Vintage motorcycle restorers found their freedom
If someone needs a new set of pistons for their vintage 1936 Indian Chief motorcycle, chances are they will be buying it from Jerry Greer’s Engineering in Deadwood, SD. The Sherman Street shop does a brisk international business supplying parts for and restoring classic Indian motorcycles built between 1936 and 1953.
Fans who love the low-slung styling of old Indian motorcycle are everywhere, say Jerry Greer’s Engineering owners Todd and Lore Ksenych. They ship replacement parts for Indian motorcycles to online customers across North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. In addition, vintage Indian owners from across the United States send their bikes to Deadwood to be restored by the staff at Jerry Greer’s Engineering.
Relocating to the Rushmore Region
Todd and Lore are from Watertown, and they based the business there for 13 years. They moved to Deadwood in 2015. They chose the Rushmore Region for a number of reasons. They wanted to stay in South Dakota with its good business climate and central location. The region, thanks in part to the former Homestake Mine, has enough skilled machinists and metalworkers to supply their workforce needs.
“And the Black Hills are a destination, especially for bikers,” Todd said. Each year the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally draws hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists.
“I bought that yellow bike right there,” Todd said, gesturing to a gleaming 1945 Indian Chief displayed near the shop’s front window. When Todd began restoring the old bike, he got to know Jerry Greer, whose California shop specialized in vintage Indian motorcycle. Later Todd started making Indian parts for Jerry Greer’s Engineering. Through that relationship, he and Lore ended up buying the business from Jerry and moving it to South Dakota.
The old warehouse on Deadwood’s Sherman Street is a good fit for Jerry Greer Engineering. It was constructed in 1936 and 1941, about the same period as the Indian motorcycles it houses. The old bikes look right at home amid the arched wooden trusses and the bare brick walls. The travel-back-in-time effect is enhanced by the handful of old motorcycles parked out front.
Most of the facility is the Jerry Greer’s workshop, where bikes are rebuilt, repainted and restored. The basement is filled with rows of shelves on which just about any kind of Indian parts are stored. In addition, there’s a retail store where customers can buy Indian T-shirts, souvenirs and memorabilia.