I started Kiwi Indian in 1988, offering high-quality parts at a reasonable price. Back then, quality was a hit-and-miss thing between all the suppliers.
My love affair started in 1977 (I was 17 years old) when I bought my 1st Indian, a 1941 741 model needing total restoration. Within two years, I had purchased my 2nd Indian, a 1924 Big Chief basket case. I was born in New Zealand, and in those days, getting parts was a big problem, so I set out making parts for my bikes. I was especially interested in making engine and transmission parts as my trade was engine rebuilding/automotive machining. I was sort of like a young Burt Monro as I carved away on different steels to make my own crankpins, shafts, valves, guides, bushings, and so on.
In 1982 I left New Zealand to travel around the world, eventually making it to America, which I fell in love with and got no further. In Southern California, I could ride motorcycles year-round and not worry about rain, and there was a good group of Indian riders. So I shipped my 741 from New Zealand to LA and enjoyed riding it around SoCal, but I found it lacked power and decided to sell it to fund my new venture Kiwi Indian Parts in 1988.
It was a challenge starting a business back then as the majors in the niche did their best to keep me out, mostly with their negative propaganda. I’m a pretty talented guy, so I set about making my own product line that separated Kiwi from everyone else and disproved their propaganda. Now I was in control of the quality and pricing, which in the long run they did me a big favor since I was able to apply my talents to my business. After all, this is America, and if you can dream it, you can do it.
I studied metals, heat treating, and manufacturing processes and set forth to make the best engine and transmission parts the industry has ever seen which still holds true to this day, over three decades later. The big turning point for Kiwi was in 1990 when I did the Davenport, Iowa swap meet. I laid out all my parts, and it made a massive impression on everyone, and business skyrocketed from that point on. There was no internet back then, just magazines and word of mouth that good news travels fast.
In 1999 I developed new crankcases for Indians, allowing me to build the world’s 1st brand new Indian engine. In 2001 I founded the Century Ride Home, Indian’s 100th-anniversary ride from Kiwi HQ in Riverside, California, to Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of Indian motorcycles. My 1st motor (84 ci) covered the whole journey without a single problem which little did I know at the time; the entire world was watching. My workshop rapidly expanded to include new engine manufacturing, rebuilding original engines, complete restorations, and tribute bikes.
I have a deep passion for Indian motorcycles, and I’ve never looked at Kiwi Indian as a business but as an extension of my hobby. To this day, I continue plowing the fields and developing innovative and high-quality parts for Indians. My latest venture is manufacturing fenders and tanks. It’s exciting as I formed a good relationship with an aerospace stamping company that happens to love Indians.
I’ve always worked hard and long to create a world-class company where people can use my parts with confidence. To further drive home this point, I have proven the quality of my products by riding my bikes around the country and the world. I don’t even own a motorcycle that isn’t an Indian, let alone anything newer than 1953.
As the old race saying goes, when the green flag drops, the BS stops. There is no better business card than proving one’s own products for the whole world to see.
Keep an eye on my pricing, too, as it’s ruffling feathers.
I’m not one to look back on over three decades of work, but it is nice to know I’ve contributed to putting 1000’s of Indians back on the road, with many more still in my future.
And if you think you are too old for an Indian, I have an electric start for you. Kiwi Mike never stops innovating.
Kiwi Indian Parts