The BAM Indian Challenger
When the Indian Challenger was announced in late 2019 Barnstorm Cycles, Audette Motorcycles and the MOM's Dealerships (BAM) decided to come together and leverage each of our unique skill sets to build a performance oriented custom 2020 Indian Challenger.
From the factory, it was clear that Indian designed the Challenger to out perform other motorcycles in it's class. Featuring the new water cooled 'PowerPlus' engine combined with Brembo brakes. An upgraded suspension package featuring an adjustable Fox shock in the rear with inverted front forks. Rounded out by some incredible electronic rider aids.
BAM : Barnstorm-Audette-MOM's Dealerships custom 2020 Indian Challenger
After the first ride on the stock bike, we were all impressed with what the team at Indian had accomplished. Our job was to make the performance aspects of the motorcycle more accessible to the rider and unleash the full potential of the Challenger.
Barnstorm Cycles custom fitted new front and rear fenders, added knee cuts to the gas tank and incorperated bag cuts
Before the build started, Tony Audette (Audette Motorcycles), Jake Cutler (Barnstorm Cycles) and Mike Curreri (MOM's of Manchester) sat down to talk about what should be done with the bike. It was agreed that the build had to accentuate the performance nature of the Challenger without compromising the integrity of the factory machine. With Cutler's experience in fabrication, Audette's engineering abilities and Curreri's knowledge of the platform, the team set out to create the BAM Challenger.
From a fabrication standpoint, Jake Cutler is one of the best in the business. Jake performed all the necessary fabrication to bring the visual aspects of the performance bagger to reality. Adding their 'signature treatments' of knee cuts to the gas tank and trimmed the saddle bags. He fitted a new rear fender while simultaneously closing the gap between the fender and the saddle bags which required making new saddle bag supports. To clean up the front end, Cutler, custom fit a Klockwerks front fender while retaining the iconic Indian headdress.
Cutler and his team were also responsible for the custom 2-into-1 exhaust. Constructed from 304 Stainless Steel the exhaust is polished to a mirror finish on the outside with the inside getting a ceramic coating. This ceramic coating keeps the heat of the exhaust charges inside the pipe. Keeping heat off the rider's leg as well as allowing the exhaust charges to flow faster adding performance and better scavenging on the 2-into-1 system. The internal ceramic coating also keeping the pipes from 'burning out' - the blackening and dulling of the exhaust pipes over time.
"The way you see the pipes now with the golden hue will stay for the life of the pipes." Cutler explains
304 Stainless Steel 2-into-1 exhaust, with a ceramic internal coating, polished to a mirror finish
"To unleash the full potential of the Challenger it was clear to us what needed to change - the rider's interface with the bike. This meant we needed to do a deep dive into the ergonomics of the motorcycle" said Audette. Developing a new dash kit, which reconfigured the layout, allows for a wide range of handle bar styles to be used. As well as designing and developing a set of mid-controls that pulls the riders feet in from the forward position of the stock floor boards. The new peg location alters the rider's position to give them the feeling of being a part of the motorcycle, rather than the feeling of sitting on top of the motorcycle. Enabling the rider to have more confidence when carving corners.
The Dash Kit
Audette's reconfigured dash kit, available for purchase from Barnstorm Cycles
Indian's original cockpit; photo from ride magazine, Oct 29, 2019
One of Audette's main tasks was to reconfigure the dash. The stock handle bars were suitable for cruising and touring but not up to the task of performance riding. In order to get a new set of handle bars on the Challenger required the team to completely re-imagine the cockpit. It was critical to ensure the new parts were secure and matched the old trim lines, so at first glance the parts look stock. In order to get it right the first time, the old dash was taken apart, 3D scanned and reverse engineered into a CAD model. From there Audette re-engineered the new dash components based on a sketch done by Sean Briggs of Barnstorm Cycles. Throughout the process different iterations were 3D printed to check fitment, making sure the new dash worked with the components of the stock fairing. Ensuring that the final product was perfect.
Audette says of the dash project:
"When the guys at Barnstorm asked if we could reconfigure the dash, I knew it was going to be a difficult task. I also knew that we only had to get it right once, and I believe we did that. The new dash allows for a number of different handle bars to be used. We utilized the standard 3.5" spacing and .5" bolt mounting pattern on our risers so that most of the after market Harley bars would be able to fit on the risers supplied with the kit."
The 'kit' Audette refers to is the same components seen on the BAM Challenger that can be purchased through Barnstorm Cycles with a variety of different options to select form.
Audette's second part of the project was the mid-controls. Wanting to keep the clean lines and making sure the parts designed for the Challengers look as though they should have come equipped from the factory, Audette got to work. The stock 'Stator Cover' and the 'Cold Start Cover' were removed, 3D scanned, reverse engineered into a CAD model and re-engineered with the needed modifications to add mid controls.
"It was important to make sure that both feet are in the same location to prevent rider fatigue. Using the axis of the crankshaft as the origin, both foot pegs were pulled back and down equally to make sure the rider's feet are in the same spot on both sides keeping the rider's hips in a neutral position and not cocked to one side or the other."
In order to confirm riders of all sizes would fit comfortably on the mids, the team tested various foot positions for riders ranging in height from 5'7" to 6'2". Ultimately landing on a position that was comfortable for a wide range of riders.
To keep the brake functioning the same as they did from the factory the team incorperated a Nissin master cylinder, fitted with a PSR reservoir. Cutler fabricated new brake lines and dialed in the levers for smooth operation. The team decided to utilize FLO Motorsports MX pegs on this build. However they had the foresight to make the peg mounts fit the Harley type pegs as there are more options available on the aftermarket for those pegs, allowing for wide range of options.
These mid controls are also available for purchase through Barnstorm Cycles in a variety of options.
The BAM's new 'Cold Start Cover' fitted for the addition of mid controls
The new stator cover designed by Audette incorporates the mid controls and brake master cylinder
The "Indian Motorcycle" logo used on this bike was inspired by shirt's Curreri's dealership offers.
Paint is a major part of any custom build, too radical and all the details are washed away. Too bland and no one stops to admire the work. The paint job here, done by Brenden Parsons, struck the perfect balance between the extremes. Adding enough detail without overwhelming the eyes, while welcoming you to discover the finer details the team added in. All the chrome elements were blacked out, with the unifying red accents being scattered throughout. The stitch matched seat from Saddlemen completed the ergonomic adjustments made and added an extra level of comfort to the rider. Adding to comfort and performance a JRI adjustable monoshock replaced the factory Fox shock. The brand-new Hart Luck Signature Series Waffle Grips from ODI and the Mini Stocker mirror from Arlen Ness completed the handle bars and tied together the performance inspired motorcycle.