Last year—to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Indian Scout—Indian Motorcycle teamed up with Workhorse Speed Shop to build an incredible monster of a motorcycle to tackle high speed events. They called the bike Appaloosa. For 2020 the bike received a few big updates, and was shipped to the frigid Russian winter to run at the Baikal Mile event, on ice.
Appaloosa is based on an Indian Scout Bobber, though it obviously has been significantly modified. In addition to the aerodynamic fairing, the entire layout of the bike has been changed from a forward controls cruiser to a full tuck speed demon. I really dig it. If there is one thing I loved about the Scout it was the big V-twin engine, and that is one of the few pieces that remains from the standard bike.
Of course, the bike was built to run on pavement, making this conversion to ice racing a little difficult. As the Workhorse team found out, it takes a little more than slamming some studs into your tires to develop a competitive ice racer. Over the course of the race weekend, the team experienced temperatures well below zero, which affected the bike. For one thing, most of the fluids would freeze overnight and it would be difficult to get the bike back in working order the next morning. For another, apparently the engine management hardware wasn’t even cooperating in the low temps.
While the team did manage to get in a few runs on the 1/8th mile ice track that showed promise, all of the running at full throttle on the full mile saw the engine breaking up at RPM, and the rough ice causing the tire to contact the bodywork. While the team didn’t get to run a speed they feel the bike was capable of producing, it did manage to hit 180 kilometers per hour, which is around 111 mph, and I’m not sure I’d want to do that on ice! I’ve maybe perhaps once gone that fast on a stock Indian Scout, and I really don’t recommend it.
This little video that Indian made about the excursion out onto the ice is a great demonstration of the fact that no matter how prepared you are, there is nothing that can substitute for practical knowledge. Now that the team knows what needs to be fixed for next time, perhaps it’ll be able to spit out a good run. It’s a good video, even if the trip was ultimately something of a failure.
In the meantime, the team will go back to working on running fast on dry warm surfaces and hit the ice hard in 2021.