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Indian Chief Vintage “Engina” – Louis Special Custom Bike
From a cruiser to a sprint racer
Louis Indian Chief Vintage
An Indian Chief Vintage in original condition.
Louis Indian Chief Vintage „Engina“
A mountain of a motorcycle, the Chief in original condition. Built for endless highways, Indian focuses fully on durability: 75 hp from a massive 1.8 litres cc is not a lot. A look at the almost 400 kg of weight is enough to tell you that it's all about relaxed cruising. The design is heavily based on the models from the Indian brand's first lifetime and are very authentic.
In particular, the huge V2 engine is a real feast for the eyes – and lets the imagination of the Louis Mechanics Crew run wild: "On the Chief it is part of a complete work of art. But optically it deserves to play the starring role on a bike. An engine with very little motorcycle around it. And more power". At Indian they find this notion charming, and as a result a brand new Chief Vintage ends up at the Louis vehicle workshop.
Engina’s cleaning up!
Whether it's a sprint race or a beauty contest: Custom-Championship - the Louis Indian Chief has been in the press all over the world since its introduction and is winning one prize after another!
- Winner „Clash Of Legends“-Race at Glemseck 101, Germany
- Winner FERRO DELL ANNO „Best Professional“ at MBE Verona, Italy
- Winner „Best Streetbike“ at BMT Berlin, Germany
- Winner Custom Show „Emirates Pick“ at Swiss Custom Zurich, Switzerland
- Winner Custom Show at Motorräder Dortmund, Germany"
- 2nd place „CUSTOM SHOW EMIRATES“, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
- Winner Big Twin Custom Show Houten, Netherlands
- 2nd place „Streetbikes“ at Hamburger Motorrad Tage, Germany
Looking for power
Everything, absolutely everything on this bike is somehow large and hefty. In turn this means that, of the original bike, only the engine, the swing arm and parts of the electrics are used. Otherwise nothing will come of the idea of "little motorcycle around it".
Yet first to start is the company's own tuner, Ulf Penner; the aforementioned cubic capacity/power ratio brings a tear to his eye. Off-the-rack tuning parts for the Chief are a no-no, so he practically has to start from scratch. He calculates "really nasty" camshafts, straightens the air vent with its right-angled design and works on the cylinder heads. And he gets to know the Chief's CAN bus system, which is not necessarily pertinent to tuning purposes. A wide range of parameters of the engine control unit can be adjusted using a Power commander and a laptop. The numerous sensors on the bike signal deviating values to the CAN bus, causing it to switch the engine to fail-safe. Because of the delivery period of the camshafts, there is a break in tuning work.
As was the case with the Honda VFR 1200, Sam Wassermann, with his company Uno, goes to work on the Indian. Once again he conjures up a light steel-tube frame which is both stable and easy to handle. The fork of a BMW S 1000RR is installed provisionally.
The bike comes back to the Louis vehicle workshop as a bare rolling chassis. Even the wiring harness is in a box with all the electronic components because it just doesn't fit anymore. Detlef Stüdemann and Martin Struckmann from the Louis Mechanics Crew don't just repackage it, they also provide numerous new mounts, relocate switching and braking levers almost a metre further to the rear and convert the belt drive into a chain drive.
New clothes and make-up
The one to provide the new clothes, i.e. headlight fairing, tank and seat, is sheet metal artist Michael Naumann, winner of numerous awards with his own custom bikes. He manufactures the parts completely from aluminium in accordance with the design from Mechanics Crew member Kay Blanke, and also weighs in himself, e.g. for the headlight fairing. In his usual way, Danny Schramm of Schrammwerk adds a paintwork which is just as elaborate as it is exciting.
Power and sound
Whilst Ulf Penner is looking forward to the delivery of the nasty camshafts, Stefan Trautmann of STParts welds together a fantastic manifold system from what seems like five thousand sections of pipe. It is finished off with a fully open rear silencer from Shark. The inlet side of the engine is also open and only equipped with a velocity stack with a fist-sized outlet. However, any wearers of tracksuit bottoms had better beware when the engine is running. With the engine fully assembled, innumerable runs on the roller dynamometer then follow – the CAN bus sensors mean Ulf has to be infinitely patient. On completion the computer attests to 125 HP – which is not half bad for a classic front bumper engine. And the sound is unbelievable. Hardly any other engine will ever reach such low frequency ranges.
The Mechanics Crew then takes care of the remaining bike construction, installing a Gilles clip-on, for instance, and then heads off to Wilbers. The likeable chassis professionals from Nordhorn fit the Indian with a new fork tube and a new fork which is finished off with alpha racing triple trees and Brembo radial brakes. The chassis is fine-tuned on the in-house dyno. After the first few metres of the test run, the highly sensitive response of these perfectly running suspension elements already impresses.
As is always the case with customer builds, the very last component is a pair of Kineo spoke wheels, making the bike truly perfect. And because the engine is now genuinely on show for all to see, the name is clear: Engina.