My fascination with Indian motorcycles started at a young age. I'm a fourth generation motorcycle guy and my family was never really into the lifestyle aspect, we just always had motorcycles around. I still feel uncomfortable when people don't have motorcycles or parts in the house or garage. I often ask new folks with strange amazement. "You mean you don't even have a moped squirrled away - really, nothing?". Well, my family was fairly normal middle class except for two of my uncles, who ride, and are bad, bad men. I'll just leave it at that.
We had a period photo of a 101 Scout up in the work shop for the longest time. So I was aware of the brand. In 1983 I started to do some research in the public libraries. I was blown away when I discovered what an icon of American motorcycling Indian once was. I was hooked and even looked into getting patent trademark rights to the wordmark. A local graphic designer had beaten me to it, and was into the legal end of the process already. So I needed to get me an Indian. It was just a dream at the time.
My number one girl (my daughter)
striking a pose.
The Antique Motorcycle
Club of America (AMCA) now
has a judging class for period modified bikes.
young guy in college who was racing Japanese 400-750s for fun. Riding a
harley shovel, and working construction jobs when I could - Indians were
distant on the horizon. I didn't know anyone in the Indian community, and
had never seen any Indian motorcycles around. I joined a British motorcycle
club and found a 1968 T100R in boxes to restore. I've restored and sold
a few bikes since then. But held onto the T100R. It's a good handling runner,
with great mid-range torque. Perfect for all day riding on river roads.
The parallel twin engine was never intended to go over 500cc displacement
based on it's intital design.
Fast forward to 2002. Living on the west coast now in a motorcycle mecca opens your eyes to many wonderful things. Had met many guys with a simular antique motorcycle passion. Being still elatively young I think many of them were curious if my interests were just some sort of fad. I started to participate in a few local events and met even more great people primarily though the AMCA. I was shocked to learn just how big the club was and real happy that I had found like minded people.
I got a call one day from a good friend who knew that I was hot and heavy to get my hands on an affordable American bike to restore. He had been contacted to help assess and clean up an estate. It was a huge job and the family really needed some help getting things sorted and sold off by some honest guys that could help them, not fork over some cash and walk away. I put three solid days of labor into my effort and called in buyers who I knew would be very interested in certain lots and wouldn't dicker too much over a good deal. The family was really appreciative and asked me what I was interested in. The Chief weighed a ton when I picked up the main frame compared to the scout. My older buddy got great amusement out of this. The Chief wasn't for me - figured I could do more with the Scout as a rider irregardless of completion value. He also had a good laugh when I stated that there weren't that many parts. "Is that it"? Yup, he says - that's it. About 70 percent of the Scout was gathered up so that was a big factor also. Also I like bikes that have some sort of racing petegree or history. The Sport Scout certainly had it.
Sitting in the truck on the second day. My good buddy decided to pull a fast one on me just to see how badly I wanted the bike I guess. So he phones long distance to one of his collector buddies and offers the Scout to him! I'm yelling at him while he was on the phone: "What the heck does he need need another Scout for! He's got tons of Indians! I got nothin'! Tuh HELL he's gittin my Scout! I've waited 20 years for this. THAT BIKE IS MINE!" Well I guess I proved my point, and the phone conversation died down a bit. My buddy looks at me with a big smile after he hangs up and says. "Well, you got yourself an Indian Sport Scout to restore". He was just pulling my leg, and braggin' to one of his buddies at the same time. Geees.... He almost gave me a heart attack. I gave the widow a good chunk of cash for my bike. I felt it was more than fair, and could continue to sleep very well at night. I shortly will be showing the kids of the family the completed bike. We're still in touch.
Fast forward again to the start of the restoration process. I discovered the bike was Canadian military and very local in fact. No offense - but military bikes just don't do anything for me. I've kept all the military parts so that someone can convert if they want in the future. I could have created an exact fake 640 civilian full skirt Sport Scout -but that's been done alot. The more research I did the more I became fascinated with racers and bobbers. In the words of a youth, "WAY COOL!" I was hooked! Very few guys of the time kept the bikes stock. These things were stripped down quickly. Meeting and yakking with Bill Tuman and Bobby Hill helped. The real direction of the restoration happened when a good club friend offered me an original paint '34 rear period correct bobber fender for the bike. YA! I figured this is what a sporty guy would have ridden around on just after the war. So the bike would be very accurate with a slight "mod to the bob".
Scout frame and parts spread out on the floor
the frame and aligning the forks.
After begging a few club members to purchase parts that were sold off over the years things started to come together. Every part has a memory or story behind it. Meeting good people, and making good friends along the way. My previous owner had the bike for 22 years, before him another fella to a widow. So figured I better breathe some life into this old girl before I die. The frame straightened out with heat and an extended pry bar. Cast iron was nickel welded by myself in the family barn. The rear frame showed signs of being cart wheeled sideways, or so I initially thought -more on this later. The bike was without doubt used as an off road motocross bike or flat tracker probably up till the late 50's - early 60's. It was never registered with the DMV.
The girder forks needed special attention for proper alignment. Just whacking in some new bushings didn't interest me. We rebored, trued & line honed the bolt holes in forks also in relationship to the neck braces which were indexed (you can see a small machined flat spot on the round which gives you an even relationship to hole center on each side). Care was also taken with the alignment of links and spacers. This would ensure proper pivoting action. Nice to have things work the way they were initially intended to. Quite frankly alot of the stuff come out of the old wigwam didn't see a quality control process. Sport Scouts were an after thought and never saw the design development that the Chief received. In relation Chiefs are simple to restore due to this fact. You get the impression when restoring that the Scout was designed and built to be easily stripped down. Well... I did, that's my impression.
Original rims were used. Powdered coated rims and hubs. Stainless spokes from Buchanans were glass bead blasted for a flat cadmium look. I built the wheels myself, I'm thankful as I discovered that the rear off-set of my bike was off 3/4" from the specs quoted in the military manual. The first rider of this machine had also discovered this and had tried a few farm yard tricks to try to correct it. He had bent the subframe to the right and had cocked the rear axel in an attempt to align the drive chain sprockets. Not the best solution I felt. The geometry of the bike was reverse engineered by myself so that I could order a custom set of spokes for the proper offset. This major pain in the butt correction went a long way toward building a bike that tracks and rides true and is balanced. I have a permanent smile on my face now when blasting down the highway or pushing the bike into a nice set of river curves at speed.
I painted the whole thing with brake caliper paint on a hot summer day with little wind. Just hung it from a tree in the back yard. Sun baked it. Smaller parts were baked in kitchen oven. A semi-gloss baked enamel finish. Very tough stuff.
The lower end wheels and cases were set up by a local "very seasoned" flat head expert. I prepped and put together the rest of the stuff myself. Working on each item as a separate project and bringing them together for a completed whole. Working this way will give you a little hope. Small steps completed. Bigger picture getting closer.
35 degree- SS valves, new springs, guides (one made oversize), Heads had 22 broken fins that needed repair. I need another set of heads for stroker engine (any condition good). '47 scraper installed. Pretty much stock stuff.
Once the engine was running, trouble shooting and numerous oil leaks needed to be resolved. This process doesn't happen overnight and takes a lot of time also. I really enjoy the process. Nothing can beat the pride and joy (and fear) of taking the first ride on that old girl that you've restored yourself. The hundreds of hours, the pain, the misery, the money spent. All that pays off instantly and is forgotten when you have it tuned up right, and roll on the throttle coming out of the last set of swooping curves on a beautiful sunlit road. OOOOH YA! Just a little taste of heaven.
I'm currently building a 57" stroker engine for this bike. All go - and no show. A modified beast for maximum umph. Just to see what the old girl can do up against some larger displacement machines.
I purchased items from many dealers for this stock bike. I also made alot of items myself. I didn't buy anything off of ebay for it. Isn't that strange. I'm going to have to change that, but I keep getting sniped. The prices are so ridiculously high on ebay half the time. I can't afford it.
Major Blunders I pulled:
Figuring out the different choke positions of the carb. Couldn't get it started initially. I was choking it out.
Another major blunder has got to be not grinding down a tap to chase the treads on one of the plugs in the oil pump. It felt real firm even with tape. Someone had done this many years ago, and without something to compare to it looked and felt OK. Well, It came out. The low pressure oil stream cleared the exhaust pipe and drained the oil down the highway, hanging up the valves and loss of compression. Had to resleeve after only 350 miles. I was in complete denial at the time it happened. No worse sound than that of the rings scraping/grinding up and down inside the barrels.
Rolling chassis assembled in work shop. A real milestone! You can now sit on the bike to see how it feels. Scouts are really low slung bikes. They look bigger in photos
|Wrong coil used. Must be non-resistive
for hotter spark. It ran -but fouled the plugs real quick.
Tanks are still leaking and I've given up and will interior coat them with POR15 now. Iron Horse Corral tanks from Matt Blake are on my wish list. Something I should have done initially. But for now I like the patina and waves of old age shown in my tanks. They look right on the bike.
Most of my modifications were implemented to make cost effective functional changes to a bike that was specifically built to be ridden. Priority number one, was getting it on the road. Get it running right. Fancy, expensive, rare stuff, will have to come with time. I did give it the odd present every once in a while.
Six function digital bicycle speedo - mounted
on engraved pivoting flip door, in dash hole.
Faked the horn and the head lamp shell. Running a sealed halogen headlamp.
Modifications to be implemented:
Heat wrap tape (black) around headers (no burnt foot surprise). Breathing out of primary chain case (oil fill hole, top), I don't have the heart to drill my stock 640 cases for breather. May put a double breather on the stroker. Modern lip seal on mag drive, install bobber seat, buddie Scout seat or sprung pillion seat. New transmission gears. Two teeth up on front sprocket (18 to 20).
Have I met any women with the Indian?
Well, I'm not a biker life style kinda guy. I'm way beyond that and pretty low key. I'm built like a fireman and talk the corporate language. I don't like to scare women off with how passionate I am about motorcycles. I slowly inform them and look for reaction - hopefully a slight interest or just curiosity. Once they get to know me a little better and I feel comfortable. I open the gates and show them just how deeply involved I am. I.e. Baby - can you handle it? It's pretty darn serious.
I wear a European style flip-up full face helmet. Best of both worlds, I feel. It's up and open most of the time, especially around town. I love the wind in my face. It's a really great thing to have in a sudden down pour or at dawn/dusk with the bugs. Or to kill the wind on a long boring highway ride. I also find a full face helmet allows me to hear the engine at speed. I usually only put my ear plugs in if I know I'm going on a full day ride. I need to hear that engine. It's a motorhead thing.
Note the difference between the Canadian military OD green on the oil cap, compared to the American OD green of the ignition switch. Ampmeter is wrong. Note (in big photo) shim washers used as spacers on front forks. An exacting comfortable fit. These need to be measured and replaced with solid spacers.
You can see how the speedo door pivots around on verticle axel. Then it slides down 1/4" to lock in place. A Canadian enginuity thing. Hee-hee... or lack of funds. The LCD numerals are nice and big for visability. I should have spun the wheel to activate it. It works in miles or Kms. I ike the maximum speed, trip and clock features.
|I can't honestly say that I've met a woman as a direct result of the Indian. BUT!!! I've had women walk up and kiss me while sitting on the Sport Scout warming it up before leaving a bar. I've had women give me a big cutie smile while crossing the street in front of me when stopped at a light. I have no hesitation to follow them down the side walk with the bike if I'm interested. A good reason to carry a small spare helmet on top of pillion seat. I've had women give me a big smile when stopped beside me at a light. I broke down once (dead battery) on the side of secondary highway. It was real hot and no shade so I took my shirt off waiting for buddy with cables to arrive. A real pretty woman drove by in a convertible, did a U-turn, and asked me if I needed a hand. I stupidly said, no thanks - I was OK. Just waiting for a friend. I wasn't thinking, and was worried about the bike. She gave me her business card. Hee-hee-hee... I laughed later thinking what a huge idiot I was.||
guess I'll have to give it a go this summer maybe. Some women like motorcycles
and some don't. Some women who ride modern Harley's actually do know what
an Indian is. They in particular are attracted to the mystique of the Indian.
It's different. You're different. It's the curiosity factor. I like to
be open and friendly, non-threatening looking, willing to spend some time
talking to a pretty lady explaining to her a bit (don't over do it) about
the old motorcycle that runs. I.e. "How comfortable the ride is, the throbbing
pulse of the engine, how it handles curves, etc". Time well spent.
If you do find a woman that wants to tear your clothes off after a brief ride (usually indicated by the fact that she's not really holding on - she is in fact groping you), I would strongly recommend bracing or blocking up the tires, the whole bike against a solid object if possible. Use the center stand, not the side stand. Find something to do while the bike cools down a bit. Suggest a riding position and look for a positive reaction. Strangely, some women get excited about this stuff. I could care less either way. But anyhow... don't put alot of pressure on the tanks or dash plate. Show her how to hold the handle bars in different positions. Make sure your leather seat has had recent weather protection treatment. And ahhhh....Enjoy!
Don't get the wrong impression. I do have a few morals. I'm kinda old fashioned - it's all about the right chemistry with me. I prefer long term relationships with direction. Indians really do it for me.
Women like a man who rides an Indian. It's sexy. This woman would "KILL ME" if she ever found out I took this photo. Ohhh well, it's tasteful - or she is, or something to that effect.