Polaris India’s MD Pankaj Dubey talks to us about taking America’s oldest motorcycle brand across the country
There is a lot of history behind Indian Motorcycle, the oldest American motorcycle that first roared to life in 1901. What began as a business project by bicycle racing enthusiast, George Hendee, and his partner Oscar Hedstrom, a watchmaking apprentice, eventually set the world record for the fastest 1,000cc bike in 1967. That still-unbeaten record (305.89 km/h) was set by New Zelander Burt Munro, on an Indian Scout motorcycle, as shown in the blockbuster Hollywood movie, The World’s Fastest Indian.
However, the Indian (which has been around longer than Harley-Davidson and Triumph Motorcycles) is about much more than speed—it redefines luxury motorcycles.The iconic brand, which derives its name from the ethnic Indian community in America, rides into Chennai today. “Since our launch in 2014 (at Gurgaon), sales have been increasing steadily and exceeded our expectations. This is why we opened a dealership in Bengaluru, two months ago. Now, just days after we announced the Chennai dealership, we’ve received multiple bookings,” claims Pankaj Dubey, MD Polaris India, who adds that upwardly mobile biking enthusiasts in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad are in for a treat as Indian Motorcycles will open dealerships there by October. Polaris India is a subsidiary of US-based Polaris Industries (the all-terrain vehicle manufacturer), which acquired Indian Motorcycles in April 2011.
With a total of six models—starting from the Indian Scout which costs Rs 14,80,000—the range includes baggers and tour bikes. Their top-of-the-line 2015 Indian Roadmaster comes with a price tag of Rs 42,00,00. This premium touring motorcycle is outfitted with a beastly 1,811cc V-twin engine. Its tear-drop fuel tank, chrome fenders and plush leather seats give it a vintage look, as it’s modelled after its pre-WW II predecessor. All the motorcycles are hand-crafted and shipped as completely built units (CBUs) from its factory in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
The expansive Chennai showroom, located near Harrington Road, will have access to the entire range. Among the architectural highlights is a brand wall, which will give visitors some insight into the motorcycles’ rich 114-year-old heritage. Besides being a visual delight, the dealership also boasts attractive accessories (priced between Rs 3,000 and Rs 90,000), including saddle-bags and performance enhancers like the six-shooter chrome-exhaust tip, to entice prospective members of the Indian Motorcycle Riders Group (the official bikers club). They have a brand-centric apparel (from Rs 1,000 to Rs 90,000) for men and women—from signature leather jackets to wallets and an Indian Motorcycle all-weather tent for cross-country road trips.
Indian Scout costs Rs 14,80,000 (on-road). Details: indianmotorcycle.com/en-in, 9840361000