Motorcyclists waiting for a look at the models in the Indian lineup got their wish on the weekend, as three new models were unveiled at Sturgis.
Of course, Indian has been in and out of business since the 1950s; Polaris, the latest owners, bought the company in 2011, and they’ve been teasing their new bikes ever since. Now we’ve had a good look at the bikes; here’s what they’re all about.
The three models all feature retro styling; the Indian Chief Classic has an $20,999 MSRP in Canada, and has the same art deco fenders that Indians have been known for for decades, along with tank-mounted gauges, spoked wheels, a genuine leather saddle and the classic fender-mounted headdress motif. Of course, it’s also covered in plenty of chrome. Claimed dry weight is 778 lb.
But it’s not just about throwback looks; the machine has ABS up front (twin 300 mm discs in front, single 300 mm disc in back), keyless ignition, throttle-by-wire, EFI and aluminum frame.
The Indian Chief Vintage Soft Bagger is just that – a cruiser with soft leather bags. It has the same mixture of retro styling and updated technology as the Chief Classic, but with a set of quick-detach leather saddlebags and a quick-release fork-mounted windshield. It also comes with plenty of tasseled trim, in case you find that feature attractive. Claimed dry weight is 801 lb.
The Chief Vintage carries a $23,399 price tag in Canada.
Finally, Indian has also unveiled the new Chieftan Hard Bagger, with fork-mounted batwing fairing and hard saddlebags. It has integrated driving lights, the windshield is power-operated, and the saddlebags have remote unlocking (and of course, they’re also quickly removable).
The Chieftan also has an audio system as standard, with Bluetooth compatibility, enabling you to connect with a smartphone or high-end MP3 player. There’s also a tire-pressure monitoring system. Claimed dry weight is 815 lb.
All three bikes use the same Thunderstroke 111 motor with six-speed transmission, have 46 mm forks and have a 26-inch seat height, but the Chieftan has a different frame (25-degree rake and 5.9 inches of trail; the other two bikes have 29 degrees of rake and 6.1 inches of trail). The Chieftan also has a different rear suspension; the shocks’ preload are air-adjustable. The Chief Classic and Chief Vintage have rear shocks that are mechanically adjustable for preload.
Canadian buyers will see a $25,599 MSRP for the Chieftan. There might not be an Indian dealer in your town now, but Indian says they’re planning to aggressively expand to 125-140 North American dealers and 70 international dealers by 2014. The bikes themselves are supposed to show up at dealerships next month, along with a full line of accessories, including (sigh …) branded clothing.
Supposedly, demo rides are supposed to start this month. Visit their website to see if there’s a ride scheduled near you …