I’m a strong believer in modifying your vehicles to fit your taste. As long as there is one in a museum somewhere, there’s no need to preserve yours for the next generation or whatever. Do what makes you happy, don’t worry about what comes next. Which is why this electric-swapped 1929 Indian is just so damn cool.
Back in 1927 Indian bought the Ace Motor Corporation, and with it the designs for the four-cylinder Ace Motorcycle. In 1928 the bike was called the Indian Ace, but for 1929 the name changed to Indian Four to provide emphasis on the big engine. It’s a neat bike, and an interesting part of American motorcycling history. But there are plenty of perfect examples out there, the bike was sold all the way until civilian production ended for WWII in 1942.
The man who goes by Detroit, was selected as an invited builder for the 2022 Born Free show in California later this summer. Rather than going with a traditional custom bike build, he decided to build something to “shake the foundation that you stand on”. The Indian Four was selected as the basis of the build, for a bit of vintage Americana. Detroit then pulled just enough of the engine out to fit an electric motor at the front of the bike. The vintage leather saddlebags hide the requisite batteries to power the whole kit and caboodle. It’s a very interesting package.
Indian, nor Detroit himself, give any indication of the bike’s specifications, but judging by the shape and size of the motor, I’d wager that’s a Zero Z-Force motor shoved into that Indian frame. That’s a pretty great way to run a swap, because it’s already set up to power a motorcycle, and while the Zeros are belt driven, it’s a fairly easy thing to swap it over to chain drive.
This is a pretty cool thing that I hope we’ll see a lot more of in the future. Vintage bikes are extremely awesome to look at, but are wildly under powered and difficult to find parts for. If you want to go quick and make it fairly easy to do so, just throw an electric motor in it.