If you are looking to buy a classic American motorcycle, until recently you only had one choice of brands – Harley-Davidson, and if you were in the Kansas City area, on either side of the state line, the best choice was Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, MO. Recently an old brand name has reappeared on the scene with a handful of very nice looking bikes, and one of the legendary names found in motorcycle history – Indian. So how does the current lineup of Harley-Davidson cruisers and touring bikes compare to the newest player in the market?
Both Harley and Indian produce a line of big, traditional looking V-twin powered motorcycles, but only Harley is really traditional. If you look closer at the modern bikes from Indian, you’ll see they are all-new designs from Polaris, very cleverly disguised as modern interpretations of the old Scout and Chief. The new Indians have as much in common with a 1950s model as they do with a Polaris ATV. The current Harley big twin motor, and the Sportster powerplant both can trace their lineage all the way back to at least the 1950s. Much of the style of the current Harley harkens back to those days too, and some of the parts are almost exactly the same, like the peanut tank, and the headlight nacelle. The Motor Company has been constantly evolving and improving these motors, and the latest versions feature equal parts tradition and innovation.
Speaking of innovation, the Project Rushmore Harleys are at the cutting edge of touring bikes. The new Twin-Cooled motor incorporates hidden radiators and water cooling around the hottest parts of the motor, for more performance from their 103ci and 110ci air-cooled motors. The big Indian twin is perhaps too traditional, with its air-cooled only motor having less compression to limit the amount of heat in the cylinder heads. The Harley baggers also benefit from the latest in infotainment systems, with voice commands, touchscreens, GPS navigation, intercom, iPod integration and more, all designed to be operated by a rider wearing gloves. Indian has not yet gotten into the 21st century, offering only traditional radios and Bluetooth screaming, but no smartphone integration features. Project Rushmore also applied the latest convenience and aerodynamic updates to the bikes, while keeping everything looking the way people expect a Harley to look.
As much as they may want to deny it, Indian is a new company, and they only offer 4 basic models, with a few minor variations in style. Harley has everything from trikes, to full dress tourers, to cut down baggers, to traditional cruisers, to factory customs, to bobbers, to choppers, to muscle bikes, and on and on. You will be amazed at how many different variations Harley has made in their lineup, even before you get into the factory custom shop, or the dealer installed parts and accessories. The Hard Candy custom paint options on select Harley-Davidsons are so awesome they are the envy of custom bike builders who wish they could lay metallic candy flake paint that smooth.
But it is not all big touring bikes and customs at Harley, there are also the affordable, lightweight, clean sheet designed Harley Street 500 and 750 bikes. Indian does have the Scout, which is a fully modern overhead cam, water cooled V-twin making 21st century power in a traditional package, but it has an MSRP of over $10k. If you are a rider looking for your first bike, Harley has a much wider variety and range of prices and styles. The Street 500 starts at less than $7,000, and the 750 is less than $8,000, and even the classic Harley Sportster has several models at less than $9,000.
So if you are shopping for a traditional, American bike by all means check out the small selection of 2015 Indian models for sale currently. But if you are in the Kansas City, MO area, or anywhere near Belton, Lee’s Summit, and Independence, MO or Shawnee, and Overland Park, KS, we think you will be much more likely to find what you are searching for at Gail’s Harley-Davidson in Grandview, MO.