Board index Flathead Power-Technical Questions, Answers, and Suggestions Indians Head Gaskets

Head Gaskets

Post Sun May 14, 2006 8:00 am

Posts: 641
Location: Wisconsin, USA
If you have an opinion on this subject, please join in on the Indian forum. Harley guys, have no fear, its just a discussion, no one will try to convert you.

Post Sun May 14, 2006 1:20 pm

Posts: 2688
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Thats OK. Even Indian loving author's like Jerry Hatfield tell us that Indian racers used Harley parts to make their rides more reliable.

Post Sun May 14, 2006 2:17 pm

Posts: 604
Location: Largo, Fl

hatfield doesn't love Indians, he just used them for awhile to try and get famous. I would put the Reliability of an Indian up against the reliability of a HD any day!

Post Sun May 14, 2006 4:23 pm

Posts: 641
Location: Wisconsin, USA
I am crazy about old motorcycles, Harley, Indian, others, but if you put the best machine any manufacturer had to offer, say in 1947, to the test, the HD overhead would win hands down in reliability and longevity. To believe anything else you would have to put your emotionals ahead of your commonsensicals.

Post Sun May 14, 2006 6:47 pm

Posts: 604
Location: Largo, Fl

If you put an Indian Chief and a Knucklehead on the road, side by side, and commence to runnin' the crap out of them, something WILL break on the Knucklehead long before the Chief will fail!

Post Sun May 14, 2006 9:19 pm

Posts: 646
Location: Detroit
I have never understood why if Indian was the better motorcycle they went out of business and Harley didn't.
New Knuckleheads? Thank, you, Jesus!!

Post Mon May 15, 2006 12:13 am

Posts: 2688
Location: Los Angeles, CA
In 1953 Indian was building a State Of The Art 1930 machine. Side valve engine, 3 speed crash box with a generator bolted to the frame and spun with a belt. Oh wait! I forgot about the bike that was going to save Indian. their new Vertical Twin. All it did was drive the final nails in the Indian coffin. Indian, in its day, was a motorcycle far superior to Harley-Davidson. But those days are long gone and so is Indian. May Indian rest in peace.

Post Mon May 15, 2006 12:45 am

Posts: 426
Location: Tucson Arizona

I've always held as my personal believe that if it wasn't for WWII, Harley would have been just another statistic like so many before. They still almost bought the farm with AMF.


Post Mon May 15, 2006 4:52 am

Posts: 604
Location: Largo, Fl

Harley Davidson of today is a JOKE. The belt-driven generator is one of MANY things better about Indian than HD. Like Billy said- the only thing wrong with Indian was their management. P.S. Indians were NOT DESIGNED to leak oil...and THEY DON'T!

Post Mon May 15, 2006 7:25 am

Posts: 304
Location: Jonesville, Louisiana, USA
I likes 'em both.

But, unfortionately, I can only afford the least expensive (though not the "cheapest") of the lot. A mis-matched HD 45" Flattie...

Post Mon May 15, 2006 7:46 am

Posts: 641
Location: Wisconsin, USA
The belt drive gen may be an improvement, but the mickey mouse drive gear for the pulley in the primary case is bad news. 3 little rivets holding the gear to the shaft. Ever pick up an inner primary that had been broken and repaired? The enclosed primary with the chain adjuster was way better than the HD plan without a doubt. Oil return? The Indian system at highway speed is marginal at best and any air entering the system at the sump to pump line causes wet sump and then that Injun motor is gonna leak, everywhere. Top end life? Fair I suppose, for, as Chris mentioned 30's technology, but I have yet to meet an honest Indian rider that expects to get more than 20,000 miles from a well done topend before every component is out of spec. A knuckle will easily double that #. Bottom end? Indian kept using the very short 1/4" bearings fully aware the they accelerated shaft and race wear. Trans life, please be serious, the Indian trans is crap, the HD 4spd is nearly perfect. I love Indians and HD flatheads, wish I had more of them to play with, but I think the overheads had as much to do with Indians demise as poor management. People love Indians because they sound good, look great, and are are fun to ride. Not because they are mechanically superior to other brands. Just my opinion of course, feel free to disagree.

Post Mon May 15, 2006 7:50 pm

Posts: 3159
Location: Central Illinois, USA
Which is better, this cantakerous dinosaur, or that calamitous antiquity?

Indian rose from the primordial mud to be the finest. But it failed to evolve. HD innovated to overtake its world, yet as living fossils Indian survived many years on, anyway.

Just as HD's flatties survived into modern times inspite of their primitive tech!

Now we distain the HDs that have evo-lved even further....think about it.

Its not about the marque of machine, folks. Its about what we as caretakers do with them.


PS: I think we want to insulate the heads from the cylinders.

Post Mon May 15, 2006 8:51 pm
Chuck Sumner

I rode a 41 chief a few years and liked it a lot better than a Harley. I have rode everything from 1922 JD's up and liked the Chief best. I was out run by shovelheads up to around 80 then the Chief(Bonneville) would catch and pass them.

Post Tue May 16, 2006 7:41 am

Posts: 2688
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Pre 1915 Indian had a far superior motorcycle. But then they went backwards and never came back.

Post Tue May 16, 2006 7:49 am

Posts: 604
Location: Largo, Fl

If you have NOT ridden miles on an Indian and built Indians to compare to a Harley, especially if you don't even build your own Harley either, then YOUR OPINION IS NOT VALID!! It is heresay and/or speculation!

Post Tue May 16, 2006 4:29 pm
Chuck Sumner

I worked with a guy(Indian Clyde) in Vegas for about 10 yrs and most of what he did was Indian Chiefs and 4-cylinders. I did a lot of his eng and tranny work so I have enough experience to talk about them :!:

Post Mon Jul 12, 2010 11:27 pm

Posts: 9
Location: Bellingham, Washington, USA
Why is this post titled head gaskets? Just askin'...

Me, I'm lost in no man's land with my Gilroy Scout. "It ain't a real Indian" from the Indian guys, "it's just a softail."
"It ain't a Harley" from the H-D guys, "see right there on the tank? It says Indian".

I tend to think of this bike as just a nice, nimble ride, and don't really give a rf about the logo. But that's just mho.


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