1912 Indian Single Board Track Racer
Manufactured in USA.
Engine # 48D648
This machine is a 500cc single-cylinder motorcycle with a Bosch American Magneto and Hedstrom carburetor. The frame is factory-built, with turn-down handlebars, and is presented in the traditional factory Indian colors.
Motorcycle racing competition in this bike’s era was conducted on oval racetracks constructed of 2x4 wooden planks placed on edge. Banking of the tracks started at 25 degrees, and increased to as much as 60 degrees, which was common. The effect of such extreme banking was high cornering speeds and high G-forces on the riders.
Both Hendee and Hedstom were former bicycle racers and manufacturers, and they teamed up to produce a 1.75 hp, single-cylinder engine motorcycle in Springfield, Hendee’s hometown. That motorcycle was successful and sales increased dramatically during the next decade.
Hedstrom left Indian in 1913, and Hendee resigned in 1916. The Hendee Company name was changed in 1928 to the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company. During the 1910s, Indian became the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world. Unfortunately the company went bankrupt in 1953.
This 500cc, 31.5-cubic-inch engine in the Museum’s 1912 Indian motorcycle is an F-head design, with the intake valve in the head and the exhaust valve in the cylinder block, similar to several of the Harley-Davidson engines of that era. This racer has no rear or front wheel brakes.