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Video: Indian Appaloosa vs. the Baikal Mile


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A dual sport motorcycle, loosely speaking, is a motorcycle that’s made to run on pavement, and off-pavement. Under that definition, the Indian Appaloosa land speed bike might be one of the strangest dual sport bikes in existence, as it’s completed the Baikal Mile—a high-speed adventure that doesn’t run on tarmac, doesn’t even run on land. Instead of an abandoned air strip, or a salt flat, the Baikal Mile runs on ice.

Somehow, the people behind the Indian Appaloosa land speed project heard about the Baikal Mile, and decided it’d be a great place to run their streamliner. The Appaloosa had originally been built for the Sultans of Sprint land speed series, with Randy Mamola drafted to pilot the machine. But the bike hadn’t had much actual testing before the 2019 season, as it had taken so long to build. With that in mind, the Appaloosa team decided the mid-winter Baikal Mile event, run on Russia’s Lake Baikal, would be a great spot to do some pre-season testing.

The Appaloosa (actually an Indian Scout Bobber with a streamliner fairing and lots of other modifications) got a set of spiked tires, and a lot of jigging around airports, before it got to the event in late February. It was an experience unlike anything the team had seen before—their “pits” area was a wall tent with a woodstove. But they figured things out as they went along, even though they experienced many bumps along the way. That became a reality, not just a figure of speech, when the team realized the mile-long ice track was much more rough than expected.

See Indian’s video of the adventure below:

As it was the bike’s first time racing in such extreme cold, the Indian racer finished back of several other teams.

“Right now, I think this is simply down to the extremely low air temperature. We are using a race ECU and maps that were not designed for -20C … I just don’t have the spares or tools to fully diagnose the problem here at the ice,” one of the techs said.

No doubt they’ll be ahead of the curve if they return for next year’s mid-winter showdown on the world’s largest freshwater lake. The bike did hit a 180 km/h top speed, and they’d been aiming at a 200 km/h speed. The next official race for the bike is the Wheels & Waves festival in June, although that event is obviously somewhat in doubt thanks to COVID-19.

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