Archive for the ‘indian motorcycles’ Tag

2015 Indian Scout – Road Test Review

A motorcycle is never just a motorcycle, and the all-new 2015 Indian Scout takes that truth to its extreme. The Sturgis Rally started 74 years ago, during the last moments of the original-lineage Indian Scout’s production. This year, after waiting nearly all of those seven decades, the rally was reunited with this sporty old friend. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? But it’s complicated.

Until last year, the mud and clay and gravel the Indian name has been dragged through for fully half of its history had been caked on thickly. Polaris, Indian’s newest owner, has done an excellent job of hosing the brand clean and giving it the fresh start it deserved. The Chief and its Chiefy siblings did that by being a new old that’s an updated reflection of the last Springfield design, using a flat-head look for its fully modern air-/oil-cooled, pushrod, OHV, 49-degree V-twin engine, with those big fenders and much chrome. But it’s not news that heritage American iron is a hot seller.

Taking a bolder route, the new Scout desires to be the potential future of a past that never happened, looking for an acceptable narrative to span back to the bike’s far-off beginnings. So does this Scout convincingly carry the Indian heritage forward, and is it functionally a motorcycle you’d want to ride?

The Scout is a modern interpretation of how the evolution of the American V-twin might have gone, without following the calculated semi-Luddite lead of the Chief. The Scout gives a modern answer to this historical question, trying to be what it would be if the model had evolved organically without interruption. There are a thousand answers to this proposition, and all of them are colored by romance, desire, and longing. So don’t insist that Indian’s answer is right or wrong; this Scout is a modern cruiser, its chassis a refraction through the lens of history, its engine a nod to modern times, its EFI for the EPA, all topped off with a damn nice old-school seat.

We’re here to tell you the bike feels good, and a primary part of this is the 69ci (1,133cc), liquid-cooled, 60-degree, V-twin engine that uses chain-driven DOHC and four valves per cylinder fed by a single 60mm throttle body. It’s a semi-dry sump design with a 9,000-rpm redline. High-ish 10.7:1 compression makes it hungry for high-test. The Scout produced 86 hp at 7,730 rpm and 64 pound-feet of torque at 3,320 rpm on the CW dyno. The bigger story on the torque curve is that there are more than 60 pound-feet from 2,400 to 7,400 rpm, and it is a gorgeous straight line of smooth delivery. The cylinders and heads have no fake cooling fins but do have structural ribbing and other aluminum-colored accents.

A six-speed transmission and a left-side final-drive belt transmit power to the rear wheel. The Scout is geared to comfortably roll along at 70 mph in sixth gear at 3,750 rpm, yet with that broad torque production it pulls away easily from a stop. Clutch feel is good, and engagement is smooth and easy.

The suspension is pretty conventional at each end: 41mm fork legs up front and dual, spring-preload-adjustable shocks out back. There’s a claimed 4.7 inches of front-wheel travel and 3.0 inches of travel at the rear. Notice the extreme rake of those shocks, to mimic the hardtail lines of the 1920s Scout. With preload in the delivered setting and without a rider in the saddle, the Scout’s rear suspension tops out with zero sag. With my 150 pounds on board, the rear end tops out on rebound when riding over large bumps. Heavier testers on staff did not experience this. A preload wrench is supplied, but there is no provision to store it on the bike.

The Scout has a single 298mm rotor at each end, with a two-piston caliper up front and a single piston out back. Other notables include a super-low 27.0-inch brown-leather-seat height (as measured in the CW shop with rear spring preload set as delivered; claimed height is 26.5 inches). The seat is so low that swinging a leg over it is no different than stepping over a crack in a root-heaved sidewalk. It’s also covered in more weather-resistant leather than that used in 2014.

The Scout has a multipiece aluminum chassis that saves weight through rational design. The front downtubes are a one-piece casting that incorporates the steering head and additionally serve as the radiator shrouds. Out back is a one-piece casting that includes the swingarm plates and tailsection. These front and rear castings bolt to the bottom front and rear of the engine, which is a stressed member without frame elements beneath it. Two side-by-side, multipiece backbones from the steering head to the rear casting tie the structure together above the engine.

Wheelbase is a rangy 61.0 inches, and the Scout is relaxed in rake and trail, having 29 degrees of the first and 4.7 inches of the latter. The wheels at both ends are of the same dimensions—16 x 3.5 inches—but carry different size Kenda tires: a 130/90-16 72H up front and a 150/80-16 71H rear. These fat tires on little wheels disguise the Scout’s smaller-than-normal size; it’s a 7/8-scale cruiser, à la Smokey Yunick.

Indian, of course, targeted the Sportster, and most of the rest of us will make that comparison too. This is valid in the market and in our minds, but the riding experience really is very different. Still: Compared to the last Sportster 1200 Custom we tested, the Scout is about 6 pounds lighter, made 18 more horsepower and 9 less pound-feet of torque, has a sixth gear, and costs $300 more than a 2014 model. Plus, there’s got to be an easy additional 40 hp hiding in this engine. Basically, it’s untenable that Indian could create the overriding competency of this bike yet have the converse incompetence for its modern, efficient powerplant of 1,133cc to not be capable of 140 hp. It’ll be interesting to see what happens to output on this engine in future models or when breathing on it, remapping it, etc.

The Scout is one of the best-balanced shapes of any cruiser-type motorcycle made, successfully carrying forward the lines and proportions of the 1928 Scout to work in the modern world, as the designers intended. The headlight is basically a copy of the one used on pre-war models, and the forward-slanting fuel tank maintains the original Scout’s go-fast look.

We were first given the chance to ride the Scout on the winding roads of South Dakota’s Black Hills then got one back at our Southern California HQ for full instrumented testing and more mileage. The seating position is right on for a 5-foot-10 rider, with a comfortable reach to the bars and foot controls, and Indian offers fitment options for riders at the far ends of adult sizes. The stock solo leather seat is grand, and after a long day on the road there was none of that burning-cheek feeling. (A passenger pad and pegs are available.) The non-adjustable hand levers are well placed, and the mirrors provide a good rear view, though adjustment tended to wander if the stalks weren’t set to allow the mirrors to be in the center of their swivel-ball adjustment range.

The Scout is smooth and swift from a dead stop. The EFI is crisp across the rev range, transitioning from on-off changes without the hesitation or glitch. The throttle has a linear, almost rheostatic relationship to engine output. At low rpm, engine vibration is close to nil. At high revs, particularly 5,000 rpm and up, the engine did produce quite a bit of a buzz. At 70 mph in sixth, the Scout engine is smooth, but a few testers sensed some buzz at 75-plus.

On the quiet end of the rev range, the Scout is tame and can be ridden as a comfortable, easy-to-handle cruiser for beginners, or it can be railed down a twisty highway as a low-slung performance bike, perfectly behaved at both ends of that scale. Third gear works great for bombing corners on a winding road, and 6,500 to 7,500 is the sweet rev range for instant-on power and prime engine braking. This is not air-cooled V-twin instant low-end response like from a 1200 Sportster.

The transmission on the Scout we rode around Sturgis was certain and smooth with short throws and no missed shifts. The 450-mile testbike we got in California was inconsistent on the 1-2 upshift and could be a bit vague on other shifts. We’d like to see more positive shift action front this gearbox.

It’s surprising that a bike so heaped with historical responsibility can also be such a hoot at bombing the twisties. The 16-inch tires work great with the well-damped suspension to make for sure handling and no skittishness in fast corners, with neutral chassis behavior even when trail braking hard down to the apex. Cornering clearance is decent for the class, but the handling character makes you wish for more lean angle.

Steering at low speeds is light and precise, and the low center of gravity rewards the use of both brakes. Although the single front disc has good feel and light effort, a second front disc would be welcome.

For comfortable, sporty cruising, and for carrying the Indian torch, the new Scout succeeds. It’s a modern interpretation of the name, a reflection of heritage, not an imitation of outdated technologies. Fit and finish is excellent, and colors include red and black plus matte finishes in smoked black and smoked silver.

Indian has made a big bet with the Scout and worked hard to make a statement at its Sturgis launch. It hired the American Motor Drome Company’s Wall of Death and Charlie Ransom (who looks as though he just stepped out of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes) to take a modded version of this bike to the boards. That was seriously impressive. It’s not common for a manufacturer to associate itself with a daredevil sideshow, yet Indian rolled out its Scout in old-school carnival style: scary, dangerous, fantastic, with no hands. And it was real. If this were the only true beginning of this Scout’s history, it’s a damn great start.

As read on: http://www.cycleworld.com/2014/10/30/2015-indian-scout-road-test-cruiser-motorcycle-review-photos-specifications/

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Part One: A Closer Look at Indian Motorcycles

Recently, a rival of Harley-Davidson – a Japanese motorcycle company that builds multiple cruising and touring motorcycles – held a recent full-line press event at a rural Georgia country club.

On the first morning of the media gathering, that bike maker lined all of its models up in a shiny row, with the company’s name and logo prominently displayed on large banners posted all around the motorcycles.

As a visiting couple strolled by the display on their morning constitutional, one said to the other, “Wow, honey. Look at all the Harleys.”

That’s the problem a competitor of the Milwaukee-based motorcycle giant faces. In the world of two-wheeled iron, Harley-Davidson is synonymous with big cruiser and touring bikes. Even if a rival makes better machines in the same class, they’re always looked on by anyone outside the enthusiast commune ant as a Harley.

Indian Motorcycles, the Minneapolis based manufacturer is taking on that identity challenge while trying to reestablish itself as a prominent part of global automotive culture. Indian is actually the oldest American builder of motorcycles — beating Harley-Davidson to the market by two years in 1901. But, while Harley survived highs and lows through the years, Indian faded from the business world in 1953.

Harley-Davidson used the rock n’ roll era of the 1950s and the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s to build its brand identity as the chosen ride of rebels. Indian missed all of that, finally returning to the American market in 2011 as a smaller division of Polaris – a builder of everything from snowmobiles to ATVs.

In the past three years, Polaris’ branding plan focused on one primary goal — letting the world know its back in business and an All-American alternative to Harley-Davidson.

According to Steven D. Menneto, Vice President for Motorcycles at Indian, the company’s plan for the first 18 months of its existence was “to let them know Indian is back.”

“We knew we first needed to establish what we’d build and what styling cues we needed to make our motorcycles distinctly Indian,” Menneto said. “We knew our motorcycles wouldn’t be small. That’s not our brand. We’d make 100 horsepower, liquid cooled engines powering big motorcycles.”

Of course, by 2011 everyone except dedicated riders identifies such bikes with that H-D Bar and Shield Logo.

Menneto, a veteran Polaris executive before taking on Indian, realized ownership by Polaris offered structural support and financial stability. But, the company needed to look beyond the need for that kind of capital buttressing.

“We had and continue to operate with a five year plan,” Menneto explained. “Gradual, planed growth is key to that plan. We could’ve had 1,000 dealers coast to coast, and we could be building at full Polaris capacity. But, we knew it was better to build the brand first.”

Check back in tomorrow for our continued up close look at Indian Motorcycles.

As read on: http://www.craveonline.com/lifestyle/cars-auto-motorcyles/781711-part-one-closer-look-indian-motorcycles

Victory Motorcycle Demo Ride Event at Dick Scott’s Classic Motorcycles!

VICTORY MOTORCYCLE DEMO TRUCK EVENT!

STARTS TOMORROW!
Don’t Forget to Join us THIS FRIDAY and
SATURDAY, June 6th & 7th

For our Demo Ride Event!

Friday Hours: 11am – 6pm
Saturday Hours: 11am – 4pm

Saturday Events:
LIVE Band from 12pm – 4pm
and we will have FREE Refreshments!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don’t miss your chance to ride a new Victory Motorcycle!!

http://www.ClassicMotorcyclesDetroit.com

10 motorcycle safety tips for new riders – Expert advice for first-time and returning riders

Motorcycles are fun and fuel efficient. That’s not news to anyone who’s ridden one. But neither is the fact that they’re also way more dangerous than a car. The cold reality is that motorcyclists are 30 times more likely to die in a crash than people in a car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). And nearly half of all motorcycle deaths are the result of single-vehicle crashes.

The numbers are even scarier for older riders, who are increasingly taking up or returning to motorcycling after many years. Because of slower reflexes, weaker eyesight, more brittle bones, and other disadvantages, riders over 60 years old are three times more likely to be hospitalized after a crash than younger ones.

Still, many enthusiasts enjoy a lifetime of riding without injury. The key to optimizing your odds is to be prepared and avoid risks. Keep in mind that 48 percent of fatalities in 2010 involved speeding, according to the IIHS, and alcohol was a factor in 42 percent. Eliminate those factors and you’ve dramatically reduced your risk.

Below are some more tips to help you stay safe on two wheels. Learn more in our motorcycle hub, buying guide, and in our reliability and owner satisfaction report.

Don’t buy more bike than you can handle. If you’ve been off of motorcycles for awhile, you may be surprised by the performance of today’s bikes. Even models with small-displacement engines are notably faster and more powerful than they were 10 or 20 years ago.

When shopping for a bike, start with one that fits you. When seated, you should easily be able to rest both feet flat on the ground without having to be on tiptoes. Handlebars and controls should be within easy reach. Choose a model that’s easy for you to get on and off the center stand; if it feels too heavy, it probably is. A smaller model with a 250- to 300-cc engine can make a great starter or commuter bike. If you plan on doing a lot of highway riding, you might want one with an engine in the 500- to 750-cc range so you can easily keep up with traffic. (Before buying, see our report on motorcycle reliability and owner satisfaction.)

Invest in antilock brakes. Now available on a wide array of models, antilock brakes are a proven lifesaver. IIHS data shows that motorcycles equipped with ABS brakes were 37 percent less likely to be involved in a fatal crash than bikes without it. “No matter what kind of rider you are, ABS can brake better than you,” says Bruce Biondo of the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Motorcycle Safety Program.

The reason is simple: Locking up the brakes in a panic stop robs the rider of any steering control. That can easily lead to a skid and crash, which can result in serious injury. ABS helps you retain steering control during an emergency stop, and it can be especially valuable in slippery conditions.

This critical feature is now standard on many high-end models and adds only a few hundred dollars to the price of more basic bikes. You may be able to offset some of the cost with an insurance discount. Either way, we think it’s a worthwhile investment in your safety.

Hone your skills. As Honda’s Jon Seidel puts it, “There is nothing we could say or advise more than to go find a Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) riding course in your area. That’s critical, absolutely critical.” An MSF course or similar class can teach you the basics, as well as advanced techniques, such as how to perform evasive emergency maneuvers. The cost ranges from free to about $350. An approved safety course may make you eligible for an insurance discount and, in some states, to skip the road-test and/or the written test part of the licensing process. Some motorcycle manufacturers offer a credit toward the cost of a new motorcycle or training if a rider signs up for an MSF course. The MSF website lists about 2,700 locations for such courses around the United States.

Use your head. Yes, helmets are an emotional topic for some riders. But the facts show the risk. Riders without a helmet are 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury in a crash and are three times more likely to suffer brain injuries, than those with helmets, according to government studies.

When Texas and Arkansas repealed their helmet laws, they saw a 31- and 21-percent increase in motorcycle fatalities, respectively. “It is absolute insanity to repeal helmet laws,” says Orly Avitzur, M.D., a neurologist and a Consumer Reports medical adviser. “Because helmets do save lives, it is insanity to expose the skull and the brain to potential trauma that could be prevented or at least mitigated.”

A full-face helmet that’s approved by the Department of Transportation is the best choice. (Look for a DOT certification sticker on the helmet.) Modern helmets are strong, light weight, and comfortable, and they cut down on wind noise and fatigue. Keep in mind that helmets deteriorate over time, and may not be safe even if they look fine. The Snell Memorial Foundation, an independent helmet testing and standards-setting organization, recommends replacing a helmet every five years, or sooner if it’s been damaged or has been in a crash. Beyond potential deterioration due to aging and exposure to hair oils and chemicals, Snell points out that there is often a notable improvement over that time in helmet design and materials.

Wear the right gear. Jeans, a T-shirt, and sandals are recipes for a painful disaster on a bike. Instead, you want gear that will protect you from wind chill, flying bugs and debris, and, yes, lots of road rash if you should slide out. For maximum protection, go for a leather or other reinforced jacket, gloves, full pants, and over-the-ankle footwear, even in summer. Specially designed jackets with rugged padding and breathable mesh material provide protection as well as ventilation for riding in warm weather. You’ll also want effective eye protection; don’t rely on eyeglasses or a bike’s windscreen. Use a helmet visor or goggles. And keep in mind that car drivers who have hit a motorcycle rider often say they just didn’t see them, so choose gear in bright colors.

Be defensive. A recent study by the University of South Florida’s Center for Urban Transportation Research found that in collisions involving a motorcycle and a car, car drivers were at fault 60 percent of the time. So, you need to be extra alert, especially in this age of epidemic phone use and texting behind the wheel. Keep an eye out for cars suddenly changing lanes or pulling out from side streets. And don’t tailgate; keeping a safe following distance is critical, both to ensure you have enough stopping distance and so you have time to react to obstacles in the road. An object that a car might easily straddle could be a serious hazard when on a bike.

Avoid bad weather. Slippery conditions reduce your margin for error. Rain not only cuts your visibility but reduces your tires’ grip on the road, which can make cornering tricky. If you need to ride in the rain, remember that the most dangerous time is right after precipitation begins, as the water can cause oil residue to rise to the top. And avoid making sudden maneuvers. Be especially gentle with the brakes, throttle, and steering to avoid sliding. When riding in strong side winds, be proactive in anticipating the potential push from the side by moving to the side of the lane the wind is coming from. This will give you some leeway in the lane, should a gust nudge you.

Watch for road hazards. A motorcycle has less contact with the pavement than a car. Sand, wet leaves, or pebbles can cause a bike to slide unexpectedly, easily resulting in a spill. Bumps and potholes that you might barely notice in a car can pose serious danger when on a bike. If you can’t avoid them, slow down as much as possible before encountering them, with minimal steering input. Railroad tracks and other hazards should be approached as close to a right angle as possible, to reduce the chances of a skid.

Be ready to roll. Before each ride, do a quick walk-around to make sure your lights, horn, and directional signals are working properly. Check the chain, belt, or shaft and the brakes. And inspect the tires for wear and make sure they’re set at the proper pressure. Motorcycle mechanics we’ve spoken with say they routinely see worn-out brakes and improperly inflated tires that greatly increase safety risks. When tires are under-inflated, “handling gets really hard, steering gets hard, and the bike doesn’t want to lean,” says Mike Franklin, owner of Mike’s Garage in Los Angles.

As read on: http://consumerreports.org/cro/2013/04/10-motorcycle-safety-tips-for-new-riders/index.htm

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 Chief Vintage Vs Heritage Softail

They’re the most storied motorcycle manufacturers in American biker lore. Both scratched to life in the early 1900s, developed motorcycles that quickly earned reputations and fostered brand allegiances that ran deep. The companies grew by carving their names into motorcycle racing history books, from the Salt Flats in Utah to as far away as the Isle of Man. They bred Wrecking Crews and spawned Jackpine Gypsies, waged battles on board tracks, hill climbs, and the beaches of Daytona. They’ve championed Emde’s and Munro’s, Petrali’s and Parker’s while instigating countless rivalries. Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycle Company have been nemesis for a long time.

But disparate fortunes caused the rivalry to wane. Indian Motorcycles has risen and fallen with the tide as its golden years passed and production ceased in 1953. Several attempts to resurrect the brand failed as it toiled through the Gilroy era before a British private equity firm did its best to again relaunch the company with high dollar motorcycles built in Kings Mountain. Now it has landed in the hands of a very able partner for the first time in many years, parent company Polaris with a multi-billion dollar portfolio. That portfolio includes Victory Motorcycles, which helped Polaris trim Harley’s sales, but admittedly it lacked a company with an iconic American image and long-standing heritage. And so it bought Indian, and finally the company that has seen its share of turbulent times is in the possession of an entity with the talent and resources to once again make it competitive. On Saturday, August 3, in front of a packed house on Main Street in Sturgis, Polaris rolled out the first three Indian Motorcycles it had produced, among them the traditional-styled 2014 Indian Chief Vintage.

The other company in this test has weathered on despite its own hardships to establish itself as the iconic American motorcycle manufacturer. Celebrating 110 years in continuous production, Harley-Davidson hosted parties around the world this year and threw a big shin-dig in Milwaukee. And rightfully so. It has survived the great World Wars, the Black powdercoated heads and cylinders with machined cooling fins topped by chrome rocker covers add up to an eye-pleasing V-Twin powering the 14 Heritage Softail.
The 1690cc Twin Cam 103B of the 2014 Harley Heritage Softail Classic put out 82.26 lb-ft of torque @ 3200 rpm and 66.33 hp @ 5200 rpm.
2014 Harley Heritage Softail Classic Dyno Chart – Twin Cam 103BA powerful 1811cc Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin sits at the heart of the 2014 Indian Chief models and turned our dyno to the tune of 100.87 lb-ft torque @ 2700 rpm and 73.33 hp @ 4500 rpm.
The 1811cc Thunder Stroke 111 V-Twin of the 2014 Indian Chief Vintage turned our dyno to the tune of 100.87 lb-ft torque @ 2700 rpm and 73.33 hp @ 4500 rpm.
2014 Indian Chief Vintage Dyno Chart – Thunder Stroke 111 Depression, the Recessions, and what is known as the AMF years. It has done so by staying true to itself, true to producing what it knows best, and it’s ability to transcend beyond simply sales and into a lifestyle is a recipe everybody’s eager to steal. On Monday, August 19, Harley’s introduction of its Twin-Cooled engine, Project Rushmore and a restyled Batwing fairing stole the headlines at the introduction of the 2014 models. But there was a long list of Sportsters, Dyna and Softails released for 2014 too, including a timeless American cruiser, the 2014 Heritage Softail Classic.

Hoping to stoke the flames of a rivalry that stretches over 100 years, we pit the 2014 Indian Chief Vintage against the 2014 Harley Heritage Softail Classic. Externally, the two are carbon copies of one another, big classic-cued cruisers clad in chrome, swooping fenders and softail-style suspension, chrome auxiliary lights and tall windscreens, cush leather seats and classic leather saddlebags. The tell of the tape shows both are powered by big pushrod-driven V-Twins, the Harley Heritage running a 1690cc Twin Cam 103B while the Indian’s propulsion is provided by the 1811cc Thunder Stroke 111. Both have six-speed transmissions fed by electronic fuel injection, each has ABS and hidden rear suspension. Dunlop is the tire of choice for both cruisers, whitewalls in the case of the bikes we tested, wrapped around shiny spoked wheels. Overall the long list of similarities is undeniable.

So Motorcycle USA test rider Justin Dawes and I set about testing the two under real-world conditions, from the clogged arteries of LA’s 405 freeway to cruising the PCH, doing dashes over Ortega Highway and inland to secret photo stops. We lived in their saddles for a week, from stop-and-go stints to light touring, and the 2014 Harley Heritage Softail Classic won the efficiency award with an average of 35.514 mpg, a bit better than the guzzling 33.99 mpg average of the 2014 Indian Chief Vintage. Given the Indian has a 0.5-gallon larger tank than the Harley, projected range is almost identical with the Harley good for approximately 177 miles before a fill up while the Indian should be able to stretch it out to around 186 miles. Peeking at the spec sheet, the ’14 Chief Vintage has an MSRP of $20,999 while the ’14 Heritage Softail Classic with the Morocco Gold Paint and wheel package as tested is priced at $19,259.

And while we believed the two would perform almost identically based on their similarities, we couldn’t have been more wrong. They offer much different riding experiences, from the output of their engines to the way they handle and steer. One stretches riders out and feels long and low while the other is tight and compact. From turn-in to braking, there are notable differences between the two. Read on as the 100-year-war reignites, Harley versus Indian, Heritage versus Vintage.

Who says a motorcycle can’t project an aura around its rider? You can’t help but feel a sense of class riding Harley’s Heritage Softail Classic. Ours is a regal ride, pearl paint and polished chrome that reflect the world passing by in its sheen, spinning spokes and whirling whitewalls. A drumming exhaust note declares your approach long before you arrive at a destination. It’s a cool customer cruising between the avenues of trendy Huntington Beach stores, skateboarders gliding by in front of surf shops as people fill the umbrella-covered tables of sidewalk cafes. We sit high in its saddle feeling like a king on his throne as we comfortably cruise down California’s palm tree-lined boulevards.

It is in the stop-and-go of city traffic that the Heritage Softail Classic shines. The first thing you’ll notice about it compared to the Chief Vintage is how much smaller H-D’s cruiser feels. A peek at the spec sheet discloses that the Harley has a 3.7-inch smaller wheelbase and is nine inches shorter in total length. The Heritage Softail Classic also tips our scales 90 pounds lighter than the Indian cruiser. The rider’s triangle on the Harley cruiser is much more compact, riders situated relaxed and upright in its saddle. The bike’s floorboards are forward and a rider’s legs are almost parallel to the backbone but it doesn’t stretch you out as much at the Chief Vintage. The bars on the Heritage Softail Classic are higher and in closer than the Vintage and have a wider range of motion. Dawes called the Heritage’s seat “This big cushy Barcalounger looking thing but it works really well,” adding “It’s comfortable, it supports your butt, the passenger seat presses on your lower back a bit and that can get a little uncomfortable, but there’s room to move around. It doesn’t lock you into place like the Indian seat.”

Once situated in the Harley’s compact rider’s triangle, launching the bike is facilitated by a clutch pull that is firm but not overly stiff. Even though its bars are up, they are easy to negotiate as the front end on the Heritage Softail Classic has less weight to it. Despite having a couple more degrees of rake on the fork, a more compact wheelbase and good centralization of mass give the Harley lighter steering. This makes it easier to handle at low speeds and allows for sharper U-turns when cruising around town.

“Right when I got on it, I was surprised by how light that bike actually feels for how big of a bike it actually is. It doesn’t feel long, it doesn’t feel big, it feels low to the ground and the center of gravity is real easy. It’s got this really light handling which was a big surprise for me because I didn’t expect that at all out of that bike,” agreed Dawes.

Out of town and in the twisty stuff, the ’14 Heritage Softail Classic is quicker to turn-in and transitions with less effort than its bulkier counterpart. It’s primary deficiency in turns are floorboards that scrape easy and often so riders get much less lean angle to play with as the Indian sweeps deeper.

“Cornering clearance – there is none. The floorboards, they look pretty high, but you dip that thing into a corner and it starts dragging almost immediately, it’s pretty crazy. I mean it looks cool, sounds cool, you’re throwing sparks everywhere and people are looking at you like you’re a cornering bad-ass, but it limits the speed at which you can ride around a twisty mountain road. Granted, it’s a Heritage Softail and you’re not going to be ripping it up anyways, you want to cruise, but when you want that extra cornering clearance, it’s not there for you,” lamented Dawes.

Despite its lack of lean, the 2014 Heritage Softail Classic is a bit more composed on the road thanks to suspension that is dialed in almost ideally. Spring rates on the thick fork keep the front firmly in contact with the road as it ranges through a generous 5.1-inches of travel. The hidden horizontally-mounted rear shocks on the rear are equally adept at absorbing bumps in the road while riders remain comfortably shielded and in control. As Dawes said, “The suspension, it’s pretty much spot-on for a cruiser. It’s not too harsh, not too sluggish, not too soft. It’s pretty much like the Goldilocks of suspension for this type of bike,” in the sense that it’s dialed in just right.

And while its low-speed handling and slick suspension set-up are better than the arrangement on the Chief Vintage, the Twin Cam 103 comes up a bit short in comparison to the Indian powerplant. Aesthetically, it’s a thing of beauty, stout pushrod tubes against black powder-coated heads offset by machined cooling fins and chrome rocker covers. The undersquare mill features a healthy 3.87-inch bore hammering down at a 4.374-inch stroke so you’d anticipate an arm-wrenching jolt of low-end torque. And indeed, a peek at the spec sheet shows that you do have a 70.68 lb-ft to play with as early as 2000 rpm. But glance at the Indian’s chart which shows it’s pumping out 92.69 lb-ft at the same 2000 rpm. Overall the Harley’s powerband is very even, strong but not intimidating as it builds up to its 82.26 lb-ft peak at 3200 rpm. Both motorcycles are geared to top out in first just below 45 mph while second gear gets riders up to freeway speed as it signs off at approximately 64 mph. But the Indian will definitely get up to that speed with more enthusiasm. Once up to speed, the Harley’s counter-balanced TC103 operates smoothly as riders drop the transmission into its six-speed “cruise drive,” but the bike did demonstrate a little buzz in the tank at higher rpm before hitting the shift point. Shifting down, the Heritage Softail Classic demonstrates a generous amount of engine braking. Overall though, the output of the Harley engine felt subdued compared to the torque-rich punch of the Indian Thunder Stroke 111.

“It’s a really flat, mellow power band. Usually, think Harley motor, you think character, but the Indian motor actually has more character. It accelerates well, it’s got plenty of power, it just doesn’t have a rush or a hit to it, it kind of just builds,” agreed Dawes.

While its engine didn’t match up, the six-speed gearbox on the Harley is slightly more refined than the transmission on the Indian. Gears engage just a tad smoother and quieter as the Indian transmission is a bit rawer. It only takes a quick push on the heel/toe shifter to run up and down the Heritage’s mechanisms and overall gear ratios are very close, but Harley has had more years to fine tune its gearbox and it shows. One thing the Harley lacks is cruise control, a standard feature on the more expensive Indian Chief Vintage, a feature we believe should come stock on a bike equipped with bags, a windscreen and capable of light touring.

The greatest area of disparity between the Harley and the Indian though is in the braking department. Both cruisers come with anti-lock brakes, the Harley’s system unobtrusively integrated into the wheel hub. But grab a handful of front brake on the Heritage and you don’t get much bite or power out of the four-piston calipers. The Harley also sources a single disc while the Indian uses a dual arrangement on the front. Riders really have to squeeze the brake lever to get the calipers to dig in and provide any feel. A big brake pedal for the rear provides better feedback and the rear unit bites more aggressively than the front, but it doesn’t take much for the ABS to kick in. When it does, it pulses much faster than the Indian and pushes hard in the ball of a rider’s foot while its impact on braking distance is minimal. Both Justin and I agreed that we’d like to see more power to the front while cutting back on the rear’s ABS a bit.

“It feels like you’re pulling on a block of wood, the front brake lever. You can squeeze on it really hard and it doesn’t do much. You’ve got to really rely on the rear brake. Rear brake, it’s got more power, it’s got more feel, the ABS though kicks in pretty soon on it. Too soon. You’re relying on that rear brake to slow you down, so you’re pressing on that rear brake and you get into the ABS and it kicks back on your foot pretty quickly,” concurred Dawes.

While there is notable disparity in the braking department, the two compare favorably in curb appeal. The Heritage earns its name with time-honored styling cues, from nostalgic chrome laced wheels wrapped in wide whitewalls to its studded seat and bags. Chrome trim dresses up everything from its front fender to its auxiliary lights. And the depth of Harley’s paint is unparalleled. The Heritage Softail Classic has a detachable windshield whose height is quite a bit shorter than the Indian. The cutoff line of the windshield sat right across Dawes’ line-of-sight causing him to either look up and over or slouch a tad to peer under. I’m a bit taller so it wasn’t an issue for me. Wind protection is excellent and rider buffeting is nominal, but the fact that it’s fork-mounted means air channels created by other vehicles in front of you create a little buffeting in the bars. Instrumentation is relegated to the essentials, highlighted by an analog speedo centrally located on the big tank-mounted console. The dial doesn’t rise up quite as steeply as the cluster on the Indian so it’s not quite as easy to see. The “low fuel” gauge, embedded in the faux gas tank cap to the left of the console, requires riders to take their eyes off the road, especially as it drops in to the far left corner as it gets closer to “E.” The bike’s leather saddlebags add to its “Heritage” bloodline and are just big enough to cram my backpack and computer in, but that’s about all. Plastic clasps cinch them closed, but there’s no way of locking the bags.

Billed as a boulevard cruiser, the 2014 Harley Heritage Softail Classic excels at exactly that. With a compact rider’s triangle, tight overall design, and easy-going characteristics at parking lot speeds make it a great bike to cruise locales like Huntington Beach. It’s got upscale good looks when you pull into Duke’s on the pier for lunch. We expected a bit more punch from its 1690cc engine, but admit the power of Indian’s 1811cc V-Twin left us jaded. We’d definitely like to feel more power from its front brake and less intervention from the ABS on the rear and would dearly love a bit more lean angle. Overall though the big cruiser is a refined, dignified member of the Softail family, traits which are easily projected upon its rider as well.

Speculation ran rampant as to what direction Polaris would take the Indian Motorcycle Company. Would Polaris carry on tradition, or take it in an entirely different direction altogether? Would a Scout be included in the offerings, or maybe they’d surprise us with something new that paid homage to its racing roots like a 750cc flat tracker. The questions were duly answered when Polaris pulled back the covers on the 2014 Indian Chieftain, Chief Vintage and Chief Classic at Sturgis. While a hard-bagged, hard-faired bagger in the form of the Chieftain was the biggest deviation from the norm, the one bike that held truest to Indian form was the 2014 Vintage. It is imbued with styling cues that made the Indian marque famous, from the deeply valanced fenders to distressed leather seats and tassled saddlebags. On the front fender sits a stoic-faced “Chief” in his light-up “War Bonnet,” the signature trait as recognizable as the script on the tank and the red of the paint. Laced, 60-spoke wheels and a thickly striped whitewall add to its “Vintage” designation.

As classic as the Indian looks, fortunately its performance is 21st century. Ignition is keyless, the standard key replaced by an electronic fob that has to be within proximity of the motorcycle for it to start. The bike drums to life courtesy of an electric starter, roll on the throttle and a ride-by-wire system controls the closed loop fuel injection system and it is equipped with anti-lock brakes. Though its engine sports multi-directional cooling fins, a left-side intake and down-firing exhaust similar to Indian Chief engines from the 1940s, its three camshaft and parallel pushrod arrangement delivers power numbers never before achieved by a stock Indian engine. With the 2014 Indian Chief Vintage, Polaris has done an admirable job of combining the classic and contemporary.

“When I first saw the Indian, photos of it, I really actually wasn’t impressed. It didn’t look that great in photos. But once you get up close to it, it’s a beautiful bike. There’s no getting around it. They really paid attention to every little detail on this bike. Every little thing – the logos, all the castings and the millwork, and the body work and the awesome leather seats and bags that’re old and distressed looking, all of it is spot-on for an American cruiser. You can tell that they really cared about this bike when they built it,” said fellow test rider, Motorcycle USA Editor Justin Dawes.

Climb into its 26-inch high saddle and the Indian Chief Vintage feels long and low. With a total stretch of 103.7 inches, it is a big bike. Its riding position is dictated by long floorboards that are out a bit further and up more than those on the Heritage Softail Classic so a rider’s knees are higher. Its bars are more beach-style, set lower and much wider. The vintage leather seat is a work of art but is scooped at steep angle, so it pushes riders back in the seat. Dawes didn’t like that as a result of this scoop, it locks riders into place and for him, put numbing pressure on his tailbone. On the up side, Indian is already aware of this and the production Chief Vintage motorcycles will feature a slightly different seat.

“You get on the Indian, and it’s got these wider beach bars, it’s real long feeling, it’s real low feeling, and it definitely feels heavier maneuvering at slow speeds. When you’re first pulling out of the parking lot, you’re like ‘whoa, this thing’s quite a bit heavier feeling than the Harley.’ Once on the road, that heaviness goes away a little bit but it does take more effort to get it around corners and muscle it around,” said Dawes.

This is due in part to the bars of the Chief Vintage carrying more weight. Its chrome headlight housing looks fantastic, a ribbed spine running down along its top, but its sheer mass adds heft to the bars. So do the great looking running lights, big steel fender and removable windscreen. The wide bars also have a limited range of motion before physically coming to a stop, giving the Harley an edge when executing U-turns and slow-speed maneuvers. The Indian Chief Vintage doesn’t turn-in or transition as easily either, giving up 90 pounds to its competitor, much of it front-biased.

The disparity in low-speed handling decreases attacking corners at speed though. Contrarily, the big bike stays true to its line in turns, its Dunlop American Elite tires tacky and reliable. Because its floorboards are higher, riders can confidently carry more speed into turns than the Harley and achieve greater lean angles. On the winding SoCal stretch known as Ortega Highway, the Indian Chief Vintage hustles fluidly, never letting the Harley out of its sight. Twist the throttle upon corner exit and its power advantage quickly closes any gaps.

Because the Indian definitely has the Harley covered in the engine department. The difference is notable from the first crack of the throttle as the Chief Vintage surges off the line with arm-wrenching power, the 1811cc mill putting out peak numbers of 100.87 lb-ft @ 2700 rpm and 73.33 hp @ 4500 rpm. As low as 2100 rpm, 94.94 lb-ft of torque is already accessible. After hitting its 2700 rpm peak, another wave of 100 lb-ft midrange muscle quickly follows when it hits 3100 rpm. It beats the Harley in roll-on power and by the time you throw the Indian into sixth gear, the powerful mill is maintaining that speed with little effort. We noticed a difference at redline, too. As the Heritage Softail Classic reaches the parameters of its powerband and signs off abruptly, the Thunder Stroke 111 has a little over-rev so it continues to deliver power even at redline.

“The motor on this thing is very impressive to me. It has a much more gruntier feel than the Heritage Softail did. It just seems, when you gas it, it kinda tugs on your arms, pulls on your shoulders and it pulls out. It’s got a rumble and a lope that when you gas it, you feel it in your chest,” Dawes said.

This isn’t to say that the Indian V-Twin isn’t without it nuances. There’s more valve noise coming from the engine on the Indian, a constant ticking we believe may come from the shape of the valve covers. In congested stop-and-go LA traffic on a warm day, the long-stroking mill with the almost four-inch pistons puts out noticeable heat on a rider’s right calf, too.

Hitting the less-than-smooth thoroughfare known as the 405, similar suspension arrangements between the two cruisers provide comparable ride qualities. While both motorcycles feature traditional forks, the one used on the Indian is a little springier with less travel at 4.7 inches. Both cruisers use a Softail-style arrangement on the rear, albeit the Chief Vintage sources a single rear shock instead of the Harley’s double shock set-up. And while there’s not much disparity in performance of the rear, Dawes and I agreed that the fork is slightly off.

“It seems to have too much rebound, and so you’re going around corners and over bumps and stuff and you get this, it’s not really a hop, but it just comes back through the stroke too fast and has this bouncy feel to it. Going down the freeway in a straight line, when you hit seams and things, the front and the back react at a little bit different speed so you get a teeter-totter, back-and-forth effect when both ends spring back too quickly. If it was a little more cush, a little more slow reacting, that would go away and it’d be a pavement-gobbling machine,” Dawes said.

Once again, we have to include the disclaimer that the Indian Chief Vintage we tested is a pre-production unit. Indian says it is already addressing the issue with the seat, is changing out the floorboard rubbers and has other small details to attend to. Whether one of these details is the spring rates on the fork is unknown at this time.

What is known though is that the 2014 Chief Vintage definitely has the stronger brakes of the two. There’s much better power and feel on the front thanks to big, dual floating rotors teamed to four-piston calipers. Action from the Indian’s single floating rear rotor is comparable to the power and feel of the Harley and will seize with a heavy stab of the pedal before the ABS takes over. That said, the ABS on the Indian is less intrusive and the pulse rate is different so it doesn’t kick back in the ball of a rider’s foot as aggressively as the system on the Harley.

“Braking power from the front brake on the Indian is far superior to the Harley. It’s got good feel, a nice lever pull, and doesn’t take too much effort. The rear brake doesn’t have so much feel. The ABS locks and lets off, you can lock it and slide it, half-second pulses. Up front, it’s really difficult to get it into the anti-lock,” added Dawes.

On the form and functionality side, Motorcycle USA’s tester Justin Dawes already commented on how Indian has paid an admirable amount of attention to details. Its chrome, tank-mounted console features a large analog speedo with a digital window that reads out gear position, dual tripmeters, and digital tachometer. The console also includes a small round dial for the fuel gauge. The instruments on the Indian are mounted higher and slanted more toward the rider making them easier to see than the cluster on the Harley. Cruise control is a standard feature the Chief Vintage has that the Heritage Softail Classic doesn’t. The system is push-button activated via switches in the right control housing, the system operable even with gloved fingers. Like the Harley, the Chief Vintage also has a removable windshield, albeit the one on the Indian is a bit taller. It offers first-rate wind protection, but Dawes commented that he was getting a reflection off the “awesome looking dash” in the windshield.

“You have these kind of lines and flares in the windshield all the time, especially noticeable when you go from light to dark on country roads,” he said.

Being a little bit taller than Dawes, my line of sight is higher and the reflections he mentioned weren’t an issue for me. But both he and Jason Abbott, who tested the Chief Vintage for Cycle News and is about the same size as Dawes, mentioned it so we thought it a valid enough point to comment on. Its saddlebags have the same high quality leather workmanship as the seat and are a tad wider than the ones on the Harley. Metal clasps are a sweet accent, but like the ones on the Heritage Softail Classic, the bags don’t lock.

As noted in our introduction, we thought the two American cruiser motorcycles would be carbon copies of one another. But they’re not. The Harley sports a more compact rider’s triangle, feels like a much smaller bike than it is, and enjoys an advantage in low-speed handling. The Indian on the other hand is long, low, and feels large and in charge. Riders are sprawled out more, from the stretch to the floorboards to the reach to the bars. After spending time on both bikes, it is a hard one to judge. The Heritage Softail Classic is easier to ride, its suspension is dialed in better, and its gearbox is just a tad more refined. Bottom line though, the Indian Chief Vintage stops and goes better. The pop of its Thunder Stroke engine makes you drunk with power. Its binders on the front are much more powerful while its ABS is less intrusive. While the Harley has lighter steering at low speeds, it also grinds boards much easier than the Indian and sacrifices lean angle at speed as a result. The Heritage Softail has the better fork, but ride quality on the backside is almost identical. The differences between the gearboxes are minute, and Indian has said it is already addressing Dawes’ issue with the seat. Overall, we believe the Harley’s soft front brakes and monotone power delivery are a bigger trade-off than the fast rebounding fork and heavier steering of the Indian. Having 18.36 lb-ft more torque to play with and faster-reacting roll-on also tilts the scales in favor of the 2014 Chief Vintage. Indian’s marketing strategy declared that “Choice is Here” for people who want an American cruiser motorcycle. We say buyers do indeed have a choice now in high quality American cruisers as the flames of a 100-year-old rivalry are once again ignited.

As read on: http://www.motorcycle-usa.com/10/17173/Motorcycle-Article/2014-Indian-Chief-Vintage-Comparison.aspx

OUR 5TH ANNUAL CHILI COOK-OFF & CHARITY RIDE EVENT IS COMING UP SUNDAY, OCTOBER 6TH, 2013!

Join us for this years Ride to benefit the
Penrickton Center for Blind Children
Sunday, October 6th, 2013!

*Registration begins at 8:30am
*Ride will Depart from Dick Scott’s Classic Motorcycles
at 10am SHARP
*Arrive in Downtown Plymouth to enjoy the Great Lakes Regional Chili Cook-off and Bike Show around 11:15am!

We will have a Police Escort and
VIP Parking when we arrive at the event!

*$10.00 Per Rider
(Includes Police Escort and VIP Parking)

Meet at Dick Scott’s Classic Motorcycles
36534 Plymouth Rd, Livonia, MI 48150 before 10am
RSVP by calling 877-388-9508

chili cook-off flyer-DONE

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/