1910s: Records and Innovations
Advancing Motorcycle Technology
The 1910s were an era of technological innovations and advancements for Indian Motorcycle, including a leaf-spring front fork, automatic oil pump, 2-speed transmission, floorboards, starter hand cranks, a swing arm rear suspension design, the first electric start on a motorcycle, electric lights, the legendary 1000cc Powerplus engine, and the Indian Motorcycle script logo.
These advancements led to new heights and broken records for the company:
- 1913 — 32,000 units were sold, setting a new record.
- 1914 — Erwin “Cannonball” Baker rode from San Diego to the east Coast in a new record time of 11 days, 12 hours, 10 minutes.
- 1915 — Erwin “Cannonball” Baker set the fast time in a Three-Flag run from Canada to Mexico via California, which he completed in three and a half days.
In 1916, co-founder George Hendee resigned as company president and in 1917 the United States entered into WWI. Indian Motorcycle dedicated much of its production to the war effort. As a result, dealers had limited inventory and retail sales dropped significantly. The company provided the U.S. military with nearly 50,000 motorcycles from 1917-1919, most of them based on the Indian Powerplus model.