Sixties Chopper

Article By: Milwaukee Mike Photos By: Bart Mitchell

Feature 2 Oct 13
Originally Published In The October 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

The bike that is gracing these pages this month is coming to us via the artistry of none other than Kiwi Mike over at Kiwi Indian in Riverside, CA. If you haven’t had the pleasure of spending some time with Mike, it should be something you should strive to do as he is one of the most knowledgeable Indian guys on the planet. Even if you don’t own one, to see him at one of the many shows he attends is an education, at least it has always been the case for me. This particular example of his fine work is uncommon even for the crew at Kiwi. It was brought to Mike as a complete bike that was “choppered” in the ‘60s. I think because of its rarity no extensive abuse or manipulation was done to the frame, and it still retains a fair amount of stock Indian parts from various years. Once the bike was at Mike’s shop, he did what he always does: he gets the bike running. He changes the fluids, checks the timing and carb, cleans out the tank, and so on. Then a proper assessment can be given to the customer after a good test ride. In the case of this Indian, it had only some small bits of rot, but that was due to the amount of care it received. Since it had lived most of its life in the sun of the near perfect weather of sunny California, it wasn’t anything that couldn’t be fixed with a little hard work. The owner, Gary, then gave Mike the go-ahead to do a frame-up restoration; the result is just plain stunning. As I mentioned, the bike was in very good tick and so complete that the rebuild orders were to freshen it all up and not change the look as it had been done in the ‘60s by master craftsman Mike McCluskey. He fabricated the trick handlebar setup as well as the sissy bar and long Indian fishtails which pair fabulously with the “H Brand” tipped up rear fender that gave it that great flowing front to back look.

Feature 2b Oct 13

As long as the whole bike was apart, the guys at Kiwi rebuilt the engine and left it a s a mostly stock 74” motor with the exception of the Bonneville cams and followers to wake the old girl up a bit. The bike still has the original 3 speed transmission and is put into service with the heel-togo activated foot clutch and hand shifter that sits along side of the perfectly black, shiny coated ‘46 tanks. The topper of the whole look is the ‘45 and earlier leaf frontend which makes it so unmistakably Indian. The icing on this particular cake — the original Bates’ headlight — was in such good shape that they even preserved the Bates’ sticker on it, and was the only part that didn’t need to be re-chromed. The aftermarket seat was left as it was, and the high pegs are for the Gary’s grandson as they enjoy riding together now that it is done, and it will be left to him after Gary’s demise. On a side note, Mike took the bike out to Ventura last year to show it to the owner. He didn’t want pictures to update the progress; he just wanted to wait until it was done. So, in a line of 8 bikes that Mike brought out, he asked Gary’s grandson to pick his favorite and he picked this bike; how is that for fate! The owner told Mike he hit the mark and now he could leave his grandson a great bike that they can build memories on instead of just a box of parts.

If you are ever one of those lucky individuals who owns an Indian and it needs some help, give Mike a ring at Kiwi Indian. He will definitely be able to help you out as his catalogue has everything needed to keep those Indians in the breeze. As the pictures will show, he is the premier keeper of the brand and is always striving to uphold the integrity and quality of the Indian name. For the loyal Cycle Source readers, I have another surprise coming from Kiwi in the near future that I think you all will totally dig, so stay tuned!

Feature 2c Oct 13

Chopper Chief Tech Sheet

Owner: Gary

City: California

Fabrication By: Kiwi and Micha McClosky

Year: 1940

Model: Indian Chief

Value: 45K


Year: 1940

Model: Indian Chief

Builder: Kiwi Mike

Ignition: Distributor

Displacement: 74”

Pistons: Cast Kiwi

Heads: Stock

Cam(s): Stock

Carb: Linkert

Air Cleaner: Stock

Exhaust: Custom

Primary: Stock


Year: 1940

Make: Indian

Shifting: 1 Forward – 2 Back


Year: 1940

Make: Indian

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock


Type: Leaf Spring

Builder: Indian


Triple Trees:


Front Wheel: Spoke

Size: 21”

Tire: Avon

Brakes: Stock

Rear Wheel: Spoke

Size: 16”

Tire: Avon



Painter: Haynie Designs

Color: Black




Chroming: Pacific Polishing


Bars: Micha McClosky


Hand Controls: Stock Internal Control

Gas Tank(s): Stock

Front fender: None

Rear fender: Unfortunately – Harley (LOL)


Foot Controls:

Oil Tank:

Taillight: Indian

Headlight: Genuine Bates

Speedo: Indian

Photographer: Bart Mitchell

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