Indian Motorcycle’s Spirit of Munro a Big Hit Everywhere
Words & Photos: John Gunnell
“It has been on the entire 2013 Indian Motorcycle tour and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be going back to Daytona again in 2014,” Matt Swedlund told Biker Hotline during the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Rosemont, Ill. Swedlund is the Senior Marketing Specialist of Indian Motorcycle accessories and he was talking about the re-imagined “Spirit of Munro Tribute Streamliner” motorcycle sitting in a special display at the bike show. There were dozens of spectators eyeballing the sleek, red streamliner and taking in every detail.
“The idea originated for Daytona last year,” Swedlund continued. “We were looking for a way to spotlight the new Indian Thunder Stroke 111 engine and talking with a couple of partners. Jeb Scolman—the guy out of Southern California who actually built the bike—was there and we came up with the idea.”
“Burt Munro and the original Munro Special will always be very, very important to Indian enthusiasts,” Swedlund explained. “The ‘World’s Fastest Indian’ is very near and dear to the heritage of Indian Motorcycle. So, a copy of the Munro Special was the perfect vehicle to launch the new motor and talk about as we were bringing the brand back. You know, this was a way to talk about heritage and to talk a little bit about looking forward.”
Swedlund said the tribute bike is more about the 111-cid 119 lbs.-ft. Thunder Stroke 111 engine than anything. “That was the the base from the get go,” he noted. “Jeb kind of used his ideas for everything else and built a streamliner.” A lot of historical photos—some part of the Chicago display—were used to get the appearance nailed down “Jeb took them and said, ‘OK, what’s going to be kind of our spin on it?’” Swedlund noted. “We wanted to give Burt Munro a nod, but to also showcase the brand. It’s kind of a marriage of the two.
Swedlund said reactions to the Spirit of Munro tribute bike have been great. It won the “Dream Bike of the Year” award from Motorcyclist Magazine and people loved a video that Indian put together about JJeb building the bike. “We didn’t take it to Bonneville last year, but we took it out to a salt flats out in Califormia,” Swedlund said. “That’s where Jeb did the video and it was one of the top viewed Internet videos. If I had anything to do with it, I would take it to Bonneville. I don’t know if we will, but we could and it would be great to get it out there.”