For more than 100 years, the Indian Motorcycle Company has been a motorcycle leader. IMC is committed to providing its customers with a unique riding experience and quality products.
Where are Indian Motorcycles made?
Indian Motorcycles are made in Spirit Lake, Iowa. The company offers the curious a tour of their facility to see how they assemble motorcycles. You can visit their office from 8 AM to 3 PM Monday to Friday if you’re interested.
So, you can rest assured that Indian Motorcycles are American-made. You can even say that it’s even more American than Harley-Davidson.
However, the company does have a production plant in Opole, Poland. According to Polaris, this is where they produce their off-road vehicles. An example of this is the Polaris Range Crew XP 1000 Premium and the Slingshot R, an open-air roadster classified as an “auto-cycle.”
A Quick look at IMC’s History
Indian Motorcycle is the first American motorcycle company. It started in 1901, Harley-Davidson began in 1903.
In terms of popularity, Indian Motorcycle has, without a doubt, captured the hearts and minds of the American public. It became the largest Motorcycle manufacturing company worldwide. Part of the company’s secret in their success was their passion for motorcycles, innovation, and winning machines.
However, their success was cut short in 1953 when they declared bankruptcy. A move forced the company to stop production of all Indian Motorcycle products. in 1955, Brockhouse Engineering bought the brand and used it to sell imported Royal Enfield (until 1960).
Although bankrupt and sold to a different owner, the spirit of Indian Motorcycle was always hovering in the shadows, or should I say limelight. In 1967, Burt Munro set a land speed record of 183.586 using a modified 1920s Scout (950cc). In 1977, under the ownership of Alan Newman, IMC went through another bankruptcy.
Indian Motorcycle resurfaced in 1999 through a merger with nine companies resulting in the production of Chief, Scout, and Sprint models.
In 2003, The Indian Motorcycle Company of America went into bankruptcy, effectively ending the production of all its motorcycle models. There was an attempt to re-form the company in 2006. In 2009, they released a limited number of Indian Chiefs with 1720cc Powerplus V-Twin and electronic fuel injection.
In 2011, Polaris Industries, the parent company of Victory Motorcycles, took over the production of motorcycles.
The rest is history, as they say.
Fast Facts about Indian Motorcycles
- George Hendee, the founder of Indian Motorcycle, was a bicycle racing champion, racing promoter, and bicycle manufacturer. In 1901, Oscar Hedstrom built his first gas-powered engine, which was dependable and capable of setting a land speed record.
- The first Motorcycle was a bicycle with a motor outfitted with a 1.75 BHP single-cylinder engine.
- The first racing bike with a very first V-Twin (aka V2) engine. A V-twin is an internal combustion engine with two cylinders arranged in a V-configuration, hence the “V2” nickname.
- Hendee Manufacturing Company was the company’s name between 1901 and 1923. In 1923, the owners renamed it Indian Motocycle Company. Yes, without the “R” in the word motorcycle (they added it later).
- The Indian Motorcycle Company introduced the first V-twin engine built in the United States in 1907. The Indian Motorcycle Company introduced the first V-twin engine built in the United States in 1907. It quickly became a commercial success and allowed IMC to set more records. One was a world record in sales when IMC sold old thirty-two thousand motorcycle units in 1913. When Erwin “Cannonball” Baker rode an Indian Motorcycle from San Diego to New York in 11 days, 12 hours, and 10 minutes the following year, he established another world record.
- Although the company started in 1897 as a bicycle manufacturer, IMC made its first motorcycle in 1901. His initial brand names were Silver Queen and Silver King. However, American Indian finally became the top brand that would eventually become a motorcycle manufacturer.
- IMC started setting records shortly after the production of their first Motorcycle. They won their first endurance race in 1902 during an endurance race from Boston to New York, officially making this the first public debut of IMC motorcycles. In 1903, Oscar Hedstrom himself won an endurance race while riding one of the Indian Motorcycles from New York to Springfield, vice versa. He also set a world speed record of fifty-six miles per hour.
- In 1906, Louis J Mueller and George Holden rode from San Francisco to NYC in 31.5 days; they accomplished this world record without any mechanical hitch. Talk about reliability!
- The iconic Indian Scout was first released in 1920 and instantly became a customer magnet. The Indian Scout was fast, easy to maneuver, and highly reliable.
Indian Motorcycle Versus Harley-Davidson
It’s common for people to compare Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle. After all, they are both giant motorcycle companies, and they have been at each other’s throats since 1903, the founding year of Harley-Davidson.
If there is one thing these two firms have in common, it is that they have had their fair share of ups and downs throughout the years. The only difference between them is that Harley-Davidson managed to continue its operation through several changes in ownership. The Indian Motorcycle Company had to endure multiple hiatuses due to bankruptcy; they were given a new lease on life in 2011 when Polaris purchased from and continued manufacture of Indian Motorcycles. They became an American favorite just three years after their resurrection.
The rivalry between the two is unavoidable and for obvious reasons – they have similar products, serve the same market, and race on the same tracks. However, you cannot deny that, because of the repeated hiatus of Indian Motorcycles, Harley-Davidson has had the advantage of owning the most significant piece of the pie. Plus, Harley-Davidson is known for its innovative products that meet the demands of its customers. An example of this is the 500cc and 500cc motorcycles that appealed to a broader market looking for a motorcycle brand they can afford and be proud of.
Despite the repeated Hiatus, the rivalry between the two motorcycle heavyweights never really disappeared. Every resurrection by the Indian Motorcycle Company brings with it the return of the rivalry. To this day, that rivalry is ever-present in the minds of motorcycle enthusiasts in America.
The motorcycle industry is full of interesting facts and figures worth knowing. We hope this article has taught you where they make Indian Motorcycles and a thing or two about this top-rated motorcycle company.
We hope that this article has answered your questions about the history of the Indian Motorcycle. If you have anything that you want to add or any questions that you like us to answer, feel free to comment below. We’d love to hear from you!