Craig Keating feels that cold January air in Kansas City and is eager for spring to arrive. Maybe that’s because he spent the previous 13 winters in Arizona.
But the biggest motivation for Keating wanting for spring to be here is because business will definitely pick up at his Indian Motorcycle Kansas City dealership at 800 N. Rogers Road in Olathe.
These are exciting times for Keating and fans of the Indian Motorcycle brand. Keating moved to Kansas City in April and opened his dealership in May. This will be his first full year of operation in the area.
Indian Motorcycle started in 1901.
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“It is an American made, legendary product,” said Keating, the owner and general manager of Indian Motorcycle Kansas City. “It is the oldest American motorcycle company.”
Production of the Indian Motorcycle stopped in 1953. On several occasions, the motorcycle returned without much sustained success. In 2011, Polaris Industries bought the brand, and Indian Motorcycle returned to the market.
RideNow Powersports, the corporate company that Keating’s dealership is part of, has 34 stores across the country that sell Indian Motorcycles.
“We purchased this location because it was an existing Polaris dealership,” Keating said. “There is a big motorcycle community here.
“For me, to be on this level, is very exciting. To be this early in the stage of the comeback of Indian has been fantastic.”
The location is perfect. Indian Motorcycle Kansas City is visible from I-35. There is quick access to the wide-open highways.
“The first year was about what we predicted, and it is about to explode in a big way,” Keating said. “People are seeing the brand out there and knowing that we are back. They are seeing a quality product. That is what people want. They want to see the shiny chrome.”
Keating’s first taste of owning an Indian Motorcycle came last year.
“I rode (a) Harley for a long time,” he said. “But this is the easiest big bike I have ever ridden. It is very easy to ride for a 900-pound bike.
“It is a premium cruiser. It is a premium bike. You see everybody ride this bike. The Scout is a midsize bike. You are starting to see the younger generation and women interested in motorcycles.”
Prices range from $11,000 for a Scout to $23,000 for a Chieftain to $28,000 for a Roadmaster.
Indian Motorcycle Kansas City also sells off-road Polaris Utility ATVs and Polaris Sports ATVs.
“They are for recreation and work, from the everyday farmer to the weekend warriors who take their families on recreational rides,” Keating said.
Like starting any new business, Keating admits he is taking a chance. But when he talks about Indian Motorcycles, the large biking community in Kansas City and his store’s central location in the country, it is easy to understand his investment.
When summer arrives, there will be a number of rides originating from his dealership.
In addition, Indian Motorcycle riders across the country will have a place to stop for more gear and clothing as they ride through Kansas City on the way to another destination.
RideNow Powersports has Indian Motorcycle dealerships in Arizona, Nevada, California, Washington, North Carolina, Florida and Texas.
“Of course, we are taking a chance in a new market,” Keating said. “But the next closest Indian dealer is 200 miles.
“I think as the company grows, there will be another Indian Motorcycle dealership in the Kansas City area.”
It is always nice to be the first. Keating smiles at that observation.
Even on a cold day in January, Keating likes where he is.
“New business, I’m in a new city, meeting great people,” he said. “New bikes are coming out, new products, new merchandise and new clothing.
“Come see us.”
If you have a story you would like to see in On the Move, email David Boyce at Drive@kcstar.com.