“Modern To The Minute” 1935 Indian Motorcycles

By Chet Billings, Photography by Indian Motorcycle

From the January 1935 issue of Motorcyclist magazine

The first Indians came to town. The brethren gathered, looked and rode. Then came the verdict, “This year, more than ever before, Indian is going to town.” Along with the rest we tried them out. As usual there was that first interest in balance, dig-out, and lack of vibration. Yes, we even uncorked a little of the higher speeds. And, it was at about that point that we went into fourth speed, an optional feature of some of the new models. It was our first experience with a fourth speed forward on a motorcycle. It’s hard to describe the first thrill of that old rush of air and road-all without that feeling the motor is turning over to the point of laboring. It was like speeding up a motion picture; things coming at you, all the sensation of getting somewhere but minus the worry of too many revs. Yes, the new Indians have the appearance of slipping along and handling well. They ride the same way. But let’s get back to the catalog.

To read through the list of features for 1935, with many options in connection with some, is more like scanning a story of motorcycling as we might expect it to be a couple of years from now than as it is actually to be in 1935.

From the set of the handlebars, the sweeping lines of the fenders and the flowing lines of the tanks right down to the chain guard and muffler the attention streamlining has been paid is evident. It has received careful attention on all models.

New colors and new tank designs are another contribution to appearance. There are three-color and two-color combinations. Briefly, the former offers black frame and forks with all of the following: Light blue and yellow, dark blue and silver, dark blue and cream, and Chinese red and silver. In the two-color combinations the frame and forks are of the predominating color, the combinations being as follows:

Blue-dark blue and light blue, green-dark green and light green, red- Indian red and Chinese red, brown-dark brown and cream brown. In both the three-color and two-color combinations the darker color predominates while the lighter is used as trim. One-color standard jobs are still available as follows: Indian red, black, dark blue, silver (black frame and fork), and Chinese red (black frame and fork).

In 1935 all cylinders and heads are to be nickel finished, an item which should be considered in connection with appearance.

The Indian “B” motors are to be standard in all stock models, it being felt that these large motors bring the power and general performance desired by American motorcyclists. A new “Y” motor, built with heavy duty cylinders and special high compression aluminum cylinder heads of aircraft design, is available in the 74 Chief, the 45 Scout and the Sport Scout (only), for those riders who want even more power and speed.

One of the outstanding new offers for ‘35 from the Indian factory is optional tranmission. This means that it is possible to have a 4-speed transmission (four speeds forward) on the 45 Scout and the 74 Chief. Anyone desiring the higher gearing, the means to added miles per hour without increasing the turnover of the motor, can now sate his fancy and at a cost within the means of nearly any cycler.

As a part of the optional transmission offer a three-speed forward and reverse is available for the 45 Scout and the Chief. There is nothing more desirable than a reverse gear on a three-wheel job. It will save its cost in pushing-in nearly any tongue.

Cam ground “T-Slot” pistons are retained in the ‘35 models, their performance thus far having been satisfactory. When the aluminum of the pistons expands faster than the cast iron of the cylinders, due to the not round shape and to the T-Slot, there is a very close fit without danger of “sticking.” Pistons of this design keep in perfect alignment because slap is reduced. In the net a smoother and more perfect running motor is secured.

By Chet Billings
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