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Thunder Stroke 111: Indian Redefines the Classic V-twin (with video)

When we dared call 2013 the year of Indian Motorcycles, we tried to give our readers an understanding of Indian’s unique history. Indian’s were known for many things, not least the winning of races and high performance. The dichotomy faced by Polaris when it bought Indian just two years ago, i.e., capitalizing on the marque’s history without ignoring the high performance aspect of that history, has not been lost on the Polaris designers and engineers.

The engine that will power the initial models (the first models designed ground-up by Polaris, to be introduced later this year), is the Thunder Stroke 111 pictured (and illustrated) herein. While faithfully recreating the look of a 1940s Indian Chief twin with its slanted fins, tapered cylinders (larger at the heads), straight down exhaust exits and pushrod tubes, Indian pushed the envelope performance-wise, as well.

Aiming for a high 9.5:1 compression ratio (high for an air/oil cooled engine, that is) Polaris has gone to great lengths to lighten and modernize the engine internals in the Thunder Stroke 111. Pistons are modern, short skirt designs driven by narrow and light (by big twin standards) conrods.

Three cams (pictured) drive four pushrods that open and close the intake and exhaust valves (2 valves per head). The 111 cubic inch (1811 cc) monster features a 49 degree angle.

Polaris worked hard to refine the power delivery, aiming for a silky smooth driveline, and just the right amount of vibration (controlled by a single counter-balancer). Belt drive exits the power source on the right side before traveling to the wheel. While many big twins get by with five speeds, the Thunder Stroke 111 will have six.

When I first heard this engine (you can listen to it in the video below), I told a secretive Polaris product designer that it sounded like it had a “lighter flywheel effect”, and revved much quicker than a typical large displacement v-twin. I seemed to get a vague acknowledgement that I was correct, and the design of the Thunder Stroke 111 reflects this.

For a large displacement v-twin, the bore/stroke ratio is relatively aggressive (bore is 101 mm and stroke 113 mm). The current horsepower king of comparable size and design is Star’s 48 degree v-twin displacing 1854cc, which, although slightly larger displacement, features a narrower bore and longer stroke (100 mm x 118 mm). The interesting thing is that the Thunder Stroke 111 has a peak engine speed of only 5500 rpm, seemingly quite conservative given the extensive efforts to create exceedingly light and low friction engine internals together with the bore/stroke ratio. The low engine speed will limit peak horsepower.

The specifications published (this the press kit) for the Thunder Stroke 111 include peak torque of “more than 115 foot/pounds”, but no number is given for peak horsepower. We are also not told at what point the torque peak is achieved in the rev range. Given the engine redline (5500 rpm, as stated), and Indian’s desire to provide a broad, relatively flat torque curve, crank horsepower could easily exceed 100 . . . mighty healthy for the category.

If the engine revs as quickly and easily as we suspect, and the overall package emphasizes light weight (both the engine and chassis), the new Indian models could provide a quite unique riding experience. Fast . . . quick even. Something not normally associated with “cruisers”.

Of course, this is just the first Indian engine designed from a clean sheet by Polaris. Indian built in-line fours in the past, as well, and I think we can expect this engine configuration somewhere down the road. Indian’s high performance, race winning heritage will receive its fair share of attention in due time, we believe.


  1. BigJames says:

    If they price the bike like the corresponding Victory and HD models, might consider it. If they decide to make over prices boutique bikes, like the last 2 tries, never mind. If they don’t make a REAL touring bike that is sidecar capable, never mind again… If they do both, may have to clean out the garage a little for one.

  2. Randall says:

    It is beautiful. I was hoping for a 42 degree V for nostalgia’s sake. I wonder if that would have been realistic as I am not that familiar with the issues. I hope they can be competitive. I wonder with modern engineering whether they will have a lot of teething problems in the first year. What do you motorheads think? If money were no object, would you buy the first year?

  3. Norm G. says:

    re: “The current horsepower king of comparable size and design is Star’s 48 degree v-twin displacing 1854cc, which, although slightly larger displacement, features a narrower bore and longer stroke (100 mm x 118 mm).”

    i had some recent experience with this kit from yamaha. had a raider on extended loan for a bit and did some highway riding and some back roads. i came away mightily impressed with this engine (this from a sport rider). it wasn’t too big and wasn’t too little. like a “goldilocks”, the power was just right. enough to make you grin, but not so much as to overwhelm. dare i say, the engine was so perfect that if i were to ever buy a cruiser…? any bikes smaller than 110 cubes would be all but eliminated from the selection process.

    the other thing i liked about it was for a seemingly large displacement motorcycle, yamaha kept the rest of the bike fairly fit and trim. it wasn’t a behemoth like say suzi’s M109 and M90. gawd, those things are just too damn big. 🙁 so if “injun’s” using star as a benchmark for this powerplant, and the new bike it’s going into…? i say full speed ahead.

  4. Michael says:

    Great looking engine. They really nailed the old Indian look. Still, the price of entry will keep me away. I’ve ridden Harleys for years, but even their new bikes are more than I am able to pay. I make a very good income, but could no more afford a $22000 Electa Glide than I could a new Ferrari. Don’t know who’s buying all these big $$$ bikes, but it ain’t me.

    • Jay says:

      It’s me. A new RoadKing in black is just $16,500 with the dealer discounting the MSRP, in my case, $1,500. A new Dyna Glide is less than $12,000, after an MSRP discount.

      • BigJames says:

        Me to, but I traded my 2010 Road King in on a Ural. I preferred my 88 HD FLHS over the ‘010 RK, so kept the ’88 and turned the ‘010 into a Ural Retro. The Ural fit my needs better, and no I can’t explain that either. I really can’t, but after a year and a half, still happy about it.. Domestic and Japanese full zoot dressers have gotten out of hand price wise. Who do these folks think they are, BMW? I hope this Indian doesn’t turn into another story with a bad ending. Really do.

  5. Mark says:

    I would really like to have an updated version of a Scout!!

  6. Auphliam says:

    Its amazing how many people went out of their way to make negative comments…about a bike that doesn’t even exist yet – LOL – Get a grip people.

  7. frostbite says:

    Bring it ON !!! BUT – PLEASE Polaris – Bring the PRICE DOWN !!!

  8. Tuskerdu says:


  9. Tom says:

    Good on Indian! Especially since it was illegal business practices on HDs part that forced them out business back in the day.

    • Al T says:

      Thats not entirerly true. Indian hung themselves. During WW2 they pledged all production to the military, very patriotic, but left nothing for the dealers to sell. Management decision to to build vertical twins after the war turned off the loyal fans. Other management mistakes added to thier death.

  10. GuyLR says:

    The engine looks great. I think they might need to broaden the lineup later with a 61 cubic inch “Scout”. Maybe use three or four valves per cylinder to raise the rev limit. They should even consider heretical overhead cams!

  11. Wendy says:

    So, this is all about valve covers? Huh, we keep worshipping at a church that was obsolete 70 years ago. Go figger.

    • TF says:

      There will always be a market for nostalgia but to me it’s just a big chrome boat anchor. That said, keep in mind that the new C7 Corvette is powered by a 2 valve push rod engine.

      • MUSTAFA IBRAHIM says:

        Yeah, a boat anchor because it is a “2 valve push rod engine” – just like every top fuel dragster?

        • TF says:

          Yeah, I am sure the forced induction and nitro methane contribute nothing to the performance. In that case, how about a F1 engine that produces nearly 1 hp per cc……..using gasoline! Not to mention that it lasts 20 times longer than the top fuel engine.

          • Dave says:

            pushrods/internal cams help to shrink the head height. Probably very necessary to fit a 1.8L V-twin in a motorcycle. Nascars use pushrods if I’m not mistaken too.

          • goose says:

            I’m a big F1 fan but they don’t even come close to “1 hp per cc”, that would be 2400 HP. They make a still very impressive 800-850 HP. That is “only” about 1 HP per 3 CCs.

            Back to the Indian, I’ll agree with Dave below, the OHV engine is a bunch shorter than a OHC or, worse, DOHC engine. It also has a lower center of gravity, makes it simple to use hydraulic valve adjustment and makes pulling the heads and barrels easy. The later is important because it makes it easy to install the inevitable bigger pistons and other hop-up gear.


          • TF says:

            The turbo 1.5L engines that were used during the 1980’s made as much as 1500 HP. Imagine the engine above producing 1800 HP!

    • starmag says:

      That would be because pirates far out-spend power rangers. Nothing is obsolete that people are willing to spend big money for. Most modern “non-obsolete” bikes have appearances that only a mother preying mantis could love, and performance that is rarely, if ever, used. I don’t want one myself because I don’t ride cuisers, but this is a beautiful looking and sounding engine. If the new Chief is as beautiful as the engine, Indian may have a chance in a tightly-packed cruiser market. A reasonably priced new scout along the lines of a Confederate, (but less ugly) would be a good thing also.

  12. Michael H says:

    Wow. That is a gorgeous engine. Hats off to Polaris for the investment and commitment it takes to design, develop and bring to production a new power plant. If this new engine is as bulletproof as the Victory engine it can’t help but be a big winner.

    That animation of the new engine has to be one of the coolest bits of industrial animation ever created.

    • Jay says:

      Don’t forget, the motorcycle that engine goes in costs $35K-$45K.

      • Dave says:

        That’ll kill it. Not enough dealers will risk bringing it in with the current economy. It’d be a big risk at $15k.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Wow. I had no idea it is going to be that expensive.

      • MUSTAFA IBRAHIM says:

        Who said it will be that expensive?

      • fast2win says:

        Nobody has said what the motorcycle will cost. and baseing a cost off the old line up is not at all accurate. One could assume it will be a premium product in line with the competition (H.D.)

  13. T. Rollie says:

    A great motorcycle always starts with a great engine. Indian/Polaris are starting with a great engine. We cannot wait to see how they attach a frame and two wheels to this fantastic piece of art and engineering!

    • Kevin says:

      All of the previous reincarnations of Indian were mostly cobbled together aftermarket parts with a thinly disguised Harley clone engine. The investors were interested only in throwing together something they could put the Indian name on to make some bucks. (The Kawasaki Vulcan Drifter built as a styling tribute to Indian a few year back was actually a lot better-engineered motorcycle than the Gilroy and Kings Mountain Indians.) But Polaris has deep pockets and 16 years’ experience engineering and manufacturing V-twin cruiser motorcycles. They are doing a clean-sheet design, and it can’t help be better than the Gilroy or Kings Mountain knockoffs.

  14. Mike says:

    This could be the start of something cool. With a motor that’s that retro looking and decent performance, that leaves the door wide open for something like a new Sport Scout. A high tech girder front end could be built and you could make a “hardtail” looking swing arm ride and work well. Add a stripped down old school Indian bobber look, 17″ wheels and tires, Lighter wieght than most twins and you could have a Sportster killer very easily. PLUS something that performed well and looked old would sell. IMHO. And yeah, getting a flathead look from a modern motor is a new trick and it looks well done. Victory has proved they can build a crusier that handles well and rides better than the comp. (HD) So let the games begin!

  15. Blue says:

    I’m sure a lot of folks are confused about this product. Its impressive and I’m sure the end product is going to be hit with the retro crowd. and if you don’t like retro then move on to your own class of ride. As a stand alone dealership it will be lean years ahead until you build a customer base, if they blend Victory and Indian (patch over if you will) then things should be good. Me I think the Indian name has finally found a home in Polaris and that’s a great thing. Best wishes to Indian Motorcycles and I’ll be waiting to see the future and the past cast into Indian Pride.

  16. John says:

    Beautiful motor, I ride HD but this is a better looking motor.

  17. Jeremy in TX says:

    Like the poster below, I am not sure that the Indian brand is as recognized as a lot of industry people want us to believe, and I think the false starts in recent memory dilute the brand further. However, I think Polaris was after the recipe much more so than the brand itself: cruiser + history + american made = US market success.

    Japan produces some excellent cruisers, but a huge part of the cruiser-buying public still considers a Harley Davidson to be the premium product in comparison – Japan can’t add “Americana” to their machines at the assembly line. Victory, also sub-premium compared to the “real thing”, can’t magically inject history into their brand. Indian can, even with relatively weak brand recognition (a relatively easy issue to correct if the bikes gain even a little traction in the market and Polaris plays its cards right.)

  18. Jay says:

    It’s a nice looking engine. But who is still alive that has fond memories of actually owning and riding his Indian and wants to to get back on? It isn’t like Triumph, that was only out of commission for a few years, Indian has been dead for a long time. There’ll be a few sales, because it’s named “Indian,” then it will have peaked. I don’t even think the name, Indian, is socially acceptable any more. Other than HD, the retro craze is over. I think it was over when Victory came out.

    I don’t know why they didn’t make a modern cruiser with a light weight parallel twin or something, or some BMW competition. Something as a forward thinking alternative rather than a reiteration. What’s with air cooling, for example? It’s a dead end, isn’t it?

    • Chris says:

      Triumph was never out of commission, they just went to a very low production until John Bloor bought them, and revitalized the brand. I never had fond memories of owning a Triumph, yet here I am at 47, with a new Thunderbird. Triumph has shown the importance of motorcycle history, and sells a lot of Bonnevilles. Harley is pushing the 883, and now Star has a new bike, the “Bullet”, that seems to be targeting the 883. Retro is very popular right now. I think Indian can be successful again, by maintaining important aspects of the original Indians, while modernizing the internals. Anyone who has any knowledge of the history of motorcycling, will perk up their ears to the sound of a properly done Indian motorcycle.

    • fast2win says:

      Get your head out of the sand. Cruisers dominate the american market. Indian name socially acceptable? wtf does that mean. Aparantly air cooling isn’t dead. Harley made some 250000 last year alone. This year BMW just introduced partial water cooling to their boxer, 90 years later.

  19. James says:

    The new Indian engine looks real boss.
    If the finished bike looks like the quality of the new engine I will have to put my name on one.
    Good job Polaris.

  20. Gary says:

    No extra finning needed for valve covers. Harley has gotten along fine without it for years. Oil circulating through there leaches away the BTUs.

    • John says:

      Gary …

      I think that originally those big fins also served to direct air to the rear cylinder for cooling. The rear cylinder sits so close to the front that fresh air tends to go around the front and barely effect the rear cylinder. That may also account in some way for the cylinder angle being 48 degrees instead of 42, although my guess would be that 48 degrees makes a significant difference in altering the vibration produced by uneven firing impulses.

      Just for the fun of it, take a piece of paper and draw a straight line and market it in incriments from 0 through 720 degrees. (The full duration of a 4 cycle engine.) Then, choose any combination of firing impulses that you want … front first, rear first, two in a row, alternate revolutions … and mark them on the line. You will come up with a picture of where the vibration comes from…two pulses close together and then a long space before they fire again. It also shows you where that wonderful sound comes from. The closer the engine gets to even firing impulses, like every 90 degrees or 180 degrees or every 360 degrees, the smoother it is, the less need for a complicated counterbalance system and the more bumble bee like the exhaust note gets.

      You may remember the Honda CX500 v-twin. It rev’d to almost 10,000 rpms, but it had a very complicated counterbalance system with two weights in it and timing of the weights was everything. This engine, it says, revs to 5,000 rpms. It is all part of the same package … fewer parts, less vibration, less wear and longer life, less heat, six speed trans, more low end torque, etc. etc.

      I think this sucker is going to sell big time. It makes me wish I was 40 years younger.


  21. JR says:

    Now that’s interesting.. another big and heavy V-twin engine to fit in another big,and heavy expensive motorcycle. I think people are looking for something different that’s made in America.
    Hey.. I have an idea.. how about a really light weight bike, say around 395 lbs. dry. In a V-twin also with low rev’s and lots of torque.. so it’s pure fun to ride. Size it with either a 984 or 1203 cc air/oil cooled engine with hydraulic lifters so no valve adjustments are required. Give it belt rear drive with an idler and fixed rear axle so no adjustments are required there either. This machine should be easy to purchase and easy to maintain. Then set it up so this motorcycle can easily get 50 mpg in town. I know.. I’m talking about my formally owned 2004 Buell XB12S Lightning which I should have never let go. Because it was different and most of all because it was pure fun to ride. That’s what I think a lot of American rider’s are now looking for in an American made bike. Erik.. are you listening?

    • Gary says:

      You forgot to add, “another opportunity to make enormous profit margins while sidestepping enormous R&D expenses.”

      • fast2win says:

        Just because it’s an air cooled twin, does not mean it was cheap to R&D.

        • Gary says:

          You may be right. On the other hand, I’d bet good money that this is parts-bin engineering, combined with some cosmetic flair.

          And BTW … that is not necessarily a bad thing.

          • fast2win says:

            My Question is, what do you do with Victory if Indian takes off. I think they would be in compitition with themselves. Theirs nothing they can do with victory that I dont see Indian caple of building. Including a sport bike. Remember Triumph didn’t start over with race bike even though they had racing heritage.

          • Gary says:

            Fast2win … I totally agree. I can only assume they will position Indian WAAAAY upscale. Victory is already kinda upscale. I’d guess Indian will be to Victory what AMG is to Mercedes. But it’s only a guess.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      If that is what a lot of American riders were looking for, they would have sold a lot more Buells. I think they are looking for something else.

      • todder says:

        Your right on about Buell. However, I want something that will be sporty so I can chase speed like Burt Munro, but classic and retro too. Victory could pull something like that, but it won’t happen until they start selling Indian and there is ROI.

  22. stinkywheels says:

    I’m extremely underwhelmed. I have respect for the Indian legacy, but the market is flooded. I don’t know what niche they can fill except for the above Harley niche with a sketchy dealer network.

  23. kirk66 says:

    I like the new motor. Hated the old CNC/Clone days motor. This one looks like it belongs in an Indian. To those that hate the name. You’ll remember it when you are with your significant other. I can hear myself saying, “Baby, want a lil Thunderstroke tonight?” LOL.

  24. Gary says:

    Shovelhead. Okay. Panhead … whatever. Evo. Makes sense. But “Thunderstroke???” I think the marketing copywriters have gone a tad over the top with that one.

    Looks like a great engine that can underpin a broad range of cool bikes. Just tone down the hype, puuu-lease.

    • Z1 says:

      Yes, Gary, I thought the exact same thing. Could they have thought of a more juvenile-sounding name? It was also amusing to see them boasting about a single-pin crank. As I recall, that technology has been around for a while. The last true news about crank design was Honda’s dual-pin crank on the 1983 VT750C. Of course, they had to go with a single-pin crank to get the all-important Potato sound.

      • Auphliam says:

        Its not the fact that its a single pin crank that they’re touting…its the fact that its a one piece steel forged single pin crank.

  25. mk says:

    Im pretty sure that’s an X-Wedge engine mated with a victory transmission

  26. Jay says:

    I’m surprised that they aren’t introducing water cooling. I thought the EPA had set its sights on the emissions from air/oil cooled. Either Polaris is going to have to revise this engine in the next few years or I’m not as worried that the air cooled Harley I intend to buy will be superceeded anytime soon.

  27. Ricardo says:

    Beautiful motor, I dare say even better or same good looking as a HD motor…

  28. Al T says:

    That motor is amazing looking. I hope the whole bike is done as well. There may be a large market for engines to builders.

  29. EZ Mark says:

    The Japanese have perfected making water-cooled engines look air-cooled.
    But a fake flat-head? Now that’s original.

  30. ApriliaRST says:

    That is an awesome looking engine and I’m glad to read so many positive comments. This is just about the *only* product I’ve seen get such good comments on the internet since about 1999.

    I have two plastic covered sport-touring bikes and I’ve been looking for something to add to those and this engine could be the basis for that hypothetical bike. The only thing that would be a deal breaker for me is if the footrests and controls were placed in the usual cruiser forward position– my lower back does not tolerate that riding position.

    I’d really like to see a version with a riding position more along the lines of a standard. My wallet is waiting…

    • stratkat says:

      thats because there really isnt enough good design out there. who ever designed this engine just got it right if staying true to the original was their goal. its not just another S&S clone. well done!

    • HotDog says:

      And a BIG wallet it better be. The price of admission will probably be way more than most of us can afford. All the rich boys can strut around like barnyard roosters whilst the rest of us are just dogs on the porch. Will this be another bike that’s too pretty to ride (get dirty)?

      • ApriliaRST says:

        I’m pretty sure they’ll keep the price competitive. IOWs less than,say, Motus.

        • HotDog says:

          How ironic that this story proceeds an inexpensive machine, appealing to everday riders, whereas this is probably aimed at older, very well off buyers. Harley won’t build out of their niche’, will Polaris?

  31. Tim says:

    This is a very attractive motor. I love the detail. Let’s hope Polaris doesn’t mess up the bike with odd Victory like styling like the oval side covers they have on some of the bikes. I would like to see them take some chances, and not just be another Harley clone. Maybe do some Confederate like styling with some of the models.

  32. Mark Bremer says:

    Nice looking effort perhaps worthy of the Indian name but if they really want to make a comeback with the brand they should build a 45 cuber to compete against the XR750’s at the Springfield Mile!!!!!!!

  33. todd says:

    Why did they start with such a small motor? Likely they left enough room to stretch it out a little, maybe to 200cu-in or so. Bigger is the new better, right? That really is a new way of approaching things.

    At least they designed it to look like a flat-head – the epitome of state of the art engineering. When will this attack of the clones ever end?!?


    • DaveA says:

      Er…another clone eh? Come off it man, it has a unit gear case! That motor is as un-copycat-ish as it gets while still having push rods IMO. I’m not a cruiser guy at all, so I’m not likely to be a big New Indian fan, but let’s be reasonable here.

      • Gary says:

        By another clone, I think most of us are referring to having air-cooled v-twins, or at the least more v-twins.

        • v says:

          What configuration would you have them use? A single can’t be build large enough, I2 or I3 would be cloning Trimph, I4 the Japanese, traverse V2 a copy of MG, boxers BMW or Honda, traverse I3 or I4 would be too long in large displacement and would need liquid cooling. Traverse I2?

        • Chris says:

          How can they be a clone, if Indian invented the v-twin? Harley came AFTER Indian. Harley also came after Triumph. Indians were known for their v-twins. So were Harleys. Triumphs did Parallel Twins. Seems to me, that all three are are doing what they have always done. Despite what some people think, Harley didn’t invent the motorcycle. Learn your history. Indian is the ORIGINAL American motorcycle. Polaris wants to faithfully revitalize the brand, and I think it’s awesome.

  34. G says:

    I hope they build one with girder front end and modern frame, all new look and style.

  35. Gary says:

    Nice job Indian, or I mean Polaris! I do hope that eventually you will have something other than V-Twins, too darn many of those now. Everyone doesn’t want a harley clone- even if this isn’t exactly that. Maybe a V-4?

  36. ben says:

    Another large v-twin cruiser engine. Just what we have all been pining for…or not

  37. Marty H says:

    I concur with Mike Simmons. I would love to see a performance division from H-D, Victory/Indian. I think there is an untapped goldmine for the American motorcycle companies developed V-4’s in the 1600 to 1800cc range. That would bring in a slew of new buyers who want high performance motorcycles.

    • CowboyTutt says:

      Performance division?? Uh, it’s called Screaming Eagle? I have a 107 inch build with modified stock 09 Harley heads, a Screaming Eagle cam, Screaming Eagle 50MM throttle body and fat 2-1 exhaust making 124 HP at 6000 rpm and 120 ft lbs at 4200 rpm. When was the last time you put your legs over an American motorcycle even??? There is an American company with a v-4 coming your way in your displacement category. They are called Motus. Where have you been? -Tutt

      • DaveA says:

        He wasn’t being clear…he meant actual…you know…performance, right off the showroom floor. 124hp out of over 1700 cc’s, only acheived after you had the ‘performance’ motor re-redone is hardly, well…performance. The only thing remotely close at an H-D shop (and ‘remotely’ is generous) is the V-Rod. I’m not a hater either…I own and love an XR-1200. There is lots cool about it, but ‘performance?’ Not close.

        The Motus, OTOH…that is serious business.

        I am with Marty…would love to see some real focus on performance w. a cruiser orientation.

      • Marty H. says:

        Cowboy, not everyone has the same definition of performance. I personally ride Harley’s and metrics. Yes, the Screaming Eagle products are awesome. But, I can buy a stock ZX-14R for fourteen grand that makes 120 ft. lbs of torque and 205 horsepower in a superior handling and braking bike. It is also much less maintenance intensive. The four cylinder just makes so much more power without pushing it to its limits. Respectfully, Marty H.

      • Jim says:

        Wow Cowboy, most 600’s would drop you like a bad habit.

  38. Kris says:

    Fan…effing…tastic! Great to see a classic heritage Indian engine recreated, and I can’t wait to see it in a bike!

    I definitely see myself as a future Indian customer.

    Norm G; what are your thoughts dude?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Norm G; what are your thoughts dude?”

      my review gives it “2 thumbs up”, “fine holiday fun”. but admittedly i’m sucker any time someone successfully blends art with engineering. most can either do one…? or the other…? it’s a rare bird that can do both… nevermind right out of the gate like this. if there was any criticism i had of victorys, it was their engines. great runners the 106’s, ‘cept they always struck me as a bit “generic” looking. while i see some family resemblence to the freedom twins (to be expected), the exhaust side view of this is killer.

      • Kris says:

        Good to hear.
        I’ve been a sportbike rider for 25 years (but always an enthusiast of all bikes), and now that I’m middle age decided on a Victory Hammer last year because I didn’t want to fit the HOG mould and be different. And I thought a Victory would slow me down- that hasn’t completely worked, much to my surprise.
        “if there was any criticism i had of victorys, it was their engines”- I cant seriously comment or compare twins because I only got into twins last year (other than a Buell lightning 10 years ago, which was awesome, below 80 MPH anyway). But now that I am enjoying twins I can see myself upgrading to an Indian in a few years, and again to be different but with a premium product. Seems to me that the Indian name is in safe hands- this engine is a real beauty.

  39. paulysr says:

    It looks to be much shorter than the victory engine, hopeflly they will take advantage of that and build a shorter (lighter) bike at some point. I wonder if the low rpm is due to all of the valvetrain weight? I wonder if they had to buy rights from S&S to build the valvetrain? An OHC version could be fun. CAN’T WAIT to see the whole bike, very exciting!

    • bikerrandy says:

      The low rpms is because pistons that big can only take so much pressure before they fall apart. This motor will be a torque monster! It’s about acceleration but not HP. It’s made for real world power, not drag strips.

      • todd says:

        you need power and light weight for acceleration – though nearly 100hp will work well enough. It really only has as much torque as an average bicyclist.


  40. Jim says:

    I see NASCAR culture has won the day again.

    • Andrew150 says:

      This is pretty ignorant. What is wrong with cars that go over 200 mph using push rods technology. As if cam chains and overhead cams make street motorcycles a better product. Someone should reconsider their comments which appear to be based on marketing hype from the industry and not based in any real engineering knowledge or understanding.

      • Jim says:

        You misread a whole lot into that short sentence. I was talking about another overweight bar-hopper. I don’t have a problem with push-rods. You are excused.

  41. JPJ says:

    “Skybullet” is correct that the Japanese have just not produce a great cruiser. Harley will still be the 800lb gorilla. Polaris/Victory has made great strides from the begining. I personally own a 01 Heritage Softail. The one thing all Harleys need is to engineer some weight loss into all there motocycles. I belileve 30-50 lb could be achieved.

  42. Pure Lunacy says:

    Time to make an Indian 4!!!

  43. skybullet says:

    I like the thought of a better performing, lighter, better sounding, flashey but retro looking engine. The Japanese never quite got Harley/Indian clones right. Lets hope the rest of the bike is similarly inspired. I think a better Harley/Indian can be built and we all know how big that market is.

  44. Tom K. says:

    This engine is a piece of engineering jewelry – very interesting to look at, and the sound is spot-on – Great Job. Let’s hope the reliability and finishes are equal to the visual design.

    I would think (hope) it will run with Harley’s CVO lineup, but come in at a price point closer to their standard line, which would give Indian a huge advantage in “value”. If they can make a chassis to match it, keep the cost in the real world, and provide a viable dealer network, Polaris will hit it out of the park. If their stock price doesn’t bump up a bit tomorrow (relative to the S&P), the market is sleeping.

    Some years ago, a Chinese general was reported to say (in a veiled threat to the dominancy of the USA), “It matters not who is strong and who is weak. What matters is, who is getting stronger, and who is getting weaker”. Obviously, it is a little premature to say there is a new sherriff in town, but darned if I’m not rooting for Indian to carve out a very profitable piece of the pie. It would be even better if, due to their entry, the pie itself got larger. Read Kevin Cameron’s analysis, you’d think he was a major shareholder.

  45. T. Rollie says:

    The beautiful company-made video itself is way better than any fat, lazy, backward looking company enjoying a near monopoly position (looking at you Harley Davidson) could or would ever bother making. Being an MN guy myself (Polaris!), and a NC guy now (Indian!) I’m definitely cheering for these guys and want them to succeed.

  46. Michael says:

    “Good looking engine! I was hoping for something besides a v-twin, but I understand Polaris wants to retain Indian’s heritage. I hope that at some point in the near future a US manufacturer is willing to be bold enough to think out of the box and offer something besides a Harley clone.”
    Did you mean Indian clone ? This is no Harley clone. Indian. Get it ?

  47. Mike Simmons says:

    Good looking engine! I was hoping for something besides a v-twin, but I understand Polaris wants to retain Indian’s heritage. I hope that at some point in the near future a US manufacturer is willing to be bold enough to think out of the box and offer something besides a Harley clone.

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