Thunder Stroke 111 – Indian Motorcycle’s V-Twin

March 10, 2013
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Introducing Indian Motorcycles new powerplant  the 1811cc Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin.
Introducing Indian Motorcycle’s new powerplant, the 1811cc Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin.
Heres a view of the left side of the Indian Motorcycle Thunder Stroke 111.
Here’s a view of the left side of the Indian Motorcycle Thunder Stroke 111.
The view of the right side of the Indian Motorcycle Thunder Stroke 111 isnt bad itself.
The view of the right side ain’t too shabby either.
Indian Motorcycle also debuted the Spirit of Munro streamliner built around their Thunder Stroke 111 engine.
Indian Motorcycle also debuted the ‘Spirit of Munro’ streamliner built around their Thunder Stroke 111 engine.

The pulse of the new Indian Motorcycle Thunder Stroke 111 powered to life Saturday night in front of a packed house at Dirty Harry’s on Main Street when elated American Picker Mike Wolfe flipped the switch. After whetting the appetite of the public with sound bites of the first Polaris-developed Indian V-Twin over the course of the last few months as the Indian display traveled across the country with the IMS, the striking new powerplant with the ribbed heads was a hit with the large Bike Week crowd gathered to witness this next evolution of Indian Motorcycles. The striking engine will power the 2014 Indian Motorcycle projected to launch toward the end of this year.

“Everyone involved in the design of this motorcycle line understands that we are the stewards and caretakers of one of America’s most storied and legendary brands. We’ve worked tirelessly to retain the truly iconic characteristics of the brand and combine those elements with advanced technologies to deliver a new Indian Motorcycle offering exceptional performance and truly unsurpassed reliability,” said Polaris Industries Vice President of Motorcycles, Steve Menneto.

With a throaty rumble and a deep cadence you could feel in your bones, the 49-degree V-Twin will deliver a claimed 115 lb-ft of torque. It is an interesting design, with the parallel pushrod-equipped mill utilizing three camshafts and two valves per cylinder paired to hydraulic valve lifters. A left-side air intake rests just above a six-speed overdrive, constant-mesh transmission mated to a multi-plate wet clutch with an aluminum basket. The system will be fed by electronic sequential port fuel injection while power is meted out by electronic throttle control. While Indian states that the Thunder Stroke 111 has already undergone over one million miles of various testing, the true test lies ahead with the release of the first Polaris-designed Indian Motorcycle. But if what one of Indian’s lead designers Michael Song says is true, and Song should know after recently riding a Thunder Stroke 111-outfitted motorcycle, we should be impressed by both its power and smoothness.

But Indian Motorcycle wasn’t content to solely treat the crowd to the sight and sound of the new V-Twin. They also debuted a custom-built streamliner named the “Spirit of Munro” built to house the Thunder Stroke 111. Named in honor of Burt Munro’s, “Munro Special,” a 1920 Indian Scout that shattered the under-1000cc land-speed record in 1967, this is not a mere replica. Complete with a custom chassis, exhaust, and intake, it features a chain drive conversion for the tall gearing requisite of a streamliner. And of course, it was painted in Munro Indian Red. For those attending Bike Week 2013 who wish to see the “Spirit of Monro” for themselves, it will be on display at the Indian big rig outside of Daytona International Speedway.

Engine Overview

Displacement – 111 c.i. (1811 cc)
Engine Torque – More than 115 ft-lbs (160 N*m)
Engine Type – 49 degree V-Twin
Cooling System – Air Cooled with Integrated Oil Cooler
Idle Speed +/-50rpm 800 RPM
Max Engine Speed 5500 RPM
Valves per cylinder – 2
Actuation – Three-Cam, Pushrod, OHV

A peek at the Thunder Stroke 111s internals.
A peek at the Thunder Stroke 111’s internals.

Lifter – Hydraulic
Compression Release – Yes
Bore – 3.89 in (101 mm)
Stroke – 4.45 in (113 mm)
Target Compression Ratio – 9.5: 1
Balancer Type – Helical Gear Primary Balancer
Drive Train
Primary Drive Gear 55/86 ratio 
6-speed Overdrive constant mesh
Spur/Helical 1st Spur, 2-6 Helical
Gear Ratios (overall)
1st 9.403
2nd 6.411
3rd 4.763
4th 3.796
5th 3.243
6th 2.789
Final Drive – Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt 30/66 ratio
Clutch – Multi-plate, Wet clutch, Integral Damper
Fuel Induction 
Throttle actuation – Electronic Throttle Control
Throttle Diameter – 2.13 in. / 54 mm
Fuel Delivery – Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Lubrication system
Oil Type 20W-40
Sump type Semi-dry