First things first - Indians are not Harleys. Just to stress that point, there are at least 20 individual “Indian” logos dotted around the Chieftain, on the pegs and the dash and the brake fluid cylinder and the handgrips, and pretty much anywhere you could find space for a quick branding.
Nowadays, under the umbrella of Polaris, Indian makes 21 different motorcycles based around six basic model lines: Scout, FTR, Chief, Chieftain, Springfield and Roadmaster.
It also offers tuning kits for extra power to its 111 and 116 cubic-inch V-twins. Basically, anything Harley does, Indian does too. Except trikes, thank God.
When you see the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse you can't help but think what a machine, what an appearance! Weighing in at 373kg with a full tank, this 1890 cc engine is definitely not a small one.
The Chieftain Dark Horse has a robust yet streamlined appearance that ensures that you watch when this bike comes along.
Nice details on the bike are plentiful, for example, on the front fender, there is a light in the shape of an Indian headdress, also known as War Bonnet.
The side view of the bike looks beautiful, it looks “old” but it is very modern, the design is based on the style of the Indian motorcycles of the past.
Modern the Chieftain is, with LED lighting front to back, ABS, tire pressure control and a speed controller ensure that you can safely hit the road.
The bike has an integrated key fob that you can leave in your pocket, to get everything going you only need to press the starter button.
There's a tiny button on the tank that looks like an oval-shaped decoration which is actually a central locking button. Tap it, or the button on the fob in your pocket, and the entire bike is locked and secure.
On the back are the waterproof saddlebags with electric locking and a capacity of almost 80 liters.
A digital screen with countless possibilities such as navigation, radio, bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay, motorcycle information and much more.
The sound of the music is easy to control with one button located on the left, and you can zoom in and out on the navigation maps.
A windshield that can be electrically adjusted exactly the way you like it at the push of a button.
At the top of the windshield is a pocket to store your key or sunglasses and a connection for a telephone or media player.
Time to sit in the saddle and ride! Despite the size of the engine, the Chieftain drives very smoothly through the bend, roundabouts and tight turns are no problem.
While driving is not noticeable that it is a large heavy motorcycle, the Indian is stable on the road.
Its “Thunder Stroke” engine is magnificent and its six-speed transmission, while belligerent, rarely needs shifting. The engine pulls and pulls, and it doesn't seem to matter which of the six gears you're using thanks to the 168NM of torque this engine produces.
The Chieftain has a throttle-by-wire system, offering three different Ride modes of Touring, Standard, and Sport, all adjustable on the fly. They only seem to affect the smoothness of the throttle itself and don't restrict the power output.
With the powerful 100 Watt speakers in the cockpit, you can roar along with music while cruising the road. The audio system includes a dynamic equalizer that automatically adjusts the sound to driving, wind and engine noise.
Thanks to the very sunny weather, I imagined myself directly on another continent and nostalgic thoughts of the series called "CHIPS" wrer not far away, but then with a much more modern, black bike with all modern comforts.
Due to the wide cockpit, a lot of information is available. On the left you can see the analog speed counter, in the middle the touchscreen display with shortcut buttons at the and on the right side the rev counter.
The 7-inch TFT screen between the traditional analogue dials is clear and fairly easy to use, either through a jog button on the left bar or as touch controls directly on the screen.
The shallow electrically adjustable windscreen is very effective at deflecting wind.
The most important button was on the left handle bar, switching from a muted to a full sound out of the exhausts. Wonder which position we prefer...right! We wanted the full experience.
The Chieftain is a stable powerful motorcycle that smoothly transports you over the road in comfort and is a very high quality motorcycle. Its fit and finish is superb.
I could not find any no errant bolts to turn rusty, or flappy wiring, or sharp edges.
Arriving back to the dealership after only a little time with the Chieftain, we thank Filip from Bikes and More for thinking of us and making this possible.
If you are in the market for an Indian, be sure to visit his showroom in Sint-Martens-Latem.