Indian Stories

2014-04-10 12:00:00 AM

Indian Motorcycle® Rider Story: Dave Schubel

It all began in 1959 when I graduated from Spartan School of aeronautics A&P course and returned to my parents’ home near Reading, PA. I was unaware that while I was away, my older brother Don had put together a 1939 Indian "4" in my parents’ basement. He built it from 3 basket cases and moved out just before I arrived. He had taken the completed bike but all the left overs remained in that basement.

When I discovered the unused parts, I saw some potential but when I came upon the main engine casting that would accommodate four cylinders, there was no stopping me. I was somewhat familiar with Indian bikes but had never seen one with four cylinders. Wow!

I started sorting parts and matching them up with one another and sure enough, Don caught me in the act. I was a bit panicked but he just laughed and said "if you can build a bike out of that mess, you can have it"

I needed four new rods & pistons and a bit of other stuff. I went to Frank Kiss Cycles in Pottstown, PA (His grandson by same name still running the business today). Mr. Kiss used a 1940 parts price list and I was able to afford everything I needed to get it running.

The appearance of the bike will upset the purists but it was not considered a classic when I put it together. I had no exhaust system but a 1934 Ford "torque tube" did the job. Bobbing the fenders was dumb but I was 20 years old and it didn't seem dumb at the time. Oh well.

Fast forward to 2014; I'm finally getting around to freshening up the engine. New clutch, pistons, valves and all the usual rebuild parts. I hope to be riding it again this spring. There is nothing that sounds like an Indian 4. Although it's a little awkward in traffic, it is incredibly stable on the road. Once under way it is happy at today’s highway speeds and begs for more - speed & miles.

Indian Motorcycle® Rider Story: Dave Schubel


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