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Thread: Indian Chief Right or Left hand shifter preference

  1. #1

    Default Indian Chief Right or Left hand shifter preference

    I happened to be reading the post by Lipdog, on changing the throttle, back to the left side, on his Indian; and I had a burning question!

    Concerning the later Indian Chiefs; what do riders/collectors, of today prefer on the gear shifter, left or right? I have had and still have Chiefs with Indian controls, Left shifter and Right throttle, opposed to Harley controlled, Left shifter and right throttle. I have seen just about any mix of the the two systems too. Honestly, I prefer to have the shifter on the opposite side of the throttle; just seems better. As to the standard Indian control or Harley; I don't really care. I ride them both.

    1. But what do other riders like?

    2. Selling a bike may make a difference, I don't know.

    3. Judging a bike, I suppose it it might, does it?

    4. Does one way or another hurt or increase the bikes marketability and price?

    If any of you have any thoughts, give us a shout out here.

    bjind

  2. #2

    Default

    I live in a hilly area, so having the throttle on the right side with a left foot clutch and right hand brake makes it hard to start on hills. I want to be able to hold the hand brake while working the throttle and clutch, so a left throttle works better for me. From a collectibility standpoint I don’t think it makes a difference, though having the most common original configuration can’t be a bad thing.

  3. #3

    Default

    I personally like my old Indians to be left side throttle, right side shifter, right side spark advance. Thatís how my Ď41 Chief is set up. I donít have any logical reason why, it just seems right. Either way, I agree with what you said about the shifter being opposite the throttle. Some years the single speed Hedstrom Indians had the throttle and the clutch both operated with the left hand, but in reality I think people end up reaching across the tank and operating the clutch with their right hand. The old PowerPlus Indians have a clutch that can be operated with your left foot or your right hand, which sounds odd, but Iíve ridden quite a few miles on one and once you get used to it, it makes great sense and works really well. As far as judging, I suppose it would matter but I donít really know. Has far as value and marketability, I donít think it should make too much difference on something like a Chief, because itís pretty easy to change the clutch and throttle from one side to the other.


    Kevin

    .
    1916 Indian Powerplus - Cannonball Bike
    1941 Indian Chief - Sonny
    1964 Triumph TR6 - 50 year ISDT Tribute
    1969 BMW R60US
    1973 Moto Guzzi Eldorado
    Etcetera

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    754

    Default

    With LH throttle, RH shift and a foot clutch you’re less likely to have people bug you about wanting to ride your Indian! :-)
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Posts
    486

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    i like right throttle like my modern harley.Muscle memory,or lack of ,gets confusing sometimes on my left throttle bike.
    BTW I like the brake and gas on the same side ,opposite shifter,as its the only hand that never leaves the handlebars.With some practice holding the brake and giving it some gas to go is better with one hand ,at least for me.I think trying to hold the bike with the front brake while disengaging the clutch and shifting to first would be difficult with the brake on the shifter side.
    Tom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Central Illinois, USA
    Posts
    4,346

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    Quote Originally Posted by tfburke3 View Post
    ....I think trying to hold the bike with the front brake while disengaging the clutch and shifting to first would be difficult with the brake on the shifter side....
    You got it right, Tom!

    Why factories did that is a mystery for the ages.

    They expected you to never come to a stop sign going up-hill.

    ....Cotten
    PS: I was required to ride both left and right-hand shifts, after 'growing up' lefty.
    The only way I survived right-hand shifts was to keep my hand on the knob.

    It works.
    AMCA #776
    Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Central Illinois, USA
    Posts
    4,346

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bjind View Post
    ...
    1. But what do other riders like?

    2. Selling a bike may make a difference, I don't know.

    3. Judging a bike, I suppose it it might, does it?

    4. Does one way or another hurt or increase the bikes marketability and price?

    If any of you have any thoughts, give us a shout out here...
    Sorry for a late direct reply to your questions, Bjind!

    What other riders like is irrelevant; You like what you like.

    Questions two and four hinge a little on question three, if you want to ante up.

    But relax, both the MOCO and the Wigwam made their machines both lefty and righty.

    ....Cotten
    Last edited by T. Cotten; 11-09-2019 at 02:48 PM.
    AMCA #776
    Dumpster Diver's Motto: Seek,... and Ye Shall Find!

  8. #8

    Default

    I prefer RH throttle reason; after all these years with RH throttle in a panic situation one will do what one has always done.
    Kept shift on the Right as I am not "speed shifting"; throttles freedom from a return spring allows me to briefly set my revs and make my shift then return to throttle
    Probably would negatively effect value (IF I were selling. I am not thank you very much) Probably would effect Judging but I figure bike is worth more and would be judged higher
    if I can avoid a crash. Safety first.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    ca
    Posts
    169

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    I have been riding right hand throttle since my 48 Cushman in 1958. I don't think I could change to left hand throttle at 77. My Indians are left hand shift also. I have a 61 Triumph TR5AC that I ride also, with the brake on the left. In a quick stop I sometimes stomp on the shift lever down, thinking I am on my Indian. Doing things the same for a long time, I find It gets hard to change as I get older. Stan

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Saltsburg PA
    Posts
    354

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bjind View Post
    I happened to be reading the post by Lipdog, on changing the throttle, back to the left side, on his Indian; and I had a burning question!

    Concerning the later Indian Chiefs; what do riders/collectors, of today prefer on the gear shifter, left or right? I have had and still have Chiefs with Indian controls, Left shifter and Right throttle, opposed to Harley controlled, Left shifter and right throttle. I have seen just about any mix of the the two systems too. Honestly, I prefer to have the shifter on the opposite side of the throttle; just seems better. As to the standard Indian control or Harley; I don't really care. I ride them both.

    1. But what do other riders like?

    2. Selling a bike may make a difference, I don't know.

    3. Judging a bike, I suppose it it might, does it?

    4. Does one way or another hurt or increase the bikes marketability and price?

    If any of you have any thoughts, give us a shout out here.

    bjind
    1. Right hand throttle. That's what I grew up on. If my bike had been left throttle when I got it, I'd have "left" it that way (no pun intended)
    2. Doubt it will make any difference selling.
    3. I want to say no problem for judging either way.....but not sure as I've never heard it discussed. Pretty sure they could have been delivered either way back in the day but I don't know if factory would set them up for right throttle or converted at dealer. I thought they could be ordered right throttle from factory. I'm sure someone else will know for certain
    4. Never saw any evidence that it will affect price either way

    Harry makes a good point though! I have been offered to ride left throttle Indians but declined because I was not used to it and didn't want to risk looking like a fool!
    Last edited by Skirted; 11-11-2019 at 07:32 AM.
    Jason Z
    AMCA #21594
    Near Pittsburgh PA (Farm Country)
    Allegheny Mountain Chapter http://amcaamc.com/

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