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Revival of the machine: Herzbube’s Indian Scout 101

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles
BMW’s annual Pure&Crafted show is a goldmine for seekers of unusual motorcycles, and not just those manufactured in Berlin. At this year’s shindig in Amsterdam, one of the most intriguing machines we spotted was this 1928 Indian 101 Scout, resurrected from the dead by Bernhard Elflein of Herzbube.

Bernhard has finally managed to arrange a photo-shoot for the Scout, and he’s filled us in on its unusual backstory.

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles

He’s owned the Scout engine for 14 years. It has an interesting history: in the days before the German reunification, the engine was used in East Germany to power a tractor, and the rest of the bike was discarded.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a professor of philosophy bought the engine to save it from the crusher. He took it home, but it fell onto the leg of his child—and his partner told him to get rid of it.

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles
So Bernhard bought the engine from the professor, and decided to use his blacksmithing skills to recreate the frame.

It takes a special kind of builder to persevere with a case like this, and Bernhard is that man—a true ascetic who eschews meat, alcohol, drugs and consumerism, and instead ploughs all his energies into the construction of motorcycles.

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles
But recreating a Scout 101 around an old engine was a massive undertaking, and a distraction from his day job at the time. Bernhard wisely decided to source an original frame, tank and front end.

“I applied for a job as a engine overhaul guy, and rebuilt the engine in that workshop by using a WLA crankshaft—a standard 1940s tuning trick,” says Bernhard.

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles
“The engine now has shaved pistons from a car, 750cc cylinders and heads, and a lot of non-standard parts—like 1960s Ironhead hubs, a modified EMW (Eisenacher Motorenwerk) handlebar, and a homemade seat.”

Somewhere along the line, the Indian got a fresh coat of paint and the seat from a Scout 741. Most of the work was completed seven years ago. Bernhard had a client for the bike and spent the deposit on parts, but his client then lost his job and was unable to complete the purchase.

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles
So the Scout ended up hanging on the wall of Roadrunners, a fashionable, shabby chic rock ‘n’ roll club in Berlin.

“Four years later, I could return to my client the money that he paid,” Bernhard says. “He was an actor, and never got back onto his feet—once you are out, you are out. But the Scout was mine again, and it’s never left me.”

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles
Needing an incentive to get the Scout up and running once more, Bernhard eyed a spot in a famous German hill climb race—the Auerberg Klassik in Bernbeuren, a seven-hour drive south of Berlin.

He finished prepping the Scout the night before, and test-started the engine. “It started well and sounded good—the Dell’Orto carb worked well. But I could not test ride it in the night.” He put the Scout on the trailer, went to bed to catch a couple of hours sleep, and then started the drive to Bernbeuren.

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles
“As soon as I arrived, I started the engine again. Then I found out that the clutch didn’t work.”

After some frantic mechanical tweaks, Bernhard managed to shift the bike into gear with a push downhill, and made the technical inspection with just 20 minutes to spare.

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles
With no clutch, Bernhard didn’t win the race, but he still enjoyed the ride. The Scout was finally back on the road, and two weeks later, it was one of the stars of the show at Pure&Crafted.

That’s nine decades and 5,500 kilometers after it rolled out of the Indian factory in Springfield, Massachusetts. One hell of a journey.

Herzbube Motorcycles | Instagram | Images by Sebastian Skiba

Indian Scout 101 restomod by Herzbube Motorcycles