Motorcycle Monday: 1948 Indian Chief Resurrected And Ridden

Feb 7, 2022 3 min read
Motorcycle Monday: 1948 Indian Chief Resurrected And Ridden

You don’t see a stunt like this pulled off every day…

For many, a vintage Indian Chief is a dream bike, especially one that has that well-earned patina. However, as you’re about to learn, that dream can turn into a bit of a nightmare if the motorcycle is riddled with problems. After all, when most anything mechanical just sits for years on end, certain components fail. And then there’s the fact a lot of people just park motorcycles because they stopped running right in the first place.

Find out why Paris, France is looking to ban motorcycles here.

When you run a successful YouTube motorcycle channel, you do crazy stuff the rest of us would never attempt. A sane person would snatch up a find like this Indian Chief, load it into a truck or van, then drive it back to their shop where they can address the many issues it most definitely has. However, Sean from Bikes and Beards isn’t sane or normal, so he bought the vintage motorcycle, had his mechanic Craig help with a few “bubble gum” repairs, then rode it back home.

The ride home was supposed to last about 3 hours and ended up taking Sean about twice as long to complete. It was also near freezing for the ambient temperature and he seemed not entirely prepared for that reality. All of this drama makes for good YouTube fodder, but we hope everyone has enough sense to not try anything like this at home.

What’s even worse is the fact the gas line came apart and fuel started leaking out of the tanks (there are two). With the bike smoking from the sides of the engine, Sean and his chase crew realized something was wrong. Luckily, the fuel didn’t ignite, but had they pushed the Chief further, there’s no telling what might have happened.

As you can see in the first video, the Chief is just like it came right out of the factory. It comes with rare options like a Cleveland Indians badge, a lucky horseshoe attached to the rear fender, and a “I Love My Bike” bell on the handlebars. Plenty of other interesting modifications were done to the bike, like the horse-style saddle that has a horn and is falling apart, the missing speedometer so the rider has no idea how fast he’s going, and the all-important blanket rolled up in the saddlebag.

You could get the Indian Chief in all kinds of configurations back in the day. This one has the shifter on the left side and set back since it was apparently used by law enforcement originally. There’s a holster on the right side, so that way an officer could use his right hand to grab his gun while managing the gears with his left hand.

At the end of the day, Indians are some of the most beautifully-crafted vintage motorcycles. The details incorporated into every nook and cranny make them a joy to look at. Add to that the fact they’re comfortable for open-road cruising and it’s easy to see why people go crazy for them. However, Sean is not a fan, something he’s stated repeatedly. Somehow, almost burning his leg off while riding this one didn’t sway his opinion.

Check out the videos for yourself.

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