Kiwi Indian Motorcycles, The Bikes and The Company

Looks like the Kiwi Indians company has been around for a while (1953ish ?) and their pictured Indian replicas, restorations and new bikes look sweet.  I love the old Indians.  Heck, who doesn’t??  Those Kiwis made some nice bikes back in the day.

Besides the old Chiefs, Burt Munro introduced the world to really fast Indians.  Dude set land-speed records that lived forever.  Although Burt was a Kiwi through and through, he ran on American built Indians, even when he set his last record which was on a 47 year old bike.  I think one record might still be at the top of the list (??)  If you missed the documentary on Burt’s record-setting run and the Hollywood film  on the entire story around Burt’s first Salt Flat run and his racing career, I recommend that you rent or buy both.

The film is The World’s Fastest Indian and stared Anthony Hopkins.  Excellent!  I don’t remember the name of the PBS documentary but it was excellent as well and introduced me to the Munro story like 20 years ago.

Before that I just knew the name from reading about Bonneville.  I thought Indians were USA bikes, like Harley’s.  A documentary can teach you a lot, or teach me anyway…..

Does anyone own one of these new Kiwis?  Or has someone gone eyeball to headlight with one?

I rode a homemade replica with a S&S Indian motor once.  Made me think “Hey, you could have fun building one or two in retirement”, then I started hearing that S&S Indian engines might not be of the usual high S&S quality (??) but I don’t know first hand.

The old Indians needed some ongoing TLC, kind of like old Jags or old VWs.  Treat em right and they run for 100 years.  Well, with a few rebuilds thrown in.

Kiwi Retro Chief

 

 

 

 

Kiwi Board Track

Kiwi 1950s Replica

Most of the motors used by Kiwi are home-grown, which is the right way given the Indian history.

The company also  shows that  they use S&S motors (they call them S&S Indian motors) in some of their bikes.  That’s the part I did not know.

These pictures show some real beauties often historically accurate.  And award-winning, including 2nd place in the Production Class of World Championships at the 2011 Sturgis Rally.  So they are obviously nice bikes.

Check out their website for info on their bikes, motors and parts like their Springer Front Ends which they call Leaf Springs.  Indians invented the springers and they became standard parts for a large chunk of the bikes built even now.  The company builds & sells their Indians and they sell parts for the home builder.

I love this racer.

They sell Bobbers and modern Indians as well.  Maybe the few I have seen and thought were either top-grade restorations or S&S based replicas were actually Kiwis.  New Zealand certainly has a strong history with the Indian beginning with Burt Munro and the other Indian drivers of his time.

In the US and interested in a Kiwi Indian Motorcycle?

Try these guys at AMD World Championship of Custom Bike Building.  They’re in Riverside, California.

And Indians for sale are here.  Lots of nice 1940’s Indians.

I’m still thinking of building one, even tho I can’t ride a bike anymore.  Well, at least for now.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for your nice post on the history of motorcycles. I like it.

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