Rs 26.5 lakh
The large American vee-twinonslaught continues unabated and this time there is Harley-Davidson’s old nemesis Indian (the Red and not the Bharatiya type) muscling into India’s growing big bike market. Indian was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world at one time in the 1920s and 1930s—infact Harley-Davidson had to play second fiddle to it for long. Sadly, the firm based in Hendee tanked post World War II due to terrible mismanagement.
Indian got back into motorcycling in the last decade when a bunch of venture capitalists bought the brandname and manufacturing rights but they couldn’t see the projectthrough. Ultimately, Polaris Industries stepped in despite having the range of Victory vee-twin motorcycles as getting a marque like Indian to further its motorcycling ambitions was too good to miss. Under Polaris ownership the brand is now on a strong footing with resources - technological, financial, marketing and after sales.
Stepping aboard the 2014 Indian Chief Classic for an exclusive first ride on what on the outside looks like a clone of the Harley-Davidson Street Glide, except lower and better planted, made me itch to get aboard the large saddle and hit the road. The day I chose to ride the bike in Delhi also happened to be one when the mercury dropped to 1 degree Celsius and it was foggy to boot —ideal to put a large torquey vee-twin Yankee cruiser through its paces.
The Indian Chief has amazing presence—low, but sanitary yet immensely cool with muscle and beauty wrought into all the details. It wasn’t just the 1811ccvee-twin motor with characteristic Indian styling of the cylinderhead and block but how amazingly well it was presented. The gearlinkage as well as the ample but just about right sized foot padsplus a very clean, uncluttered and subtly stylised layout was mouth-watering.
I must confess that I haven’t exactly been a fan of cruisers, preferring the sporty stuff and large naked street-fighter type of motorcycle, but the Chief has got mere-appraising my aversion. The reason isn’t difficult to fathom: the overall layout of the chassis and the suspension geometry made it the best large capacity vee-twin cruiser I have ever ridden.
The riding position is faultless andthe attention to detail pegs its way better than equivalent Harleys or even those from a category higher! The overall styling harks back to traditional Indians with large valanced mudguards front and rear,centrally positioned instrument console on the large fuel tank and that Red Indian mascot on the front fender. Visually it is stimulating and this is the inherent charm of these big Yankeecruisers.
Being a CBU, the Indian Chief Classic packs a mean wallop on the wallet - a sticker tag of Rs 26.5-lakhs (ex-showroom Delhi). Not bad if you really want to impress the sporty side of yourself and have it parked in the driveway but that would be a travesty for this is a bike that begs to be ridden and ridden and ridden.
Check out the complete story on www.zeegnition.com
Indian Chief Classic
Engine: 1811cc, 49-deg V-Twin
Max. Torque: 139Nm @ 2600rpm
Transmission: 6-speed, Manual
Kerb weight: 354kg
Fuel tank capacity: 20.8 litres
Colours: Thunder Black, Indian Motorcycle Red, Springfield Blue