Lovers of vintage Indians would certainly notice the blending even if the rest of us didn’t, and last evening Rob Mathias took his “Chout” for a test ride up Route 4 from George Yarocki’s shop in Torrington, CT through Goshen. What’s a “Chout?” It’s a hybrid motorcycle that, in this case, uses the frame from a 1929 Indian 101 Scout and is powered by the larger engine from a 1939 Indian Chief.
Mathias, who lives in Chappaqua, NY, bought the ingredients for the bike out of Vermont and assembly work began in February 2013 at “Fort Yarocki,” the complex where Yarocki restores old Indians, specializing in 101 Scouts which were built between 1928 and 1931.
The frame got modified slightly to accommodate the 74-cubic-inch motor. A modern alternator from a Kubota tractor was added for the 12-volt LED lighting system. The LEDS for the headlight and taillight and brake light are mounted in vintage fixtures. There’s also a modern-day Morris magneto.
For Mathias, the Chout is a real find. “Someone else had been collecting the parts and found the project too much,” explained Tim Raindle, who has been assisting on the rebuild. Mathias liked the original patina of the tins. “Great effort has been made to match the remaining original finish,” Raindle said.
Yesterday evening, Mathias got on the Chout and Raindle hopped aboard a 1929 101 Scout and they took the Chout for a test ride. It wasn’t the first and it certainly won’t be the last before the bike is declared truly roadworthy. And, let’s face it, with any bike this old (and no matter the brand), there’s always something that can go wrong. Old machines aren’t as reliable, refined or secure as their current counterparts. If my old, recently-sold Triumph wasn’t weeping oil on to a drip pan on the garage floor, it wasn’t happy.
Tim Raindle, left, and Rob Mathias
The test ride didn’t last long as rain drops were falling, but seeing the 85-year-old bikes on the road was fun. “It was a dream to build and ride an antique motorcycle,” said Mathias. “I’ve ridden many motorcycles and I particularly wanted to experience an antique motorcycle.”
Rob Mathias takes off as Tim Raindle checks for approaching traffic
Rob Mathias and his “Chout”