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Top 10 Motorcycle Pictures of the Year 2008 from Motorcycle Views

This is my 2000 Kawasaki "Indian Drifter."

Here's some brief history - Back in the mid-1990s CMC (CA Motorcycle Co) was trying to buy the US rights to the defunct Indian Motorcycle Company and sell a retro valanced fendered Chief model. Based upon the S&S engine, this model was released in 1999 and is now often referred to as a "Harley Indian" due to the (typically) Harley aftermarket S & S engine. By 2002 the company located in Gilroy CA, released it's own "PowerPlus" engine, and those bikes have been referred to "Gilroy Indians." This company went under in 2003. Now, in North Carolina, the latest reincarnation of the Indian company is releasing its retro Chief, on a limited basis, as a high end cruiser with a high end price in the $30K+ range.

At the same time in the 1990s a West Coast design team created an "updated" Indian Chief design for Kawasaki, which they based upon the venerable Vulcan. Kawasaki put the model into production and ultimately sold it throughout the world. They also did a similar exercise with a Triumph Bonneville replica sold mainly in England before Triumph came back with its own version. Kawasaki called its big fendered model the "Drifter," before "drifter or drifting" became a generic style of driving. The model had very little badging to make it even less recognizable as a Kawasaki. But nevertheless, it was a safe, reliable, well priced and well supported bike with all of the styling of a retro Chief with none of the headaches of an antique or a cobbled together bike from a small company.

There are still other "Indian models" being made - most notably, Kiwi and the four cylinder model from the holder of the British rights to "Indian." Both models, especially Kiwi, have bikes that replicate rather than just remind one of the 40s-50s big Indians and they sell in the $50K+ range.

As for the Drifter, it is important to note that this isn't just a Vulcan with big fenders, but rather a distinct model available as an 800 or 1500 from 1999 through 2006. The bike also provides the owner with a "themed" modification opportunity, rather than just chroming everything that doesn't move.

This bike is generally referred to as an "Indian Drifter," which is labeled on the front fender and the air cleaner.

To sum it all up, an attractive middle-aged blonde female rider approached me and said she liked the bike's looks, but she knew it was not a "real Indian." I responded by stating, "I like your looks too, but I know you are not a 'real blonde' and probably are not a 'real brunette' anymore either. But that really doesn't matter, does it?" -- Keithva99

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