The Triggers Broom Paradox ~ or ~ are the Polaris Indian Motorcycles really Indian Motocycles?

What is the Triggers Broom Paradox?

The long running British comedy Only Fools and Horses had some classic comedy moments but only one is currently being discussed by philosophy students in several Universities around the UK. That brilliant moment in the ‘Heroes and Villains’ episode when road sweeper Trigger explains he has just won an award for saving the council money, having owned the same broom for 20 years. The punchline comes with the revelation that it’s had 17 new heads and 14 new handles, to which the other characters wonder how it could possibly be the same broom.

Writer John Sullivan was referencing a much older philosophical debate known as the Grandfathers Axe paradox (I could have called this the Indian Axe Paradox?), which much like Triggers broom, had received several changes in head and handle. The debate is of course, how can this be the same axe?


Classic motorcycles and John Locke’s sock

The Grandfathers Axe debate can be transposed across pretty much any item where parts can be replaced. For example another version of Triggers Broom is John Locke’s sock. This version imagines the protagonist wearing a hole into his favourite sock. A patch is sewn over the hole but soon enough another hole appears and that is patched up and so on and so on until the entire sock is made up of patches. Is this still the same old sock?

John Locke’s sock makes a perfect analogy for classic motorcycles. I would wager that hardly any of the machines currently classed as classics are 100% original. As is par of the course for any vehicle used for transport there are components that need replacing after a certain service interval. Parts such as tyres, chains, sprockets, bulbs, spark plugs, filters and gaskets are all items that are regularly replaced as service items. How many motorcycles we consider classics are on the same rubber or hold the same oil as they did when they came off the production line all those years ago?

Other components either get damaged or inevitably wear out over time. Many classic motorcycles have had their seats replace or upholstered, their pistons swapped and wiring looms replaced. How far do you go before this classic motorcycle is so far from original that it can no longer be called a classic? What needs to remain for it to still be the same bike? The engine? The Frame? The registration plate?


So what about the Polaris Indians?

Most classic Indian Motocycles (note the different spelling) are used as show bikes and for attending classic rallies. To remain in running condition many of the parts have been replaced over the years either by sourcing new/old stock or by reputable companies who specialise in the manufacture of components for classic machines. One such producer is Kiwi Indian of New Zealand.

Kiwi Indian started by making parts for the buoyant classic motorcycle market and expanded their range of products so much that it was possible to build a complete ‘classic’ Indian motorcycle from their parts alone. This means that you can now buy a brand new 1911 board track racer or 1939 Chieftain. As these are based on parts for classic bikes should these be considered classic bikes too?

However, the big question is are the new Polaris Indians really Indians? The original Indian Motocycle Manufacturing Company stopped making bikes in 1953 when the company went bankrupt. Since then many have tried and failed to reignite the flame of this incredibly evocative brand. From 1955 to 1960 Brockhouse Engineering had acquired the rights to the name and was importing English Royal Enfield’s into the US and rebadging them as Indians. From the 1960’s through to the late 1990’s the Indian brand name was under dispute with Floyd Clymer, Eller Industries and various other parties all making claims to the name with various success. Then in 1998 The Indian Motorcycle Company of America formed from a merger of nine companies and was awarded the Indian trademark by the Federal District Court of Colorado. Known as the Gilroy Indians, as they were produced in Gilroy, California, models were sold between 1999 and 2003 when the company went into bankruptcy.

In 2006 the Indian brand surfaced again as Indian Motorcycle Company, owned largely by private equity firm Stellican Limited. Production began in Kings Mountain, North Carolina and produced limited runs using Powerplus V-twin powertrains until Polaris Industries acquired the company in 2011. In 2013 the brand new ‘Thunder Stroke 111’ engine had been developed and production began in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

With the brand being bounced around so much since 1953 do the new Polaris machines deserve to be associated with the Indians built over half a century earlier? You could argue and indeed I will, that Polaris have built machines that capture the spirit of the original Indians better than anyone else. Does this mean the heritage is retained and this company is one and the same as the one that ceased production in 1953?


Other motorcycle brands in similar circumstances

Indian Motocycle/Indian Motocycles are far from the only motorcycle brand to be bounced around. There are notable similarities in the history of Harley Davidson, a long-term rival of Indian. Bought out by AMF (American Machine Foundry) in 1969, sold to investors (including Willie G. Davidson) in 1981 the company nevertheless never stopped continuous production. In the UK the Triumph brand began life as Triumph Engineering in 1885 and produced various machines, including motorcycles. With various mergers and acquisitions, including BSA, the firm produced motorcycles until 1983 when the firm went bankrupt. Saved by John Bloor (ensuring the company retains the title of longest continuous motorcycle manufacturer in the world as production began in 1902) the Triumph brand is stronger today than it’s been since the 1960s.

However arguably closer similarities to Indian lie with other recently revived brands such as Ariel, Norton and Brough Superior. All of these brands have a strong history with motorcycles but have had long periods of non-production and brand ownership disputes, yet would anyone buying a current model suggest that they’re not also buying into the history of the brand? Would a new model Norton sell as well if wasn’t branded with the Norton name?

To some extent any argument that a modern motorcycle shouldn’t hold the heritage of the past is null and void. Every year manufacturers produce new models and discontinue others. Just like life, engineering motorcycles is continuously evolving. New technologies make older ones obsolete, styles and fashions change. In that respect every motorcycle model currently in production has a severe case of Triggers Broom Paradox.


What do you think?

I’ve laid my case and will argue that the Polaris Indians deserve the heritage. After all, Polaris brought the brand name for a reason; the history associated with it. Along with the sterling job Polaris have done of creating a marvellous motorcycle we’re buying into that brand history too. But what do you think?

Good News Monday ~ March 2015

Happy Monday Everybody!

For many folk Mondays are one of the most depressing days of the week. It’s the first day back to the daily grind after the weekend and you’re on the back foot playing catchup from the get go. What makes Monday’s even more difficult to get through is the constant news stories we’re bombarded with. Corrupt bankers, politicians and officials, more trouble in the Middle East, the terror ‘threat’, the void between the 1% and the rest of us getting ever larger. The bad news stories seem to be never-ending.

Well I say enough of all that. It’s time to inject a bit of hope and optimism into your day with my new monthly blog series ‘Good News Mondays’. It’s all about providing that little boost right at the start of the month to stimulate your serotonin levels and help you get over the Monday blues.

This is the first post of the series and I would like to say that I’ve scoured the web for happy-go-lucky stories but sadly, as this is a spur of the moment idea, I’ve not got that far yet. But that’s good news because I’d like YOU to send me your Good News stories. Do you have a heartwarming tale to tell? Then contact me with your story and it could be included in the first ‘Good News Monday’ on 6th April.

Indian Chief Dark Horse

I love the rejuvenated Indian Motorcycle brand, of course as part of my day job is selling these marvellous machines you could call me bias but I love them so much that I put my money where my mouth is and own one too, a Chief Vintage bagger, it’s a lovely motorcycle. Though the 2015 Indian Scout has stolen the headlines with its light weight chasis,water cooled 100bhp engine and Sportster-baiting price (closely comparable to Harley Davidson Sportster 1200, 48 and 72) it’s the Chief range that shows Polaris’ engineering at it’s best. The Thunderstroke 111 engine is a work of art even before you fire it up and witness the sound and power it produces.

Indian Chief Dark Horse 2016 A
Indian Chief Dark Horse 2016

Yet despite soaring sales the Scout won’t be having it all its own way come 2016 as Indian have just launched its latest beast, the Chief Dark Horse. Based on the same platform as the current Chief range it strips everything back to black but not necessarily back to basics. Sure the Dark Horse will come as standard with a solo seat, no light bar and without any of the fancy leather tassels but the keyless ignition, ABS and cruise control remain. What’s more is the price knocks an astonishing £2,000 off the standard Chief Classic bringing the UK price down to £16,499. Sure it’s still a lot of money but you’re getting a true American built motorcycle with an iconic name on the tank, not to mention a class-leading chassis and powertrain.

Indian Chief Dark Horse 2016
Indian Chief Dark Horse 2016

At £16,499 it’s difficult to work out what the Dark Horse’s natural rivals will be. For just £12,349 you can get Kawasaki’s VN1700 Classic♦, Yamaha’s XV1900A Midnight Star (called by the much cooler sounding name of ‘Stratoliner’ stateside) weighs in at £13,499♠ while Suzuki’s offering is the M1800RBZ at £11,499 but with each of these you lose cruise control, fuel capacity and tonnes of character that comes from the Thunderstroke 111 engine.

Moving away from transverse V-Twins, Honda’s closest offer comes from the flat-six Gold Wing F6C which at £18,399 makes the Dark Horse seem a steal. At £13,399 Triumph’s Rocket III Roadster seem’s a bargain. With a 2300cc triple engine there’s plenty of grunt to play with but the chassis is essentially a decade old and not as dynamic or easy to maneuver at low speeds as the Indian and that wide engine means it’s difficult for the more vertically challenged among us to get a firm footing on the tarmac♣. Moto Guzzi’s longitudinal V-Twin California comes in at £14,734 but at 1400cc gives away some 400cc’s to the Indian♥.

Polaris even have their own rivals to the Chief Dark Horse from stable mates Victory. The 2015 Victory Gunner is a stripped back bobber style bike with a huge ‘Freedom’ 106 cubic inch (1731cc) engine while the High Ball uses the same power plant but adds ape hangers, spoked wheels and white wall tyres. At £9,999 and £10,999 respectively they both offer fantastic value with that torquey engine and brilliant chassis giving plenty of smiles per mile.

Victory Gunner 2015
Victory Gunner 2015
Victory High Ball 2015
Victory High Ball 2015

The closest rival to the Indian Chief Dark Horse however comes from their main US rivals, Harley Davidson with the £16,045 Fat Boy. Yes that’s right, the motorcycle that Arnold Schwarzenegger’s T800 favoured in Terminator 2 is probably the bike that matches the Dark Horse the best. Though when I say ‘matches’ I only really mean in price and aesthetics because the Indian is a much more modern, better handling, powerful piece of kit than the Harley.

So the Chief Dark Horse doesn’t really fall into a well defined market. At sixteen and a half grand might sound like an awful lot of money for a stripped-back motorcycle but when you consider the rivals it does begin to make some sense. You could certainly have a cheaper bike but it probably won’t have keyless ignition and cruise control and definitely won’t have the silky smooth power from that Thunderstroke 111 engine. The only cheaper bike to have the Indian badge on the tank is the Scout which might be £6,000 cheaper but doesn’t pack the same punch or road presence as its Chief sibling.

There’s no definite UK release date though with the US release date expected to be September 2015 I’d predict it to be late 2015 or early 2016 before the Dark Horse reaches British showrooms. Available with over 40 accessories including ape hangers, saddle bags, engine covers etc I’d expect this stripped-back chief to be the basis of many custom jobs. I can’t wait to see what creations folk come up with.

Further reading…

Indian Chief Dark Horse web page

For £14,599 you can get the Kawasaki VN1700 Voyager Custom which adds hard panniers and a batwing-style fairing while £16,699 gets you the full spec Voyager with touring screen and top box (trunk) but all of these are down on power and character.

♠For £15,999 you can get the Yamaha XV1900A Casual Full Dress which  adds hard panniers and batwing fairing.

Yamaha XV1900A Midnight Star Stratoliner Full Dresser
Yamaha XV1900A Midnight Star Stratoliner Full Dresser

For £16,634 Moto Guzzi offer the California Touring which adds a screen and panniers to the package though there’s no price yet for the 2016 ‘Audace’ model which more closely matches the matt black spec of the Dark Horse.

Triumph also offer their Thunderbird rage with a 1699cc parallel twin  at £12,899 for the Storm, £13,299 for the Commander and £14,299 for the LT but again it’s not as friendly for the shorter rider.


My Indian Chief Vintage in the showroom
My Indian Chief Vintage in the showroom

Ecotricity Do A Ratner ~ or ~ How to make political friends and alienate your customers

Dale Vince is someone I very much want to like. He is a former New Age Traveller and a vegan, just the type of person who seems to have a good old story to tell. He is also an industrialist, founding Ecotricity, his renewable energy company. I like renewable energy, it’s nice and fluffy and helps reduce my carbon emissions meaning I can ride my motorcycles more. What’s more he has similar haircut to mine and is worried about the sustainability of life – like me. Yes he is someone I very much want to like.

So why do I find myself thinking that actually, this guy is a bit of a dick? Well I’ll come to that in a moment but first let me give you a bit of background on Dale’s company, Ecotricity. As a company that trades under the Green Energy banner it entices altruistic customers who don’t mind paying a premium for their energy requirements under the stipulation that the company invests in renewable energy with the profits. Sounds nice and fair doesn’t it? Well it hooked me and many others too, 155,398 people at the time of writing. The thought that I’m paying over the odds for my energy is easily reconciled as I am helping to invest in a greener future for us all. So far so good.

So Ecotricity = plucky, progressive, sustainability loving company that likes to challenge the status quo? Well I thought so right up until I learned that Dale donated £250,000 of Ecotricity’s cash to the Labour Party. You could say that this made me a little bit pissed off but that would be an understatement. Livid is closer but add a good dose of bemusement and you’ll be right on the money as to how I’m feeling right now. A Green Energy company donating a quarter of a million pounds to the Labour Party. It doesn’t quite compute and it seems that I’m not the only one who has taken offense to this move.

Within hours of making the announcement Ecotricity’s Facebook page was awash with comments from disgruntled customers just as confused, pissed off and bewildered as me. Of course the Labour faithful had also gotten a hold of the story too so there was the odd po-faced detrimental comment from them about the Green Party and the term “Vote Green Go Blue” was branded about without much thought. Though aside from the vitriol there were objective comments from both sides.

It might be true to say that a Tory/UKIP coalition government would be the worst result to come out of the election. This is the reason Dale Vince has given for his actions but there’s no strong evidence that a Labour/UKIP coalition is off the cards either. Which would really be the lesser of two evils? In the wake of an overwhelming UKIP result and a lackluster Lib Dem and Green turn out would Labour really choose not to seek a coalition with the purple party? Regardless of tactical voting how about the very issue that money that we the customers believed was to be invested in renewable energy was now lacing Miliband’s war chest?

Would I be as pissed off if they had donated the money to the Green Party? Probably not but issue remains, as a customer I did not expect my Green Energy company to be making its bed with a Labour government that refuses to condemn the practice of fracking. I expected this money to be invested in renewable energy. A quarter of a million pounds donation to a party I do not believe in because the owner of my energy company wants to try to block the Tories from forming a consecutive government? No thank you. If Dale Vince wanted to donate money to Labour he should have done so with his own money. For a Green Energy company boss to alienate his customers who may vote any other way than Labour (especially the Greens) is a huge faux pas that must be up there with Gerald Ratner?

Ecotricity Web
Ecotricity give £250,000 to the Labour Party

Thanks for reading, please feel free to lend me your thoughts.


A Brand of Fry and Folly ~ or ~ Russell Brand takes a swipe at Stephen Fry

2015 02 04 A Brand of Fry Russell Brand verses Stephen FryI love Stephen Fry and I love Russell Brand. They are incredible human beings whose views and beliefs often overlap with those of my own. I was therefore somewhat taken back when good old Rusty Rockets took offense over Stephen Fry’s comments during an interview on RTE, an Irish Public Service TV channel. He was so enraged that he made Fry the subject of his regular YouTube programme ‘The Trews’ where he laid into Fry and his blasphemous ways.

Well OK it didn’t quite happen like that, in fact Brand was actually quite benign. His Fox News baiting persona was turned down to disappointed friend mode as he made his case on the subject of spirituality. When it comes to spirituality and religious beliefs I personally think “each to their own” and as long as they are not preaching hate or shouting down ‘sinners’ in the street like the old manic street preacher (no not James Dean Bradfield) who used to hail abuse at my gang of mates as we walked through Dunstable town centre.

It seemed that Brand had taken Fry’s public slamming of a wicked and ruthless ‘God’ to heart and went on the offensive as he turned into a spiritualist zealot delving into questions that had no real answers, logical or otherwise. As much as he was dismantling traditional religious dogma he was in turn pedalling his own spiritual theory and ideology. It was bizarre thing for me to watch and made for uncomfortable viewing.

I like Brand and his feral cat like persona. He is a champion of many good causes and I applaud the way he exposes the flaws in the political systems across the globe. I find myself agreeing with his views on the redistribution of wealth, that a change is needed in our political system and that the decriminalisation and destigmatization of drugs and their users can only lead to improvements in public health and treatment of addiction. For these I applaud his efforts though I am not sure I agree with his simplistic belief in an anarchy system. I don’t think a system where people self-govern would really work in today’s overcrowded world.

I like Fry too. He has done a lot to highlight the plights of depression and like Brand, drug addiction. For sheer entertainment value Fry is a hoot in whatever I’ve seen him in, be it on panel shows or in character. It’s difficult not to love such an apologetic persona. Listening to his answers given to Gay Byrne (the RTE host) I thought what he said was more than justified in the context of the interview. When probed further about spirituality I felt that Fry was adequate in his response, especially as it seemed he was being backed into a corner a little by Byrne.

As much as I would like to take this opportunity to analyse and probe what Brand stated in regards to his spiritual ‘truth’, I fear I would only be doing the same Brand did to Fry. Though Brand’s polite attack on Fry has obviously grieved me I feel it would be hypocritical of me to counter Brand’s spiritualist notions phrase by phrase. Personally I don’t have issue with what Mr Brand does or doesn’t believe in and judging by Fry’s interview I doubt that he does either.

It’s not just Brand who has zoned in on Fry’s comments. Pavan Dhaliwal of the Independent has used Fry’s comments on the subject to highlight the fact that not everybody around the world enjoys the same level of free speech as we do in the UK. Indeed even in Ireland, where the interview took place, there are some rather antiquated laws regarding blasphemy which Fry could well be in breach of. Though it’s highly unlikely that Fry would see any recourse for his blasphemous rantings (other than a whole Russell Brand Trews episode dedicated to the subject) others around the world are not so lucky. As Dhaliwal’s article points out in Saudi Arabia, Muslim blogger Raif Badawi was arrested on a charge for the crime of insulting Islam by running a website that criticized religious leaders. He was sentenced to ten years imprisonment and one thousand lashes. She also notes that Blasphemy is illegal in 49 countries. So be careful what you say when you’re abroad!

2015 02 03 a FryIt seems though that Fry saw the funny side and responded to The Trews episode with his trademark wit on Twitter. Brand responded and it looks like all is forgiven. But the whole debarkle has raised a valid point.2015 02 03 b Brand In the UK we must be thankful that the worst that can happen for being a little blasphemous on UK soil is you might rile a few angry religious leaders and receive a Russell Brand Trews inquisition. I’ll leave you with this little thought that sums up my beliefs; everything in nature is so awe inspiring and incredible why do we need to invent something which explains it?


Watch the interview:

Watch The Trews:

Read the article:

The Dazzle Rebel Show on TBFM TONIGHT!

DJ Dazzle Rebel Show 17

Tonights show on TBFM Online Radio aims to take you back to your school days with a Back to School Special! Playing a diverse range of tracks, many of which chosen by TBFM listeners, ranging from Joy Division to Madness, Supertramp to Van Halen plus some great music from emerging bands such as Exit StateBlack Belt KarateTitans & KingsNew Generation SuperstarsJettBlack and Agenda. Also TBFM’s very first play of the new single “Here We Stand” by New Device!

It’s such a jam-packed, hoot-tootin’, banjo-shootin’ show you’ll forget that you’ve got school in the morning!

Tune in 9pm – Midnight

See you in the chatroom,


30th April – NaPoWriMo


An Ode to National Poetry Writing Month

So my thirty days of poetry is up
Never before have I been so prolific and writing this stuff
I used to think poetry was a pile of shite
Something for nobbers who value modern art and all that tripe

In the past month I’ve brought you so much crap
So I’ll take a bow and give a tip of my hat
Cus’ there’s something I’ve realised during this month
There’s so many poets I’m just the billy-onth

And so many people are better than me
They don’t just write rubbish but at least I’m gutsy
I’ve told it how I see it, not more I can do
Now this is cliche goodbye, yep from me to you

So my thirty days of poetry is up
Never again will I be so prolific and writing this stuff
‘Cus I still think that poetry is pretty shite
I’ll leave it for the nobbers who value modern art and all that tripe