Something special about the 100th: Indian Chief – the legend lives on in 2021


Something special for the 100.
Indian Chief – the legend lives on in 2021

By Holger Preiss

Indian has been “bobbing” for 100 years now. The first edition of the Chief should develop into a blueprint for other motorcycle manufacturers over the decades. Indian Motorcycle is bringing three Chief models to the start for the coming season to celebrate the birthday.

In 1921 Indian Motorcycle introduced a motorcycle that would become a legend and template for other manufacturers. We are talking about the Indian Chief, which was designed by Charles B. Franklin. On the occasion of its 100th birthday, Indian is sending a completely redesigned series of the icon in three variants on its journey this year. “These three motorcycles,” said Mike Dougherty, President of Indian Motorcycle, “capture the mechanical simplicity and the lifestyle of classic American V-Twins while at the same time bringing modern sophistication and equipment with them.”

The Indian Chief has been enthusiastic not just since yesterday.

(Photo: Indian)

The basis of all three models, Chief Dark Horse, Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse and Indian Super Chief Limited, is a classically welded tubular steel frame. They are fired by a Thunderstroke V-Twin engine, the performance of which the Americans are still silent about. What is certain is that it should be more than the 87 hp provided to date. The expected 162 Newton meters of maximum torque are a reliable factor.

Unadulterated driving experience

It is also certain that the drivers of all three models can access a tank capacity of 15.1 liters and that in addition to a short wheelbase of 1.626 meters, a seat height of 66.2 centimeters also guarantees smaller drivers a good position at the intersection. The ready-to-drive weight of the Indian Chief is now 304 kilograms. A conventional 46-millimeter front fork with a spring travel of 132 millimeters should adequately absorb potholes and transverse joints. Due to the design, the Chief does not go quite as diagonally into the curves, but with an angle of 28.5 degrees it is still sufficiently dynamic.


The quaintest model in the triumvirate is probably the Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse.

(Photo: Indian)

In sum, Indian promises an unadulterated driving experience for the Chief, in which “power, purism and the appropriate attitude towards life show the way”. As in the past, the makers of the new Chief series want their drivers to find their way back to times when the spontaneous trip with friends and without a destination becomes the material for the most beautiful stories. And, of course, according to the driver’s taste.

For example on the Chief Bobber Dark Horse with fat wide tires on spoked wheels, a redesigned front section and the ultimate solo bobber seat. The whole thing pays homage to the classic twins of the post-war era, which were driven by military veterans and ordinary workers. Those who like it more dignified will probably end up at the Super Chief Limited. A windshield takes the pressure off the body and saddlebags ensure versatility and touring comfort.

Room for your own interpretation


The Chief models from Indian offer plenty of room for customization.

(Photo: Indian)

But with all three offers, chief designer Ola Stenegard made sure that there was enough room for the driver’s own interpretation. “We kept the Chief as simple as possible to let the rider’s imagination run wild and give them the opportunity to customize the bike,” explains Stenegard. In accordance with this concern, Indian offers more than 70 accessories from which the chief driver can create his own personal look.

In the end, of course, despite all the nostalgia, Indian can’t get past contemporary technology for the Chief. That is why the Americans also offer the first 10 cm “Ride Command System”. The system is controlled either via the touchscreen itself or via the controls on the handlebar. Several levels of information are available in the menu, including different display configurations, vehicle and driving information, and turn-by-turn navigation.


Instead of a round analogue instrument, a round touchscreen reports all essential driving data.

(Photo: Indian)

If the rider is using wireless helmet communication, he can also control his music via the Ride Command system as soon as his phone is connected to the unit via Bluetooth or USB. Of course, contacts, keypad and text messages can also be accessed via the display. To what extent this makes sense when riding a motorcycle remains to be seen. The fact is that incoming calls can also be accepted or rejected.

If you are already very excited about the new Chief, let me tell you what Indian would like for it in detail. The Chief Dark Horse starts at 17,990 euros, for the Bobber Dark Horse just under 20,000 euros have to be loosened and the Super Chief Limited only changes hands from 22,490 euros.

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