Home Motorcycle Converting old motorcycles to electric will keep the hobby alive

Converting old motorcycles to electric will keep the hobby alive

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Picture: Indian motorcycles

I’m a big fan of modifying your vehicles to your liking. As long as there’s one in a museum somewhere, there’s no need to save yours for the next generation or anything. Do what makes you happy, don’t worry about what comes next. This is why this electrical exchange 1929 Indian is so cool.

In 1927 Indian purchased Ace Motor Corporation and with it the designs of the four-cylinder Ace motorcycle. In 1928 the bike was called Indian Ace, but in 1929 the name was changed to Indian Four to emphasize the big engine. It’s a neat motorcycle and an interesting part of American motorcycle history. But there are many perfect examples, the bike was sold until civilian production ended for World War II in 1942.

The man who passes by Detroit, was selected as a guest constructor for the 2022 Born Free show in California later this summer. Rather than go for a traditional custom bike build, he decided to build something to “shake the foundation you’re standing on.” The Indian Four was chosen as the base for the build, for a bit of vintage Americana. Detroit then squeezed out just enough of the engine to fit an electric motor to the front of the bike. Vintage leather saddlebags hide the batteries needed to power the entire kit and caboodle. It’s a very interesting package.

Indian, nor Detroit itself, give any indication of the specs of the bike, but judging by the shape and size of the engine, I’d bet it’s a Zero Z-Force engine sunk in this Indian framework. It’s a really good way to do a swap, as it’s already set up to power a motorcycle, and although the Zeros are belt driven, it’s fairly easy to swap out for a chain drive.

It’s a pretty cool thing that I hope we’ll see a lot more of in the future. Vintage bikes are extremely impressive to look at, but are extremely under powered and hard to find parts for. If you want to go fast and make it fairly easy to do, just add an electric motor to it.