Archive for the ‘chieftain’ Tag

2014 Indian Chieftain Review

We first reported on the new Indian Motorcycles after their introduction in Sturgis last August. We’ve shared with you our first impressions of the three Indian models after we experienced them in the Black Hills, and we’ve written about the design and development, detailing the tension of creating – from scratch – a thoroughly modern interpretation of a historic marque. With the Chieftain, the designers had the additional challenge of building Indian’s first motorcycle with a fairing while still making it look like a natural part of Indian’s heritage.

Until now, we haven’t actually had an Indian in our possession to sample over an extended period on our home turf, but we’re now happy to report that our recent time with the Chieftain has only increased our respect for what Polaris has accomplished while creating a premium motorcycle from whole cloth. In a mere 27 months, Polaris’s design crew moved from first research and sketches through development and testing to delivering a polished first-generation motorcycle. The task would be impressive for any motorcycle manufacturer. However, when you take the considerable weight of all the previous wrangling over the name and disastrous attempts at re-launching the Indian marque prior to Polaris’ acquisition of the name, the success becomes downright awe inspiring.

The Chieftain is a clear example of something being more than the sum of its parts. Still, when the parts are top-shelf items themselves, the whole endeavor is lifted to another level.

2014 Indian Motorcycle Review: Chief Classic, Chief Vintage and Chieftain

Engine

The Thunder Stroke 111 49-degree V-Twin’s undersquare bore/stroke ratio points to torque as a primary motivating force. The 101mm x 113mm cylinders combine for 1811cc, delivering power pulses through a single-pin crankshaft. With torque peaking at 3100 rpm at 102.8 ft-lb and around 75 percent of that available at 1000 rpm, the Chieftain meets those lofty torque expectations with authority. While the engine is relatively slow revving and the peak power is, surprisingly, only 74.5 hp, the Thunder Stroke never feels put upon. It just cranks out the thrust on demand with smooth fuel metering that makes the drive-by-wire connection to the right grip seamless.

While the transmission shifts easily under way, the Thunder Stroke suffers from two noticeable maladies. First, every gear change is announced with a fairly hefty clunk. Some people may feel that this implies solidness of build, to our ears this belies the sophisticated technology that went in to designing and constructing the engine. Second, at a stop neutral can be quite difficult to find, which is somewhat of a nuisance.

Other powerplant quibbles include the early engagement of the clutch (almost immediately after the lever leaves the grip) and the heat cooking the back of a right leg (which came as a surprise, given our experience at the Sturgis launch).

Chassis

The Chieftain’s frame is constructed of forged and cast aluminum (yes, aluminum, not steel), helping it weigh a claimed 58 lbs. The frame’s construction makes it possible to use some of the frame’s backbone section as a hefty percentage of the airbox volume. With a 25-degree rake and 5.9 in. trail attached to a 65.7 in. wheelbase, you would expect the Chieftain to be stable, and it is. It also turns in and easily changes lines mid-corner (note that we didn’t say quickly) thanks to its wide handlebar. Indian’s other models (Chief Classic and Chief Vintage) have lazier steering geometry than the sprightlier yet heavier Chieftain.

2014 Harley-Davidson Touring Motorcycles Review

The suspension consists of a traditional fork made super-zoot with tons of chrome. The single shock has air adjustable preload. Both do a good job of soaking up the bumps on a variety of road surfaces. Floorboard scraping cornering speeds are no problem, and when they do drag, they touch down cleanly. Unfortunately, you will run out of floorboard fold fairly quickly.

Braking from the dual front discs and their four-piston calipers and the single rear disc with a two-piston caliper is not as powerful as we’d like. Although they are mostly up to the task of slowing down the big, heavy Chieftain, they require a lot of effort when you want to get maximum power out of them. The ABS is helpful and unobtrusive when the road surface is slippery.

Amenities

Touring cruisers are all about comfort, weather protection and carrying capacity. The Chieftain excels in all three categories.

The seat is wide and nicely shaped. The foam offers the right blend of softness and firmness for long days in the saddle. The weather protection provided by the fork-mounted fairing is ample and can be varied with the height of the electrically adjustable windshield. You can choose maximum air flow of the lowest position or the still air of the highest. The shield is distortion-free, so looking through it when in the full up position is not a problem.

Other comfort features, like the stereo with its Bluetooth connectivity, make long days pass by much more quickly and give vital information. Want to know your tire pressure or oil pressure? It’s right there on the LCD screen. The electrically lockable saddlebags are roomy, and the right one features a 12-volt socket for charging your electronics.

Indian has devised a fantastic package for a first-generation motorcycle from a newly revived marque, delivering exciting performance in an attractive, functional package. It has sparked our interest in what the company has in store for future models. If you feel we left some information out of this quickie test, you would be right. This is meant merely as an appetizer, to whet your appetite. We’ll soon have a shootout between the Chieftain and the best-selling motorcycle model in the United States, The Harley-Davidson Street Glide.

As read on: http://www.motorcycle.com/manufacturer/indian/2014-indian-chieftain-review.html

RoadRUNNER’s Motorcycle of the Year: The Indian Chieftain

During this past year, we tested a wide range of motorcycles. Our editors have run around on a 700cc scooter, cruised on an Italian V-twin, traversed states on a liquid-cooled adventure bike, and crossed the country on a three-wheeled machine. All of the motorcycles seem to be leaders in their category, and some even excel far beyond what we call fun and adventure. But to win our MOTY award, we look for a game changer—this year it was a clear choice.

We’re pleased to announce that the Indian Chieftain has been voted Motorcycle of the Year by the RoadRUNNER team.

The entire industry has been waiting since April 2011 (when Polaris bought Indian Motorcycles) for the reincarnation of America’s first major motorcycle brand. Arguably the most fabled brand on our continent, it has seen its share of mismanagement and bad luck since its inception in 1901. With the backing of a $3.5 billion company, consumers can, and should, be excited about what’s to come. Three models were introduced during the Sturgis Rally: the Chief Classic, the Chief Vintage, and the Chieftain. We chose the latter for its retro-modern styling that resembles a streamliner train from the 1950s, the Thunder Stroke 111 engine, the incorporation of current technologies, and its outstanding ride quality. Indian’s ad slogan is “Choice is here in American Motorcycles,” and the domestic motorcycle industry is about to undergo a transformation. These machines are designed and built in the USA and assembled in Spirit Lake, IA. Although it’s the same facility that Victory Motorcycles uses, they do not share any components.

The 111-cubic-inch Thunder Stroke engine was designed to resemble the look of mid-century Indians with a flat head, multi-directional finned valve covers, downward firing exhausts, and parallel push-rod tubes. Whereas a typical new product launch takes 40 months, Indian’s engineers made it happen in just 27 months. It’s incredible to imagine that they started from scratch and tried to pack a modern engine into the look of an old one. The result is 119.2 lb-ft of torque. The powerful, yet smooth, engine is a joy to ride and produces just the right amount of rumble when rolling on the throttle.

Instead of a traditional key, the Chieftain (along with the other two) has an electronic key fob. In case it’s lost, the owner can press a combination of pre-programmed control buttons to start the motorcycle. The Chieftain also features a power-retractable windshield that lowers into the fairing. A seat made of premium leather and lockable hard saddlebags make it tour-worthy. Features such as full Bluetooth connectivity, a 100-watt audio system, and an onboard computer that gives more than the basic information bring this brand into the digital age.

Trying to take a chunk out of Harley-Davidson’s market share isn’t easy, but the Indian motorcycles have the best chance. Well played, Polaris.

See more at: http://www.roadrunner.travel/2013/10/30/roadrunners-motorcycle-of-the-year-the-indian-chieftain/#sthash.X6saxEBg.dpuf

2014 Indian Chieftain First Ride

Of all the motorcycles Indian introduced last night to a packed house on Sturgis’ Main Street, the one that elicited the biggest response from the crowd was the 2014 Indian Chieftain. And for good reason. The sculpted fairing has a bold, aggressive design, blending the new and exciting with familiar cues like the signature Indian valanced fenders just below it. It was the one motorcycle its new Polaris owners introduced that deviated the most from the norm. Including a bagger in its initial offerings was a savvy marketing move by Indian Motorcycle. It continues to be one of the most popular segments and there’s numerous custom builders doing big things with them in the aftermarket. Just look at Paul Yaffe’s Bagger Nation.

Indian brass stated it has one goal in mind with the new lineup. To build the premier premium American motorcycle. As it moves forward toward that goal, it pays tribute to the brand’s Springfield heritage and its long history that dates back to 1901 as the first 1901 production models coming out of Spirit Lake will be numbered. The launch of the new models includes plenty of firsts for the Indian brand. The cast aluminum chassis is a first on an Indian, the bike’s skeleton providing both the weight savings and rigidity Indian sought as it attempted to pull mass out of the frame. The progressive linkage system used on the Chief Vintage and Chief Classic is another first on an Indian Motorcycle. The 2014 lineup includes the first hard-faired bagger the company has produced, too.

The Thunder Stroke 111 engine powering the trio of 2014 Indian Chiefs doesn’t share any parts with other powerplants Polaris produces either. Its unit construction crankcase is comprised of two castings. It has large fins that not only help in cooling but feature the same finning and parallel pushrod tubes as Chiefs from the early 1940s. It has a 5.5 quart oil capacity to keep those almost four-inch pistons oiled up and drumming. And do they drum. Indian has worked hard to keep mechanical noise down so its exhaust note is the bike’s defining auditory signature. And I’ll admit, the bike does put out a powerful, throaty growl when you’re on the throttle as it dishes out the lofty claims of 119 lb-ft of torque at the 3000 rpm plateau. This figure exceeds company expectations as Indian initially was shooting to get power numbers in the 115 lb-ft range.

During Indian’s technical presentation on the bike, they said the Chieftain’s styling cues were drawn from Indians from the 1950s, bold bikes with distinctive lines. But the new version departs from the norm by being the first Indianproduced with a hard fairing and hard bags. Indian designed them not only with function in mind, but made them quickly detachable and with the ability to be remotely locked via the bike’s key fob. The saddlebags are big enough to stuff my backpack in which generally holds my 17-inch computer.

The starting process is all-electronic with a key fob taking the place of a traditional key. As long as it’s within proximity of the bike, it will start up. You can turn it on by depressing a button on the tank or engage the electrical system by pushing the traditional handlebar mounted start button once, then press it again to turn the bike over.

Sitting in its leather saddle for the first time, it feels compact for a bagger. The Chieftain is fairly slim in the saddle and it’s easy to get both feet securely on the ground at stop. Its ergos are relaxed and upright courtesy of highway bars and floorboards. The Chieftain’s seat has a comfortable contour and Indian said it intends to adopt it on the other two models as well.

The motorcycle is well-balanced so it’s easy to control during slow speed maneuvers on overcrowded Lazelle Street. Despite its generous size, the fork-mounted fairing doesn’t weigh steering down. Between the wide fairing and the electronically adjustable windscreen, the tandem shelters riders well so there’s little buffeting. The four-inch power windshield is activated via a button on the left handlebar. It pumps 100 watts of audio through two speakers mounted in the front fairing. The sound is clean and loud. The motorcycle also has the capacity to run your smartphone through it and link to your music lists through Bluetooth.

The gear sets on the six-speed transmission have been engineered to quell mechanical noise, and after riding the 2014 Chieftain up to Nemo and through Vanocker Canyon, we’d have to say they accomplished their goal. Gears engage smoothly and quietly as its big, high capacity clutch doesn’t require a lot of spring force. The clutch lever is firm but not stiff and the throttle-by-wire system is dialed so response to input is crisp. It’s so non-descript, it took me a little while to think about the functionality of the transmission because it was easing into gear so naturally. Considering the tremendous amount of torque the engine is doling out, this is no small feat of engineering.

The 2014 Chieftain has good ground clearance thanks to boards positioned high which allows for plenty of lean. It has both the tightest rake of the three new Indian models at 25-degrees and the shortest wheelbase at 65.7 inches. The combination adds up to a bagger that is more than willing to lean into the turns and track true once it gets there.
The engine is smooth yet powerful. Not punchy but strong and consistent. We wanted to crack its throttle more but confess that traffic in Vanocker prevented us from getting the full monty. On the rare occasion we did get to open it up, it pulls with the authority you’d expect from an 1811cc engine. Vibrations in the bars are almost non-existent. In addition to the surface area of its cooling fins, it has an airbox built into the cast aluminum frame to help keep heat down.

The front brakes are powerful thanks to twin 300mm floating discs up front. Four-piston calipers put a strong squeeze without having to mash the lever hard. The units aren’t overly bitey but pressure is immediate and even. Braking duties get an assist from ABS that are part of the factory package, assisting the single 300mm disc out back.

Besides being attractively designed, the instrument console is placed intuitively, the round dial of its analog speedo easy enough to read at speed, as is the analog tach placed opposite it. Between the two dials is a digital readout with four different screens and plenty of information to toggle through. Among its functions are a clock and outside temperature gauge, radio, satellite radio, a plug-in audio device, range indicator, odometer, and a tire pressure PSI readout. Cruise control comes standard and is operated via the right switch control.

The new Indian Chiefs have been the buzz of Sturgis. Every time we stop, someone will approach with a story about an Indian they owned and just about everybody we talked to has responded positively on the direction Polaris has taken.
“The original Indian was an everyman machine and these guys have brought that back,” said one gentleman we met called Ed Murphy, the unofficial “Mayor of Suches, Georgia.”

The 2014 Indian Chief combines classic cues with modern performance and technology. It will run your Bluetooth, tell you your tire pressure, has throttle-by-wire and ABS. It has traditional running lights in the fairing but features integrated LED turn signals too. Classic cues include the red hue the marque is known for, swooping fenders and a lit War Bonnet emblem on the front fender. Its crown jewel is its engine that sits like a mother of pearl within the six-piece modular frame. But it’s more than just a pretty face. It’s like a punch in the nose, which Indian just delivered to its competitors.

As read on:http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/155/16786/Motorcycle-Article/2014-Indian-Chieftain-First-Ride.aspx

Announcing the New 2014 Indian Chief Classic, Chief Vintage & Chieftain

America’s first motorcycle company, Indian Motorcycles, came roaring back to life Saturday night at the annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S. Dakota, where the company unveiled not just one, but three new models to challenge market leader Harley Davidson.

The new bikes combine Indian’s iconic styling with modern technology features like a new Thunderstroke 111 engine, keyless ignition, electronic throttle, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and a windshield that powers up or down.

The ambitious rollout by parent Polaris Industries, the $3.2 billion-a-year maker of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, comes after a series of false starts by previous owners in the 60 years since Indian went bankrupt.

One big difference is the price: Polaris repositioned the brand to go head-to-head with Harley by cutting thousands of dollars off the sticker of each of its new models.

The new lineup includes the Indian Chief Classic, starting at $18,999; the Indian Chief Vintage, at $20,999, and the Indian Chieftain, at $22,999. Until now, Indian bikes were priced as high was $37,000 but suffered from marginal quality. They will arrive in dealerships in September.

The new Indian Chief Classic is a pure, powerful cruiser featuring iconic styling like valanced fenders, leather saddle, classic tank-mounted instrumentation, tear-drop fuel tank design, and sculpted and lighted front fender war bonnet, along with bells and whistles like keyless ignition, antilock brakes, cruise control, throttle-by-wire and dual exhaust.

The Indian Chief Vintage offers soft-sided leather bags, leather fringe, chrome fender tips, vintage chrome badging on the front fender and a quick-release windshield for easy installation or removal.

The Indian Chieftain is the first Indian to offer a molded front end, or fairing, with integrated driving lights, and a power windshield. Standard features include hard saddlebags featuring remote locks and quick-release anchors, a high-output audio system featuring integrated Bluetooth smartphone connectivity, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

“Indian always has been thought of as a classic cruiser,” said Steve Menneto, Polaris’ vice president of motorcycles. “What we’ve been saying from day one is we are going to be true to Indian’s roots. They were very innovative and progressive back in the day.” Referring to the Chieftain, he said, “This bike exemplifies how we are going to go in new directions. It shows where we’ve been and where we’re going.”

“It’s been a grueling, exciting and very expensive 27 months,” said Polaris chief executive Scott Wine. The company spent nearly $100 m to develop the bikes, he said.

“When we acquired Indian Motorcycle two and a half years ago we set out to capture the heart, soul and legendary heritage of this iconic American brand and then infuse it with unparalleled design, engineering and state-of-the-art technology,” said Wine. “On Saturday night we revealed three stunning new Indian Chief models that represent the results of our journey and the future of this brand. It was a triumphant day for all of us.

The Sturgis motorcycle rally was a fitting location for the unveiling since the event, which typically draws 400,000 bikers a year, was founded in 1938 by a local Indian dealer, Clarence “Pappy” Hoel. “We wanted to connect to our heritage,” said Menneto.

The company is quickly adding dealerships, and expects to have 125-140 North American and 70 international dealers by year end. Demo rides will be available starting later this month.

As read on: http://www.forbes.com/sites/joannmuller/2013/08/04/indian-motorcycle-unveils-three-new-models-in-bid-to-take-on-harley-davidson/