The Original Thinking Behind the 8-Valve Design

The initial idea behind the 4-valve per cylinder design that Hedstrom pioneered for Indian in 1910 was not concerned with gaining horsepower, but rather to overcome the industry-wide problem of valve-breakage. Exhaust valves, manufactured out of early 20th-century steel, would not stand up to the extreme heat generated by racing temperatures. If a manufacturer could solve this problem, they would gain a decided advantage on the race track.

Hedstrom's theory was that several smaller valves could better dissipate their heat with the result that a motor so constructed would run cooler, more likely to survive in the longer races. The Indian engineer proved correct. When the Springfield company learned to adjust the valve timing to take advantage of the increased valve area, it was discovered that Hedstrom's 8-valve design had not only solved the heat problem, but was faster as well.

Copyright ©1996 Daniel K. Statnekov

Installed:  April 12, 1997
Revised:  June 28, 2003