Indian Celebrates 25th Birthday

Builders of “The Red Steed of Steel” Announce Many Refinements on 1926 Models and Will Mark Silver Jubilee Year with Unusual Sales Activity

From the August 1925 issue of Motorcyclist magazine

This year is the culmination of a quarter century of progress of design and manufacture.

We are inclined always to give special attention to these big divisions of time. We mark the decade, the quarter century, the hali century, the century, but in reality they are no more important than is each year as it flits by. The thing that these greater divisions of time do for us is to make us pause and spend a moment in retrospection, as one climbing a great mountain range might pause on the ledges to look back upon the way he has come. In reality each step has been important. Each step has brought him closer to the height he seeks and has been a factor in bringing him to the new levels.

So is it this year with Indian. The fact that this year marks twenty-five years of motorcycle manufacture means nothing but the fact that the builders of Indian Motocycles, the dealers, the riders and the industry in general can look back now and see the great improvement that has been made in the Indian in each of the twenty-five years means a great deal.

Indian calls this their Silver Jubilee Year. They will make of it a genuine celebration in the sales field and well may every Indian dealer and every Indian rider join with the makers of the Indian in this celebration. For the marking of this “half way to half century” of Indian Motocycles is more than a looking back over seemingly slow steps of development of a machine that is remarkable for its record of quick and economic transportation; it is a promise for the future.

The writer is not familiar with the history of Indian except from a riders viewpoint. He cannot recall at this time the various models that have contributed to the present-day perfection the factory has acquired by the sure process of holding fast to that which was best and discarding the features that were not desirable. Probably the Indian factory has made greater strides in this twenty-five years than they will ever make again in a like period.

In line with Indian’s established policy, there are no radical changes in the appearance of the 1926 models. There are many refinements and improvements that add immeasurably to the comfort, appearance and performance of the Indian line. In the three models, the Prince, The Scout and the Chief the Indian factory offers a complete motorcycle merchandising line that will immediately appeal to the trade as being the best and the most complete line of merchandise Indian has ever offered the dealer in light transportation.

The greatest changes noted in the 1926 models over those of last year are in the Prince. The Prince is changed in appearance. The 1926 model Prince looks more like an Indian and more like the motorcycle that it really is than it’s predecessor. This change in appearance is accomplished by the simple expedient of larger tanks and a stream lined top frame bar to accommodate the Indian line in the tank design.

In making this change it was necessary for the engineers to use a great deal of care as in a machine of this character it is important to keep the weight down and they were so successful in this respect that although they added materially to the appearance of the machine as well as the utility of it, in that the new tank holds 50 per cent more gasoline, they added very little to the weight. At the same time they took nothing from the wonderful riding and handling qualities that made the Prince such a favorite with the trade and such a real sensation among old and new riders. Really, to look at the Prince one would say that several pounds had been added to its weight, but the very small addition to the weight is more than compensated for in the pleasing appearance which adds materially to its selling value. One looks the second time to be sure it is not a Scout.

Another change in the Prince model which adds no more to the appearance of the machine than it does to the riding comfort it offers is in the saddle. The saddle on the 1926 Prince is the regulation Indian bucket saddle that has proven so popular with all motorcycle riders and makes a marked improvement in the riding qualities of the machine.

In all there are 17 refinements to make the Prince better and, if possible, more popular than it was in the first year of its appearance.

On the electric models a new type battery box is a feature. This box is so designed that it affords easy access to the battery, a very important improvement indeed. The side and top of the new battery box are both removable so that the battery can be easily taken out or given any attention necessary.

The new Keystone frame is in two sections and is made of heavier gauge tubing with reinforced joints and affords a secure anchorage for the motor. In addition to this feature the frame has been strengthened at the stress points, at steering head, at top and bottom of rear forks and where motor lugs are located, by the addition of vanadium steel tubing.

The generator is placed higher on the frame and the longer generator chain is quieter running. This chain is covered with a new design chain guard.

Easier starting is assured with a new special Indian-Schebler carburetor.

The rear chain guard is extended to curve over the sprocket.

There is increased clearance between the fork crown and the mudguard, an improvement that is always hailed with delight by motorcycle riders.

In spite of all of these changes and refinements, there is no increase in the price of the Prince. The factory list is still $185 without the electrical equipment and $215 with complete electrical equipment.

The regular tire equipment of the Prince will continue to be the 650 by 65m.m. as was used in the past season. However the 26 by 3.30 balloon tires are offered as optional equipment at $5 list additional. This balloon tire is the very latest design in this size and will fit the 26 by 3 rim.

During the past year, since the 1925 announcement of the Indian Prince, a market has been definitely established for a motorcycle of the character of the Prince. The Prince was designed with the idea of interesting an entirely new type of rider in the motorcycle as a means of rapid, comfortable, economic transportation. It has done this beyond any question. Thousands of new riders have been recruited by this machine. And in addition there have been many old riders who years ago left the motorcycle because of its weight and difficult handling, who have been brought back to motorcycling. Moreover, the Prince made a decided hit with the present-day riders. It was hailed as a step in the right direction and many a seasoned rider abandoned the big twin for the greater economy and riding comfort of the Prince. The fact of its improvement this year in the line of appearance and comfort will certainly bring more new riders into the fold as well as interest many who are now riding larger machines.

Outside of the sales field and of probably more interest to the rider who reads these pages is a listing of the achievements of the Prince in the first year of its existence and production. In this country it was entered in innumerable endurance runs where it proved its right to the name motorcycle and the Indian nameplate by often finishing with a perfect score on runs that were laid out for the larger machines. Probably the outstanding accomplishment of the Prince in this country was the climbing of Lookout Mountain, near Denver, and known to nearly all Westerners, in high gear. To some the climbing of Pike’s Peak near Colorado Springs will seem even a greater stunt for the little motor. It did this a few weeks ago, covering the 17 miles of steep road and taking the rider two and a half miles above sea level. It was a grueling test.

The foreign riders were quicker to appreciate the Prince than the Americans were and at once entered it in all sorts of competition. Three Indian Princes entered and finished with perfect scores, the London-Exeter, 24 hour trials. These trials were held under most trying conditions of blinding rain and floods.

An Indian Prince won the Paris-Nice reliability trial in the 350c.c. class with a perfect score. It made an average speed of 40 kilometers per hour over a distance of 1495 kilometers.

The Prince was the smallest motorcycle entered in the Cessnock Club reliability trials, New South Wales, Australia, and it came through the 196-mile grind with a perfect score.

Then in South Africa, on the Durban Johannesburg Road a stock Indian Prince ran 103.6 miles on a certified half-gallon (Imperial) of petrol. The performance is equal to 207.2 miles per Imperial gallon.

It is this sort of performance that has made the Prince a new and mighty factor in opening up a broader sale for motorcycles and it is this sort of performance coupled with the 1926 refinements that is going to make the Indian Prince even more sensational during the coming year.

There has always been something really remarkable about the Indian Scout. It was so from the very first. When the Indian motocycle Company developed this mount for the solo rider and brought it out in 1921, it instantly made a hit with all classes of motorcycle riders. While many of them could scarcely believe that a motor of the size and displacement of the Scout could give real motorcycling satisfaction that this little machine delivered, it took only a trial ride to convince the most doubting. They liked it, right off the bat. And the popularity it enjoyed five years ago it enjoys, increased many times, today. The Scout made a hit because it was a lighter solo machine and offered a relief from the bigger and heavier types that had been developed for the purpose of sidecar work. It had snap and pep and was comfortable to ride and easy to handle-an ideal solo machine.

The improvements that from year to year have been added to this popular mount have tended to make it more popular and no doubt there are many Western riders and others who are anxiously awaiting new developments brought out in the 1926 announcement.

To many, the new saddle will be the most important feature of the announcement regarding the Scout. The Scout will now be equipped with a bucket saddle, one of the greatest aids to riding comfort that has yet been devised.

Another great aid to motorcycle comfort which is supplied on the 1926 Scout are the 25 by 3.85 balloon tires. These two refinements were furnished as an option during the last half of the 1925 selling season, but this is the first time that they have ever been catalogued as regular equipment. They add the very last touch needed to make the Scout the real raring motorcycle that it is.

Then they have done some other things to the Scout that, while they are not so easily seen as the tires and the saddle, are fully as important to the operation of the machine. The ammeter is now enclosed in an aluminum housing and has self-contained switch, the same as is used on the Indian Chief.

The engineers have done two things in the design of the 1926 Scout to make for better cooling They have made the cooling fins deeper on the cylinder and heads which increases the cooling surface and they have provided larger exhaust tubes which will aid in the cooling process by relieving the motor of the burned gasses more quickly. Both of these are refinements in line with the best engineering practice.

Another refinement that has been borrowed from Chief construction is the cone type manifold and cylinder head connection. This will make the Scout smoother running, easier starting and more powerful.

A longer bearing has been provided on the transmission hand lever shaft.

The object of the engineers has been to give the motorcycle rider a machine that would handle a little easier in the traffic, have a little more snap in the open places where the speed limit is anything you can make, and at the same time make it more reliable and comfortable. The writer’s first impression after riding the1926 Scout is that they have succeeded in all three aims.

The changes on the Scout have added very materially to the production cost. Hence there is an addition to the selling price of this machine. Without electrical equipment the Scout now sells at $250 f.o.b. factory and $285 is the price with full electrical equipment. The change in price is smaller than one would expect after seeing the value of the improvements.

There have been some refinements added to the Indian Chief, too. That great, big, husky model that was designed for the sidecar fans who love to take their wives or sweethearts, or both, together with a basket of lunch or a tent and grub stake, and hit for the roads into the country, way out beyond the end of the good roads, where the going is tough and it takes a good one to get there, has some improvements that will make it just a little easier to take those long, hard trips.

To the writer’s mind the greatest improvement offered this year is in the brake. All automotive engineers have been paying a lot of attention in the last year to the stopping facilities of the vehicles they have been designing. The four-wheel brake has been developed for the motor car. Truck engineers have added to the braking surface on heavy duty vehicles. Many of the larger busses have been equipped with air brakes. It goes without saying that in traffic that stops quickly the motorcyclist must be able to also stop quickly.

The new Indian Chief brake is right in line with the best of automotive braking practice. It gives the rider practically the same braking power on his mount as do four-wheel brakes on the motor car or air brakes on the limited busses.

Foot starter improved. Gives greater leverage as compression increases.

Removable cap on cam case cover permits removal of generator without disturbing other parts

Larger tool steel keys rigidly lock fly wheel and pinion on shafts, making permanent assembly and alignment.

Transmission gear shift lever redesigned to insure easy operation.

Foot-brake lever lug and foot board lugs are now secured to top of frame tube giving greater road clearance.

The Chief brake is entirely new in design. It is external contracting and has two brake shoes which offer 20 1/2 square inches of friction surface to the brake drum. This means that the rider can grip the drum with the brake without locking the wheel, if he wishes, and still have a maximum of braking power. It is a known and tried fact that a brake applied to a turning wheel is more efficient than is a locked wheel. However there is nothing in the new brake to keep the rider from locking the wheel if he so desires. He will most certainly have the brake to do it with.

An important improvement will be noted in the riding position of the Chief. This is accomplished through a change in the construction and position of the handle bars, footboards and saddle. The seat post is being eliminated and through the combination of new stretched leather bucket saddle and improved spring acaction and spring suspension, the saddle position is considerably lower. This lower position sacrifices nothing of the advantages of the spring seat post. In fact, the new spring suspension and the bucket saddle offer greater riding comfort than has ever been offered on the Chief model before.

The footboards are raised and moved forward which greatly improves the foot-rest position and adds to a natural riding position.

The foot-brake lever lug and the foot board lugs have been placed on top of the frame tube in place of underneath as before. This gives greater road clearance and there are now no lugs on the bottom of the frame.

The kick starter has been improved in design. giving greater leverage as compression increases.

A removable cap on the cam case cover permits ready removal of generator without disturbing other parts.

Larger tool steel keys are used in rigidly locking the flywheel and pinion on their shafts.

The transmission gear shift lever has been redesigned to insure easier operation.

The price of the 1926 Chief remains the same-$335 f.o.b. Springfield.

To sum up the Indian 1926 models one must say: The Prince, last year developed and pioneered in the field as the Personal Motor, has been changed to look more like a motorcycle and more like an Indian, without losing any of the easy handling qualities that made it a strong factor in making sales in a new field.

The Scout, for five years a popular solo mount, will be made more popular by the addition of improvements designed for the comfort and utility of the rider. The 1926 Scout will ride easier, run faster, keep cooler, wear longer and look better than any of its predecessors. Incidentally, it will sell better.

A few improvements that mean better service from a machine already noted for its service-giving have been added to the Chief. To the rider who wants more power than he can use with either solo or sidecar and the maximum of comfort on the long, hard trips, the Chief will have a new appeal.

Indian Improvements for 1926

On the Prince

Streamlines now conform in beauty with Scout and Chief.

Additional comfort with Indian-Mesinger bucket saddle and lower saddle position.

New keystone frame in two sections and heavy gauge tubing with reinforced joints and vanadium steel tubing at stress points.

Tank capacity increased one-half.

Special Indian-Schebler carburetor makes easier starting.

Both top and side of battery box is removable, giving greater access to battery.

Generator placed higher on frame with longer and quieter running generator chain.

Rear chain guard extended to curve over sprocket.

Increased clearance between fork crown and mud guard.

On the Scout

Balloon tires as standard equipment.

New Indian-Mesinger bucket saddle.

New wrist-resting handlebars.

Ammeter enclosed in aluminum housing with self contained switch.

Deeper fins on cylinder and cylinder heads increases cooling surface.

Large diameter exhaust tubes improve cooling.

Longer bearing on transmission hand lever shaft.

Cone type manifold and cylinder head connection.

On the Chief

New outside brake having two brake shoes giving 20 1/2 inches of braking surface. Smooth in operation-positive in action.

Improved riding position accomplished through improved saddle suspension, handlebar improvement and foot board position.

The Prince looks more like a motorcycle and more an Indian-One looks twice to be sure it is not a Scout
The 1926 Chief will have a stronger appeal than ever to the rider who wants plenty of power for any hill, comfort on the long hard trips and speed prestige on the highways, either with or without the sidecar
The 1926 Chief will have a stronger appeal than ever to the rider who wants plenty of power for any hill, comfort on the long hard trips and speed prestige on the highways, either with or without the sidecar
Prince front fork with balloon tire
Scout removable cylinder heads
New saddle suspension on the Chief
Ray Garner getting the key to the city from the authorities at Long Beach, Washington, Rally