Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

Bryan's Blog

2009 Indian Motorcycles - Where's the Love?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
OK, I know Indian Motorcycles debuted their new motorcycles at Sturgis, all four models are listed on their site, and I've seen pictures from the grand opening of the first dealership in Charlotte, North Carolina. What I want to know is when is the press intro, Indian? There's faithful fans waiting to see if the new regime can pull this thing off and return Indian to its cult-like status, but as far as I know, nobody in the media has ridden one yet. I understand that Stellican Ltd., the new owners, have been very cautious in handling the line's release, but don't you think the general public would like to hear a little press on the product before they plop down $30-$40 grand?

This is by no means a slam to the new ownership. On the contrary, we would love to get a chance to test one out. When I interviewed Indian Chairman Stephen Julius back in May of 2007 he came across as an intelligent, passionate guy that was determined to right the ship. So my question now is - Where's the Love, Indian Motorcycles? All we want is a chance to ride and give the people an impartial, fair assessment of the new bikes. So when is the intro? Who do I have to wrestle to get on the list? I thought we were buds, Julius. 

Certainly, I jest, but I am keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get an invitation.

2009 Indian Chief Standard 
Post Tags: 2009 Indian Motorcycles, Chief, Scout, Charlotte Dealership
Follow on Google Plus Follow Bryan Harley on Google+
Blog Archive

Login or sign up to comment.

rob -cybermallinc November 12, 2010 04:30 PM
i have a pair of side mounted blue & green bullet lights? i'm not sure if they are for a boat or motorcycle of what? somebody on ebay just offered 100.00 to end the auction. i'm inclined to let it run. anybody know what these are for?


my email is cybermallinc@comcast.net

Edward Hutton -Indian Rider September 22, 2010 06:18 AM
Hi Guys, I own an Indian Chief Roadmaster (2002). I am having intermitting starter problems. The start relay works. I have checked the voltage going to the sart solnoid (11.85 volts) It will not start. If I place a jumper from the positive terminal to the solinod, the starter will engage, bnut not from the start switch. Any ideas will greatly be appreciated. Eddie (edwardhhutton@msn.com) (603)293-8234
mmm! -Is there really such a thing as a all American Indian m/c. March 21, 2010 06:13 PM
I'm overseas and considering a new Indian as apposed to a second/h bike. To me it seems that the only real Indian bike was late 40's. It really is a shame that a bike with such character seems only a past reality. I think that If the Indian company is serious then they will need to address the concerns raised. It has to be all American or its not an Indian.
Poster Title Comment Date Approved Edit Delete -Gilroy Indians, King's Mountain Indians November 9, 2009 09:05 AM
As I reported early in this thread, I was the first or second one to own a new 2009 Indian. The bike is a clone copy of the 2003 Indian with some minor improvements and major set backs.

As many of you already know, I purchased the Gilroy engine program from PAS in late 2006. I manufacture that engine under the name Crazy Horse. The engineering to correct the mistakes on this engine took years to correct but this is not the place to go into that project.

We sell to custom bike builders and supply parts and service to Gilroy owners as well as new Indian dealers. I am very happy to say that Gilroys POWERPLUS lives and can be seen in major bike builders like Dave Perewitz, Ron Finch and other top builders.


The engine cases are made from the exact same mold that Gilroy developed and produced. Yes, the 09 engines are cast from left over Gilroy molds. The molds were made by National Pattern but Indian made some changes to convert the engine to fuel injection...S&S style.

The engines are cast in Canada by Ramsden. They did change some minor things on the engine. The name “Indian” on the casting now says POWER PLUS. The cylinders no longer have liners and are instead nikasil plated. The engine is fuel injected. The ignition and fuel system is made in Italy and is not very impressive when compared to the Thunderheart system Gilroy developed for this engine. Gilroy prepared the “bottle cap” engine for fuel injection and had proto type fuel injection engines using Thunderheart components. I have one 2003 bike with the Thunderheart fuel injection system on it and I an tell you that Thunderheart's system is smooth, powerful, and light years ahead of the system on the 09 bikes.

The new engine has S&S pistons and flyweels. The pistons are slightly larger in diameter (because the cast liners are gone) so the cubic inches is now 52.5 inches per side or 105 as they call the engine. In other words, the cylinders have a larger bore because they are missing the cast liners. Is this good or bad? Time will tell. Harley does not do this and neither does S&S. I credit Indian for trying something that has been proven in the dirt bike world...at least they are trying to innovate the USA V-Twin engine technology.

The frame is exactly the same. The geometry is the same. Side by side there is not one bit of difference between the Gilroy frame and the King’s Mountain frame except I can see the welding quality was much better on the Gilroy frame. The new frames come from Italy. The rear pivot point for the swing arm is the same as the Gilroy which was known to be too low by 1/2 inch. Lowering the Gilroy mono shock Chiefs was problem prone due to this gemometry error. The rear belt skips due to this pivot point being too low which causes the swing arm to jump upward during hard throttle which slacks the belt and causes the rear of the bike to drop. Those who lowered their Gilroys had to go to chain drive to solve the belt slip problem but lowering that suspension robs the overall swing arm travel.....not good if you ride where the streets are bad. Some bikes suffered shock mount failures due to lowering the bike too much. The same issues are present on the new bike.

The transmission has the same mounting but is now a six speed Baker instead of Gilroy's Korean made five speed. The inner primary is the same but the outer primary is narrowed in the middle and has less oil capacity. The primary is made by Baker as well.

Nearly every part on my 2003 Chief is the same. My seat fits the new bike. My rear fender fits the new bike. The dash fits but the rear mount is now vertical. The forks are the same but they work better due to some internal changes. The tank is now one piece but it fits on the Gilroy frame (which is the same frame as I said) with only a slight mounting change. The new dash will fit the Gilroy tanks with minor adjustments. The speedo is larger and there is a fuel level gauge. The handlebars are fitted with Japanese controls and the hand levers dig into your fingers like Jap controls do. You cannot beat the nice rounded hand levels (Harley Style) of the Gilroy Chiefs. The wiring to the controls is exposed rather than hidden in the bars. The whole handlebar, levers, controls is no match when compared to the Gilroy bikes. The wheels and tires are all the same. The front brakes sport two discs and work great but I would say too great.......you can quickly lock up that front tire which was more difficult to do on the Gilroy single disc brake.

The electrical system is much improved........maybe........we went through ten rear light bulbs in 8900 miles.

I had serious problems with the bike from the start. The engine cases leaked and had to be replaced at the 300 mile mark. The oil pump failed. The ignition system would not allow me to run smoothly at low rpm and downshifting was impossible because the throttle response was terrible.

The bags supplied with the bike were very low quality and the fasteners that keep the bags closed fell off. The factory tried to fix the bag fasteners but their fix did not work. They finally replace the bags with bags that had belt type fasteners.

The 2009 bike is not worth the 38K I paid. I had far more miles towing the bike for repairs than I had actually riding the bike.

We rode the bike 8900 miles and then had some issues that put me over the edge. I returned the bike.

I want to say that I purchased the new bike expecting that it was going to be new from the Gilroy bike........meaning new frame, new bike. That turned out to be false. I expected this 38K bike to work perfect, since Indian had advertized for years that the delay in release was so they "could get it right". The bike turned out to be plagued with problems.

I want to end by saying that I am not upset with the experience. In all of our issues we got great service from Chris, the manager of the company. I am glad there is an Indian Motorcycle Company and we should be thankful for this. The bike is a new bike to the current owners and while they fixed bugs found on the Gilroy bikes they created new ones with engine and other components.

I cannot recommend the bike for purchase. It has too many issues at this time, much like any new product. If you want this style of bike then buy a used Gilroy and fix it. Would I buy another one? Yes, but I will wait until all the bugs are gone. Our team pointed out many of the problems. We presented the issues honestly and we worked together with Indian to solve them. We have a good relationship with Indian and we sell Gilroy parts to many of the new Indian dealers.

I seriously wish more folks that purchased these bikes would speak out. It would help Indian fix these problems. To those that believe I have a hard on for Indian,.......well go buy one and report on it first. Ride the bike and then tell us from experience.


John L. White
CEO, Crazy Horse Motorcycles
LOU from Montana -Indian! Not for everyone!! November 6, 2009 06:46 PM
Back when G W Bush was King and when all the Uppies started to buy Harleys I nearly wanted to puke! A great bike with a totally ruined image. Once while at the North Gate of Yellowstone Park some hardass biker on a Harley was making converstion with me. His tone and tuff guy attitude was about as much as I could take. I finally had to ask this mocho man what line of work was he in. I was expecting to hear that he was a Mafia hit-man or a Detroit steel worker. When he told me with a red face that he was a Kenny's Shoes Sales Excutive I nearly craped my pants. This became the image of the new Harley riders. Tuff guy wanna-be living a fantasy life. I truely do not mean to disrespect real men who ride Harleys and it is OK for a man to sit behind a desk to make a living but give us Real People a break with the tuff guy image.

I ride a Indian because my father rode one after the Korean War. All he had was $150 bucks and he bought a rideable 47 Indian Chief with torn saddle bags to trans port himself from rodeo to rodeo in hoping to make enough money riding saddle broncs to get drunk and make it to the next town. This was the therapy for a war vet. At age ten I found his old photo sitting on that bike and the image of an Indian motorcyle was forever ingrained in my mind. I am now fifty years old and I proudly own three Indians Motorcycles an 2003 Chief, 2002 Indian Spirit and a Kawasake Drifter (Japanese remake of the Indian Chief). I proudly ride these bikes as a memorial to my father, his service and being a free American. I have people approche everywhere I go and ask me about the ride and performance, I get thumbs up and women have ran out of bars and jumped on the back asking for a ride (wink*). There is no other bike that will draw attention like an Indian. I am sure my father the X-Marine, War Vet, Rodeo Star and all around drunk cowboy had his share of stories to tell while riding an Indian.

Riding a Indian or a Harley does not make you a tuff man. Being a rider with a respectful voice for a fellow man makes you a MAN!

John White -2009 Indian August 14, 2009 10:41 PM
I think I was the first or second one to buy a new 2009. I know for sure that we have put more miles on it than anyone to date. My advice, wait a couple of years. It might save your life.
Wheel52 -Be careful what you wish for!!! August 11, 2009 03:20 PM
Not everything is Shining is GOLD !!!
NE KS Indian Owner -2009 Indian Chief is Awesome! July 5, 2009 10:06 PM
After 29 years of riding motorcycles and wanting a vintage Indian through many of those years, I now own an '09 Indian Chief Standard I bought a month ago. What an awesome bike! She floats down the highway like I'm riding on a magic carpet. The ride is so smooth and the bike is well-balanced. Great on curves, needless to say. I am so pleased with my Indian motorcycle. Price is high-end for sure, but the components/equipment on the bike are high quality. I have owned less expensive bikes and the new Indian is definitely an impressive upgrade from other bikes available. If you have not ridden a new Indian, you cannot imagine what you are missing. The seat is the most comfortable factory seat I have ever ridden on short or long rides, real leather, too; better than aftermarket ones I have ridden on, too. I love the 6-speed tranny; shifts very smooth, without any lag in power from gear to gear. She scoots on down the road with 105 cubic inches between my legs. The Brembo brakes are outstanding. I love the fuel injection and digital tachometer. I love the sound of it. With all the factory chrome, the new Indians are head-turners without being gaudy. Some HD bikers don't want to be seen checking it out, but they are! Suspension is awesome. Fuel consumption for me has been between 35-40 mpg, depending on wind conditions, interstate/highway/backroad speed, etc. I would love to see some printed reviews on the new Indians in the mags, too. After spending 1700 miles on mine so far, you now have this positive review. Several people have asked me if I have restored my Indian. They are surprised when I tell them it is a new machine. IMC needs to buy some air time, because unless you are an Indian enthusiast, it appears that a large majority of people, motorcycle owners included, are not aware of the "new" Indians. What a shame! I have been waiting for one and I love riding it! The new Indians retain a 108 year heritage reminiscent of the good ol' days, combined with current engineering and technology, creating an awesome bike to ride and own. Vintage improved for the rider's advantage. The Indian has a large presence and makes an overt statement that people notice. If you don't want a mainstream V-twin, then buy an Indian. They are awesome and you will be glad you did! And yeah, the Indian "cool factor" definitely exists!! Even my husband proudly tells guys, "It's her bike."
Bret -Indian ( the name ) June 27, 2009 08:48 AM
What is everybody bitchin about, If they are overpriced dont buy it.I have owned Harley's for years. I had a chance to get a great price on a 2003 Indian Spirit Roadmaster ( yes it leaks oil with 2000 orig miles )right before Daytona Bike Week. I took it & my Dyna & Ultra. After a couple of days you couldn't get me off my Indian since then I am trading my Dyna in for a 2002 Chief with 3000 miles all because I have fallen in love with brand. If they made a Touring model I would trade in my Ultra. Bikes are about how you feel & look, these Indians draw a crowd where ever you go. If they keep the price at $25 to $35k & expect to sell 700 to 1000 per year it works for High end sports cars ( Ferrari, Lambo, etc. ) & keeps the value of the brand where it needs to be. Go for it & good luck
RB -Over Priced Iron June 26, 2009 08:57 PM
re: Pop - re: Where's the love? December 22, 2008 11:23 AM Pop, don't ya think you should own up to being a company insider? $30k+ is to much for these bikes. I don't care if you make just one! The 2009/2010 market will not support this kind of pricing.
jaydog -30-40 grand WTF June 12, 2009 08:32 AM
I too would like the new Indian bike to succeed. But it seems they are going for the high end BMW -Audi crowd with the price. Even most Harleys cost way too much with a dealer markup of 60-75%. Yes you are buying an American bike with a history behind it. General Motors is American (and taxpayer/union owned) with 65% foreign sales. What company makes the best bikes??? compare specs. and the Japanese bikes kick ass on anything so called American--compare specs on a Suzuki Intruder1500 LC /Boulevard-C90 with the new Indian Chief and they are very similar at a third of the price!!!!! . Lots of parts on a Harley are made in China electronics etc. and alot of Jap bikes are assembled in The U.S. and the new Indian Motors is owned by British interests. So the choice is status--coolness factor---or price certainly not quality or where a bike is made
Gypscrew -Indian Motorcycles June 1, 2009 01:46 PM
I think selling a basic bike such as these indians for $30,000 to $35,000 with only 105 cubic engine is a complete rip off to the max. Now I wont apologize to any of the Indian Motorcycle lovers out there but there is no sense in paying so much for motorcycles such as these. It's completely stupid since you can get a Triumph Rocket III for a lot cheaper and it is by far better quality then these Indian Motorcycles. Triumph Rocket III/Triumph Rocket III classic (non American, version, yes, you can get two different versions) 140" cubic engine, 2294cc, Shaft driven, etc etc. Even a bike such as a Triumph Rocket sell for $15,000 to $17,000. Indian Motorcycles = good ol American scam artist pricks. I would love to get a Indian Motorcycle but for the prices they want, they are doing some serious crack smoking. I suggest they just shut down that business now. These bikes are in no way collectors and are in no way built for such a price. I can see the Indian Motorcycle company shutting down again. If they really think their bikes are all that and a bag of chips, I suggest they should drop the prices down to about $14,000 to $16,000. These bikes are not even worth $20,000. It's a complete waste of money. I looked at the building part of these bikes and they are nothing special. Like the other guy said on here, Polaris/Victory got the pricing right. Victory and Triumph are good quality bikes for good prices if you look at standard bikes. Triumph Rocket III/Triumph Rocket III classic, Triumph Thunderbird, Victory 8-ball, and Victory Vegas. Although the 8-ball is priced properly, the Vegas itself are still a little high but a descent paint job nonetheless. I mean come on, Even Yamaha Motorcycles are better and at the right price. For Indian to put such a hefty pricetag, I hope they crash and burn. freakin scam artists running that business.
KC Cheef -2009 Road Master May 11, 2009 09:12 AM
Well? I have 4300 miles on a 2009 Road Master right now. Issues thus far? 1. Foamed up pressurized oil bag from the first day. I'm talking whipped cream foam--not just a few bubbles. 2. Oil leak that I couldn't track down from day one. 3. Oil light came on and stayed on at 400 miles--called the factory and they told me faulty oil pressure switch--go ahead and ride it with the light on.(I couldn't do t--long story) 4. Sent it in for the 500 mile service. Long story short it was stolen from the dealer and hauled back to Kings Mountain. Had the cases replaced because they were porous--bad castings. Had the oil pump replaced because it was out of spec. (Can you say foam machine?) 5. Rode it back to Kansas City from the factory. 1500 miles of miserable riding. NOT a comfortable motorcycle out on the highway. 6. Oil out the air cleaner. Covered the bags and seat and cowlings and rear tire. I was told it isn't that much. Had to clean the filter every 200 miles. 7. Seat is cheap ass as hell--another long story. Right now the seat is back at the factory trying to get upgraded to something at least acceptable cosmetically. Saddle bag lost their latches out on I-70--dumped a whole lot of goodies all over the road at 80 MPH. Those latches are some of the cheapest crap I've ever seen. Anyone doesn't believe it send me your email and I'll send you the pics. I have a $33k motorcycle (that'd be before tax title and etc.) setting in my garage with a seat off my Gilroy Cheef--no bags--and I'm not especially a satisfied customer. Hey Harley--don't hold your breath for an invite from Indian--I seriusly believe they are holding away from that because they know the kind of review this bike is going to get. Hell--it's a cheaply built Gilroy. Hey Harley--give me a call and come ride this thing for a couple hundred miles. Only payback is your honest assessment of the bike.
xnihilo -Bets are on! May 6, 2009 11:20 AM
Wonder when they will file chapter 11?
Shawn -They are really really nice April 21, 2009 07:40 PM
I recently had the opportunity to put about 100 mile on one of the beautiful machines. I rode both the vintage and the standard and let me tell you they are amazing. They may seem a bit pricey in comparison to HD but when you take a closer look at the detail it is much higher quality than the HD Heritage. They didn't overlook anything and you get 105 inch Indian engine "Power Plus" that puts out a lot of torque. If you get a chance to ride one don't pass it up.
Redline Rider -Indian Motorcycle Apparel April 2, 2009 11:15 AM
Did you guys see the Indian Motorcycle Apparel....It's a great way to show your Indian Motorcycle Pride http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/store/categorypage/tabid/178/c-6-caps.aspx I also heard that they will have a Women's apparel line coming out in a few weeks.
Dampened Spirit -Loyal Indian Customers March 21, 2009 01:40 PM
There's a whole group of Gilroy Indian Owners who took a leap of faith in buying a "Legend". I would think that the "new" Indian would have serious interest in attracting these owners to the new bikes. How about some support on service, bike-accessories, parts, trade-ins, etc? And I don't mean "T-Shirts and boots! Love to have a great Trade-up to the New Chief offer.
Shocked -Comment on "Where's the Love" February 26, 2009 01:44 AM
Pop You sound like the CEO of the company, or at least someone who works there. They will go under. It appears the company's business strategy was to market high-end motorcycles to people with expendable money. Screw the middle class for a buck. I guess they figured they couldn't keep up with production if they had the price where it should be. Under $15,000. Even if I was rich and had the money to blow, I wouldn't do. I'd go buy a real Indian for the same amount of money. It will appreciate, not depreciate like these unproven, over-priced guinea pigs.
Indianrider321 -Where's the love December 26, 2008 06:27 AM
I got the chance to ride the new Vintage at the Charlotte store this week and let me tell you, it's well worth the price. I've had HD's for the last twenty years and even their CVO products don't even come close to the quality the new owners have put into this machine. I think this is a great time to intro the new Indian because if they can show succeed in this economy, there's got to be great things to come.
Pop -re: Where's the love? December 22, 2008 11:23 AM
I'm old enough to remember the originals and the checkered history and I own a 2003 Chief Vintage which was the flagship of the Gilroy California lineup. It was overpriced in '03 at 24k. A CVO Ultra today is overpriced at 35k and the new Indian is overpriced across it's range too. So? A fundamental difference in the three and that is the CVO Ultra is being let in 4000+ units which is 3250 or so more units than the new Chief. Not just the new Vintage model but all the new Indians together equal a 750 model run for '09. Due to the limited run and other personal reasons the new Chief is desirable to a few. Is 750 a few? In motorcycle riding terms, yep. Hundreds of thousands at Daytona or Sturgis or Laconia. 750 is a drop in the bucket. The bottlecap mill which began in the 2003 Chiefs is now a fully refined fuel injected groundpounder and the rest of this new model is the product of dozens of engineers taking the platform to another level. There is a market for limited production iconic machines. The trick is getting the product to live up to expectations of that buyer that came through the door with his checkbook expecting to buy something different. If eyepopping retro styling and gobs of Vtwin torque is your cup of mud then Indian is offering what may be an heirloom quality motorcycle. Hard to put a price on that.
Tim -Change the Name December 18, 2008 08:44 AM
I'm too young to remember the original Indians. But ever since I've been into street bikes I've been hearing about Indians and their upcoming "triumphant" returns. I'm still waiting. Indian will never make the old motorcycles that people remember. I think the name is more of a hinderance for these start up companies than anything. It puts too much pressure on them and they crack. Plus, I think people want and expect the bikes to be like the ones from the "good ol' days" and it's just not going to happen so people dislike them.
CC Rider -Where's the love?... December 18, 2008 04:00 AM
Bad timing for a start-up company trying to break into the high-end m/c market. I'd like to see Indian survive, but I'm not sure they can with the economy the way it is. Some less active HD dealers are closing their doors, proving that the bubble really can burst. Meanwhile, a review on the latest version of Indian's best is long overdue. How about it, fellas.. When do we get to read something about your new steeds?
WilCon -Indian Motorcycles December 17, 2008 12:44 PM
$30-$40grand for a motorcycle company that hasn't stayed afloat in decades is too much. Economic downturn and legions of Harley Davidson's that are less expensive is not the key to success. I can't even believe the previous line, Harley Davidson's less expensive. Even Victory who had never built bikes before knew to at least match HD's price or yuo won't sell.