2014 Indian Chiefs — First Ride Rider Magazine

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Indian Chief Touring
Indian Chief Touring

2014 Indian Chiefs — Ride

Photo Credit: Tom Barry Hathaway


August 9, 2013

Everyone a good comeback story. people, from Abraham to Walt Disney to Rocky were knocked down but not rising up to become stronger and resilient than ever. Harley-Davidson and Hinckley-based Triumph legendary comebacks, and now—finally— Motorcycle is poised to do the same.

in 1901, Indian rose to become the world’s largest manufacturer, only to decline the war years and ultimately collapse in in 1953. Half-baked revivals the years tried to capitalize on the value of the Indian brand, but succeeded. Gilroy-based Indian bust in 2003, and the Kings effort, from 2006 to was admirable but it struggled to sell Indian Chiefs during the Recession.

The 2014 Indian lineup was unveiled to the public at the Rally and broadcast around the

Enter Polaris Industries, a multi-billion-dollar manufacturing juggernaut sells everything from and ATVs to electric vehicles and Motorcycles. Polaris had its eye on Indian as far as the Gilroy days, finally the company in May 2011.

In a little two years—about half the time required to develop a clean-sheet re-engineered the Chief from the up, unveiling the Thunder Stroke 111 at Daytona Bike Week March and launching not one but three models at the Sturgis Rally in The day after the worldwide reveal, of rallygoers and motojournalists got their ride on the new Indians. And believe me, got everyone’s attention, drawing nods, smiles and questions we went.

L to R: 2014 Indian Chief Chief Vintage and Chieftain. All are available in Thunder Black, Blue or Indian Motorcycle

For 2014, Indian Motorcycle’s includes the Chief Classic the Chief Vintage soft and the Chieftain . the first-ever Indian with a fairing and hard To enhance the touring experience, the also has automatic saddlebag a dual-speaker audio system integrated Bluetooth and a tire-pressure system.

All three have the powertrain, with the air-cooled 111 Thunder Stroke 111 V-twin to a 6-speed overdrive transmission, but are some chassis differences the Classic/Vintage and the Chieftain. Standard across the board include elements such as valenced illuminated Indian fender genuine leather seats and of chrome, as well as contemporary such as cruise control, ABS and ignition.

Long and low, the Indian Chief Classic is all style, with spoked whitewall tires, valenced and tons of chrome.

Over the course of three I logged more than 500 on the three models in and around the Hills of South Dakota. The Classic is a stretched-out, knees-in-the-breeze with relaxed steering (29 degrees of rake, 6.1 inches of a rangy 68.1-inch wheelbase and wheels with whitewall

It’s a long, arms-spread to the wide, tiller-style handlebar, an unobstructed view of the speedometer, gauge, LCD display and keyless button that are housed in the tanktop console. More is everywhere you look—on the handlebar, mirrors, levers, headlight and fork. Sitting just 26 off the ground, the wide, flat is comfortable and covered in black with chrome conchos.

rest on rubber-covered floorboards which, along with the grips, you can feel a moderate of engine vibration.

A step up the Classic, the 2014 Indian Vintage adds a windshield and saddlebags.

The Chief Vintage a quick-detach windshield and quick-detach saddlebags, plus aesthetic such as tan instead of black decorative fringe on the seat and instead of painted badges. The windshield is wide and tall, me to look through it rather over it and providing a broad against oncoming wind. with fringe and chrome that match the seat, the saddlebags have straps quick-release buckles.

Bold and unexpected, the 2014 is the first-ever Indian offered a fairing and hard saddlebags.

a fairing inspired by streamliner the Chieftain makes the boldest of the three. Fork-mounted and featuring a chrome prow, the fairing a round headlight, driving turn signals and an electric with an aerodynamic shape was sculpted in a wind tunnel. The slices through the air cleanly and and the windscreen offers 4 inches of adjustment, though it moves up and slowly.

Weighing a claimed 848 wet, the Chieftain is a heavy to lift off its sidestand. But as soon as you it into first gear and out the clutch, many of those magically disappear. In part to for the weight of the fairing but also to more nimble handling, the has less rake/trail (25 degrees/5.9 and a shorter wheelbase (65.7 than the Classic/Vintage.

Doing for photo passes was much on the Chieftain than on the others and it was more agile on tight, roads like Needles in Custer State Park. The has the same seat as the others, but the is closer to the rider for a more riding position. Also, the are cast rather than and the locking, top-loading saddlebags a total of 17.1 gallons.

The 111 ci/1,811cc Thunder Stroke 111 makes a claimed 119 lb-ft of at the crank.

Beyond the well-executed styling, the Chiefs’ pride-and-joy is the Stroke 111 49-degree V-twin, the all-new Indian engine in decades. With more than anything available Harley or Victory, Indian 119 lb-ft of torque at the crank, and you can that grunt with twist of the throttle. With a single-pin crank, the engine along easily at low rpm, cleanly from 1,000 rpm up to the rpm redline.

Indian Chief Touring

Inspired by the Power V-twin in the 1940s-era Chief, the Stroke 111 has a flathead look, finning, parallel pushrod and downward-firing exhausts. But it’s a modern engine, with sequential port fuel throttle-by-wire and maintenance-free hydraulic Every effort was made to mechanical noise so that the rich exhaust note be the most prominent sound.

The runs smoothly and quietly excessive vibration, but it throws off a lot of especially on the right side the exhaust headers are located. An clutch was used to reduce at the lever, but a firm pull is The transmission shifts smoothly, drive is via carbon fiber-reinforced and the 5.5-gallon fuel tank premium fuel.

All three models have triple-disc with standard ABS and valenced The Classic and Vintage have wheels with whitewall and the Chieftain has cast wheels blackwall tires.

When it comes to performance and the new Indian feels more a Victory than a Harley, comes as no surprise since of the designers and engineers drew 15 years of experience with other motorcycle brand. DNA is a good thing since the is a torquey engine, a well-sorted a strong chassis, good and brakes, and plenty of cornering

The 6-piece, modular aluminum frame is rigid, weighs 58 pounds and has an integrated air intake the steering head. All three use the same 46mm non-adjustable fork with dual-rate and 4.7 inches of travel as well as monotube rear shocks progressive linkage, but the Classic and have 3.7 inches of rear with mechanical preload whereas the Chieftain has 4.5 inches of travel with pneumatic adjustment.

Suspension damping is on all three bikes, but the extra travel on the Chieftain provides a plush ride. A single setup is used for all three with dual 4-piston calipers, a 2-piston rear floating rotors and standard These are heavy motorcycles curb weights between 812 and 848 and the brakes have the power to get them slowed down and confidently.

The Chieftain’s fork-mounted fairing has an windscreen and a dual-speaker audio with integrated Bluetooth.

that the new Chiefs were engineered, tested and manufactured in 27 months, it’s remarkable how they are. These are not all-show-and-no-go bikes, they’re machines that are ready to head-to-head with other And they’re priced right—$18,999 for the Classic, $20,999 for the Chief and $22,999 for the Chieftain in Thunder

For Indian Motorcycle Red or Springfield add $400 for the Classic/Vintage and $500 for the Indian is back, better ever. And we’ll have a test of a Chieftain soon.

Indian Chief Classic/Chief Specs

Base Price:

Displacement: 1,811cc (111ci)

x Stroke: 101 x 113mm

Indian Chief Touring
Indian Chief Touring


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