6/3/14--Business Operations Manager Anthony Lockwood sits on a Indian motorcycle at Motorcyles of Manchester. The company has plans to create a separate showroom for the new bikes. DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER
MANCHESTER - The sign isn't up yet, but the new Indian Motorcycles are on the floor - and out the door - at M.O.M.'s, 98 Willow St.
Anthony Lookwood, business operations manager at Motorcycles of Manchester Inc., said he expects in a couple of years: "Indian will probably end up being about half of what we do."
Lookwood said the prime market for the new Indian models is anyone that wants an alternative to the Harley-Davidson. He expects the bulk of the customers will be middle-aged, which he describes as riders from their mid 40s to mid 60s.
"They saw them in the barn when they were kids," he said. Or maybe they just heard about the old Indians from their fathers and grandfathers.
Or maybe it was a picture that kick-started their fascination with the motorcycle.
Polaris Industries, the off-road and leisure vehicle maker and parent company of Victory Motorcycles, acquired Indian Motorcycle in 2011 and moved production facilities to Spirit Lake, Iowa.
The company began selling its newly designed motorcycles last August, with a new engine, and Lookwood said the patented slogan really fits: "Once an icon, always an icon."
Lookwood said an old fad is coming back with the Indian Motorcycles and that having the franchise has brought new people into the business already, even without the sign being up. The sign is in and ready, but it may be a couple of weeks before the sign company can install it.
Lookwood said M.O.M.'s had a soft opening April 12 and an open house May 3 for the Indian cycles. "We're seeing a lot of customers we've never seen before," he said.
He admitted the Indians are a major investment. The base models of the Indian Chief Classic, the Chief Vintage and the Chieftain range from $19,000 to $23,000 before upgrades and add-ons like wind protection, heated seat, audio and storage.
Lookwood said the fact that the Indians are American-made is a big plus for many people, and they are competitively priced compared with the other American-made motorcycle, the Harley Davidson.
"Option for option, it compares favorably," he said.
The engine is new, but Lookwood said the design harks back to an earlier time. "They were designed after a a '48 model," he said, with the iconic Indian fender and the Indian head on the fender. "The iconic cues are all there," he said.
"As soon as you get on it," he said, the appeal is obvious. People are most impressed by the balance. Sometimes, he said: "(People) don't want to sit on it because they know they will be in trouble." In this case, he said, trouble means they are hooked on buying. Lookwood said he has been getting Harleys in trade from buyers.
By fall, he said, Indian Motorcycles will have their own showroom as the business is gutting and rebuilding the old building attached to the current showroom and service area.