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Indian Motorcycles Reportedly Causing Owners Big Headaches

By Brett Foote - October 19, 2017

Harley vs. Indian

Ever think of switching allegiance? You might want to think again.

Much has been made of the revival of Indian Motorcycles. Spawned by Polaris, the rebirth of Harley-Davidson’s main rival has even prompted many to declare Indian as superior to Milwaukee’s finest. So, if you’ve never ridden one, you might be intrigued by Indian Motorcycles. Heck, you might have even wondered if it was time to trade in your hog and switch over to the dark side.

But maybe that isn’t such a good idea, after all. Like anyone who owns anything, Harley riders certainly have their valid (and not-so-valid) complaints regarding their rides. So, that made HD Forum member Oldskewl curious: Are Indian Motorcycles all they’re cracked up to be? Are the complaints of Harley owners mutually exclusive, or do they also affect riders of the “other” brand? So he decided to surf the web and find out.

“I read complaints here about everything under the sun, so after hearing all the negativity I headed over to an Indian forum and read what issues they might be having. All they talk about is Harley and they compare everything to a Harley. A couple guys will bag on HD, but the majority of posters sulk with their Brady Bunch station wagons having no aftermarket solutions, slow bikes, and they’re all frantic over the M8 motors.…eat-me.205888/

“The suspension sucks, the bike is slow, there’s no aftermarket. And when they talk about the ability to beat a stock M8, they all start dreaming about buying a Triumph Rocket or having a stage. Whatever [it takes] to beat us.

“The introduction of the 114 and 117 is causing buyer’s remorse in many threads. IMO, they’ll all be s******* their pants when Polaris dumps Indian because in 30 years they simply can’t get past the mid-think of building a bike that looks like a Buick and handles like a 1970 Cadillac. Ha!…g-twin.206052/

Indian Motorcycles

So it seems like plenty of Indian owners have buyer’s remorse. Talk about a stunning revelation! But as we all know, coveting something other than what you already own is completely normal, as strych9 points out.


‘I headed to an Indian forum… the majority of posters sulk with their Brady Bunch station wagons having no aftermarket solutions.’ 


“Great post, and accurate. It’s human nature to place more value on something you don’t have. Negativity is at an all-time high. As I get older I learn to appreciate what I have. I really don’t care what everybody else is doing. It’s the same on every enthusiast forum. People just love to crap on people for no apparent reason beyond jealousy. It’s sad.”

You won’t find much jealously in the H-D Forums, however. Most folks here don’t exactly covet the style of the new Indians, including the OP.

“We have our problems, but what you never read here is anyone comparing our bikes to an Indian. Those bikes are friggin’ hideous. It takes some kind of special stupid to design a black bike and put blonde leather with tassels all over it. Oh, and don’t forget the Chrysler front fender.

“Harley ranked 6th and Victory actually beat HD in reliability. Indian, nowhere to be seen. …. We don’t have it so bad, trust me.”

Harley-Davidson vs. Indian

And in reality, there isn’t much cross shopping going on from true Harley guys like J MOSH. There’s a reason why H-D owns the highest brand intimacy ratings of any brand, after all. And not just motorcycle manufacturers.

“I have never felt that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence or that I’m missing out on something from any other cruiser brand. I’ve poked around other bikes and have always felt like a Harley is a well made bike. Nothing cheap or flimsy about them. Can’t really speak for the newer stuff, haven’t seen it first hand. But the fact is, I’m proud of my bikes and am proud to own them. The only time I will ever see a need to stray from the brand is when I decide to go with something besides a cruiser. Even then, I will probably go Buell because I know full well how bulletproof their motors are (cranked up Sportster).”


It certainly appears that cruiser envy rests mostly on the Indian side of the spectrum.  So, if you’ve been wondering where the hype is coming from, you’re not alone. But while most folks might not think that the revival of Indian Motorcycles is a good thing, there are a couple of positives that stem from it. For one, the existence of Indian gives Harley a little competition and incentive to improve their bikes. For two, the endless complaints coming from Indian owners give us Harley guys yet another reason to appreciate what we have.

Join the forums now!

Tags: Harley Davidson, HD Forums, Indian Motorcycles, Polaris

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Brett Foote

Brett Footehas been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is a longtime contributor to Internet Brands’ Auto Group sites, including Chevrolet Forum, Rennlist, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts, among other popular sites.

He has been an automotive enthusiast since the day he came into this world and rode home from the hospital in a first-gen Mustang, and he's been wrenching on them nearly as long.

In addition to his expertise writing about cars, trucks, motorcycles, and every other type of automobile, Brett had spent several years running parts for local auto dealerships.

You can follow along with his builds and various automotive shenanigans on Instagram: @bfoote.


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