The Indian’s Frisky New Chief Dark Horse is a wild retro-modern mashup


What is that?

the Indian Chief Dark Horse is one of the highlights of the brand’s great nod to the 100th anniversary of the original Indian chief, who made his debut in 1921. There are three new base Dark Horse models – the Chief, Chief Bobber, and Super Chief – with this particular bike being the premium edition of the Chief.

Is this new?

Relatively. The full line of Dark Horse began shipping to dealers this spring.

What makes it special?

As the title suggests, the most striking thing about this bike is its mix of old and new – a completely intentional aspect on Indian’s part. “One of the common threads of inspiration for the new chefs was reach back, pull forward“Says Ola Stenegard, Indian Industrial Design Director.” Anything You Want, But Don’t Want To See! This old school, keep the vibe simple, but also the modern technology that we all take for granted today. “

indian motorcycle

Nowhere is this approach more evident than in a feature placed right under your nose, between the handlebars: a sleek 4.0-inch-wide touchscreen that looks like the kind of analog gauge you’ll find on many old bikes. several decades. This doohickey, however, provides more than just your speed, rpm, and remaining fuel; It provides access to step-by-step instructions, bike diagnostics, and riding modes, while also letting you take calls and change your music when paired with bluetooth headphones or a headset with headset.

“Everything is packaged in a case no larger than a traditional analog meter,” notes Stenegard. “And when the bike is parked, you just see a clean blacked out screen.”

Additional modern touches include standard ABS, cruise control and three drive modes: sport, standard and tour. But you would never guess any of this when you took a look at the bike. Simple, clean lines and smoky hues mix with a muscular V-twin engine and sturdy pipes to more strongly recall, for example, the Indian Scout Bobber Sixty which I have dubbed a “caveman motorcycle. “more than an Indian Chieftain Limited with all the trimmings.

How does it roll?

In a word: mightily. From the moment I ignited the 1,890cc Thunderstroke 116 twin-cylinder engine, I could feel the bike’s heart beating, a rabid beast that itched to tackle the open road. As fierce as the motorcycle is, however, it is not inaccessible. A low seat height (26 inches) and manageable weight (670 wet pounds) allowed me to maneuver in tight city traffic in the blink of an eye and gain the advantage.

two people riding on a 2022 chief dark horse motorcycle

indian motorcycle

I used the bike on the Meals on Wheels style food deliveries I do in Brooklyn every Saturday morning – a solid test due to the combination of carrying a huge backpack and navigating the often sketchy and crowded streets. potholes. Despite its semi-dumb size, I had no trouble hitting narrow roads, parking in rough spots, and navigating rough terrain – the 5.2 inches of travel on the front fork was more than up to this particular challenge.

However, the freeway is really where the Dark Horse thrives. I drove it from Manhattan to the Jersey Shore to watch the Euro final with friends, and was blown away by how easy I could get up and down through its six gears – and , when the situation called for it, approach triple-digit speed with a fairly easy twist of the throttle. The ride is about 50 miles, and I’m pretty sure I set a personal best on the way down, arriving in under an hour.

Equally important, I had a great time doing it. The brake handlebars, inground saddle, and center-mount foot controls create a rider-friendly geometry, allowing me to become almost one with the bike as I hurtle down the Garden State Parkway. Would a windshield be nice? Perhaps. But you can’t claim to favor old-school-style bikes without cherishing the rising wind on your exposed face.

two people standing near their 2022 black horse chief motorcycles

indian motorcycle

“Being part of the team responsible for creating the 100th anniversary models for the new Chiefs was an absolute blast as well as a very humbling experience,” Stenegard recalls. “You could almost feel the founders of the brand watching our shoulders, making sure we got it right.”

‘Nuff said. Good, almost.

Something else stands out?

While I loved frolicking the Dark Horse, I would be remiss if I did not share a few caveats. None are a dealbreaker, but they are worth mentioning.

Even though I dig the touchscreen, it’s not perfect. The turn-by-turn orientation feature is super cool, but it couldn’t locate my buddy’s place in Jersey. It was only after trying a few businesses nearby that I was able to find one that she was able to find (thanks, The Nicolas creamery). It was also a frustrating challenge to properly sync the bike, my phone, and my headphones. I often found myself leaving the bike out of the loop to listen to music while riding.

2022 chief black horse motorcycles with riders

indian motorcycle

Exhaust pipes are badass. But like all pipes they get hot. And the positioning of this particular set turned out to be problematic – because it’s July in NYC, I rolled this thing up in shorts and scorched the inside of my right calf a few times on it, just maneuvering around. in parking spaces. It is not pretty.

Finally, the only way to bring a friend for the ride on this exact bike is to accessorize it with a $ 200 Passenger Passenger and $ 180 passenger footrest. (Yes, you can opt for a Super chef, which comes standard with passenger seats – as well as saddlebags, windshield, and running boards, making this a pretty different bike.)

To be fair, this latest review is kind of a compliment. This bike is so much fun – it’s just a shame that you haven’t been able to share a bundle of thrills in a century.

How much does it cost ?

Base price is $ 16,999 for the Black Smoke colorway. It is $ 17,499 for Alumina Jade Smoke and Stealth Gray shades.

2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse

2022 chief dark horse motorcycle

indian motorcycle

Base price: $ 16,999

Powertrain : 1,890cc Thunderstroke 116 twin-cylinder engine; six-speed gearbox

Power : 79 (approx)

Couple: 120 foot pounds

Fuel Capacity: four gallons

Weight (empty / full tank of fuel): 647 lb / 670 lb


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