Lil Indian Econo Build..... kinda long

One day as I was driving down the street heading over to my mother-in-laws house I noticed that it was trash day and there was a old brush mower sitting next to the neighbors cans for pick-up. Now this wasn't just any old parted out mower, it actually had a Briggs 5hp Flatty bolted to the frame and I knew right then and there that I had to do whatever I could to save this American powerplant from its future burial.

I pushed the mower over to my mother-in-laws house and checked for oil and spark and then put the plug back in the head and pulled on the recoil and it had real good compression so I then added some gas and gave her a pull, and another pull, and another pull. This sucker was not having anything to do with me so I dropped the fuel tank and the carb and proceeded to give them a good cleaning along with popping in a new pump diaphragm in the carb and boom, she fired on the 3rd. pull and idled like a champ. With the engine running good its now time to make a quick call to Jim Donavan at Max-Torque for a clutch and he set me up with a nice low rpm engagement set-up . So now I have me a good running 5HP Briggs complete with a clutch with some nice patina to boot but nothing to use it on.

Here is where the bike build really starts. A friend of mine has been dragging around to every swap meet he could find a ugly green Lil Indian frame and fork complete with 4" tires on mags, factory disc brake caliper, sprocket, chrome fenders, plus the throttle and brake lever and nobody wanted to buy it even for a $500.00. It was a ugly green but come on, there is close to $1000.00 in just components. A quick phone call and a little wheeling and a dealing later and I scored all the pieces of a bike for $400.00.

As the title of the thread says, this is a econo build so a nice flat black spray can paint job is in order. No high priced factory original chain gaurd was used either just a homemade stainless steel open chain gaurd with a skateboard wheel roller chain tensioner so I have one bolt chain adjusments instead of moving the motor and tearing the motor plate paint up. No fancy kill switch just reach between your legs and pull the plug wire. Stuck a flat plate heat sheild up under the seat also since I used the stock exhaust and it keeps my buns cool as can be. One day I was talking to Ratfink 396 about the build and he said he had just what I needed for a seat, a nice ripped up Azuza seat and sure enough it looks right at home on the bike and the price looked even better....FREE.

I did a couple of little extras just to set the bike off a little, stuff like stainless button head allen bolts were used throughout along with some brazed on cable looms and fork stops.

Super happy how the bike came out and rides plus the fact that I built it for a under $500.00. Here is some photos below.

Lil Indian 001.JPG Lil Indian 002.JPG Lil Indian 003.JPG Lil Indian 004.JPG Lil Indian 012.JPG Lil Indian 013.JPG Lil Indian 015.JPG Lil Indian 007.JPG Lil Indian 008.JPG Lil Indian 010.JPG

O.J. Lil Indian 005.JPG


Well-Known Member
looks real nice!

Really like the cable looms.
That baby is all engine from the side profile, timeless design.

Not sure what the fenders are since they came with the parts package. I'm thinking Azuza. I did lower the fender mounting straps to get the rid of some of the dirtbike look that you get when you use 4" wheels.

She is all engine for sure, especially after I removed the governor.


Yes, I used the factory slider sleeves. Unless you have your rear sprocket run out and your sprocket perfectly aligned in the caliper the sleeves are the way to go. They are kind of a bandaid to resolve any alignment issues but they work great and the brake has a nice feel to it at the lever.

I'm digging your LI. nicely done. Lots of very cool detail like the cable routing. Love the axle treatment, like to know more about them.
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Axles are easy to make if have access to a lathe. Get some 5/8" bar stock, cut the length a bit over size so it just sticks out past the edge of the fork or rear chassis plates then drill and tap each end so a course or fine thread 1/2" bolt can be used. You want the axle initialy slightly longer because you will be cutting some of the length as you fit them to your individual bike.

Once the axle is made you will need to install it in your actual complete front and rear wheel assemblies that will be used on your bike with the wheel spacers and all. Now trim the overall length of the axle so that it sits flush one one side and about 1/16th of a inch below the surface of your fork legs and back chassis mounting plates on the other side, this will allow the chassis or fork to be drawn down on the spacers to tighten up the assembly. Do each axle individually because the final length of the front axle may differ from the rear axle.

Hope this helps and thanks to everyone for the responses to the bike.