Charles Bayly Franklin was an Irish engineer and motorcycle racer. Much of Franklin’s intimate understanding of what a motorcycle should look like and how it should handle came from his early racing experience on machines from the Indian Motorcycle Company, one of America’s most iconic motorcycle manufacturers. His close association with Indian (he was a member of an Indian team that placed first, second and third at the 1911 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy meet) led to him joining the company’s design department in Massachusetts in 1916.
Franklin designed the first Indian Scout in 1919. His Model 101 Scout of 1928 is considered the finest Indian ever built. Production of the Scout would continue for almost 30 years, with military versions used for dispatch riding with the Allied forces during the WWII. Franklin also designed the heavier “big-twin” Indian Chief, another iconic American motorcycle.