An Open Letter to Indian

Oct 18, 2013 View Comments by

An Open Letter to IndianEditor’s Note: Mel Cearly is a grizzled veteran of the road, and as such is entitled to his opinions. The following is his idea of the perfect Indian, and you better believe Polaris knows it.

Attention riders!

If this catches your fancy, pick up your pen or phone and respond. Polaris does listen. You are their future. There is definitely a need for an American-made cruiser motorcycle that does not shake, burn, roar, and bottom out. American-made should be high on the list with American riders if the motorcycles are made for us. The hard-core, heat-intensive, V-twin shaker scene is not for everyone, hence the foreign makers success in the good ol’ USA. Indian of old was very successful for a lot of years because of their innovative technology. Polaris has the knowledge and technology to return the USA to the forefront of that market.

Polaris, you want to sell me an Indian? Here’s how.

First off, make it look like the three magnificent machines you have recently introduced. No other versions are necessary. They are gorgeous, just like the 1948 Bonneville Chief I drooled all over as a teenager in Post, TX. I had a hard time affording a bicycle then, now I can have any motorcycle I want. I have nine of them from 90 to 1800cc.

Second, give it a chassis like the fantastic Victory Crossroad series with 25° male slider forks, etc. Plenty good for anyone, maybe a tad more ground clearance to accommodate the new powertrain.

Third, this is the big one, do it and I will beat on your door with my checkbook in hand.

I want a Polaris designed V-four water-cooled engine with modern technology. 1300cc will be plenty, 80 to 100 horsepower with low-end torque and fuel efficiency, make it smooth for high-speed cruising. I’d also like a strong, smooth shifting six-speed tranny, with the top three gears close ratio and a somewhat low ratio first gear. Connect that to a trouble-free belt drive.

It would also be nice to have an option for aluminum fenders—I will gladly pay extra. An electric windshield like on my K 1200 LT Beemer would be a bonus but not mandatory. I’d also go for optional detachable bags and a trunk for touring.

A seat system my bride will love is also important. She can go all day long on the K 1200 LT with no pain, but alas, the big Beemer is too tall for my short legs and the extreme bent knee position is too painful for me. I’m committed to the cruiser platform for life. I’m only 83 years young, so I have a lot of years left to ride.

My motorcycle is my entertainment that has my full attention at all times. That’s why I’m still alive and riding after 72 years in the saddle. If I sound like a crotchety, cantankerous old fart, that’s because I am. So with that in mind, offer me the option of purchasing just a motorcycle like your new Chief—no stinkin’ radio, no stinkin’ ABS. I have survived almost three quarters of a century riding in the country’s worst traffic without having a complicated little box doing my braking control. I also don’t need a perplexing GPS to confuse my well-worn brain—getting lost is half the fun. Heated seats and grips are okay; we rush the early season and push the late season, so we welcome the warmth.

Okay readers, that’s about it. Let them hear from you, what would make your ultimate Indian?

By Mel Cearly

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