Ola Stenegard Leaves BMW to Become Design Boss at Indian Motorcycle
Indian Motorcycle has announced the hiring of motorcycle industry design veteran Ola Stenegard as its new director of product design.
Stenegard previously led product design for BMW Motorrad, where he played a critical role in designing motorcycles such as the R nineT.
“Ola has been incredibly successful in helping brands expand into new product categories and appeal to a wider variety of riders, which is exactly what Indian will be focused on in the coming years,” says Indian Motorcycle boss, Steve Menneto.
While his professional focus has largely resided in European motorcycles, Stenegard’s personal passion is said to be the design and customisation of American V-twins.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be joining Indian Motorcycle at a time when the brand has successfully returned itself to prominence and is powered by an increasing level of momentum,” explains Stenegard. “There is no brand any more historic to American motorcycling than Indian, and I’m thrilled to build on the brand’s momentum going forward.”
As a young boy in Sweden, Stenegard says he was heavily influenced by an older brother who had a passion for choppers and hot rods. By age seven, the budding designer has already learned to weld, and, at 15, he ended up taking first prize at his first motorcycle show in Stockholm with a moped he’d modified into an Arlen Ness-inspired chopper.
Intent on making his passion his profession, Stenegard subsequently attended University College of Art, Craft & Design in Stockholm in 1994, where he spent three years before transferring to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. He later returned University College of Art, Craft & Design where he earned a Master’s degree in Applied Art (Industrial Design) in 1998.
After completing his degree, Stenegard immediately entered the work force, working for SAAB, and doing freelance work for Ohlins Suspension, Unique Custom Cycle and MCM Magazine.
In 2001, Stenegard returned to the United States to join Indian Motorcycle in Gilroy, California – but that was before the brand was bought out by its current owners Polaris Industries in 2011.
In 2003, he then joined BMW Motorrad where he would become one of the brand’s most influential designers over the next 15 years, ascending to head of vehicle design and working on virtually every significant new model program, ultimately helping the company increase its relevance with a wider range of riders.
Aside from his professional efforts, Stenegard still immerses himself in the garage, working on choppers and other custom builds. Over the years, his custom creations have been featured in magazines across the world and have earned numerous awards at some of the world’s most renowned motorcycle shows, including the AMD European Championship of Bike Building and Mooneyes, Yokohama.
Stenegard is also distinguished as the youngest inductee in the Swedish Motorcycle Hall of Fame.