There’s nothing more American than a slice of warm apple pie. The only way to improve such a classic dish is to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. After nearly one hundred miles of meandering through California’s Temecula Valley wine country, that comforting combination re-energized our road-worn group for the second leg of the day. Adding a refreshing twist to something irrefutably familiar typically has that effect.
At least that’s what Indian Motorcycle is banking on with the 2022 Indian Pursuit Limited. Grand touring motorcycles are right at home on the U.S. Interstate Highway System. Loaded with luxuries and equipped with front fairings, spacious saddlebags, and vast top boxes, the flagship travelers roam from California to the New York islands like buffalo on the plains.
American OEMs have primarily relied on air-cooled, big-bore V-twins to power these cross-country tourers in the past, but Indian spiced up that recipe when it introduced liquid-cooled, 60-degree, 108 cubic-inch (1,769cc) PowerPlus V-twin. Packing 121 ponies and 131 lb-ft of torque, the PowerPlus lived up to its name when it debuted in the 2020 Indian Challenger. For 2022, the Minnesota manufacturer takes that muscular mill to the grand touring segment with the all-new Pursuit.
Building on top of the Challenger platform, Indian surrounds the PowerPlus engine with an electronically-adjustable Fox shock, lower leg fairings, and a top box. The 2022 Indian Pursuit Limited certainly adds a twist to the grand touring formula, but can the tech-rich newcomer stand its ground in the face of category heavyweights?
When Indian introduced the PowerPlus in 2019, the V-twin produced more horsepower than any American-made engine in the grand touring class. Indian engineers didn’t sacrifice torque in the name of power, though. Inside the 2022 Pursuit Limited, the PowerPlus’ 11.0:1 compression ratio and 6,500-rpm redline certainly sets the liquid-cooled plant apart. So does its 122 peak horsepower rating (at 5,500 rpm) and 128 lb-ft of max torque (at 3,800 rpm). Boasting such distinct specs compared to its pushrod-actuated counterparts, it’s only natural that the Pursuit would possess a much different engine character as well.
Unlike its air-cooled, 45-degree V-twin competition, the PowerPlus doesn’t make the meat of its power in the lower revs. The Pursuit is actually quite gentle and tractable below 3,000 rpm. It’s a completely different story from 4,000 rpm and up, however. The PowerPlus shines in the mid-range, with a predictable yet punchy power delivery that keeps the rider engaged. Passing power is optimal within this range, but I found 5,000 rpm to be the V-twin's sweet spot.
At that mark, there’s a slight surge in power when climbing through the gears. Yet, the engine remains virtually vibe-free when held at 5,000 rpm, suiting both mile-munching adventures and spirited canyon runs. Cruising at that engine speed also resulted in the most direct roll-on response, with every whack of the throttle forcing the rear end to squat and the fork legs to extend. The effect actually left me giggling in my helmet. If that’s not the mark of an engaging engine, I don’t know what is.
Gallery: 2022 Indian Pursuit Limited
Unlike its air-cooled rivals, the PowerPlus V-twin only gets better the higher the tach needle climbs. The engine may not deliver that same low-down, tractor-like tug associated with most big-bore V-twins, but it makes up for it in the upper register, providing powerful pull all the way up to the 6,750-rpm rev limiter. When most pushrod V-twins are petering out in the mid-range or rattling the rider’s teeth, the PowerPlus is just coming into its own. It’s that mixture of performance and practicality that makes the Pursuit such an intriguing entry into the touring space, and it’s a better long-distance companion as a result.
Indian’s 43 mm USD front end already pushes the Pursuit into the performance realm, but the spring-preload adjustable Fox rear shock takes the tech into new territory. The system enables users to conveniently dial the preload settings via the Ride Command-powered infotainment system. Whether you’re a solo traveler or riding two-up with loaded-down luggage, the Limited trim puts the tucked-away shock at the rider’s fingertips.
Fresh out of the box, the suspension is ultra-plush, with 5.1 inches of travel cushioning the front end and 4.5 inches of travel buoying the back. That cushy ride suits life on the open highway, but once the road twists and turns, the soft settings don't support swift handling. The front end still tips in with ease sans suspension adjustments, but the rear shock isn't eager to follow suit. The Pursuit’s tracking accuracy suffers as a result, with the tourer running slightly wide of its set line on occasion. When encountering a bump at lean, the rear’s rebounding action frequently sent the Pursuit bobbing throughout the curve’s trajectory.
Fine-tuning the rear shock’s preload completely addressed both issues, though. Using the 7-inch touchscreen, the user can set the rider(s) weight and luggage mass. The Fox shock takes over from there, adapting the preload position to suit the given load. That adjustment transformed the chassis, enhancing the response and support at lean without sacrificing straight-line comfort.
The canyon roads overlooking San Diego County’s Lake Heneshaw put the Pursuit’s agility on full display. The grand tourer weaved through the esses with fleet feet, transitioning side-to-side with a swiftness that should elude a 912-pound motorcycle. That nimble character goes undisturbed in fast and flowing sections, but heavy braking corner approaches exposed the limitations of the Pursuit’s front master cylinder.
Dual four-piston Brembo calipers clamp down on twin 320mm discs at the fore, but the axially-mounted master cylinder delivers a wooden feel and feedback at the lever. Judging the rate of braking becomes a challenging task for that very reason. The initial bite and overall stopping force are also surprisingly light despite the Brembo binders. Gauging stopping distances is particularly difficult when heading into a hairpin after a long straight or navigating downhill bends.
As a result, a heavy dose of rear brake is a necessary addition, and the two-pot Brembo clamper and 298mm floating rotor help slow the load. The Pursuit Limited’s chassis is more than adequate for highway duty and lively canyon stints, but understanding the suspension’s strong suits and the braking system’s constraints is key to drawing the best out of the top-tier tourer.
The Indian Challenger boasts over 18 gallons (81.8 liters) of storage, but the Pursuit’s new top box nearly doubles the capacity to 35.8 gallons (162.75 liters). As one-day press launches go, I only tucked a few personal items such as a hat and microfiber cloth into the side bag, but the cavernous cases should accommodate enough belongings for extended road trips. However, my medium-sized Arai Regent-X helmet only fit inside the top box at a lateral angle, which doesn’t leave enough room for a second lid.
On the go, the new lower leg fairings, passenger floorboards, and taller windshield render the cockpit a haven of comfort. Even in the lowest position, the windscreen sent oncoming air fluttering over the crown of my helmet. The electronically adjustable shield created a complete bubble in the highest setting, with minimal airflow penetrating the fortress of fairings. That nearly impenetrable wind protection greatly reduced fatigue on the highway, but with temperatures approaching 90 degrees (F), the tall windscreen and lower fairings didn’t promote enough ventilation when cruising through town.
Given the warm conditions, I never reached for the heated seat during my time with the Pursuit, but a saddle-mounted control makes activating the feature a breeze. The heated grips, on the other hand, require the user to navigate through the 7-inch TFT’s menu screen to operate the multi-level function. Alongside the settings submenu, the full-color, touchscreen dash also offers navigation, Apple CarPlay integration, and Bluetooth connectivity with Indian’s Ride Command interface.
Connecting a Bluetooth-enabled device to the system is straightforward and intuitive and the Pursuit automatically reconnects upon each startup. Controls at the left switchgear allow riders to remain focused on the road without missing a lick of their favorite tunes. The stereo system delivers full, rich sound, but without the volume automatically adjusting to the vehicle’s speed and engine noise, it isn’t easy to set a suitable level for the Interstate and the cityscape.
The Pursuit of Supremacy
With lunch (and dessert) dutifully devoured and our final photo stop in the rearview mirror, the Pursuit’s navigation system led the way back to home base. Unbeknownst to us, the system maps needed an update, so we ended up in the correct town, but just a few neighborhoods over. After a quick refresh, we arrived safe and sound at Temecula’s South Coast Winery.
That seemed to be the story of the 2022 Indian Pursuit Limited. The class-leading tech performed well out of the box, but it truly lives up to its potential with input from the rider. Within the American-made, V-twin-powered touring category, the Pursuit stands alone thanks to its liquid-cooled mill and electronically-adjustable rear shock. With a smooth engine character and technology that promotes long days in the saddle, the Indian Pursuit shows that you can have your cake—or apple pie and ice cream—and eat it too.