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Spirit of Sturgis Indian Scout

Custom Motorcycle Feature

Spirit of Sturgis Indian Scout


By Eric Ellis • Photos by Mark Velazquez
When J.C. “Pappy” Hoel decided to host some races for his local motorcycle group, the Jackpine Gypsies, back in 1938, he never could have foreseen the club’s notoriety and the importance the Black Hills Classic would be to the motorcycling community. Some 76 years later, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the world’s largest motorcycle gatherings and is attended by enthusiasts from all walks of life.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Sturgis rally, famed painter David Uhl recreated a photo of Pappy and his 1936 Indian Scout with a painting he titled “Pappy.” It was that painting that sparked the idea for this build.

Mark Marshall from Rapid City, South Dakota, is friends with Bruce Eide, one of the principals of the Sturgis Indian Motorcycle dealership that was opened in 2014. Bruce owns the original “Pappy” painting, and Mark always loved the bike in the painting. So much so, in fact, that Mark asked Brian Klock of Klock Werks if he could build him a modern version using a new Indian Scout.

In its stock form, the latest Indian Scout has a retro vibe, so the Klock Werks team wanted to build on that but also incorporate some modern touches to play on the past and present theme. Since it was a brand-new bike, and they wanted to be able to create a line of parts for the Indian Scout, they decided to leave the frame and powerplant alone and focus more on things like the bars and bodywork.

Through its connections, Klock Werks was able to score one of the first spoked wheel sets offered by Indian for the Scout model. The 3.50-16″ wire wheels were shod with the stock tires, however, and to give the tires a more aggressive look, the team used a tire knife to cut some more lines into the tread pattern. The front suspension was left alone, but the rear shocks were replaced with a pair of Ohlins piggybacks, which give the bike a more race-inspired appearance and a plusher ride.

Once the wheels and tires were in place, the Klock Werks crew turned to the bodywork. They really liked the look and flow of the stock gas tank, so they left it intact and utilized a pair of Klock Werks’ stamped Outrider fenders to create the look of a lighter-weight racer. The front fender was trimmed, and a pair of struts were fabricated to keep the tips of the fender from flexing, mimicking the look of Pappy’s front fender. The Outrider rear fender was cut and then rotated so that once mounted on the bike, the tip sits perpendicular to the ground to reflect the look of Pappy’s bike.

A seat pan was fabricated and mounted so that the rear was suspended over the rear fender, similar to the old-school, sprung-seat look. Backing up the solo seat, the Klock Werks team fabricated a compact passenger pad mounted to the rear fender, just like the one found on Pappy’s Indian. Also similar to Pappy’s Indian, the team made some number plates: two for each side of the rear fender and one mounted on the front end. The number plate on the front end is a pretty trick setup and features a compact Rigid Industries headlight slightly protruding through the number plate. The square LED headlight adds an extremely modern touch to the otherwise retro bike.

More modern lighting was used in the form of a pair of Motogadget turn signals that were mounted into the ends of the Klock Werks Klassic handlebars. The turn signals are so small and stealthy on the ends of the grips that you don’t notice them until they light up.

One of the requests that Mark made early on in the build was that he wanted the bike to have mid-controls. This turned out to be a bit of a challenge, as the frame design doesn’t have any lower rails. After carefully studying the bike they figured out a way to mount the mid-controls so that they would be functional and still look good. Klock Werks created a set of mock controls using its Stratasys three-dimensional printer, and then the designs were sent of over to Invest Cast Inc. in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, where the mid-controls were rapid prototype-cast. The end results look so clean and natural on the bike that one might think it came stock with the mids.

The engine was left untouched. To get a little more oomph and growl out of the stock mill, however, the exhaust system was replaced with Vance & Hines new Hi-Output Grenades system. At the heart of the engine, Klock Werks bolted up one of its stamped round air cleaner covers.

It wasn’t until the crimson red and cream paint scheme was applied that the bike really looked like it could have just rolled out of the 1930s. “Tex” McDorman of TexEfx in Sanger, Texas, laid down a patina-style paint job over the gas tank panels and number plates, which helped accentuate that vintage look of the bike. He also pinstriped Spirit of Sturgis on the air cleaner. As a side note, the custom license plate says Wanagi, which is Lakota for spirit.

It took Klock Werks four months to turn Mark’s Indian Scout into an old school meets new school tribute to Pappy’s 1936 version. Everyone was happy with the results. Mark got the bike he had been dreaming of, and Klock Werks was able to create a whole new line of parts (handlebars, headlight kit, number plates, seat kit, etc.) for the Indian Scout. Brian says he couldn’t have done it without the help of his entire team, especially the fabrication skills of Randy Rothlisberger and Jennifer Bainbridge. AIM