I love a great story, one that takes me back to a world before my time. And as you know every great story has a beginning, a middle and some even have an end. But this story hasn’t ended yet. In fact, I think this may be just the beginning.
Indian Motorcycles is a great story, and as the story goes right now, it has me sitting on the edge of my chair. I’ve been a motorcycle guy for over 40 years. Growing up, my world revolved around everything I could get my hands on that could give me any information to what was going on out in the world of motorcycling. Living in the Midwest in the ’70s, information was a little slow to arrive, but when it did I hung onto each picture and every word. Yes, as in the printed word. We didn’t live in some futuristic world of instant information, video on a whim or hand-held telecommunication devices that kept us current with the media…you know, like socially. Magazines told us of what in the world was going on, and we liked it so much we saved them in stacks. For you folks living in the future, that means we didn’t “delete” them.
We are living in a period where we can witness the Indian Motorcycle story as it unfolds. We already know how the story began, and much like those folks living around 1901 when George Hendee and Carl Hedstrom put their collective heads together and started it all, those who followed it through the local newspapers watched it unfold in real-time. They were living through the era of racing board track, the beginning of the Isle of Man TT, World War I, and “Cannonball” Baker as the Indian story progressed through the ’20s. I’m sure around 1915 they weren’t sitting on the edge of their seats, but as news goes people will follow. No one thought they would ever see the end of the story in their lifetime. We often live our lives not thinking like this, but it’s still true today. What has happened in your lifetime that we take for granted, not thinking how many more chapters there will be?
Like any good book there are chapters where the reading gets a little dry. Around 1953 all production was halted and the company went bankrupt. With several attempts over the years to revive the Indian brand it was discovered to be harder than one would think. Deep pockets and big dreams can get you far but it takes more than that. It takes a hero to come in and save the day and that hero is Polaris Industries. A company with the know-how and the wherewithal to make it happen. The secret ingredient? I believe it’s the people. Just as George and Carl were the guys to kick it off, the people behind Polaris Industries have the passion and desire and more importantly – a track record to make it happen. The Indian Motorcycle brand is a story within itself, but the real story is its success. Polaris, quietly building Victory Motorcycles for years, shakes the industry up with the new Indian Brand. Not only did it garner worldwide attention, but as a side benefit, it pulls Victory Motorcycles into an even brighter spotlight. This story can only get better.
The Indian Motorcycle Brand has found a good, permanent home with Polaris. A rough and rocky road for many years, Indian can now be the Brand it so deserves to be. When you are passionate about something it’s easy to get excited about it. I’ve been a passionate motorcyclist for many years and it isn’t hard to spot the kind of enthusiasm building behind Indian Motorcycles. I know there is so much more to come and it’s happening in real-time for us.