Indian Spirit of Munro, Daytona, FL, March 2013

Indian Motorcycle revealed its all-new Thunder Stroke 111 engine, the first engine developed under its new Polaris Industries ownership and the powerplant for the 2014 model year. According to Polaris, the Thunder Stroke 111 engine has already undergone over a million miles of testing, including thousands of miles of on-road testing.

Polaris deserves some credit for developing an all-new engine for Indian Motorcycle instead of just re-using the 106ci Freedom V-Twin engine used in the current Victory Motorcycles lineup. Instead, Polaris worked to develop a whole new engine in less than two years after the acquisition, providing modern engine technology to the 112-year-old Indian Motorcycle brand.

At 111ci (1811cc in metric) Thunder Stroke 111 engine is larger than the Freedom engine, while its 49-degree V-Twin configuration is just a tad narrower than the Freedom’s 50-degree V. According to Indian, the fuel-injected new engine is air-cooled with an integrated oil cooler and delivers more than 115 ft-lb. of torque, whereas the Freedom engine claims up to 110 ft-lb. of torque.

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“Everyone involved in the design of this motorcycle line understands that we are the stewards and caretakers of one of America’s most storied and legendary brands,” says Steve Menneto, Polaris Industries vice president of motorcycles. “We’ve worked tirelessly to retain the truly iconic characteristics of the brand and combine those elements with advanced technologies to deliver a new Indian Motorcycle offering exceptional performance and truly unsurpassed reliability.”

Polaris looked to the 1948 Indian Chief for inspiration in designing the engine. That led to the decision to position the air intake on the left side and have two down-firing exhaust pipes on the right. Other features include finned heads and parallel pushrod tubes with three camshafts and two valves per cylinder with hydraulic valve lifters.

The transmission is a six-speed constant mesh unit with helical-cut gears, a design introduced across Victory’s lineup in 2011. The clutch is a multi-plate wet clutch with integral damper.

“The new Thunder Stroke 111 engine delivers what riders are looking for, and we expect that Indian Motorcycle fans will be inspired by this legendary new power plant as we accelerate toward our full launch in the months ahead,” says Menneto.

The engine will be produced at Polaris’ engine assembly plant in Osceola, Wis., while full motorcycle assembly will be conducted at Spirit Lake, Iowa.

Cam Cover Detail

Thunder Stroke 111 Specifications:

Engine Overview
Displacement: 111 c.i. (1811 c.c.)
Engine Torque: More than 115 ft-lbs (160 N*m)
Engine Type: 49 deg V- Twin
Cooling system type: Air Cooled with Integrated Oil Cooler
Idle speed: +/-50rpm 800 RPM
Max Engine speed: 5500 RPM

Valves per cylinder: 2
Actuation: Three-Cam, Push-rod, OHV
Lifter Type: Hydraulic
Compression Release: Yes
Bore: 3.89 in (101 mm)
Stroke: 4.45 in (113 mm)
Target Compression Ratio: 9.5: 1
Balancer Type: Helical Gear Primary Balancer

Drive Train
Primary Drive: Gear 55/86 ratio
No. of Ratios: 6-speed Overdrive constant mesh
Spur/Helical: 1st Spur, 2-6 Helical
Gear Ratios (overall)
1st: 9.403
2nd: 6.411
3rd: 4.763
4th: 3.796
5th: 3.243
6th: 2.789
Final Drive: Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt 30/66 ratio
Clutch Type: Multi-plate, Wet clutch, Integral Damper

Fuel Induction system
Throttle actuation: Electronic Throttle Control
Throttle Diameter: 2.13 in. / 54 mm
Fuel Delivery type: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Fuel Type: Premium recommended

Lubrication system
Oil Type: 20W-40
Sump type: Semi-dry

[Source: Indian]

  • Eddy turner

    This looks very good an cannot wait till it comes to England . I ride a jackpot at the moment but will be very interested in a new Indian . Good luck.

  • Chris Yatsko

    I love the “looks” of the new engine. It doesn’t look like anything else on the market but it is handsome. Other engines that try to look different are UGLY! I would like to see a smaller displacement being that it is air cooled. There is a trend toward smaller engines. Motorcycle engines have gotten too big! Nice job of design!

  • Dave Burns

    I look forward to a test ride!

  • Shorty D.

    What a beautiful V-twin.
    I just hope they build an affordable, simple, bike in their line up, that handles with this incredible motor.
    How about a new Scout, Polaris?

  • John A. Stockman

    Wow, finally a proper “new” engine design for the Indian. The references to the older flat-head engines is well done. Looks like a modern version of my grandfather’s 1939 Indian Chief engine. He would be proud, both of Polaris aquiring the Indian name and this new engine. Previous attempts to revive the brand and name were never going to be successful because they were just Harley clones; poorly implemented and engineered by people who only were interested in what they thought would be a huge cash-cow based solely on the name. You need a great bike that actually works, not a Harley with an Indian badge on the tank. Polaris’ commitment to the brand and giving it its own identity is commendable and worth the long wait. Can’t wait to see the entire machine and hear what the press and riders have to say. Thank you Polaris!

  • Rob M

    Very nice looking power plant. I am very happy that Polaris didn’t use the 106 in the Indian. I own a 2013 Cross Country and the 106 doesn’t have the necessary Vtwin sound needed for Indian. The 106 is very Japanese in its sound and performance.
    Very nice to see push rods used on the new engine. Pushrods give the look and force engineers to build a high torque at low rpm motor. And that is what a Vtwin should be.
    I see a chain and a small tension shoe used in the engine similar to what Harley uses in the Twin Cam….. That looks a little spooky.
    Hope all works out with the new mill. Can’t wait to see what it sounds like

  • Baz Morgan

    I ride a Hammer S which looks good & rides fab but this new Indian motor looks great cant wait to see the finished bike & looking forward to test ride in UK

  • tim

    Personally I think it’s a mistake to build an OHV motor that apes the look of a side-valve motor. On the one hand this new company is cracking down on the businesses supporting the enthusiasts and lovers of the old iron who for all these years have been keeping the Indian name alive and iconic. On the other hand this new company wants to cash in on this iconic status via deliberate styling cues, and via the imagery (old photos, symbols, trademarks) of the original Indian company products. No matter how good the under-lying engineering, an OHV motor that’s faked up to look like a side-valve motor just comes across as cheezey. But the original Indian company never had an OHV motor, you say? Rubbish. Just look at the 45 hill-climb motors of 1926. Give these enclosed rocker boxes and badda-boom-badda-bing! You have the basis for your modern OHV Indian powerplant. If the original Indian company had produced a road-going OHV model for public sale back in the days, there’s no way they’d have disguised it as a side-valve. They’d have been proud to release an OHV model, and certainly would not have tried to conceal the fact that it’s OHV. Too late now for this latest New Indian powerplant, but cheezey is as cheezey does. Sorry, but I am disappointed in Indian’s revival. Yet again. TIM