Need help with a lil indian

#1
What's up guys? So a couple weeks ago I picked up this lil indian. I need some help figuring out what all is original and what is not. Obviously the engine is not original. I'm just trying to figure out if the seat, headlight, brake setup, and wheels are all correct for this bike, or if changes were made at some point down the road.

I'm trying to decide if I am just going to do a mechanical resto, or a full blown restoration.

Frame serial number is 20441

Thanks in advance!
 

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#2
That's a great looking bike. I have two Lil' Indians. Others know more about these than I do, but your seat, wheels, and brakes look original to me. I've heard people say that the frame number is not useful to determine age or model designation. Here are photos of my very original 1967 Lil' Indian for comparison, and a copy of a period sales brochure. Forum member @markus pegged my bike as a factory assembled (vs. kit) model 500. Dating cues include things such as whether the steering head has removable bushings (fat neck vs. skinny neck), height of the forward-leaning handlebar bend above the top triple tree, and other details that I don't recall. There might be something else about the handlebars.







 
#4
Thanks for the info Tom. That's very helpful. You have a great looking bike there. As I was pressure washing the frame, I saw some hints of blue paint poking through, I'm wondering if its the same blue as yours.

Any thoughts on the headlight?
 

markus

Well-Known Member
#7
tony, the numbers on tour frame would put it right around the end of 1968 just into 1969 timeframe. which by the looks the parts on it would be about right. If you started taking it apart, I would be curious to know how many ribs are on the backplate of the brake caliper. They started with none, went to 3 and then ended up with 5 in the end.

you have the "deluxe" seat which was standard fro the 500 model, those came with fenders though normally. The 1968 brochure shows the same for those particular models as the one I had sent to Tom which is posted above except they took out the color info in the descriptions that year on the 400-450-500 model bikes (they even used the same picture-which is technically incorrect for how they actually were) so that wont be any more help.

That is the headlight that lil Indian and may others used on their optional kits.....not sure on the mount its sitting on, but that was a standard battery operated headlight that most all manufacturers were using in their add on kits.
 
#8
tony, the numbers on tour frame would put it right around the end of 1968 just into 1969 timeframe. which by the looks the parts on it would be about right. If you started taking it apart, I would be curious to know how many ribs are on the backplate of the brake caliper. They started with none, went to 3 and then ended up with 5 in the end.

you have the "deluxe" seat which was standard fro the 500 model, those came with fenders though normally. The 1968 brochure shows the same for those particular models as the one I had sent to Tom which is posted above except they took out the color info in the descriptions that year on the 400-450-500 model bikes (they even used the same picture-which is technically incorrect for how they actually were) so that wont be any more help.

That is the headlight that lil Indian and may others used on their optional kits.....not sure on the mount its sitting on, but that was a standard battery operated headlight that most all manufacturers were using in their add on kits.

Thank you for the info Markus, you're a wealth of knowledge as usual! To answer your question, this brake caliper has 3 ribs on it.

I took more of the paint off and it looks like its just the standard blue enamel. I love the look of that prairie blue though. That will likely be the color I go with when I restore this bike.

Thanks again for all of the info! It's much appreciated
 

markus

Well-Known Member
#9
thanks on the rib count! My friend had started a timeline for the LI's and we were both a little off on the brake design changes (or at least what we found for info online at the time anyway), so whenever I see a bike that does not appear to be entirely pieced back together from parts I like to find out what I can. I like the prairie blue color as well.
 

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