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Bike Profile - Posted 14th July 2008

1913 Indian Racer

Restoring a vintage motorcycle is a labour of love, says Dennis W Lid, and some times the result is a Vintage Supreme...

Here’s a thought for you. A vintage person is said to be one who has ‘been around long enough to be back in style.’ That’s a true statement in the case of Al Eshenbaugh of Phoenix, Arizona. Take one look at his fully restored 1913 Indian Boardtrack Racer and you get the idea that Al, the owner and restorer of this fabulous and antique metal pony, knows his stuff. He is the man who rebuilt this icon from the past to such a supreme state of perfection. And that took know-how. The restoration of this motorcycle was a five-year project.

We need more bikes with white tyres. 1913 Indian Boardtrack Racer

In 1913, Indian were enjoying massive sales success in their homeland. Hendee and Hedstrom built extremely competitive vintage motorcycles and created their first Indian production racer back in 1906. In 1911 they could confidently claim that Indian motorcycle was ‘the most reliable and speediest machine ever made.’ During speed trials an Indian completed 83 miles and 135 yards in one hour – or, as Indian liked to say; ‘an average of one mile every 43 seconds!’

A bike with white tyres, yesterday. 1913 Indian Boardtrack Racer

By the time this Boardtrack Racer was built in 1913, Indian were churning out some 32,000 motorcycles per year (although sales then suffered as the Model T Ford took over the role of everyday transportation). Indian’s top rider, De Rosier, dominated the motordrome (or boardtrack) scene. Boardtrack races were run over a short, quarter-mile wooden oval with banked corners. Indian developed a range of four-valve and eight-valve singles especially for these circuits, and those bikes were equally successful when taken abroad. An eight-valver was ridden by C B Franklin at Brooklands in 1911, covering 300 miles in less than 300 minutes to claim a raft of world speed records.

Al Eshenbaugh, yesterday. 1913 Indian Boardtrack Racer restorer / owner, Al Eshenbaugh

The bike rebuild was a labour of love for Al. He is an Arizona Hall of Fame motorcycle racer. He not only knows how to restore a vintage bike, he knows how to race it. The trophy he holds in his hands from the 2008 Classic and Antique Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet of Phoenix, Arizona is in recognition for the excellent condition of his bike and the restoration thereof. Those awards he held in the past were in honour of his victories on the track as a racer.

I can't see past the white tyres.
Indians! on Now...

It was while racing on the boardtrack that Al exhibited his moksi with the bike; it was also that experience and the knowledge derived from it which enabled him to restore it to original condition. Wisdom comes with time, effort and perseverance. The five-year effort to restore the 1913, 61cc, 3.5hp, Indian Boardtrack Racer proves that Al has these requirements in spades. Look, once again, at the results. Take your time and savour the fruits of his work. Linger for awhile and just enjoy what you see. You are observing a nearly perfect classic motorcycle - a vintage supreme, just like the guy who rebuilt it.


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