Under Polaris ownership, the modern day Indian Motorcycle company may be a relative newcomer, but the brand stretches back to 1901 and today’s models are still taking their inspiration from the heritage models of old.
Indian’s halcyon days were arguably in the inter war years, when it introduced its two most famous nameplates – the Scout and the Chief.
Introduced in 1920, the lightweight Scout had a reputation as one of the sportiest bikes of the day, but it was the Chief, which arrived in 1922, that topped the range with their high-performance 1000cc (later 1200cc) V-twin engines. The Chief resumed production after World War II and continued until the demise of the original company in 1953.
Polaris bought the brand in 2011 and made a new Chief its first model, coming in 2014. Now, to celebrate a century since its most famous model arrived, the new Indian Motorcycle company is giving the Chief a major overhaul with a trio of new variants, each targeted at a slightly different demographic.
All three share the same simple tubular steel frame run the latest air-cooled 1890cc ‘Thunderstroke’ V-twin engine.
Priced from £15,795, the Chief Dark Horse is the classic cruiser with a 19” front wheel and stripped down styling, with drag bars, bobbed rear mudguard, mid-mounted foot pegs and a bobber style solo seat. There are three monocolour liveries, in either Black Smoke, Jade Smoke or Gray, all with plenty of blacked out metalwork.
As the name suggests, the Chief Bobber Dark Horse goes further down the classic bobber route, adding mini-apehanger handlebars and feet forward footrests for a more traditional cruiser look and feel. Inspired by the post war Chiefs, the Bobber also sports 16” spoked wheels shod with chunky balloon tyres, as well as ‘50s style fork and shock shrouds and a headlamp nacelle. Prices start at £17,695 for the Black Smoke version, with a £200 premium for the Titanium Smoke and Sagebrush Smoke versions.
Topping the trio of Indians is the £19,995 Super Chief Limited, which is a light tourer with a quick release windscreen, black leather panniers, dual touring seat, feet forward floorboards and traditional pullback handlebars. It runs on the same 16” Pirelli Night Dragon rubber as the Bobber and comes in three metallic paint options: black, slate blue and maroon.
Despite the old fashioned looks, there’s plenty of modern technology on these Chiefs. As well as selectable riding modes, the bikes all feature Indian’s ‘Ride Command’ system. This connects to the rider’s smartphone and allows for a configurable touchscreen display with built in satellite navigation and controls for music and voice calls when paired with a helmet intercom.