CRAZY HORSE

All Hail To The Chief

Baggers - - CONTENTS - WORDS: JOHN MATA JR. PHO­TOS: DON KATES

All Hail To The Chief

There is an elite class of mo­tor­cy­cles out there that has the abil­ity to slow, nay, and halt the roll of any given passerby. This low, long stun­ner is most def­i­nitely a proud mem­ber of that almighty squadron. The elec­tric, glow­ing, yel­low fin­ish on the huge 30­inch Gorby’s Ma­chine Ar­row­head wheel and cov­ers surely play their part in at­tract­ing a good deal of moths to this bike’s flame, but there is plenty more in store for true fans of cus­tom bikes once they’re stopped—es­pe­cially those par­tial to In­dian mo­tor­cy­cles.

This ’14 In­dian Chief be­longs to Eric Pow­ell, co­founder of VicBag­gers Inc. For those not in the know, Eric and busi­ness part­ner Jacob Fer­gu­son teamed up to de­sign and pro­duce parts and ac­ces­sories ex­clu­sively for Vic­tory mo­tor­cy­cle own­ers. Eric has been wrench­ing on mo­tor­cy­cles and just about any­thing else with a mo­tor be­fore he even hit his teen years, and

Jacob has an ex­ten­sive back­ground in ma­chin­ing and fab­ri­ca­tion. Their forces fused rather nat­u­rally, and they have suc­cess­fully se­cured their own spot in the Vic­tory parts mar­ket over the years.

Once Eric learned that

Po­laris pur­chased and re­leased its first In­dian mod­els back in 2014, he cashed in on his

401(k) and bought the bike brand new from Fal­cone

Pow­er­sports in

In­di­anapo­lis.

Pur­chas­ing the bike wasn’t so much an im­pulse buy as it was as a golden op­por­tu­nity to build new parts for a new mo­tor­cy­cle plat­form.

Of course, he was ex­cited to grab and build the bike for him­self, but the re­lease of new In­dian mo­tor­cy­cles posed such a great stage for the guys of VicBag­gers to step to the draw­ing board and get down to busi­ness on restyling ideas. Just as many on­look­ers who are lured in by the strik­ing front wheel are to­tally cap­ti­vated by the styling of the rear end. The rear fender is a one­piece, all­steel tail made ex­clu­sively by VicBag­gers, as are the sad­dle­bags, which are fully func­tional, even though they ap­pear to be built just for low­slung looks. The re­sult­ing combo is lethal as is, but to in­crease the cal­iber of ap­peal, pin­stripe artist Mike Ral­ston was brought in to leave his mark on the fender and bag rear cen­ters. Those hip to bead rolled art will rec­og­nize the work of the one­and­only Jamey Jor­dan on the sheet­metal pan­els adorn­ing the sides of both bags.

The skele­tal In­dian chief puts an iden­ti­fi­able face to the bike among those who speak of the “Crazy Horse,” as that is the nick­name this mo­tor­cy­cle has been given from its builders. “We started call­ing the bike Crazy Horse due to the bike be­ing an In­dian, ob­vi­ously, but also be­cause we had planned on un­veil­ing the fin­ished prod­uct near the Crazy Horse mon­u­ment, which is lo­cated

in the Black Hills of South Dakota,” Eric says. “Also, the fact that we de­cided to jump into a bike build of this mag­ni­tude in the last six weeks lead­ing up to Sturgis was pretty insane of us.” That amount of time leaves lit­tle to no room for er­ror or set­backs, but th­ese guys have a good sen­si­bil­ity when it comes to map­ping out and plan­ning ahead. As you can see, they were not only able to cook up the pro­to­types that would soon be pro­duc­tion model items, but Eric and Jacob were able to seek out highly tal­ented and rec­og­niz­able artists to lend a cre­ative hand in the process. “As on­look­ers get closer to the bike, they re­ally be­gin to see the crafts­man­ship that went into this project. There is not an­other In­dian like it on the planet and very few bikes of any brand that are even re­motely sim­i­lar.”

Judges seem to agree with Eric’s sen­ti­ment since the bike has racked up nu­mer­ous award wins and honors at some of the most in­flu­en­tial events through­out the coun­try. Its grand re­lease at the Sturgis Mo­tor­cy­cle Rally reaped a hearty har­vest of mul­ti­ple vic­to­ries dur­ing its first show­ing and has since piled them on at Bikes, Blues and BBQ, as well as the Lone Star Rally, just to name a few. Bag­ger Mili­tia has also crowned it the “Hottest Bag­ger of the Year.” Sure, win­ning tro­phies and plaques is fun and re­as­sur­ing, but that wasn’t the true ob­jec­tive be­hind this build for the guys at VicBag­gers, even though they have ac­cepted each win and nom­i­na­tion gra­ciously and humbly.

But with a great deal of suc­cess comes a great deal of at­ten­tion along with it, as there has been a good amount of talk and con­tro­ver­sies sur­round­ing the bike since its in­tro­duc­tion to the show cir­cuit. “The fact that this is a first­year bike of the new­est wave of In­dian pro­duc­tion bikes makes it a truly sought af­ter ma­chine,” Eric ex­plains. “Its im­age has been used on rally shirts from Day­tona, Myr­tle Beach, and Sturgis and con­tin­ues to be an icon of con­tro­versy with its im­age be­ing used with­out con­sent by pro­mo­tional com­pa­nies.” For a bike that has made such a huge im­pact in the mo­tor­cy­cle com­mu­nity, many could say that both the au­tho­rized and nonau­tho­rized use of the bike’s like­ness could be con­strued as mere flat­tery. What­ever the case may be, the Crazy Horse found it­self at the cen­ter of dis­cus­sion and has re­ceived heavy ex­po­sure, which in it­self only raises aware­ness of its glo­ri­ous ex­is­tence and speaks highly of the tight or­ches­tra­tion VicBag­gers is ca­pa­ble of, es­pe­cially while they were un­der the gun.

Noth­ing about VicBag­gers’ In­dian cre­ation is av­er­age or “busi­ness as usual” in many re­spects, and Eric would be the first one to ad­mit that fact. “What we keep look­ing back to in hind­sight is the time­line that we gave our­selves,” he says.

“It was to­tally im­prac­ti­cal. With the en­tire back­bone, fuel tanks, com­plete tail­sec­tion, trees, front sus­pen­sion, cus­tom ma­chined lights and fuel caps—not to men­tion that the bike had to be com­pletely rewired, a bunch of body work had to be done, and there was a new paint job to be done to top it all off— this was a job that could’ve been stretched over a greater pe­riod of time. We are still sur­prised that we got it done in time, and it would’ve been im­pos­si­ble to do with­out a great team, and ev­ery­one in­volved gave this bike their full care and at­ten­tion.”

The end re­sult of the mad­ness sur­round­ing the mo­men­tous build has been a non­stop whirl­wind of praise and ad­mi­ra­tion for a job in­cred­i­bly well done. There couldn’t have been a bet­ter way to cel­e­brate the re­turn of the In­dian Mo­tor­cy­cle than to em­bark on ground­up con­struc­tion/re­con­struc­tion of a bike such as the Crazy Horse. Now, in­stead of be­ing solely fo­cused on Vic­tory mo­tor­cy­cle parts and ac­ces­sories, VicBag­gers has now in­vested their ef­forts into cre­at­ing prod­uct for In­dian mod­els, which is a great re­source for fel­low builders and bike fa­nat­ics alike, even though the crew at VicBag­gers is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a level of busy that some­times jumps off the charts. But their longer days and nights and in­creased time in the of­fice are the sac­ri­fices they’re mak­ing for In­dian Mo­tor­cy­cle en­thu­si­asts and lovers of twowheeled works of art across the globe. If this kind of crazy isn’t what you imag­ine as be­ing a good time, you may want to re­con­sider your en­tire out­look on life.

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