Bike Of The Week

Indian Larry’s First Knucklehead

Written by Motorcyclepedia

Larry Barnes of Firthcliffe, NY sold Indian Larry his first motorcycle, a 1939 Knucklehead 74 in 1965 for $200.  It was brush painted caterpillar yellow.  This bike was delivered to Conrad’s Shop.  Larry could not bring it home because his dad would not approve.  The metal work and chopping was completed there circa 1967.

Larry began doing metal work at Conrad’s Vails Gate Shop on his Route 32 farm.  Larry, Conrad, Mike Foley and Ted worked together in the years 1967 through 1969, doing welding and custom work.  At the same shop Larry, Conrad and Ted did the metal work for the “Red Baron” sidecar rig to get it ready for the April 1967 show at the Teaneck, NJ Armory.  This work included the one piece drag bar with internal controls and front motor mounts.  A custom trike with “train” traction bars was also completed in this shop.

Reincarnation 1971:
The as-built condition that is exhibited at the museum was re-vamped in 1971-1972 as a winter project after Larry returned to New York from California.

The Bike Features:

  • Dixie Solo Seat
  • Spool kick start pedal
  • filled, polished, chromed frame
  • Chromed by Top Notch, East Rutherford, NJ
  • Custom Axle plates 4-finger
  • Smoothed and chromed original springer, the extension being accomplished by the use of Ford Radius rods.

The bike was acquired by Rich Falcone who sold it to Mike Taylor in July of 1972.  The bike has been in storage since that date.  The undersides of the frame and transmission have Larry’s initials and quotes stamped on them.  You can also find his last name DeSmedt stamped in various different locations.