Factory equipped with the two-speed transmission and optional magneto ignition
1909 Indian 5hp Twin
Engine no. 20A825
As Indian approached its tenth birthday, the design of Oscar Hedstrom's original single-cylinder motorcycle had begun to mature. Like the vast majority of its contemporaries, the early Indian owed much to traditional bicycle design, which was hardly surprising as Hedstrom and his partner Oliver Hendee had started out in the cycle business. Other manufacturers, most notably arch rivals Harley-Davidson, had started with a clean sheet of paper, adopting what was generally known as the 'loop' frame that wrapped around the engine. Indian went down this road for 1909, abandoning the old 'diamond' frame. The engine continued to have a rearward sloping cylinder, though this was no longer part of the frame.
By this time the Indian 'F-head' single was available in three different capacities: 19.3ci (2¾hp), 26.96ci (3½hp) and 30.5ci (4hp), though only the smallest and largest of the trio were still on offer in 1910. Chain drive, an advanced feature in motorcycling's early pioneering days, had been used by Indian right from the start but the company felt compelled to offer belt-driven models as well to satisfy dealer demand. They were soon dropped.
The Indian single proved immensely successful and provided the basis for the first of the powerful, large-capacity v-twins for which the marque is best remembered. Indian's first, 38.61ci (633cc) v-twin appeared in 1907 with an engine clearly derived from that of the single, though mechanical inlet valves - introduced for 1908 - were an early improvement. The twin's rear cylinder continued to form part of the frame until 1909 when the Harley-style loop frame was adopted. This new frame with its altered steering geometry had been developed in Jake De Rosier's racers, endowing the twin with much improved handling at high speed. The Springfield Company's first production (as opposed to racing) 'Big Twin' debuted that same year, displacing 60.32ci (988cc). The arrival of the larger and more powerful Big Twin meant that the smaller version's days were numbered and the model was last cataloged for the 1911 season.
This rare early Indian twin has the two-speed transmission and optional magneto ignition. Restored at the factory during the early 1930s, it was displayed at the Franklin Institute from 1935 onwards. Around 10 years ago the machine went to the AMA Hall of Fame Museum for the 100th Anniversary of Indian, remaining there for 12 months before returning to the family's own private museum. Sold on bill of sale.