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Indian Gets the Spirit: First Application of Thunder Stroke 111



In anticipation of the upcoming reveal of the all-new Indian Chief, Indian built its own “Spirit of Munro”, housing the Thunder Stroke 111.  Perhaps most interesting about the video is the sound of the Thunder Stroke 111 as it hurtles the Spirit of Munro down the Bonneville Salt Flats.  Enjoy the photos, and here is what Indian has to say about the video and the Spirit of Munro project:

Between the years of 1926 and 1961, one man from a small town in New Zealand dreamed of setting a land speed record on a 1920 Indian Scout. In 1962 at the Bonneville salt flats that man’s dream finally came true.

To honor the past and power the future, Indian Motorcycle built the Spirit of Munro, an all-metal tribute bike which would house the new Thunder Stroke 111™ engine. On May 5, 2013 the bike was run on a dry lake bed in California. A tribute to the great Burt Munro, and a celebration of the Indian Motorcycle that is yet to come.

Fully custom-built, the Spirit of Munro is an all-metal tribute to the racers and mechanics throughout history who have collectively built the legacy of record-breaking racing performance and strength that is Indian Motorcycle.

The motorcycle is named in honor of Burt Munro’s “Munro Special,” the historic 1920 Indian Scout that broke the under-1000cc land-speed record in 1967 at the Bonneville Salt Flats as famously portrayed in the motion picture “The World’s Fastest Indian.”

The Spirit of Munro was constructed by Jeb Scolman of Jeb’s Metal and Speed in Long Beach, CA. It was designed from the ground up to house the new Thunder Stroke 111™ engine and showcase its awe-inspiring power and performance.




  1. Ed Chambers says:

    This can be a good move for Polaris.Typical Victory’s are too “swoopy” or wierd looking to attract allot of Harley buyers who like a more traditional style.If they build this Indian to look like an Indian and can keep Arlen Ness away from it they’ll sell.As far as the video goes nice work, not as cool as the movie with Sir Anthony Hopkins but cool.

  2. p roaring says:



  3. glenn says:

    So what land speed record was that again ?

  4. mk says:

    Oh look it’s that classic triangular shape found on the FXR frame.

    • nathan says:

      And on the frames of hundreds of other bikes. Why do H.D. fanboys have to be so pathetic? Get over yourself.

  5. EZ Mark says:

    If I was in the market for a big overpriced cruiser, I would be anxiously awaiting the new Indian. I’m not, but I wish them much success. I hope the rest of the bike is as good looking as that engine.

    • BlackCayman says:

      I understand that. When ever I even “just-for-a-goof” consider purchasing a HD, I quickly come up with multiple bikes I’d want first.

      That being said, I treated a rented Heritage Classic on Maui last spring like my personal Bitch all day long for two days in a row. Squeezed every last drop of acceleration and trail braked the rear deep into corners BMX bike style! The only “cruising” was when I had my wife on the bitch-pad and we lumbered along the beach blvd. When it was done, I did come away with some appreciation for the whole rumbly, burbly bark and the torque laden power delivery.

      I just doubt I’ll get to a 5 bike stable.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “I just doubt I’ll get to a 5 bike stable.”

        I dunno… sounds like somebody’s smitten…? 🙂

  6. Azi says:

    Hmm, when are we going to see streamlining again in GP bikes again? From what I recall it was banned in Grand Prix after WW2 because of stability and safety concerns, but I’m sure modern wind tunnel testing would sort that out. It’s the 21st century and we’re all still riding barn doors around (aerodynamically speaking)!

    • MGNorge says:

      Hmm, motorcyclists already complain that there’s too much plastic covering the tasty bits. That’s one of the major reasons for the popularity of naked bikes. A full “Dustbin” fairing would be a tough sell I think.

    • Tom Shields says:

      They already run over 200 mph! Full fairings make the bikes very susceptible to being blown around by side winds, so I don’t expect that to happen.

  7. kawzies says:

    Big deal. A big corporation bought a name and now a bunch of top drawer Madmen are gonna try to milk the name for everything it’s worth and more. The true spirit of Polaris is the dull, efficient, one note Victory line-which obviously wasn’t getting them to where they wanted to be. Now they act like they’re the rightful heir to the Indian tradition when all they did, again, was buy the name. All of the sudden they’re engineering geniuses who are going to outshine all other cruiser manufacturers??? Highly doubtful. These new Indians will weigh a ton. It’s very fitting they show it going in a straight line-which is all their wehole line will be able to do.

    • Gronde says:

      Yep, bought the INDIAN name and now they’re going to milk it for all it’s worth. My bet is it probably won’t be the last time someone tries to resurrect the label. Like you said, they were spot on showing the bike going only in a straight line…just like an overweight barge. I can see the posers riding it out to Cook’s Corner thinking they’re going to show off their “custom” and impress all the bikers.

    • 70's Kid says:

      Things have worked out okay for the guys who bought the Triumph name.

      Only time will tell.

  8. Tom K. says:

    This is all foreplay leading up to the introduction of the “Real Deal” at Sturgis (05 Aug., I believe, but don’t quote me).

    The video was very well done, it reminded me of Ram Truck’s Superbowl commercial based on Paul Harvey’s “So God Made a Farmer” video, you can’t watch it without feeling good about America (and not coincidentally, the brands showcased within). The song this engine sings is “just right”, it makes my eardrums smile. Let’s hope the bike is designed less to putt between bars, and more to blow past them on the way to riding nirvana.

    Since this was a “tribute” bike, the dry lake run was fitting, taking it to Bonneville would have made it seemed less like respect and more like stepping on Munro’s memory – no problems there. What would be interesting, is to know the year and make of the pickup used in the video – was it chosen for some reason? Also, were the guys Polaris Engineers or Test Riders, or simply “models”? (not that it would matter greatly, but I would prefer the former, gotta keep it “real”). Nicely done, Polaris.

  9. goose says:

    Well, I’m not sure which is more fun, seeing and hearing the new Chief or seeing the children cry because Polaris isn’t stupid enough to build something besides a cruiser. Sure, ignore the market, build what I want so this Indian can go out of business too.

    Polaris seems to be doing everything right, I hope the Chief is a huge success. Once they are established a second engine/ chassis that is smaller, lighter and cheaper would be nice. Harley builds the Sportster, I hope Indian has the Scout in a few years. And, in my dreams, a new Sport Scout. Not a sport bike, just a sporty cruiser like the old FXDX Harley.

    I also hope they work on adding dealerships, if the Chief is a success people will be touring on them, it would be nice if it wan’t a thousand miles to the next Indian dealership.


    • todd says:

      Out here in the bay area, cruisers (including bobbers, choppers, Gold-Wingy tourers, and retro standards) only make up about a third of the bikes on the road. I think it’s about building a bike with a greater profit margin (and lower development costs) than it is about serving the largest market.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I have lived in eight states from Colorado to Connecticut, and those bikes you describe as “cruisers” probably make up about 85% or more of the bikes on the road per my unscientific observations. While most of what you named doesn’t fall into the cruiser category by my or (I think) the industry’s definition of that market, I still think the cruiser market is by far the largest and among the most profitable by margin, though I doubt development costs are any lower for an all new bike such as the new Chief as you imply than they would be for an all new R1.

        • mr_dirtrider says:

          I’ve lived in So CA, AZ and Indiana. In Indiana all you see is Harleys. California is a different story. Sport bikes everywhere. AZ is a mix. No doubt that Curisers have a larger profit margin, but a ton of sport bikes are sold on the west coast.

      • 80-watt Hamster says:

        The Bay area seems to be its own little world; I wouldn’t count on your observations holding true elsewhere in the country. Life in MN/ND mirrors what Jeremy in TX says: overwhelmingly cruisers, with the majority of those made by H-D

      • mk says:

        There are a lot cruisers out on the road in the bay area. Not many of the use them to commute.

      • BlackCayman says:

        $20K – 30K HDs are snapped up like so much Viagra, by an aging demographic with a large disposable income.

        There’s $$$ to be made. The Indian Brand still has some legitimacy even though each failure to be reborn has cost them some.

        I just hope they do “so much more” than just 600-800 pound cruisers with and without bags and fairings.

        I am one of those who fail to see how a lightweight standard with a barking motor detracts from your core market.

      • goose says:

        The SF bay area is, indeed, its own world. I mean that is the best possible way, I lived there for almost 30 years and 10 years after moving away I miss nothing but a few friends and the motorcycle scene.

        Whatever a person’s subjective observations, Cruisers rule the sales charts. Indian, like Willie Sutton, is going “where the money is” and seems to be doing a great job.

        I look forward to seeing the new Chief on the road. Maybe in a few years I’ll trade my Roadglide for a Chief instead of a new Roadglide, who knows.


  10. ducatidon says:

    Great old-timey feel to the whole thing. Emotional feeling of somebody (young guys?)in America doing something with promise. The exhaust note at speed was wonderful. But I’m dreaming, right? The new Indian I’d be buying right off the showroom floor won’t sound like that, will it?

  11. Colors says:

    I’m not much for farm impliments on two wheels, BUT Indians are cool. I probably would not buy a cruiser though, so my hope is they do “pull a Triumph” either way if Polaris makes Indian work it will be good to see another American motorcycle on the road, besides a cookie cutter Harley, or the odd Victory. The trouble will be getting the conformist Harley riders to become the individualist they think they are and buy something all their buds don’t have.

    As far as something I would consider buying… I might forget my affinity for 90 degree twins if, Indian put their new powerpant in something like Yamaha’s MT-01. I’m an enthusiast so really I’m just excited to see an iconic brand revived, and I hope it works this time.

  12. paul A says:

    If you think you see a bunch of Harleys on Craigslist, wait till everyone starts selling to buy an Indian. The only bike cooler than a Harley is an Indian. Polaris knows this and that is why they acquired Indian. It’s the only way they can ever beat Harley.

    • MGNorge says:

      Rather sad I think, that so much is placed in a named so as to be cool! There are many great motorcycles available today for just about anyone. Too bad that so many place so much in a name!

      • paul A says:

        The really sad fact is that a lot of cool bikes never make it to America. I would rather ride a 300 Ninja than anything Harley or Polaris sells. I guess I’m just old and uncool.

  13. Gary says:

    Cool video. And if you haven’t seen the movie, “World’s Fastest Indian,” starring Anthony Hopkins … you really should. Great flick.

  14. Dave says:

    Who cares?

  15. mickey says:

    My dad rode Indians until they went out of business in 1952 or 1953 before switching to Harley Davidsons. That was 60 years ago. Dad’s been gone a long time now. The last actual riders to see new Indians roll off the assembly line are close to 80. Even if you were a kid like me who was 3 when they went out of business, you are retired and on Social Security or very close to it. Who can even remember Indian not from a magazine, or book or mc museum? Even Burt Monroes Indian was an Indian in name only from what I have read, with Munroe building his own motors and running gear not like anything Indian was producing. Who remembers Indians? Unless you are talking about new Indians with S&S engines from a company who left a few riders and dealers high and dry when they failed time after time. Just can’t imagine very many stepping up to own an Indian.Who is clamoring for full valanced fenders and fringe? And their ads in the mc rags are ridiculous, trying to say those who would own an Indian are more bad, more Lone Wolf, more non conformist than those who ride Harleys? I guess we will see. After all the new Excelsiors were a big hit. NOT!

    I do wish them luck though. They’ve invested a boatload of money. Hope it pays off for them. Just can’t imagine it happening though.

  16. Shriker says:

    Great job Polaris on getting Indian off the ground with solid innovation engineering and vision. Lets see some standards tourers and sporting bikes down the line……

    • John Bryan says:

      Should the fact that the Munro Special’s frame looks a whole bunch like a Norton Featherbed give us any hope for something more sporting than a big cruiser? Or is it just an example of convergent mechanical evolution?

  17. Hair says:

    Posers will pose. I realize that Minnesota is a long way from the salt lake beds of the western US. But in this case the boys from Minnesota had to drive around the Great Salt Lake and the site where land speed records are made and kept to get to Lake Poser.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “Posers will pose.”

      While it definitely won’t be setting any land speed records, that tribute bike is a work of art which I think is all it “poses” to be. I am so relieved Polaris chose to build something like that rather than some goofy Jesse James styled chopper as their brand hallmark.

    • Tom R says:

      A nasty comment, Mr. Hair. Really don’t think they deserved it.

      • Hair says:

        Maybe if they wanted to honor Mr. Munro they would have stepped up and gone for a new land speed record in their class. After all I bet that Mr. Monro drove right past lake Poser to Bonneville.

        • Hot Dog says:

          Look at the positive side of it, it comes with it’s own trailer. The boys from Minnesota got it pegged that trailers aren’t for just poseurs but boats too. Uff Dah, Ya sure!

        • Tom R says:

          Maybe they will…but even if not, their effort is appreciated anyway.

    • Norm G. says:

      relax, it’s called marketing.

      • Gronde says:

        Right Norm, it’s just marketing. I hope that all the hopeful Indian wannabe riders realize that this bike has nothing in common with the vintage Indian except that little plastic Indian Chief light mounted on the front fender. People will spend $25,000-$30,000 just so they can say they ride an Indian. It would be a lot cheaper to shop EBAY for an authentic tiny plastic Indian light and stick it on a KAWASAKI Drifter….which has as much Indian in it as this latest offering from Polaris. Really.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Nothing in common with a vintage Indian? I don’t really get your point. The hardly revealing silhouette flaunted by Polaris looks like it could be a modern evolution of the classic Chief to me. A modern Triumph has nothing in common with a vintage Triumph, but I don’t think that diminishes the brand any or its link from past to present despite the fact that the mark was resurrected. Like Norm said: it’s called marketing. An Indian is an Indian because there is a culture and mystique built around the name that becomes part of the machine. If Polaris does this successfully, then you are looking at an authentic Indian.

          • Gronde says:

            The only authentic Indians were built long before most people posting here were born. If anything it an authentic Polaris motorcycle.

    • Halfbaked says:

      I’m having a little trouble following your comment but are you trying to say that the Land Speed Racing competitions held at Lake El Mirage where this was filmed are some sort of a fraud in comparison to those run at Bonneville. I don’t compete in these events but when we trail ride out at El Mirage during the timing events they are achieving some pretty serious speeds.

  18. Jeremy in TX says:

    Polaris is really committed to Indian. I just really hope that they have a vision beyond cruisers. I’d love to see some sporty standards, sport tourers and even a scrambler or adventure bike built around a new engine platform at some point in the future. Probably won’t happen, but its nice to dream.

    • BlackCayman says:

      It defys logic that “if” Indian had stayed in business all these years, that they too would slavishly churn out ONLY 50 year old tech cruisers….

      They could pull a “Triumph” and make more than just modern classically styled MCs

  19. Klaus says:

    The big question is – is it as fast as Burt Monro’s?

    • todd says:

      not hard to beat 40 – 50 maybe, horsepower…

      • Tom R says:

        Sarcasm alert!

        • Klaus says:

          Seriously, is this “Spirit Of Munro” just a good-looking tribute advertising the Indian brand name or does this thing really go? The original managed 295 km/h (183 mph) in 1967 using a 1000cc engine.
          I assume the “111” stands for 111 c.i. which is what – more than 1800cc. It’s a legitimate question if this modern “Spirit Of Munro”, built to showcase its awe-inspiring power and performance of the new engine, filmed on the Salt Flats, is capable today of what was achieved in 1967.

          • FAST2WIN says:

            It most certainly is capable. But this machine appears to be much more of a stock eng. It would need to make some seious h.p. to match the original munro special. You can you tube the original engine being fired at a bike show somewhere, and it sounds like a top fuel motor. Very nasty and pissed off. That motor was over the top hand made and had to make a ton of hp. for what it was.

  20. Michael H says:

    I have to hand it to Polaris – they are making a huge commitment to reviving the Indian brand. Nothing is low-budget, at least so far. New engine, new design, brilliant marketing, etc. The kind of commitment that the iconic Indian brand deserves. It’s good to see it happen and I look forward to the introduction of a new line of motorcycles at Sturgis in August.

    Think about that for a moment…..’the introduction of a new line of motorcycles’. New everything. New dealer network, new engine, new frame, new designs, all the engineering, the mock ups, the testing….this a remarkable commitment being made by Polaris. When was the last time a manufacturing company introduced a totally new line of motorcycles?

    Having said that, I expect that 3 seconds after the new Indian line is unveiled, armchair experts will find a lot to dislike. Too expensive, looks cheap, no small-displacement model, no tank shifter, no Zamboni version, no flathead engine, etc. Motorcyclists are like that.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “no Zamboni version”


    • dino says:

      I just hope it has big seams on the gas tank!! Maybe a chrome beak to appeal to the ADV crowd as well..

    • Den says:

      Call me ingnorant, I am from Australia but what is a Zamboni engine? I thought a Zamboni was an ice rink thing.

  21. John Bryan says:

    Hmmm…guess we’ll have to wait and see. Burt Munro’s Scout (original and LSR versions and everything he built in between) was built as a sporting motorcycle – not an 800 pound piece of butt jewelry. If Polaris is REALLY serious about reviving Indian once and for good lets see something in addition to another big chrome crusted road crusher. Something light, powerful and fast maybe?

  22. Wendy says:

    Oboy, another unmuffled V-twin, Just what America needs. Another cruiser, just what America needs, Another revival of a brand that has failed in the marketplace, (many times) just what America needs. I am very aware that 60% of all motorcycle sales in the States are cruisers, but damn, the same old same old? Let’s not forget, the signature skirted fenders on the post war chiefs made them wander at highway speeds.

    Some folks are going to lay down the bucks to buy these nostalgia machines, but there are better bikes being built, and they aren’t selling new wine in old bottles.

    • paul A says:

      America doesn’t need the revival of Indian, America wants the revival of Indian. If at first you don’t succeed….It’s the American way.

  23. Provologna says:

    Here she is, the latest new Indian Scout, $18,999 msrp base. Looks great. Good rendition of a modern “classic” cruiser.

    I just might have to take one out for a test spin. Haven’t owned a bike in a few years (owned about 70 prior). At my age, if I rode a street-only bike it might just be a cruiser.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Here she is, the latest new Indian Scout, $18,999 msrp base. Looks great. Good rendition of a modern “classic” cruiser.”

      well “here she is” in regard to price. the new bike is the CHIEF and we don’t know what it looks like till prolly Sturgis.

    • BlackCayman says:

      I’m pretty sure that is a previous Indian MC, prior to the coming rebirth under Polaris ownership

  24. YellowDuck says:

    Well, it had the intended effect on me. I went immediately to the Indian website to see what I could learn about the new engine. Sure is puuuurrrdy.

    Seems like may they are really going all out this time. Maybe this latest incarnation of the brand will be for real?

  25. Provologna says:

    Wow…we’re all motorcycle fanatics, or we wouldn’t be here. So I’m biased and I admit it. Still, that was one of my favorite video commercials of all time. Highly enjoyable. Music was orchestral, no robot drum tracks (yeah!), original, simple, tasteful, and used to support the screen images rather than distract from them and draw attention away. Well done overall.

    Hoping the new bikes live up to the quality shown here, and wishing Indian all the best.

    I’m only about 90 minutes NE of the Salt Flat. Wish I could have been there.

    • TimC says:

      Kinda neat but has nothing on the “Kenny Roberts at the Indy Mile” one.

    • Tom says:

      I’m with you Provologna – I thought the commercial was great. I’m guessing I must be the target demographic (even though I’m not a “cruiser guy” ….

  26. Donald says:

    Great marketing of what looks like a solid product.

  27. RAD says:

    Want to see more on this.

  28. Norm G. says:

    whoa, Daytona was back in march. please tell me indian isn’t just now releasing this info…?

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