The return of the Indian Motorcycles brand is attracting a lot of interest from outside the world of motorcycling.
It could be aresult of the interest created by the Hollywood movie The World’s Fastest Indian, or it could be a healthy dose of nostalgia.
Or it could also be the high quality clothing and other merchandise that is attracting interest.
At least half the people who walk into the new Indian Motorcycles store in Melbourne are non-riders, says store sales manager Tony Fabris.
The shop has only been open about five weeks, but is already creating a lot of interest.
“A lot of non-riders and people wandering past on a Saturday from the Vic market come in,” he says.
“They see the sign and recognise the brand and wander in.”
He says they sell a lot of t-shirts, caps and jackets to non-riders.
The trend is reminiscent of Harley-Davidson which has been selling branded clothing, jewellery and other merchandise to the general public for years.
In a recent interview with merchandise manager Karen Davidson, she said she had no idea how widespread the trend was, but suspected a lot of non-riders, particularly women, appreciated the fashion and the cred of the brand.
Indian Motorcycles country manager Peter Harvey says they haven’t been talking about the Harley opposition much since the brand re-emerged.
“We weren’t ready to talk about Harley-Davidson but we can’t avoid the fact that we are going to butt heads,” he says.
“Harley is the king of aftermarket and we also have to be in that game,” he says.
The company has released a limited range of clothing and merchandise which is being expanded quickly as the new Chief bikes begin arriving later this year.
“We’re also doing clothing outside our dealers, but not riding gear, just fashion gear,” he says.
They already have a test retail deal with DFO store Roadhouse who sell brands such as CAT, Jeep, Deus, etc.
“They have reordered five times in five weeks,” Peter says.
“We see that as a huge part of our business.”
As for the dealers, Indian so far only has company-owned dealerships in Melbourne and Sydney and expect to open their own in Brisbane later this year.
They will be followed by a dealership in Perth.
He says they have high expectations of dealers who have to meet certain style standards such as hardwood floors and appropriate signage.
“Harley has set the bar so high in dealerships that we have to follow,” he says.
“It’s a big spend for the dealers, but they will get their money back in months not years.”