1915 Indian Other
Year of manufacture1915
1915 Indian 682cc Model B 'Little Twin'
Frame no. 222
Engine no. 30G578
* Relatively rare 'Little Twin' model
* Original and un-restored
* Three-speed countershaft transmission
Oscar Hedstrom and Oliver Hendee, both active in the cycle racing world, got together to found the Hendee Manufacturing Company and built their first prototype Indian motorcycle in 1901. That first machine was powered by a single-cylinder, 15.85ci (260cc) '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 was produced substantially unchanged until around 1905, when a sprung front fork and twist-grip control of throttle and ignition were introduced.
Not surprisingly, the single-cylinder Indian 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 'F head' 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 the Harley-style loop frame was adopted. This new frame with its altered steering geometry had been developed in Jake De Rosier's racers, endowing the twin with much improved handling at high speed. The Springfield company's first production (as opposed to racing) 'Big Twin' debuted that same year, displacing 60.32ci (988cc). By this time the 'Little Twin' engine had increased in capacity to 42ci (682cc); this is listed in various sources as either of 4 or 5 horsepower, though by the RAC rating is actually 6hp. In this form Indian's smaller 'F head' twin lasted into the Powerplus era and was last catalogued for 1918.
This apparently original and un-restored Indian 'Little Twin' has the three-speed countershaft gearbox introduced for 1915. A charming accessory, the well-worn suitcase strapped to the luggage rack carries mementoes acquired from hotels across Europe, indicating that it, if not this actual motorcycle, has toured extensively. The machine is offered with an Automotoclub Storico Italiano certificate.