A Canadian-built bagger custom is the direct result of an ancient American rivalry.
After lying dormant for decades the ancient rivalry between Indian Motorcycle and Harley-Davidson is now fully awake. Of course the legitimate revival of Indian under the capable direction of parent company Polaris is the primary reason for this renewal of unpleasantries—but the motorcycle world couldn’t be happier as both companies swap blows and counter-blows. New models and factory custom versions of new models are steaming out of both corners as the American companies grapple for tactical advantage.
Of course Harley-Davidson’s relationship with the custom world is legendary. Which means that Indian is now responding in kind by reaching out to the custom community for inspiration and, ultimately, its own street creds. The ‘Project Scout: Build a Legend’ custom program mentioned earlier this issue is a case in point.
Recently, ex-pat Canadian Len Edmondson working out of his Phoenix, Arizona based shop Azzkikr Custom Baggers entered the fray with his interpretation of Indian’s new touring bagger, the 2016 Springfield. Edmondson’s “Frontier 111” is the first custom version of the factory new model and it blends the modern bagger look with some very classic lines.
The Frontier 111 salutes pedigree by incorporating the heritage of the Indian brand’s skirted front fender, a leaf-spring equipped springer front end, jockey shifter with foot clutch, and historically inspired colour palette surrounding Indian Motorcycle’s Thunder Stroke 111 engine.
“We have been working on the cutting edge of the custom bagger movement for years now, but it’s not often that you get to reveal a custom based on a motorcycle the factory just introduced,” says Edmondson. “From day one, we wanted something that reflected the big front wheel trend but still spoke to the heritage and style that is uniquely Indian.”
To that end, there is a sweeping line from the Frontier’s hand-built headlight housing to the tip of its rear fender. The front clip includes a custom-made triple tree sourced from KewlMetal, a springer-type suspension utilizing a leaf spring, a 26-inch spoked wheel wrapped in Metzeler rubber, and a hand-formed aluminum hub hiding a modern disc brake system.
Up top the Springfield’s fuel tank was modified for a vintage look and topped with a polished dash piece featuring stock gauges, while a hand-tooled leather seat draws the eye further along to hand-formed side panels, bags and the rear fender.
The removable bags are fully functional with a mechanical lid, and there’s a vintage-look tail light assembly with brake light and indicators. Hidden by the bags, the stock-size 16-inch rear wheel is spoked while rear air-suspension allows the bike to ride at factory height or drop low for show. As with everything else, the striking red and black paint palette with gold leaf detailing was also done in-house.
“Everything on the bike aside from the triple tree was hand-made or manufactured in our shop to an OEM quality standard to fit on the Springfield’s stock frame, so nothing on it makes any actual changes to the engineering of the present bike,” says Edmondson, who started his business in Vancouver before moving it to Arizona. “In other words, if I wanted to send parts to someone to reproduce this bike with a new Springfield, they could put it together using the same bolt patterns.”
Canadian Biker Issue #321