• George Angelakos

1916 indian boardtrack racer replica

The early 1900,s was a magical time for so many reasons, many great technological and engineering advances took place in this period.

From the invention of the internal combustion engine, wireless radio, electric power, refrigeration, etc, etc, and lets not forget the almighty motorbike !

From the moment i saw one of these antique race bikes i was in awe of their simplicity, and the fact that 100 years ago men with leather helmets raced each other on a Nascar track made of wood called a "motordrome" at over 100 miles per hour on a basic engine powered bicycle with one speed,, "Flat out" with no brakes, no clutch and just a kill switch to slow down.

How times have changed,, and probably for the better too !!, but these beasts have their place in history and in my heart.

As an Artisan/Blacksmith i always wanted to build one of these bikes.

A few years before i attempted to start fabricating and welding anything resembling an antique bike, i spent my casual hours deep in research of these early race bikes.

I documented all sorts of dimensions that i could find from historical records, including makes, year models, power trains, wheelbases, fuel tank styles, suspension set-ups, seats, handlebars and so on.

I came to the conclusion that with so many manufacturers in the early 1900,s their were some aspects on some makes that i liked more than others and vise versa.

In that period of time "Harley" and "Indian" reigned supreme on the track and in the sales department,, although other manufacturers such as "Cyclone", "Super X", "Excelsior", "Flying Merkel", "Jefferson", "Henderson", also had a small piece of that pie.

Eventually with the onset of the "depression" and hard financial times many of those manufacturers could not stay afloat, and eventually folded.

After gathering all the information i required on all these different makes, and how they looked and performed, i settled on the "Indian" although i morphed my version to incorporate others ideas into my creation, including modern engineering practices and parts.

I began plotting out the wheelbase dimensions and the diameter of the wheels i was going to use.

I decided to fabricate the hubs from stainless steel utilising modern pressed bearings for larger axles with double wall aluminium rims laced with 72 bicycle spokes for extra strength.

I used 24 1/4 x 4 1/4 inch modern tyres for a more "brawn" aggressive look.

Once i had this sorted, its was time for the frame.

22mm diameter thick walled galvanised round steel tube, with gussetts and lots of heating, bending, and rolling to achieve the desired flowing lines i envisioned in my mind.

The frame was made to accept the hand made stainless steel "torpedo" fuel tank, the forged iron engine mounts, the antique springer seat mounts, jackshaft drive assembly, steering and monoshock modern suspension set-up and the rear disc brake.

The front fork was an exercise in frustration , although all is well that ends well, as they say, and it gets its spring and shock from a mountain bike, although its a fabricated steel tube design fork, with a forged iron plate to hold the mountain bike coil over shock and coil spring.

Handle bars are handmade style "dropbars' as used back in the day, held in place with a vintage gooseneck and bound with leather strips.

The powerplant is nothing but the best--

A Honda industrial 200cc modified overhead valve engine.

Sporting a handmade finned aluminium cylinder head heatsinc, a forged flat top piston, billet flywheel, billet ARC conrod, double valve springs, Burris full race cam, ported and polished head,roller rockers, hd pushrods, custom made ram manifold and 22mm mikuni carb.

The powerplant is rated to around 14hp, and with the bikes low weight, this machine makes for a "wild ride" running through a 3-d manual clutch and 60 tooth rear sprocket.

The associated parts like brackets and clips, fairing plates etc were all hand made from copper, brass stainless and aluminium including gauge bezels and steel headlight support brackets.

Replicating a piece of history to what you envision for yourself is an exercise in engineering which should follow your passion and expression.

As we say at Artemis Wrought Iron "imagine-design-create"