The allure of American V-Twins isn’t lost on anyone reading this missive. Indeed, our bold and burly motorcycles have fans stretching around the world. Two years ago, Indian Motorcycle told us 40% of its business is global, and the MoCo also does well with overseas sales.

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New Zealand is about as far away as you can get from the USA, and yet Harleys and Indians of all ages roam the streets even all the way over there. The cover story in our February issue (“Matariki Vintage Bike Show”) provided a rare look at the V-Twin scene in Kiwiland, and I was amazed to learn about their depth of passion for vintage American V-Twins. The breadth of motorbike history was on full display, everything from a 1915 Harley pocket-valve racer to a methanol-burning Ironhead to a 1935 Indian Chief with a gorgeous sidecar rig. 

I suppose I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the affection for American bikes in NZ, as a few months earlier, we brought you a story written by contributor Uli Cloesen about Kiwi Rob McIntyre’s Indian Chout custom. A Chout, in case you don’t know, is a vintage Indian Scout chassis stuffed with an Indian Chief motor, and McIntyre’s green Chout is a stunner. 

The final photo in the story’s layout showed McIntyre riding his Chout with what appeared to be an unhappy face, which prompted Associate Editor Paul Dail to suggest a cheeky caption by mixing a quote with an observation:

McIntyre has logged nearly 6,000 miles on his Chout and says riding it always makes him smile, apparently on the inside.

Rubber-Side Down Rob McIntyre
The photo that prompted an email from the other side of the world.

Our little jab tickled McIntyre, who followed up with an unsolicited email. 

It is my Indian Chout that was included in the September issue of American Rider, and I nearly wet my pants with laughter when I read the caption for the last photo of me with a sour look on my face. 

To rectify the situation, here is a much better pic of me with the Chout stopped while heading up the access road to Cardrona Ski field (in the summer obviously). The photo was taken just before I was a bit quick into a corner and ended up in the ditch with the rocket air cleaner stabbing a hole in my jeans and through to my leg. It leaked a bit (my leg, not the bike) but was okay to carry on up to the summit and back to Queenstown later for a medicinal beer. 

Rubber-Side Down Rob McIntyre
Rob McIntyre displaying the smile his Chout usually brings to his face.

I’m not really a fan of the American bike magazines, which are too Harley-focused for my liking, but I did enjoy your issue. The stories on Bobby Hill and Jeff Decker were great, plus the Born Free and San Diego Auto Museum coverage makes me want to get back over to the U.S. next year. Look me up if you ever make it down here to NZ. I’ll give you the keys to a vintage Indian and we can head out for the day.

Cheers, Rob.

It will be my pleasure should our paths ever cross, Rob, whether on the left-hand side of the road or the right.


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