Indian Motorcycle, in collaboration with Wheels & Waves, commissioned four European builders in December 2021 to design their vision of an Indian Chief for the resurgent Wheels and Waves festival. More than 35 000 people voted for their favourite design and, in combination with a panel of Super-Voters, ‘GRIND Machine’ by Tank Machine x Rise Designs was announced as the top-ranked entry. Completed in just three months, ‘GRIND Machine’ made its public debut at the opening of the Artride exhibition during Wheels and Waves on Thursday, June 30 and was awarded to prize draw winner, Fabien Orquin, on the festival’s main stage on Saturday, July 2.
Clément Molina founded Tank Machine in 2015 with a focus on motorcycle design, customisation and the development of Plug & Play Kits. Already well known for his many outstanding customisations of Indian Motorcycle models, his submission for the Indian Chief Design beat strong competition to become the winning concept that would be turned into reality.
GRIND Machine’s unique look begins with the big block Continental TKC enduro tyres wrapped around black Excel spoked rims that work with new bars, new rear suspension, and a one-off seat unit to change the stance and overall lines of the bike.
Tank Machine created new wider handlebars and lower risers for a vintage style that is echoed by the gaiters applied to the forks and rolled up poncho attached to a custom bracket by webbing straps. At the rear, Öhlins piggyback shocks with longer top mounts lift the bike slightly and add a colour accent as well as providing a high-quality ride.
The one-off seat unit, all designed in-house, features the names of the project’s partners discretely machined into the base and the seat pad enhances the retro bobber look with a brown leather top with waxed material sides. A bottle opener hanging from the right of the seat is a nod to the after-ride party atmosphere of Wheels & Waves and detail that really connected with the new owner. “My hobby is brewing my own beer, and when I saw the bottle opener, it really made me smile,” said Orquin.
Keeping the stripped-back bobber look clean are hand-fabricated minimalist fenders, mini-indicators on the forks and seat unit, a mini taillight and a LED headlight with a ring running light. A secondary guarded PIAA yellow light adds a cool retro touch.
The ‘Board Culture’ of Ride Designs is reflected in the use of skateboard deck wood and grip tape adorning the centre of the fuel tank and either side of the seat unit which are mounted with metal brackets inspired by skateboard trucks. The influences of Wheels and Waves are further heightened with Vans waffle handlebar grips and custom-made foot pegs that take inspiration from BMX grind pegs.
Also designed in conjunction with Rise Design is the aluminium engine protection plate behind the front wheel in a brushed metal finish that is also applied to the exhaust heat shield, CNC machined fuel cap and engine parts to give an old bike look on a modern machine. Textured and matte finishes have also been applied to various covers and particularly the frame where the matte finish reveals the beauty of the shape and welds of the classic-style steel frame. Adding to the retro race look, the standard headers were wrapped and mated to shorter SuperTrapp silencers.
With a paint scheme from Rise Designs that features a brushed metal base, and weathered green stripes with red accents, the finishing touches to any custom are the interesting details that are only noticed on a second or third close look. For GRIND Machine, these include the decorated red throttle valve inside the custom bell housing, the cut-back primary drive cover, and the creator’s logos machined into the black pulley cover and engine covers.