Indian Motorcycle Since 1901

A Bit of Background

Becoming America’s First Motorcycle Company

In 1901, bicycle manufacturer, racing promoter, and former bicycle racing champion George Hendee hired Oscar Hedstrom to build gasoline engine-powered bikes to pace bicycle races. The machine he created proved to be powerful and reliable, establishing the company’s reputation for outstanding performance. Later that year the company’s first factory was established in downtown Springfield.


The first Indian Motorcycle was sold to a retail customer in 1902, and later that year an Indian Motorcycle won an endurance race from Boston to New York City in its public racing debut. Racers went on to win events and establish records riding Indian motorcycles:


  • 1903 — Company co-founder and chief engineer Oscar Hedstrom rode one of his motorcycles to a new world speed record of 56 mph and won an endurance race from New York City to Springfield and back.

  • 1906 — George Holden and Louis J. Mueller rode an Indian Motorcycle from San Francisco to New York City in a then-record 31 1/2 days without any mechanical problems.

  • 1907 — American T.K. Hastings rode an Indian Motorcycle to victory in a 1,000-mile reliability trial in England.


In 1906, the first V-twin factory race bike was built. A version of the racing engine was introduced in consumer models for the 1907 model year, making the 39-ci (633 cc), 42-degree V-twin the first American V-twin production motorcycle engine.





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