off the anti-harley rhetoric…. it doesn’t make you sound smart…. quite the opposite…& I’m still waiting for you to announce that you bought 1 of your beloved Buell’s… & now you r talkin’ Indian… you go for it & let us know ASAP!

        & in ref to Buell…I doubt EB will ever go back to be under a big corporate umbrella again…. not a smart move if you want to retain design control…

        I had a 2000 Indian Chief with the SS Evo motor… cost $23k & I had to put another $2k into it to get it right… new ignition, hotter cam, muffler insert, coil, K&N air filter, jet kit…. ran good & was very reliable… took it to the top of Mt Washington NH!

        • Nate says:

          Umm… Kids… Harley’s stock peak was over 77 bucks. The fact that you bought it for 22 just shows how near to death the company actually was. Its stock price today is still around half of its all-time 2006 high. The fact that its up a little is hardly news for celebration.

          I don’t believe the company is dieing… but its by no means the giant market dominator that many wish to pretend it is.

          Its a great marketing company.

          That’s about it.

      • kpaul says:

        Point taken. Still bearish long-term on Harley. Old customers and old bikes basically..

        • Dannytheman says:

          They say that knowledge comes with age. We will wait for you.

          • Nate says:

            Knowledge doesn’t come with age… the only thing that comes with age is a regular prostate exam..

            which… I assume explains the harley riding position.

          • Davis says:

            I think you mean wisdom Dannytheman (knowledge you can get at Wikipedia). And in my experience the cliche (sp?) doesn’t always hold true. Met my share of un-wise old guys over the years.

  15. Bud says:

    That bike is purty, I hope they make a success of it. I always liked the Indian look.

  16. Dannytheman says:

    I would buy one of these. Love the leather seats color and bag combo, Duel front disc brakes, 103 engine. This would look fine in my garage!!

  17. bikerrandy says:

    If I was a poseur, it’d be the cat’s meow !!! 8^ )

  18. Mr. Mike says:

    I’m not really a cruiser person but this looks kinda cool. I could see Polaris being successful by selling these in limited quantities at a premium price to people looking for something unique, and leveraging existing Victory engineering and sales channels to keep costs down.

  19. Foogunheimer says:

    How original.
    How creative.
    How unexpected.
    Victory is so creative.
    Just what the world needs…another retro-cruiser.

  20. John Stokes says:

    Just how many 60 year old investment brokers needing a motorcycle to park in their office are there?

  21. mpolans says:

    I smell failure (again). For the way to successfully
    resurrect a motorcycle brand, see how Triumph did it.

  22. Hornytoad says:

    Way better looking than any Harley, If it had a “harley” nameplate, everyone would be salivating at the mouth, this will be by far better

  23. chummy says:

    the truth of the matter is- cruisers are two wheeled costume jewelry, and the people that buy them use them as fashion statements. That is why cruiser riders don’t wear helmets-
    what good would it do to ride one of these if nobody knew who was riding it?

  24. ABQ says:

    Polaris intends to position Indian Motorcycles as a premium brand above Victory Motorcycles… Limited edition, exclusive, not for you, blue collar working man need not apply, pass the grey poupon, parts not available in these parts, member of the high brow and sneer society, a pig holding bags of money is embroidered in the colors of their vest…
    Other than that, it is a very pretty and desirable bike/land yacht.

  25. JR says:

    I find it interesting that one American company, Polaris will take on Indian motorcycles when it already has Victory.. and Harley Davidson won’t hang onto Buell, especially the Buell XB Lightning to keep an expanded product line. PS.. I owned a 2004 Buell XB12S and it was a fun bike that I wish I still had. I currently own a 2008 HD FXD which is a great bike also. Solid well designed motorcycles will always be a good value.

  26. mike says:

    Arr another overpriced mount for the weekend pirates!! Arrr………

  27. garry says:

    My guess is that the Indian line will be premium classic cruisers to leverage the history of the brand and that the Victory line will be modern/power/custom cruisers for a younger crowd.

  28. MGNorge says:

    Oh, and what to call an Indian adventure bike? Why Scout of course!

  29. MGNorge says:

    Give them time. Polaris will reintroduce the brand and then slowly bring out new designs. My guess is the new designs may well incorporate new engine styling to separate themselves from looking like a clone. Trouble with this style and type above is that those interested in them would seem to be fading away.

    How about a premium adventure bike with the name Indian on it? That could work.

  30. CurtyD says:

    Cylinder heads are too big, just another HD knock off. Indians have small rounder cylinders, not big, tall block ones. Seat and fenders catch it, but the big square cylinders just make it look likee Kawasaki..

  31. Bullet Bob says:

    If you like cruisers it’s not a bad looking bike. But a premium motorcycle needs to capture the essence of what that brand is known for. Harleys look pretty much the same for that last 50 years so when you see it you know it’s a Harley. I’ve followed motorcycling since the 60′s and I can’t tell you what an Indian should look like!

  32. mickey says:

    My dad rode Indinas up until they went out of business in 52 or 53 (can’t remember exactly I was just a tot at the time)before switching to HArleys.

    Besides the Chief, Indian made some really nice sporting motorcycles. Lightweight, fast and handled well for the time. Yes, Indian made more than fat skirted dressers. Would be nice to see Polaris bring some of the “sportier” Indians back.

  33. Matt says:

    I would really love to see the original American v-twin flourish and grow as a brand but I am a little skeptical of how only offering high premium bikes will be profitable in this economy. Sure there will be those retro fans with the means to buy them but unlike Harley who left their progressive/performance roots behind decades ago I think it would be nice to see Indian pick up where it left off originally and also embrace their champion racing legacy by branching out into a sport v-twin or even a 4 like their original racer. Triumph comes to mind as a good example of a world class company that is inspired by it’s rich heritage but never lost it’s competitive edge or took it’s eye off the future. With Polaris at the wheel I think Indian has the potential to be that kind of brand in America but only time will tell I suppose.

  34. Tom says:

    what is the “essence of Indian?” I’d like to know. If Polaris could somehow create a compelling “feeling of riding a real Indian,” then hell yes, they’ll sell a bunch! But was is that feeling? Somehow that blue bike in the article doesn’t do it. Too tall in the tank, not enough daylight showing through the heavy body work… help me here….

  35. Freddie Brenneman says:

    where is the inline four

  36. xootrx says:

    So successful companies are selling five bikes at a time to each customer?

    • xootrx says:

      I just can’t get it right. This was supposed to go below. Anyway, got to love the haters.

    • Kjazz says:

      My “one at a time” comment was just meant to imply slow sales, sure you probably sell only one bike per customer; although, I personally own two Triumphs, several Hondas, and several of the other Japanese brands. The economy is not getting better, and wont for a long while yet. So selling a lot of these isn’t gonna happen. They also wont be selling two of these to anyone….unless that buyer is a real unique person and needs the same platform in two colors… But a boutique brand may have a place in the world, that place will come at a significant price to Polaris, there’s just no way around it.

  37. THX1139 says:

    A story of consistent failure to do anything new it would seem.

    The Kings Mountain people had great expectations, like the Gilroy attempt before. Then they built clones like anyone could with a credit card and Custom Chrome catalog. As sales demonstrate, this is *not* what the market for a New Indian wants.

    To their credit, The Motor Company has mastered their demographic inside and out and has the Premium Retro V-twin segment locked up six ways ’till Sunday. It’s theirs.

    I’d been hoping Polaris would end this string of failures which really began with Springfield Indian: Failed to introduce the shaft drive they pioneered. Allowed the 4 to stagnate and die, Failed to develop their alternative front ends…

    If Polaris’ attempt at “premium” (read “expensive”) cruisers is to be worth a butt-scratch of contemplation, they should seek nothing less than a re-invention of the classic touring motorcycle, minus the anachronistic narrow-angle-air-cooled-V-two.

    There was a time when an Indian Motorcycle represented not tradition, but the latest in power, technology, and innovation. Polaris has the wherewithal and the resources to make this so once again. They just need to start looking back on Springfield, instead of Milwaukee.

  38. ApriliaRST says:

    A story of complete consistency. Polaris has faithfully captured Indian’s styling cues in a modernized motorcycle and the readers above have jumped on the opportunity to restate their biases. Well, you know what? Polaris isn’t building the bike for them anyway. There are people who will love this bike and that’s how sales are made: one at a time.

    • Kjazz says:

      …and that’s how companies go out of business, making sales….one….at….a….time.

    • tron says:

      Polaris didn’t capture anything, this bike looks exactly like it did when Indian ceased production, then sold to the owner of Chris Craft and now to Polaris.
      Its what it was then; a clone of an HD evo with tin made to evoke memories of Indian.
      I hope Polaris does something more with it, but I can’t imagine there being a market for it in this climate.

  39. Wendy says:

    Yawnnnn. Another “we have saved Indian” story. I prefer Freddy Kreugger for my monster that can’t be killed trope.

  40. Steve says:

    I had a 2000 Indian Chief back when Indian made a short lived comeback out of Gilroy Ca. They were basically a California Motorcycle Company, SS Evo powered, aftermarket parts bin bike…. but it was long ‘n low… which I liked. I had to drop a couple of $$ grand to get the thing reliable …. new ignition, hotter cam, re-jet carb, slip on exhaust, K&N AF… but then it was bullet proof. Rode all over on it from souther NJ…to the top of Mt Washington in NH, Ithaca NY, Finger Lakes, Lake Erie… without any problems. I love the look of the “real” Indians from the 50′s & my bike mimicked that pretty well.

    Before Gilroy Indian won the rights to Indian, James Parker (RADD) & Roush Racing were trying to get it. I saw a prototype picture of the Chief & it was very cool… brand new engine, etc… & Indian was going to make a Parker designed Sport Bike too
    read more here
    http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2008/11/24/american-sportbike-the-eller-industries-story/

    I do not like the “new” Indian… Powerplus engine is an old HD Evo engine design…. the engine is too tall…. like Victory’s (IMO). I do like the fenders, bars, tank & bags… but the frame has been changed & the seat looks like an old Kawasaki Drifter…
    no thanks…
    Victory should hire Parker to do what they intended from the outset… build a “new” Indian lineup that includes a full blown sport bike….

  41. RuefuS says:

    “Harley clone” Spare me. I mean, are you people really THAT dense? Or is it that your opinion is tied to some business plan no one’s considered before? It’s the former.

    I suppose you’re right though, Indian has been ‘cloning’ Harleys for ages. I mean – this vintage 1948 model shows they never had an original thought: http://www.vintagebike.co.uk/pictures/1948-indian-chief/. It’s not like it’s Indian’s heritage.

    Dirt bikes? Sportbikes? Dual sports? ROFLMAO………go talk to Cannondale or Erik Buell about how those narrow profit margin, high-volume games turn out for bit-players.

  42. Skippy says:

    The pictures are from the now defunct Indian line. They’ll have their own powertrain (not from current Victory). It could be 2 years before the new Polaris/Indians are available. You guys who don’t ‘get’ a bike like this, DON’T BUY ONE.

  43. Jay Leno will buy one, and maybe some other guy. Yeah, I can see Polaris’ thinking.

  44. Jpolde says:

    and more North Carolina jobs lost

  45. jason voorhees says:

    I would feel like such a sissy riding that thing and I cant believe there is no tassels hanging off the grips.

  46. Cory says:

    Will this free up Polaris to use the Victory line to create something other than cruisers? Perhaps a dirt bike, dual sport/adventure tourer, a roadster or even a sport bike? With Indian as their premium cruiser line, Victory could then be free to explore other market segments without seemingly watering down the brand.

    • MikeD says:

      Let me have some of that “stuff” ur having…it sure makes for some crazy wish(fool) thinking.
      Not bashing u at all but rather Polaris…they seem to have a one track(cruisers) mind.
      If it makes them $$$ i don’t blame’em…but yeah, ur dream would be sweet if it were to actually happen. (^_^ )

      • Cory says:

        Oh, I know. It’s all wishful thinking. However, I have always thought that their background in snowmobiles and ATVs would eventually lead to an off-road platform. A trail bike, if not an outright MXer would fit into the overall Polaris family fairly easily.

  47. tHeMaiLmAn says:

    What are we supposed to be impressed with? The old style fenders you would see on your grandmother’s caddy? Or the brown beaded leather seat? I don’t get it, I bet there is people out there that will buy into it though. The engine, crankcase, and exhaust look good. thats about it… More importantly when was this victory motorcycle launch in Park City? Its my hometown and there were probably some other interesting things going on along with it that I probably missed..

  48. tron says:

    I just can’t see how there is a market for a high priced clone of a Harley. And I do mean clone. Doesn’t matter how good it is or isn’t, just can’t imagine buying one. But Polaris has deep pockets and if anyone can make it work it would probably be them.
    Personally, I think their Victory series is far more impressive.

  49. Bobo says:

    Why can’t we let the dead rest in peace……………….

  50. Kjazz says:

    Whew!!!! I was SO afraid these would just end up looking like another overtly stylized Harley or something…… so glad they didn’t go there ………..ugggggghhhhhhh

    • Agent55 says:

      That’s not “the new Indian”, it’s a bike they’ve been selling for years. The models that represent the Polaris acquisition probably wont show up for a couple years.

      • Kjazz says:

        you’re probably exactly right, but why didn’t the company bother to emphasize that point? or just hold off submitting any photos?