2014 Indian Chief Vintage “Elnora Edition” | ME & MY BIKE

I made this bike mine, but one day she will be crushed.

  • NAME: Robert Pandya
  • AGE: 47
  • HOME: Georgetown, Texas
  • OCCUPATION: Owner, SpokesPeople PR

I made this bike mine, but she isn't—not really. She's owned by my client, Indian Motorcycle. And one day she will be crushed. That's where this story starts.

When designing new motorcycles, prototypes are required. Prototype motorcycles are built, ridden countless miles, dissected, then ultimately destroyed as a liability precaution. Ignore the howls of protest from impassioned riders; this bike will die. But I’ll make sure she will ride to her final resting place in a blaze of glory.

This bike came to be when I was invited to participate in Don Emde's centennial ride celebrating Cannon Ball Baker's awe-inspiring ride across the US on an Indian V-twin in 1914. Most participants rode ADV bikes , but I felt there had to be an Indian motorcycle represented on the ride. Thus, a rather homely and scarred-up, 9,300-mile Indian Chief Vintage development unit was temporarily spared the ax and named after Cannon Ball Baker's wife, Elnora.

Mods to allow for off-road abuse include cut-down fenders, stiffer suspension, and a full-length bash plate fabricated by Jeb’s Metal and Speed. With a few hundred off-road miles planned, that last piece proved its worth with every clang of a big rock. Rattle-can primer was the right color. The trick to riding Elnora through deep sand was to not stop and to get slowed down at the same time! We made the 3,400-mile trip thanks to a custom Saddlemen seat and sans windscreen, though I do admit to using the cruise control. Modernity has its perks.

The bosses have not called for Elnora’s execution just yet, so she is getting prepped for further adventures in roadracing, land-speed runs, ice racing, and maybe even some flat-track and scrambles events. It’s not about winning; it’s about doing it! That’s what makes Elnora mine, I guess. I love riding and I love to challenge myself. So I decided to make history and respect the proud heritage of the Indian Motorcycle legacy at the same time by riding one motorcycle as much as possible—even though this one has a death sentence.