• Jan 18, 2008

In their latest blog post, Indian Motorcycles' newest owner calls itself "The Guardians of the Jewel". Although that sounds a little self-indulgent, as can be seen by the positive comments to that posting, Indian has such a huge following and loyal fan base that they are probably not too far off. At one time, Indian and Harley-Davidson fought it out for supremacy of the open highways, and the Chief led the way. Featuring the iconic full-fenders and swept-by-the-wind styling, the Indian Chief is a true American classic. According to this article, Indian says that the images being shown on their site of the '09 Chief is not a "100% accurate view of the production Chief." Still, they go on to add that it is "a very good depiction of the classic and elegant direction our designers are taking." Looking over the pictures, we clearly see that the bike is instantly identifiable as a Chief, which is a good thing, but it is a bit derivative of past designs -- although purists are sure to point out that this is not necessarily a poor choice. Whatever the bike looks like, the PowerPlus motor had better be up to the latest standards of you know who, and it had better not be too close of a copy if the bike is to be respected as a stand-alone brand.

[Source: Indian Motorcycles, Motorcycle.com]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 11 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      damn! this bike is ............................................
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      ugly
      • 7 Years Ago
      Also, it looks like they added an extra disc brake up front, much needed IMO. And the rear light assembly looks different.

      The paint scheme and seat on the bike in the picture look like the Springfield Chief model that Gilroy used to sell.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I don't know a damn thing about motorcycles, but my dad's dream is to buy an Indian. I might as well read up on them, so thanks for the link.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I thought people stopped buying them 50 years ago.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They failed. They failed again. They will fail again. Frankly, the bike has stuck with a look that is so dated it is like driving a 1940's bike. They have a very small cult following, but can not even compete with Harley and all the custom builders, not to mention Japenese v-twins. The oversized fenders and the whole brand is washed up with really new models. I can't imagine what businessman thought this was a good idea.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Cool and all, but I'd rather go for HD or Yamaha Cruisers.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Soooo... it's another Harley clone with bigger fenders, just like the last one.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is essentially the same bike that Gilroy Indian stopped building in 2004. I have a 2003 Chief Deluxe, there were about 2,200 bikes delivered between 2003-2004 (they shut down midway in 04).

      I have 13,000 miles on my bike and it has held up well, and is a lot of fun to ride. I had to replace a head gasket and had a transmission failure when the shift dog broke free of the shaft, but that's a common problem in v-twin 5 speeds and the parts are the same as most HD transmissions. Cheap to fix. The starter relay is also prone to failure, but you can get a replacement at any Ford dealer - it's a Ford part - for about $5.

      To all the HD fanbois on here, park my bike next to the tricked out HD of your choice and I guarantee you more people will check out the Indian. There is a mystique to these bikes that is part heritage and part scarcity. Having said that, the original Indian was started in 1901, which predates HD so if anyone is to be accused of knocking off the other, it is surely HD.

      I understand that the new Indian does have fuel injection, but that's probably a concession to the EPA, even HD went all fuel injection last year. I do like the Mikuni carb my bike has on it, very tunable and very reliable, plus you don't need a fuel pump. I would also like to see them put a 6 speed right side drive transmission on the new bikes. Other than that, there isn't much that needs improving from the last model that was produced.

      Lastly, the PowerPlus engine is strong. While I would have preferred something more interesting than a standard 45 degree configuration, the fact remains that this engine has plenty of power and is visually attractive (the radial heads look like a Panhead). It's a Rousch/Eller designed motor, but it's essentially a 100 cubic in v-twin with nothing fancy. One thing that is curious is that they moved the intake to the left side of the motor.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What a shame... in its heyday Indians were top notch because they were innovative and fast race-winning bikes... but this chrome-laden monstrosity isn't going to win anything. It's sad to see they went the Harley way, selling a copy of a copy of the same old design instead of dropping the "american V-twin" cliché and coming up with a truly innovative bike that can compete with -all- brands. That's why the Japanese manufacturers are dominating the market now, you know. But they didn't, and because of that they will fail like Harley.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "But they didn't, and because of that they will fail like Harley."

        Has far as I know, Harley-Davidson is doing quite well. At least in the US.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Because a motorcycle sports an aircooled V twin doesn't make it a clone. If that were the case HD would be a clone of Indian which preceded Harley in the V twin arena.
        If you don't see the equity in an iconic brand, an American iconic brand, then here's a primer... Mustang, Jeep, Camaro, HD, all names that have suffered and just barely survived and are now back in force.
        According to Indian they have taken the most direct route to production by refining and updating the existing Chief platform while they are developing new offerings. Time will tell.