Aging like fine wine.
Indian’s lineup has been a tale of two extremes since Polaris brought back the storied nameplate. If you weren’t sitting on a stripped-down Scout, you were probably on one of the brand’s baggers. Aside from the Chief Dark Horse, there weren’t many bag-less Big Twin options in the Indian catalog. However, 2021 marks the Chief’s centennial, and the brand is celebrating the occasion by taking the model back to its roots.
Featuring a classic steel-tube frame and Indian’s Thunderstroke 116 (1,890cc) V-Twin, the new Chief comes in three flavors. Serving different brands of nostalgic cruiser fans, Indian will offer the refreshed platform in Chief Dark Horse, Chief Dark Horse Bobber, and Super Chief Limited trims. The latter variant boasts bags and a windshield for longer trips, while the two preceding versions prioritize minimalism and style.
All Chiefs will now include a 4-gallon fuel tank, LED lighting, keyless ignition, and Pirelli Night Dragon tires. The ultra-approachable 26.1-inch seat height and 5.2 inches of suspension travel up front should make the full-size cruiser more manageable. To help with handling, Indian reduced the wheelbase to 64 inches and trimmed the chunky Chief down to 670 pounds. The new model enjoys a 28.5-degree maximum lean angle as a result of the technical changes.
Gallery: 2022 Indian Chief Lineup
“The Indian Chief is a truly iconic motorcycle and what better way to celebrate its 100th birthday than unleashing an entirely new Indian Chief lineup,” said Indian’s President of Motorcycles Mike Dougherty. “These bikes capture the mechanical simplicity and attitude of classic American V-twins, yet bring it all forward with modern sophistication and features. We could not be more thrilled to bring this new platform into our lineup.”
On the styling front, both the Dark Horse and Dark Horse Bobber side with gloss black finishes while the Super Chief opts for chrome. The Dark Horse cements its back-to-basics aesthetic with drag bars, 19-inch cast wheels, and a solo bucket seat. Adding a few different spices to the same recipe, the Dark Horse Bobber goes with mini-ape handlebars, 16-inch wire-spoked wheels, and fork and shock covers. The Super Chief Limited takes another direction entirely. The two-up seat, quick-release windshield, floorboards, and leather saddlebags optimize touring capabilities and comfort.
“We wanted to capture a timeless look that never goes out of style, and looks beautiful whether naked or fully dressed,” said Indian’s Head of Industrial Design Ola Stenegard. “We also wanted to keep it simple enough to allow riders’ imaginations to take flight with personalization options and possibilities. Ultimately, this is a bike that evokes emotion with simple mechanical styling and raw American muscle. It’s a pure riding machine.”
The Chief platform will also benefit from Indian’s new Ride Command system. Riders can control the system by utilizing switchgear controls or through the 4-inch round touchscreen. Ride Command will display turn-by-turn navigation, bike and ride information, and the user can choose between two interface configurations. Pairing a smartphone with the Ride Command system via Bluetooth or USB, the rider can also shuffle through music and take or decline phone calls.
Of course, Indian’s parts catalog caters to Chief owners with 70 available accessories. Indian hasn’t released pricing yet, but the Chief Dark Horse will come in Black Smoke, Alumina Jade Smoke, and Stealth Gray while the Chief Dark Horse Boober paint options include Black Smoke, Titanium Smoke, and Sagebrush Smoke. On the other hand, the Super Chief Limited will pair its chrome finish with Black Metallic, Blue Slate Metallic, and Maroon Metallic.