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2014 Indian Chief Classic Build, Part 5

Mufflers, Handlebars, and a High-Flow S&S Air Cleaner

By Bandit with photos by Robert Tusay

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Progress, and we’re just about three weeks from riding this monster to SmokeOut 16 in RockingWorld, North Carolina, and I can’t wait. Then a bunch of us will meet in Sturgis and I will ride her home. She may be the first new Indian Chief ridden cross-country.

Rich Worley, the boss of American Biker, the Indian dealership in Charleston, South Carolina, is riding the 5-Ball Racing Indian beauty from the Atlantic to Sturgis, where I will take the bars and ride it to the West Coast. Sounds like fun to me. Could it be a record; who cares?

This puppy is close. Just waiting on the paint now. In this installment, the American Biker team modified the massive torpedo exhaust to relieve some pressure, then installed official Indian fish-tips for an additional vintage look. Then they delivered the exhaust system to Liquid Mirage Powder-Coating, which recently went out of business.

“That’s too bad,” said Robert Tusay, the American Biker Indian Tech. “They did a helluva job.”

They had a special process for etching in Jet Hot coatings and powder-coating, as evidence by this system in flat black with a silver stripe and the 5-Ball Racing Logo.

Stock air cleaner.
Stock air cleaner.

Robert then replaced the stock air cleaner with one of the first aftermarket performance components on the market, the S&S high-flow replacement air cleaner. “The S&S operation is actually simpler than the stock Indian high-flow replacement,” Rob said.

2014 - 2015 Indian® Chieftain®, Classic, Vintage & Roadmaster Models FEATURES AND BENEFITS

Increase of 5 hp when paired with performance mufflers and tuning High-flow air filter provides:
– 2x increase in surface area
– 37% increase in airflow
– High quality, washable cotton gauze filter
Engineered to maintain leg clearance
Billet aluminum for greater durability

Show quality chrome billet cover options available*
*Covers sold separately


Prevents large debris from prematurely clogging filter • Washable nylon
Promotes longer filter life
Reduces the risk of water entering the intake system
No tools required for installation

Part No.

The S&S Air Cleaner Kit provides 104 cfm* (37.7%) more air than the stock air cleaner.

Since we don’t have a complete series of installation photos, here’s the official Certified S&S Installation video starring Bruce Tessmer. He covers the job masterfully.

The original unit needed to come off, including the Bosch throttle body. Then the new S&S backing plate replaced the original. The throttle body was returned to it’s rightful position and the stock crankcase vent installed, then the serviceable K&N high-flow filter element and the S&S billet aluminum cover. I didn’t know Indian Chiefs were TBW (throttle by wire) systems, whereas Victory’s are cable-operated. Done deal. It’s actually a tad more involved, but Bruce handles it perfectly in his video.

The S&S air cleaner is available with two different cap designs, the original S&S air cleaner design logo and a newer logo chromed. We went with the traditional unit.

We wanted to give this air cleaner cover an Indian touch and I thought about sending it to Heather New for engraving, but then I thought about Paul Aiken, since we were slammed against our SmokeOut 16 deadline. Paul is manufacturing several Indian components and we are using a batch on this bike. Paul immediately responded with all the right answers.

“We've got a 1901 medallion in silver that fits the horn cover on the right,” said Paul Aiken, the boss of Aeromach. “It attaches with double stick adhesive. It's about 2.5 inches in diameter. Same design as power button cover. We've got them with Indian facing left or right. It is the medallion we use on the Chief floorboards. Let me know if that works. Pic might be the gold one but it is also in silver.”

The final shot covers the installation of the modified bars for this bike to match the bars on my ’46 Indian Chief. Rob wanted me to look at the angle of the bars and the position of the controls. Indian designed in a nipple in their bars to prevent rolling the controls and pinching a wire. That’s wise, but Rob pointed out that if the position was incorrect, he could grind the bung and reposition the controls. Anything is possible.

Hopefully, the paint will be delivered this week, and final assembly will be forthcoming. The SmokeOut is just around the corner, then Sturgis, and Bonneville. Hang on!


American Biker

Click for more info: 679 Treeland Drive, Ladson, SC 29456. 843-641-0258
Click for more info: 679 Treeland Drive, Ladson, SC 29456. 843-641-0258




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