Custom Motorcycle: Mark ditches the skirt fender on his Indian Bobber

This is almost as much a story about a 2015 Indian Roadmaster as it is about a 2018 Scout Bobber.

Turns out, it’s also a tale about a man who just so happens to share the same name as the general manager of Charlotte Indian Motorcycle Dealership—Mark Moses. And that’s quite an interesting story, too. When asked if he was that Mark Moses, this Mark Moses said that, while there was no relation, there were some interesting coincidences. “I’ve met him,” he begins. “Oddly enough, we each have an Indian motorcycle tattoo on a forearm. I thought that was funny.” Sure is!

Custom 2018 Indian Scout Bobber

But getting an Indian tattoo inked on your forearm is much easier than getting the actual bike parked in your garage. Due to this, Mark made do with Hondas for years. And since these Japanese motorcycles are really nothing like Indians, there was a lot of doing Mark had to make. “My other builds were attempts at making Honda cruisers look more like Indians, but cleaner and personalized,” he relates. This included internalizing the wiring and, most importantly, installing what Mark calls the “beautiful skirted fenders.”

But then he finally got a Roadmaster. “I have no intention of ever selling my Roadmaster,” Mark says. “I’d love to see just how many miles I can rack up on it.”

The fact that Mark has built so many Hondas with skirted fenders makes their absence on this Indian Bobber glaringly obvious. As Mark says, “This is the first bike I’ve had in a long time that I specifically didn’t want skirted fenders on.”

But why? To Mark, the Scout Bobber represents so much more than just looks. It’s all about raw power. This is why he didn’t get the most traditional-looking Indian (skirted fenders and all)—the Chief Vintage. “I desired an advanced powerplant that could scream on the road, really pull like a banshee out of the corners,” Mark explains. “My need for speed had to be assuaged, and the Scout platform can assuage that for me.”

Custom 2018 Indian Scout Bobber

So, while Mark had a definite vision for his Scout (a modern interpretation of the Bobber look with old-school touches), he could not sacrifice performance or rideability in the pursuit thereof, such as the possibility of removing the rear subframe and fender. “I’m concerned that being peppered with road debris constantly will reduce ride enjoyment,” Mark says. Similarly, chopping off the front fender, while cool, would “expose the front of the tank to a lot more thrown dirt.”

If he ever did decide to remove these components, Mark would do so in his two-car garage. But he hasn’t and probably won’t. Mark has, however, done a great many other mods there, which has required him to move his other bike and his wife’s car out of the way every time. “It gets tight,” Mark says of his garage. “But I have enough room to make it work.”

The very first time Mark moved all six wheels in his garage so he could start customizing his Scout Bobber was on the same day he purchased it, which also happened to be the very first day that the Bobber arrived at Mark’s local dealership in August 2017.

Besides not installing Indian’s iconic skirted fenders on his Bobber, Mark’s very first mod kept with his oldest garage tradition. “The first thing I do to every bike is remove the reflectors,” he says. “Every bike I look at that still has those reflectors brings this urge to remove them.”

Although Mark doesn’t remember what bike started this ritual, he suspects it was a CBR600. “I do remember thinking that the fork reflectors and the side reflectors at the rear seemed like afterthoughts that didn’t flow with the lines,” Mark adds. “I tentatively popped one off, stood back, and said, ‘That was the right move.’”

It’s understandable that Mark followed through on this tradition with his Scout, especially since he experiences urges rather than just mere wants or interests.

Custom 2018 Indian Scout Bobber

It’s quite possible that Mark feels a similar urge to test-ride motorcycles, too, because he’s ridden, in his words, hundreds of them. “It wasn’t long before I’d ridden every model that Indian offered,” Mark says. While this would usually be a good thing (to avoid annoying buyer’s remorse), the fact that he test-rode Scouts led to some complications with an aftermarket seat base. “The rear subframe is different on the Bobber than on the Scout, which surprised me,” says Mark. “The Mother Road’s base I purchased was impinging on the rear fender.”

So, Mark sent Mother Customs new measurements and alterations to create a one-off. The front mounting hole, Mark reveals, needed to be elongated and the mounting plate required shortening in the back. “The rounded ‘ears’ of the plate kept hitting the fender by approximately 1/8”,” Mark says.

Since Mother Road Customs didn’t have a Bobber for testing, the manufacturer supplied Mark with what he believes to be a pre-production unit. “It worked great, and I thanked them for it,” Mark says.

Mark also had some problems with how Indian’s Thunder Black Smoke color scheme clashed with some aftermarket pipes. Unlike the rear fender clearance debacle, this had nothing to do with the design discrepancies between the Bobber and base Scout model. The colors just didn’t match.

Mark first tried applying VHT high-temp engine paint. It looked good. At least, it did for the first 30 miles. “Then the header end of the mufflers discolored and flaked off,” says Mark. “So much for being high-temp.” Next, he tried a “ceramic” powdercoat that would ostensibly hold up to high temperatures. It didn’t though. “While the coating maintained its structural integrity, it discolored in patterns that showed the various amounts of heat the mufflers had absorbed from the exhaust stream and motor,” Mark relates.

Custom 2018 Indian Scout Bobber

His last idea, as Mark admits, should have been his first. “I was aware of Cerakote and its amazing ability of getting heated on firearms and suppressors at temperatures where the underlying metal is nearly translucent and yet still returns to its original color,” he says. “It finally occurred to me that a suppressor was a muffler.” That did the trick.

Mark did plenty more of these tricks to bring his stock bike “to that last 10 percent.” And even though Mark’s Bobber is nearly done (9.5 percent?), he doesn’t plan on getting another bike anytime soon. He did, however, come very close to getting a Motus MST-R recently.

Imagine what an MST-R would look like with a skirted fender! RB