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2014 Indian Chief Classic Built Part 6—the Flying Paint

With a Tribute to 5-Ball Racing

By Bandit with photos from the American Biker Team and Michael Lichter

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The American Biker team in Charleston, SC scrambled to install the new paint with modified sheet metal by Rich Worley and Aeromach accessories just one week before I flew in from Los Angeles, just a couple of days before our run to the SmokeOut 16.

There’s a lot to cover here and now, before I jump on another flight for the Badlands and cover the remaining leg of the first Indian Cross Country since the company kicked off under the Polaris Brand. The American Biker crew commented numerous times how easy it is to work on the new Indians, and I can attest to how spotless it ran after all the mods and monkeying around we did.
I was impressed with Rich’s notion of the patina paint scheme last year. We decided on the 5-Ball color scheme to represent Bikernet’s 5-Ball Racing Team, our growing brand of 5-Ball Racing Leathers, and because of the 5-Ball name. Ya see, I’ve been married five times, hence five Mrs. Balls, and just recently I was reunited with Alison 4-Ball, the redhead of redheads.

Life has amazing twists and turns, and about twenty years ago at a Chinese restaurant I opened a fortune cookie and it announced in bold letters, “You will be Lucky for Life!” What can I say, incredible.

Rich kicked off this patina style with his shop rat truck just before I met him. He recently signed the Indian franchise papers, and it was time for the boss to mess with a new Chief. “The aged notion matched the Indian model and marque was a natural,” Rich said, so he tried it on his own Chief build.

“The 2014 models were all one color,” Rich added, “and customers called constantly for the traditional 2-color paint themes. We needed to shake up the mix.”

“I was two-toned out,” Rich said. So, he built his own Indian with handmade highbars and the first patina paint scheme. “First, you must work out the paint scheme and what color you want to show through your base coat.”

My Indian was originally gloss black and we added the heavy metallic silver, and then the 5-Ball orange stripe with black stripping. This paint job involved four paint professionals.

Paints by Rusty:
Rusty Nash
Mick Forrest

Rusty and his team handled all the prep, patina work, lettering, and stripping. “There’s an art to the patina effect,” Rich said. “You want to show wear where abrasion would take place on the metal high spots. That’s how we focus our sanding. Then you can sand through the base coat as much or as little as you like.” Since we gave this bike the used 5-Ball race theme, we got serious with the patina effect.

BKP Art:
Brian Morgan
Daniel Robledo

Once the base was applied and sanded, the tanks were delivered to BKP Art for the air brushing of the girl, the 5-Ball and the Indian script. The tanks were then returned to Rusty for a flat clear to seal, give it a matte effect, and enhance the durability of the finish.

In the meantime, the American Biker team, mostly the bushy, bearded, redhead Indian mechanic, Rob Tusay, worked with the satin black powder-coated pieces and the Aeromach accessories to finish the Chief Classic for the SmokeOut ride.

Rob dealt deftly with all the modifications, vintage modified bars, the Aeromach accessories, including the footboard lowering kit, the Barnett replacement clutch, the suspension lowering, and the S&S air cleaner. Then he carefully returned all the sheet metal to its rightful position. He also removed and prepped all the stock pieces for satin black powder work, and then prepared them for installation, which is not always easy. Powder coating is a lasting protective process, but it’s very thick by any finishing standards. It takes careful consideration and fitment. Sometimes, it means drilling out a hole or even carefully running the correct tap through coated threads.

When I arrived, the Classic was ready to rumble. I jumped that puppy and rode like the wind across the state of South Carolina and into North Carolina and the home of the Rockingham Raceway. Rich met us there. The Indian ran like a champ and never blinked. We are still waiting for S&S cams to be developed and an EFI adjustment system to make this monster sing.

As I rode through the meandering southern highways and byways, I became more comfortable on the new model with the modified bars. Pat Patterson gave me a thumbs up as we cruised over green hills without running into but a brief hint of rain, as if a set of misters were installed over a highway to cool us off.

During the SmokeOut, Rich and I discussed added details including blacking out the front fender running light, the taillight housing, narrowing the front turn signal mount and blacking it, and a couple more fender details.

Paul Aiken.
Paul Aiken.

We returned to the master of Aeromach Products to discuss installing front rider pegs. I have a problem with hip arthritis and moving my legs around, even the lowered footboards were painful. Paul Aiken came up with a better notion and designed a modified mini-footboard with .750-inch of adjustment front and back.

Paul is performing final machine work before the system is satin black powdered, assembled and shipped post haste to American Biker.

After the bike was returned to American Biker from the SmokeOut, Rob performed the first service in preparation for the first official Indian cross-country since 1955 when Indian closed. I’m fulla shit.
I’m sure many Indians have made cross-country runs since then, including Kiwi Indian Mike, but what the hell? We gotta brag about something. In this case, it will be like passing the baton from Rich to me in the Badlands.

I asked if Rich was going to do anything additional to the 5-Ball Racing Chief. “Only a couple of things,” Rich said. “We will install the passenger pillion seat, passenger footpegs for your redhead, and I will install a Battery Tender lead from Biker’s Choice, for charging my phone and running a GPS.”

According to Rich, Indians are selling like crazy, and he can’t receive shipments of Scouts fast enough to keep up with sales. The next time you have a chance at a rally or meet, take a test ride on an Indian. It’s as if Polaris took all they learned from Victory production, and all they ever dreamed of and added those element to the new Indian line.

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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Reader Comments

The Indian looks awesome, everybody did a a great job. Congrats.

John Deaux

Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Editor Response The credit goes to the American Biker Team in Charleston, SC including Rich Worley, the owner, and Rob Tusay, the redhead Indian guru.

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