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340 Chief fork length vs 344 Chief fork length


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In Jerry Hatfield's 1932-53 Indian restoration guide, he mentions that the Indian Chief 344-345 front fork was longer at the bottom in order to increase the bike's rake angle and improve handling. Does anyone know if the 344 front fork was longer at the bottom than the 340 fork? If so; how much longer was it? One interesting part of the question is whether or not the 344 military Chief ran the same fork as the 344 civilian Chief. Does anyone know?

The 340 military Chief front fender is the same as the 344-345 Essential Use civilian Chief's front fender. The front fender braces are different though; possibly to compensate for the longer 344-345 front fork. Are there any other clues to help answer the fork length question?

The fork length generally given for the 1940-45 Chiefs is 31” from the top of the fork stem to the centerline of the axle. Does anyone have a shorter or longer fork? Thanks.

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Unfortunately I can't answer that for sure. Jerry Greer lists the same part number for the main fork leg from 1941 through 1945. With 1940 given as a one of part number for that year. I recently built this 340. I can't measure anything though as it now resides in Poland. Ron

Chief 087.jpg

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Hi Ron,

Thanks for attaching the photo of the wonderful looking Chief. Well done. The forks for 1940 are supposedly 1/8" narrower than the later 1941-45 forks. The extra 1/8" on the late forks is to make room for the supposedly wider fender for the optional 16" tires. The fender in the parts books does not change from the 1940 military Chief to the 1944-45 Essential Use Chief and 1/8" hardly seems worth the effort. Make the fork 1" wider and that makes sense. So many of these parts have been switched/swapped over the years that it is just about impossible to get a good read on exactly what is going on.

Many people feel that the front fender braces were the same for the 1940 military Chief and the 1944-45 Essential Use Chief and an equal number of people feel that they were different. I'm helping a friend discover why his front fender just doesn't fit right and that led me to do a fender brace study that I am now conducting - collecting as many brace lengths and fork lengths from owners so that a trend, if one exists, can be found. A clear pattern has not yet emerged. One thing is clear: The bracket that holds the brace tubes to the front axle was not strong enough. Many of these brackets have broken leading to repairs of all types. This complicates things and often tubes are found with the brackets snapped into two. Indian also may have made changes to the braces that were not documented properly in the parts books. When a fork length and brace length pattern emerges, I'll surely report my findings back to this thread.

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Well done and good luck with your research. I hadn't realised the differences with the forks until you mentioned it. most of the major components were present when I received this project. Just hundreds of small parts to buy. I did however notice numerous variations when I came to purchase a Jiffy stand. Unfortunately I don't think the present owner would be approachable on the subject. I'm told it sits with the rest of his collection in his castle!! It's actually a CAV engine in a 340 frame....All military though. Ron

Chief 063.jpg

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