Among the giants of the motorcycling industry, one of the most famous is the Indian Motocycle Co. The company started off as the Hendee Manufacturing Company, founded by George M. Hendee back in 1897, and originally constructed bicycles. At first, these bicycles were primarily referred to as the ‘Silver Queen’ and the ‘Silver King’, but gradually the name ‘American Indian’ caught on. Later on, it was shortened to just ‘Indian’.
The name was suggested by Hendee and was used from 1898 onwards, as it provided improved product identification in export markets. Oscar Hedstrom joined the company in 1900, as Co-CEO. Hendee and Hedstrom were both former bicycle racers and they joined forces to manufacture their very first motorcycle with a 1.75 BHP, single-cylinder engine. Their motorcycle was a big hit and sales took off radically, bringing with it the brand recognition the company needed.
Out Comes the Spirit of Sturgis
In recent news about the Indian Motorcycle, updates have come out about the Spirit of Sturgis. It was a custom Indian Scout, manufactured by Klock Werks Kustom Cycles as a modern day representation of the original. The bike was owned by the founder of the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, J.C. ‘Pappy’ Hoel.
Hoel started his career by opening up a retail store, and formed a group that became known as the Jackpine Gypsies. The Jackpine Gypsies had the honor of organizing the first rally in their region. The rally, now known as the Black Hills Classic, has become the biggest and most globally recognized motorcycle rally.
From Canvas to Reality
The people at Klock Werks thoughts on the motorcycle were inspired by a unique painting by David Uhl. The painting, titled ‘Pappy’, was based on a photogrpah of Hoel sitting on his Scout with Hoel’s very own Indian dealership in Sturgis as the backdrop.
The bike's owner, Mark Marshall, approached Brian and asked him to build a bike as seen in the painting titled ‘Pappy’. The aim was not to have a replica of the older bike, but instead to design a vehicle that acknowledged Pappy and his sheer commitment to the motorcycling world. Motorcycle builder, Brian Klock was extremely excited about the opportunity to make the Spirit of Sturgis as it is a modern adaptation of the original Scout. Brian and his team believe that their work on the bike turned out amazingly, because it’s a rideable, custom-designed bike that carries a great legacy.
Marketing manager for the Indian Motorcycle Company, Reid Wilson, claims that they have customized a lot of old Indian Scout motorcycles, and the Spirit of Sturgis is a prime example of all this hard work. This effort aims to carry a small, yet powerful, message within the motorcycling world. The manufacturers seek to bring back the legacy and history of the great founders of the motorcycling industry, so that the passion that bikers all over the world have for the industry can be rekindled.