“With the White Devil we wanted to build a clean, fast little bike, a little bit different than the norm for us, but it’s out there for the characters who like that a little bit more than the flashier bikes that we have. No jockey shifter, it’s rare that we don’t put one on,” said Bobby Seeger, head honcho at Indian Larry Motorcycles.
The White Devil is a deviation to the norm from the current team that puts their hearts into making motorcycles in the vein of mentor “Indian Larry” DeSmedt. As Seeger mentioned, there’s no jockey shifter or foot clutch. The frame hasn’t been twisted into thick steel braids, and no engraving adorns the cyclinder heads or covers. But the motorcycle is still a rippin’ ride in its own right, and making bikes capable of knifing through the bustling streets of Brooklyn ranked high on Indian Larry’s priority list.
So it comes as no surprise Seeger teamed that 1851cc S&S powerplant, complete with signature Indian Larry logo pushrod covers, to a damn near indestructible Baker 6-into-4 transmission. When it comes to aftermarket transmissions for the V-Twin sect, Bert Baker’s name is at the top of the list. The shiny pedal of a kick starter sits off the right side waiting for the right person to boot it to life, like Arthur extracting Excalibur from the stone. A series of cylindrical shapes, including the air cleaner, oil tank and points cover form a tidy triumvirate on the bike’s right side. On the left, the black strap of the open belt primary stands willing and able to unleash a little hell to the chain final drive feeding White Devil’s 180mm backside.
Leading the charge is a narrow Sportster front end mated to a tall, skinny, spoked hoop. Multiple “Question Crosses,” universally known as the Indian Larry mark, have been cut into the front rotor with a Brembo caliper completing the braking package. All this sits at the end of a narrow fork that leads up to Indian Larry Motorcycle’s unmistakable “Throwback Risers.” Little “Baby Apes” made in-house, gloss black like the frame, rise above the sloping angle of the bike’s backbone.
An S&S 113 cubic-inch powerplant mated to a Baker 6-into-4 transmission, all carefully spooned into a wishbone frame, is at the core of the White Devil.
Indian Larry Motorcycles Bobby Seeger admits the White Devil is a bit different from what they usually build, but the deviation from the norm is deliberate as it broadens the appeal of their shop.
Does the artwork look familiar? It’s the ‘Hellion’ from the cover of Judas Priest Screaming for Vengeance album.
Perched upon that backbone is a trademark Indian Larry dished gas tank sporting white paint and black flames artistically applied by long-time painter Robert Pradke. The famed winged Indian Larry logo rightfully sits in the recesses of the tank. A small seat pan wrapped in leather became complete when the “Hellion” from Judas Priest’s Screaming for Vengeance album was carefully etched in its center. True to form, the bike is free of frivolities, pared to the core essences of a motorcycle, made to be ridden like the hounds of hell themselves were chasing you. All this while maintaining a clean aesthetic that’s easy on the eyes.
Indian Larry Motorcycles’ White Devil has been making the rounds. We first saw it at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show (IMS). The bike then headed back East for its guest appearance at the New York IMS before heading down south for a short stint at Bike Week. Now it’s on its way to Minnesota for the Donnie Smith Show before heading back to NYC for the upcoming International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center.
In the meantime, it’s business as usual at the Indian Larry Motorcycles shop on Union Avenue in Brooklyn. While Bobby’s out representing the company on the road, John will be holding down the fort, working on everything from ground-up builds to fab work to service jobs. Elisa will be busy pumping out American-made products and apparel at Genuine Motorworks. Popular Indian Larry Motorcycles parts like throwback risers, twisted downtube frames, dish tanks and valve stem caps will be shipped all over the world. And the spirit of Indian Larry will continue to ride in the hearts of those who knew him best.
And Seeger is a guy who did know Larry best. While we talked with him about the White Devil, we couldn’t help but ask about how he and Indian Larry became friends.
“We had a lot of mutual friends. The first couple of times I seen him outside of Iron Horse was at Andrea’s, the girl who tattooed him a lot. That’s how I started seeing him more on a ‘How ya doing?’ basis, when he wasn’t so tweaked out of his face,” Seeger said.
“It just kind of went like that. When we’d meet, we’d never talk about motorcycles. It was always talking about ‘Hey, I know this little cheap, Chinese massage parlor. (laughs) It’s great. Let’s go for a steak and go check out this bar.’”
“There were worldwide trips, city-to-city, state-to-state, he bought one of those goofy Sprinter vans and we said “F*ck it, we’d pack the shit out of it, and just go. And we’d hit massage places from city to city. People would go like ‘Yeah, yeah, you were just banging in the back’ and I’m like, ‘Are you f*cking kidding me, you stand on your feet or drive all day and your body hurts!’”
After Indian Larry’s untimely death in August of 2004, his closest friends teamed up in an attempt to keep the spirit and style of Indian Larry alive. The fantastic four of Paul Cox, Keino, Bobby and Elisa formed Indian Larry Legacy out of loyalty and respect for their irreplaceable friend. Since then, Keino and Cox have gone on to pursue individual projects while the Seegers continue to bear the torch under the banner Indian Larry Motorcycles.
‘We could of whored out plenty of times, you know, but we chose not to. We chose to keep taking baby steps in front of us and maintain the integrity of the brand the best we can,’ said Seeger about Indian Larry Motorcycles.
“We could of whored out plenty of times, you know, but we chose not to. We chose to keep taking baby steps in front of us and maintain the integrity of the brand the best we can. I believe we’re continuing on that pretty well. We haven’t closed, we haven’t sold out to Walmart. Don’t get me wrong, we could use the money, but it would totally kill everything. When he was alive, they offered us a bunch of money, but it would have cheapened everything quickly,” Seeger concluded.
Despite the death of their friend, the disbanding of the original “Legacy” shop, and a series of personal trials, the Seegers press on. When Superstorm Sandy pummeled the upper East Coast, Indian Larry Motorcycles set up a relief and donation drop off for Breezy Point and the Rockaways.
“I know a lot of those people out there. I used to spend my summers in Breezy Point. It’s more nasty than you could imagine because TV doesn’t show that. So we put up something on Facebook because there was a bunch of people around here who wanted to help.”
So Seeger made trips to the area with necessities donated by local stores and restaurants eager to help out.
On a personal level, the Seegers have had to deal with the tragic passing of their son Aidan, a victim of a debilitating disease called adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD). While the wounds of losing a child will never truly heal, Elisa and Bobby have been working hard to ensure that other families won’t have to suffer the same way they did by lobbying the New York Senate to pass “Aidan’s Law,” a bill that would require the state to screen newborns for ALD. Ultimately, they would like this law to be adopted nationally so no other angels are lost to this disease, and with a determined Elisa
and Bobby’s father leading the charge, Seeger says assemblymen keep signing up, it’s making good progress and “It’s gonna happen.”
One thing is certain. The Seegers won’t let life beat them down. They’re hard-working people with big hearts who push on in spite of adversity. They stay true to their friends and family, true to the American dream, and true to the spirit of Indian Larry. And somewhere high above Gasoline Alley, we believe old DeSmedt is looking down smiling upon them, wishing he could take a whirl on the White Devil.