1914 Indian 7hp Big Twin Frame no. 7317 Engine no. 84F436
* Landmark Indian model * Single-speed transmission * An older restoration
Oscar Hedstrom and Oliver Hendee, both active in the cycle racing world, got together to found the Hendee Manufacturing Company and build the first prototype Indian motorcycle in 1901. That first machine was powered by a single-cylinder, 'F-head' (inlet over exhaust) engine that formed part of the 'diamond' frame, in the Indian's case it sloped rearwards to act as the seat tube. An advanced feature in motorcycling's early pioneering days, chain drive was used by Indian right from the start. The Indian single proved immensely successful and provided the basis for the first of the powerful, large-capacity v-twins for which the marque is best remembered.
Indian's first, 38.61ci (633cc) v-twin appeared in 1907 with an engine clearly derived from that of the single, though mechanical inlet valves - introduced for 1908 - were an early improvement. The twin's rear cylinder continued to form part of the frame until 1909 when a loop frame of the type favoured by rivals Harley-Davidson was adopted. The Springfield company's first 'Big Twin' debuted that same year displacing 60.32ci (988cc).
In 1911 Indian broke new ground yet again with its overhead-valve four-valves-per-cylinder racers. The firm achieved its famous 1, 2, 3 finish at the Isle of Man TT that same year, a remarkable achievement made possible by the advantages conferred by the use of all-chain drive coupled with the Springfield firm's recently introduced two-speed countershaft gearbox and a contracting-band rear brake, all of which gave Indian a distinct superiority in coping with the demands of the challenging Mountain Circuit.
The Big Twin was updated for 1913 with Indian's innovative, leaf-sprung, swinging-arm frame but time was running out for this ageing design, which was superseded at the end of 1915 by a new 'flat head' v-twin - the Powerplus - thus bringing to an end a noble line.
This single-speed Big Twin dates from 1914 and is equipped with one of the then-popular tandem saddles. Apparently an older restoration, the machine is offered with State of Michigan Certificate of Title (issued 2004) and an Automotoclub Storico Italiano certificate.