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Oberdan Bezzi Suggests Indian Design to Polaris

I just spent a couple of days with Victory Motorcycles testing a new model, and happened to have a discussion with an executive at dinner about parent company Polaris and the now sister-brand Indian (recently purchased by Polaris). It is clear that interesting things are coming for both Indian and Polaris, although I was given no specifics.

One thing is for sure. Every motorcycle enthusiast has their idea of the design direction Polaris should take with the iconic Indian brand, including our friend Oberdan Bezzi. His concept is pictured above, and it combines modern chassis components (Brembo brakes and Ohlins forks, for instance) with a traditional looking v-twin engine (and a huge one, at that). A sport bike in racing livery, including homage to the traditional sponsor brand Sunoco fuels. A sport bike with an American classic twist, according to Bezzi.


  1. Trpldog says:

    How about filling the void that Buell left! I had both an XB9 and the XB12. They really were excellent bikes – once set up correctly. The XB series was stone reliable. My XB12 had shoulder-seperating torque, low CG, and with it’s steep rake, turned corners like a rabbit wearing running shoes. On a tight twisty road, while my friends R1 was trying to get to 12,000 rpm, Bueldog and I were long gone at 4,000 and 77 ft/lbs. Since Erik was booted by HD, I’ve since moved on to the Speed Triple, but would still like a XB12 in my garage for backup. A man cannot have too much torque.

  2. Andrew says:

    I wish Polaris would use the Indian name to build a 750 flat track bike for street and racing. Now that would be bringing Indian back from the dead!

  3. mark bremer says:

    Several years ago I communicated directly with the then new owners at Indian and suggested to them that they consider building a customer-racer engine package based on the XR750 HD that could compete in the then AMA Grand National Dirt Track Series. Same suggestion went to Polaris and even Briggs & Stratt….unfortunately choppers were still selling and the powers that were didn’t get the connection…same thing with the suggestion that Indian take advantage of the Springfield Mass connection…there’s still people up this way that remember the brand as they had parents and relatives that worked for Indian or a delaership. Most young people today no nothing about what made Indian and what made it…and mostly dirt track racing.

  4. Reinhart says:

    Every time I mention that Victory should offer something other than a cruiser style bike I get lots of backlash from the Victory crowd. Seems to me that building a sportbike/dual-purpose/standard WITH A WHOLE NEW ENGINE/TRANSMISSION package would be a successful venture for the #2 American bike builder. Even HD offers the Sportster, V-Rod and Big Twin with their unique powertain. I can’t see Victory ever becoming more than an uncreative bike builder that relies on Arlen Mess to design it’s overweight, awkward cruisers. I really would like to support Victory in their effort to become the #1 American bike builder, but they don’t seem to possess the drive to think outside the box. It’s time for them to quit exchanging handlebars and slapping on a new paint job to thrill their present customer base and go after the other 98% of the motorcyclists out there that would never be caught dead on a cruiser.

    • Scuby says:

      But 98% of the riders out there are on cruisers.When I pull into a bike event on my Sprint 1050,I feel like an alien at a pirate convention.I guess that makes me a 2 percenter.

  5. Kent says:

    How about we throw some Ness stuff at it and…….NO. Please stop this. (it’s been done)
    Just stick to sleds eh.

  6. RC says:

    Nice looking bike, but please don’t build another Buell, where everything was performance but not the engine!! if Polaris is going to build a preformance bike, then do the whole package.

  7. Asphanaut says:

    I’m tired of American companies playing dress-up with their motorcycles. H-D and Victory and now Indian are like little girls with a Barbie and 20 different outfits. Victory has done a reasonable job trying to inject some modern tech into an old platform(cruisers)… but how about building a bike around a performance motor for once. Didn’t Indian win races way back when? Well, wouldn’t THAT be a great heritage to harken a reawaking of the brand to?

    • Z2 says:

      Well said, Asphanaut, well said. A perfect summation of HD, Polaris and the current owner of the Indian name.

  8. Hair says:

    A lot of people tend to box in a motorcycle based on the configuration of it’s motor. It’s always fun to see people playing with motorcycle design space.

    It’s like the 1960s all over again. Both with the product that was designed and the thinking behind it. It would be great if Polaris kept some of the original Indian designs. But at the same time I like to see them push the design space some.

  9. Z2 says:

    One more time the once-proud name of Indian is dragged through the mud by some idiot who buys the rights to the name. Enough already.

  10. Tom says:

    For a truly sporty, racey ride the bike needs to be light weight. “Light weight” means a light weight engine and transmission. If Polaris/Indian don’t develop a really light weight engine and gear box, then the best we can hope for are cruisers, standards and adventure bikes. No race, sport, or off-road bikes. It all starts with the engine and transmission. Is their R&D dept. working on that?

    • Dave says:

      In that vein – Polaris/Victory/Indian should steal the playbook for the now defunct Buell Ulysses. Most every other manufacturer has a true standard or “adventure” bike that sure looks like a standard EXCEPT USA manufacturers. I say forget about the factory fake cafe racer and use the dependable engine/transmission in a taller, upright, comfortable standard/”adventure” frame with world-class suspension/brakes at an affordable price.

  11. Jeremy in TX says:

    This design probably appeals to the guys that thought the ZRX1100/1200 was a good looking bike. This doesn’t do anything for me. Though it would be cool if Polaris used Indian as a brand platform to produce sporty machines. I don’t see it happening, though. The American motorcycle manufacturers just don’t have enough heavy, torque-tuned cruisers to choose from.

    • Randy says:

      The ZRX 1200 is a TORQUE monster. You could wheelie in just about any gear with a flick of the wrist. It is a comfortable bike to ride with the wide handle bars and up right riding position.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I didn’t say the ZRX wasn’t a great bike. It was and still is. I just don’t find it to be visually appealing. Not offensive, mind you, but it doesn’t stir my soul either.

    • zuki says:

      “This design probably appeals to the guys that thought the ZRX1100/1200 was a good looking bike.” – WTF?

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I’m just saying the above design, like the ZRX, harks back to an era of retro I don’t care for.

  12. PN says:

    Oh, you mean a Buell?

  13. The Other Bob says:

    Whoop de doo!

    Is the only thing this Bezzi guy is good for is creating imaginary bikes in photoshop? As early as 8 years old, I used to do the same thing with cars and bikes, just not on a PC. I’m sure millions of other kids with artistic hobbies used to do the same thing. What makes this person so special?

    The least he could do is give the powertrain the proper scale in comparison to the wheels. That engine is much larger than those 17″ wheels suggest.

    Don’t see the point in publishing this person’s fantasies.

  14. Brian says:

    Lipstick on a pig?

  15. jack says:

    Nobody is going to buy an Indian that doesn’t look like a traditional model. Thats what you buy the company for. That doesn’t mean that Polaris can’t build bikes in the mold of the new Triumphs, but under the Victory label instead. Victory doesn’t have the tradition of Indian.

    • Samizdat says:

      You might want to actually look into Indian’s history before you talk of tradition. First, second and third at the Isle of Mann TT, various speed records, etc… Tradition doesn’t have to equal bloated, archaic pig.

  16. Bob says:

    You know, polaris just might build it, except it will have a 21″ front wheel, a 240 rear tire , ape hangers and forward controls.

  17. bucho65 says:

    Oh please, all you guys saying you’ll buy one are full of crap. Buell was doing this for over 20 years and relatively nobody bought them.

  18. JJ says:

    Please make this bike!!!

    Would final drive be belt or what?

  19. EZ says:

    Needs a single rear shock for efficiency, whats the wheelbase? An adjustable one you can tuck in would be nice.

  20. jamie says:

    Air cooled v-twins dont put out any power to be on a sport bike, after all look how much these hardly guys spend to make there bikes make so much noise, and none of them still go anywhere.

  21. kirk66 says:

    It appears some are missing a point that is trying to be made. The illustration shpws the Victory motor. Polaris, I believe, made it clear that they did not intent to use the same motor in the Indian. So, the “what if” question of the day is: Can they design a water cooled twin that represents history but showcases the future?
    I bring this up, because water-cooling is not far off for ALL motor companies. If Indian/Polaris R&D really wanted to make a splash with the revived Indian it seems like turning the brand into something completely opposite of what it was would alter the whole marketing strategy and open the brand to people otherwise uninterested. According to the current Brand manager the idea was to make Indian low-volume high-end bikes. Well, that idea was tried by the previous CMC Gilroy owners and the boat guys to no success. I say alter the image all together and resurrect the brand as something that EBR could not pull off for high-volume. $15-20K Sport, sport tour and Adventure bikes like Triumph.

    • Bob says:

      -kirk66 wrote::The illustration shpws the Victory motor. Polaris, I believe, made it clear that they did not intent to use the same motor in the Indian”

      I’d have to say that’s not a Victory motor. It clearly has pushrod tubes for overhead valves which the Victory doesn’t have. Looks like the Stellican Indian motor to me.

  22. Bud says:

    This is a mishmash of things that don’t go together. A sportbike with a motor that recalls the 1050s (or earlier), styling that recalls the 70s, painted up like a Penske Trans Am Camaro. It makes no sense.

  23. Dang! That thing’s wheel base looks about as long as a Oak Ridge Boy’s tour bus.

    The seat to handle bars distance looks like a serious stretch.

  24. jim says:

    It’s come and gone – Buell, right? Am i wrong?

    • Denny says:

      Buell put 100thousands of motorcycles on road. This guy just wastes ink. Ask 10 year old kid, they’ll do better than that.

  25. Z2 says:


  26. Mickey says:

    WOW.. if the price is reasonable (12k or less) this is a serious threat. I think im in love…

    • mickey says:

      just so you know, capital (M) Mickey is not the lower case (m) mickey that has been posting on this board for quite some time. he may (undoubtedly) have differing views than I. So if I say something totally stupid, don’t blame the new guy.

  27. Steve P says:

    I like the concept of a V-twin with top shelf components that is not a cruiser.
    I’d love to see a sport-touring version.

  28. Gary says:

    I would hope a bike design like this would be more up to date. The Dunstall type fairing doesn’t do it at all for me. I hope also that Polaris just doesn’t come with more V-Twins with Indian, we have way too many of those already.

  29. JT says:

    Awesome….I love it!!!

  30. Pat Walker says:

    I like his Triumph Bimota twin much better.
    I sure wish someone would build his Kawasaki ex500

  31. Denny says:

    This Bezzi, did he ever create anything real? I mean something adopted to manufacture. So far I see just 2D ‘atristic’ pictures. Some (and most) do not even have lot of technical sense in it. Why would someone for example waste a foot of space between engine and swingarm axis? Besause cruiser design has transmission in that way? Ohhh, than use different engine! This one is heavy as elepfant enyway…. totally unsuitable for sports bike.

    Does someone remember VTR1000? That thing (I owned one) had short wheelbase and was flickable for that very reason. What I see here is, sorry to say is – a nonsense. Nobody will ever buil it. Waste of energies.

    • HalfBaked says:

      I seriously can’t believe you referred to internet motorcycle blogger Obiboi as “this Bezzi”. Really? What about his blogging has got you so bent out of shape? If you don’t like it don’t look at it or why not create something better yourself.

  32. Steve says:

    very cool looking bike…. but I know those Indian PowerPlus motors are every tall with Indian having to notch out the tank to fit over the rocker boxes…. this drawing might not take that into account…

    This bike with a ANY motor would be cool…. but I think that bus has already left the station…. it’s called the Cafe Movement….

  33. Mike Simmons says:

    I would like to see a US manufacturer make a bike that is not a Harley clone. A sport tourer along the lines of the Honda NT700, ST 1300, Kawasaki Concours, etc. The Victory’s to me are just plain ugly and if I would want a Harley, I’d buy one.

  34. Artem says:

    I liked his jawa. realistic exept the motor.

  35. Rich says:

    Yeah, an American V-twin powered sport bike would be the best. I mean after all, it worked out great for Eric Buell. Oh wait, never mind.

  36. Scuby says:

    Air cooled twins with push rods and tappets don’t belong on sportbikes.Just ask Eric Buell.Nice looking concept thou,but I’d rather see a street tracker.

    • Dave says:

      Eric Buell is likely very proud of the bikes he created. I know several Buell owners who love their bikes. It was not Eric’s choice to shudder the brand. Time will tell but it may have been a bad choice. Harley is sitting where Buick, Oldsmobile, and Cadillac were 10 years ago, with an aging customer base that was dying off while the newly old were showing younger tastes, though to be fair, the whole motorcycle industry is feeling this effect.

      Commitment to the Buell brand could have been their avenue to younger customers. HD would have to reinvent themselves to do it with that name badge.

      • Scuby says:

        Agreed.One of my ridding buds who buys a new bike every few years,only complains about selling one bike.His beloved XB12.

  37. mpolans says:

    If Polaris was smart, they’d follow Triumph’s example for brand revival rather than repeating all of the mistakes of every single previous attempt.

  38. Butchy says:

    Quite a departure from traditional Indian designs. Let’s see where this goes I guess…it’s Polaris’ party…

  39. Tom says:

    to be more specific, this is the kind of daylight I’d like to see through the Victory and Indian motorcycles:

  40. Tom says:

    One word: Daylight. I want to see daylight through the engine and tranny area. No covers. No panels. No radiators. No fat things anywhere. Stoop down and read a newspaper on the other side of the bike. My favorite classic bike had lots of daylight.

  41. Goose says:

    Beautiful bike but not very realistic.

    If anybody from Polaris is listening, Keep the engine and chassis but go with normal handlebars and move the pegs down and forward a bit.

    As for light and lithe, this is an American bike, not a Triton. A big, mellow V-Twin in a modern chassis would be too much fun.


  42. Reinhart says:

    A proper cafe bike does not need a huge engine like the one pictured above. Light and lithe is the correct formula for a cafe racer. I think Victory may be leaning in a new direction that might lead to a different motorcycle, which would be a nice change from their present offerings.