This stock tank bike is now a custom showstopper
We always feature, review, and help kickstart a variety of custom and semi-custom frames and bicycles, but this bike is something a bit different. It’s not quite custom by strict definitions but it’s definitely custom. The owners of this bike, a father and son team, took a stock bike and combined an extraordinary spare parts collection and their creative vision to transform a mundane cruiser into something really unique.
What initially caught my eye was this gleaming instrument panel. Mid-way through absentmindedly snapping pictures, the two gents who created the bike came over and walked me through the subtle details. Learning about this bike was better than an episode of American Pickers.
Dead center is a vintage eight day Waltham automobile timepiece. Based in Mass, the company produced American made timepieces from 1850 to 1957. The early clocks where very expensive and came as standard equipment on only the most luxurious of vehicles. The difficulty most manufacturers faced at the time was producing a watch that could withstand the vibrations of cars. This particular model needed to be wound up after eight days.
The gauge to the left is fully functional, which means this history lesson actually sees some ride time.
Illuminating the open road is a retrofitted carbide lamp from 1899. This type of light once burned acetylene and was found on both bicycles and motorcycles. For the modern era it has been wired for AA batteries, which are stored in the bottom compartment, and hooked up to a microswitch. At night the small cut outs encircling the lip of the lens drop little crop circles of light around the main beam.
The original Indian Motorcycle Company manufactured motorcycles from 1901 to 1953. They also sold Indian branded bicycles in their motorcycle showrooms. In the subsequent years a number of companies have attempted to produce motorcycles under the Indian moniker with limited success.
The stock Felt cruisers don’t come with tank caps but the bike wouldn’t have looked right without one. The custom gas cap is just a grinded down piece of aluminum stock set atop a headset spacer and epoxied in place.
Old car buffs will geek over the working Model T taillight.
The saddle bag has been emblazoned with a United States Scout (USS) pin. The crossed arrows design was initially worn by Army Indian Scouts in the late nineteenth century and was eventually incorporated into the branch insignia of the Green Berets.
The Indian theme continues throughout the rest of the build. The flask was updated with an Indian logo and the saddle bag bears a collectible Buffalo Nickel. The rare-ish coins where only minted from 1913-1938.
The fender flare on the right is a commonly used piece of equipment for equestrians. The two little holes are where nails would be pushed through and into the riders boot. On the right, there’s a hub cleaner with an additional reflector.
Love the Indian Cruiser? We do too. That’s why we’re glad the boys had a total of four on display…and we’ve got pictures of all of them.