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"The new Thunder Stroke engines are manufactured in Osceola, Wisconsin and then shipped down to our facility in Spirit Lake, where the bikes are put together," said Scott Wine, CEO of Polaris in an Aug. 5th interview with Bloomberg. "I think Polaris is the rightful owner of the Indian brand. We started with the snow mobiles in 1954, the first American manufacturer and now we are the first manufacturer of motorcycles." The iconic brand became America's first motoryclce company in 1901 and enjoyed a storied 40-year run before being sold in 1945. Nearly 60 years after the last authentic Indian rolled off the line in Springfield, Massachusetts, Polaris Industries was able to rescue the beloved brand.
The 2014 Indian Chieftain and the old motor that inspired the new one -- photos courtesy Walt Lumpkin.
Polaris launched Victory Motorcycles, a new brand 15 years ago and purchased the Indian brand in 2011. They launched the new Indian Chief with the new Thunder Stroke engine a few days ago at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The more economical, but extremely reliable and stylish bikes are certain to be top competitors for Harley-Davidson.
The Indian Chief is priced at $19,000 - The Indian Vintage at $21,000 and the Indian Touring bike at $23,000.
"We are hosting the first-ever Indian Factory Tour as part of a weekend of events," said Art Welch, co-owner of the dealership. "There is really a lot of interest in the new Indian Chief. We gave 143 demo rides on the new Indian from noon to 6 pm on August 14, the day the new Indians were launched."
"The Price Is Right," said Jamie Elvidge in a review for CycleWorld. " Someone looking at a Heritage Softail -- the same buyer the Chief Vintage is vying for -- might see a price tag swinging from the H-D that's $3,500 less, but to make the bike compatable, he'd have to pony up for the Twin Cam 110 ($5,000), ABS ($1,200) and chrome for the fork, hand and foot controls ($1,259.) Plus, the Harley's seat will be vinyl instead of leather, and internal handlebar wiring, cruise control and keyless ignition aren't event optional.