Christmas 2004 Special Issue

All the Best for 2005, Happy Holidays and Happy Reading! - Editorial Comment below

Alma 4
Click to go to the article Part 4 (and 5) of the Story of Mads' DIY Four.
So, there I was. A slight change of scene. Two days earlier I had boarded a bus... [more]
Durable Reliable Indian
Click to go to the article Al Campbell on Organization Theory and Grizzly Bears.
The best part is the Indian community itself...  [more]
Manitou - a Hybrid Chief
Click to go to the article Jack made this 1925 Chief his own.
These bikes were meant for open roads, not just for shows or museums.... [more]
Chief Overdrive Transmission
Click to go to the article A Visit to the Chief Overdrive Factory.
This plan actually involved a leap of faith, financial risk and some adventure... [more]
RF & Ron's LSR Chout
Click to go to the article In Search of Speed - Land Speed Racing Project.
We had created a monster in 20 minutes!... [more]
Shaun's Scout Project
Click to go to the article DIY Scout on a Budget.
All the other parts fall in with the original plan of being what was available at the right price (cheap or free!) at the right time... [more]
To save writers from spam, their email addresses are not posted in the articles. If you want to contact one or more of the writers to tell them you enjoyed their story, contact me (Moen) through one of the "Contact VI" links at the bottom of the pages, and I'll send you the relevant addresses. Or - even better - why not do it on the VI Mailing List? I am sure all the writers would welcome feedback and discussion of their story there. Sometimes the Internet Explorer program is set up to automatically resize large photos to fit the screen, which can be a problem if you run a small screen and/or low resolution. Here is how to deal with it and see the photos in their natural size.

There is a ton of extra reading material if you click the blue text links in the stories!

- -

A Brief Editorial Comment on Involvement, Warpaths and the Industry.

"Involvement" was the word slowly forming in my head while working with the stories in the current issue. Involvement in different flavors, and under different circumstances, but what unites these very different stories is a will to figure out a way to "make it happen" and then "go out and do it".

To a lot of people getting an Indian of their own seems an impossible dream. Running Indians are advertised at prices that are hard to take out of most household budgets, buying a basket case and fixing that up is almost always even more expensive than just buying a running bike in the first place. Indians - and in particular Indian engines - are, in spite of their seemingly simple construction, complicated to work on and it is not possible to build a good Indian engine without spending a lot of money on it.

It is however possible to save elsewhere. Back in primordial times, we had a "Warpath" page on the VI website. The general idea was to inspire those with more desire than money for an Indian to go out and put together their own approximation of the Real Thing, using as many or as few actual Indian parts as would fit their circumstances. And - by getting actively involved in the decisions, priorities and dirty fingernails associated with such a project; by putting part of themself into it - end up with a bike as "real" as anything from the factory.

I have the greatest admiration for those restoring their Indian to as close to factory standard as possible, or updating it to better cope with modern conditions or - not least - those preserving original and unrestored Indians for future generations to wonder at. But this isn't possible for everyone, and doing your best with what you have - under inspiration of the Great Indian Spirit! - and coming up with a unique and personal interpretation of what an Indian can also be is definitely a big part of what the VI is all about. From Geronimo over Tim's Chopper to Mads' DIY Four and beyond.

It is one of my biggest regrets that I have not had time to pursue this "people's Indian" idea further, but it is heartwarming to hear from DIY builders mentioning the VI Warpath page as an inspiration. There have not been any updates to the page for a while, and I don't think there will be in the foreseeable future. The structure of the VI website and magazine set up back then has turned out to be unsustainable, so more or less the whole "archives" section of the VI site is probably best regarded as a historical document, rather than scanned for new information.

I would like to take this opportunity to clear up potential confusion over what, exactly, "Warpath" means. Originally, it referred to our dream of combining new Sport Scout crankcases with whatever chassis parts were at hand for affordable "people's Indians". While the name is still loosely applied to such projects (though usually with Wigwam based engines), it is also the trade name used by Lyle and Rocky for their reproduction 648-style engine cases and other engine parts. I hope to be able to run an update on this in the next issue.

New Indian parts are definitely also a big part of what the VI is all about, and the VI has been an important link between - especially smaller - suppliers of parts and services and Indian owners. I have some ideas for how we can continue this, and maybe even step it up a little, but that will have to wait until next time. In the meantime, please check out the back issues and links page if you need anything for your Indian. The people and businesses here deserve our support. Without them it would be a lot harder (or even impossible - at least for those of us not capable of whittling our own parts from scratch) to keep an Indian on the road.

As some of you know, I try to make a living as one of these smaller suppliers, and I really should have spent the last few weeks updating my shop website rather than "playing " with the VI. My apologies to those of you faithfully coming back to look for news. I hope to get around to giving the site a thorough update soon, but now I think I will just sit back and read all the new stories again.

And then I will go down in my basement and get involved with an Indian project.


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