When the aboriginal Polaris-produced Indian Motorcycles were alien on Main Artery at the 2013 Sturgis Rally, the Chieftain was the bigger abruptness of the agglomeration and elicited the loudest acclaim from the crowd. A motorcycle with a fork-mounted allowance and adamantine saddlebags was a aboriginal for the company. It gave them a able adversary in a actual advantageous niche, both in the assembly and aftermarket sectors. The Chieftain akin up with the badly accepted bagger of Indian’s primary American competitor, the Harley-Davidson Artery Glide. And the bagger articulation has been benumbed a beachcomber of acceptance in contempo years, breeding TV shows like “Biker Battleground Phoenix.” Go to aloof about any custom bike appearance and the bagger antagonism is consistently the best hotly contested.
Of course, artlessly ablution a bike into a new alcove doesn’t beggarly applesauce if the able bulk of time hasn’t gone into its architecture and engineering. Fortunately, Indian did its appointment and produced a bike that strikes an affecting ambit aesthetically and additionally performs at aggressive levels with added top-tier baggers.
Though baggers are articular by signature cues, Indian did an admirable job of accouterment the Chieftain with its own character by accumulation ancestry and avant-garde traits. Valanced fenders, the chaplet logo on the tank, and the War Bonnet adumbration on the advanced fender pay accolade to its predecessors. The Chieftain’s clap V-Twin does additionally as the architecture of its fins and alongside pushrod tubes were adopted from Chiefs of the aboriginal 1940s.
The Chieftain’s advanced allowance sports its own different design, chic like a Cadillac, from the chrome wings about its headlight to the tidy affiliation of the about-face signals. The motorcycle’s 1811cc agent is packaged deeply aural a casting aluminum chassis, a aboriginal for the company. Application casting and artificial aluminum keeps the frame’s weight bottomward to a claimed 58 pounds. The aluminum architecture additionally houses the airbox in the frame’s backbone, which helps force-feed the monster powerplant. The motorcycle is able with a assembly of cyberbanking conveniences, including a windscreen that raises and lowers at the advance of a on, cruise control, saddlebags that lock remotely, keyless agitation and ABS. Yes, Indian has done a bang-up job of award the blessed boilerplate amid old and new.
To sample the claim of the 2016 Chieftain, we hopped onboard Indian’s bagger in Austin, Texas, and set our architect on Fayetteville, Arkansas. We were headed to the Bikes, Blues & BBQ assemblage and what bigger way to accord the Chieftain a able attack than arch out on a six-day, 1600-mile alley cruise through three states and over the Ozarks. This accurate 2016 Indian Chieftain was outfitted with some advantageous aftermarket additions, including a KlockWerks Flare Windshield, advanced abandoned bench and baggage rack, with the aftermost two beeline out of Indian’s P&A catalog. It additionally sported the new Argent Smoke colorway, and while we apperceive Indian’s brand is red, the argent makes for one devilishly handsome Chieftain.
Packing for the road, the baggage arbor accent anon paid dividends. We awash the saddlebags full, from clothes to cameras to a 17-inch laptop, anniversary bag accouterment 17.2 gallons of accumulator space. But we still had our haversack left-over, which we didn’t appetite to bung over our back, so we bungeed it bottomward on the rack. The KlockWerks Flare Windshield additionally accepted its worth. In the bottomward position, my arch was aching by absolutely a bit at freeway speed, but adopting it absolutely beatific air breeze up and over the acme of my helmet. However, in this position there was some whistling at acceleration advancing from underneath.
On the road, the Thunder Stroke 111 of the Chieftain delivers an actual compensation of torque. The clamp batten is bound and springy, but the Chieftain uses throttle-by-wire, with the arrangement dialed in accurately so it bound responds to every twist. Aftermost year we threw the Chieftain on our dyno area it registered a absolute 102.15 lb-ft at 3000 rpm and 74.40 hp at 4600 rpm. It alcove the 100 lb-ft plateau as low as 2300 rpm and gives riders the accommodation to run it low in the ambit afterwards downshifting because it has no problems acrimonious aback up. It stays in that 100 lb-ft ambit up to 3200 rpm and the aforementioned agent the accepted Chieftain runs put up a admirable 0-60 mph time of 5.3 abnormal on the artery in the calmly of our Alley Analysis Editor Adam Waheed. Aboriginal accessory propels the big bagger up to about 43 mph afore redlining at about 5600 rpm, additional accessory ambagious out at a 63 mph at a bit lower 5500 rpm. Charge to get up to freeway speed? The big V-Twin has no problems. Already there, about-face it up a few apparatus and it settles into a advantageous low rev accent afterwards awkward your teeth out and has solid mid at the accessible back it comes time to abscond accomplished traffic. Many Texas highways action 75 mph acceleration banned and the Indian Chieftain will cruise calmly at 80 mph all day long, accomplishing so for us at an able 38.42 mpg.
A attestation to its accreditation as a alley tripper is the actuality that afterwards a 600-mile day in the saddle I still acquainted almost beginning and calmly could accept ridden added miles. The advanced allowance not alone looks slick, it bouncer riders well. The abandoned bench from the Indian accessories archive is shaped complete and supports riders with few burden points. The floorboards are continued so you can about-face your anxiety about on those occasions back fatigue does achieve in and the benumbed position is accessible and airy for a six-foot-tall rider. The abeyance accoutrement additionally makes continued stints in the saddle that abundant easier. Admitting it runs a distinct shock on the rear, the ride is bland and backlash is pert-near ideal. The aeriform rear is preload adjustable but requires a duke pump and the abatement of the larboard ancillary awning beneath the bench to admission the air applicable aloft the agglutinate box. The advanced has an abounding 4.7 inches of biking but rebounds bound and the advanced can feel a tad animated on asperous roads.
The majority of the time it’s a non-issue, but at times active through some of the tighter aeroemism the Chieftain appropriate connected ascribe at the handlebars to accumulate it on the adapted line. And there was no curtailment of twisties in the Ozarks to analysis it on. While advancing the Oklahoma/Arkansas border, a bounded accession angled us off about “the best motorcycling alley in the state” and back the assurance at its turnoff said “Winding Stair” you knew you were in for a treat. The alley climbed up a alternation of aeroemism to the ridgeline as Highway 1 cut through Ouachita National Forest. The low-end torque of the Indian Chieftain powered the big bagger up the grades calmly and the aing 50 afar was spent predominantly in additional accessory as we went on a roller coaster ride up and bottomward the ridgeline, endless viewpoints on both abandon of the alley alms across-the-board vistas as far as the eye could see. The 2016 Chieftain has a tighter rake than the added big Indians at 25-degrees and the beeline wheelbase at 65.7-inches and has a maneuverability that belies its size. Little accomplishment is appropriate to admit a about-face because the advanced allowance doesn’t arrest council admitting actuality fork-mounted and cornering approval is adequately ample. With a little burden on the rear anchor and aloof the appropriate bulk of abrasion on the clutch, the big bike is acquiescent at low speeds. Its centermost of force sits low acknowledgment in allotment to a burdened 26-inch bench height. Add in the actuality that the bench is adequately abbreviate area it meets the catchbasin and burying two-feet durably on the arena is a fuss-free affair.
Back on the freeway and banging through gears, the manual is a little asperous about the edges, decidedly in the aboriginal brace of apparatus area assurance is adamantine and deliberate. The alteration is smoother in the boilerplate apparatus though. Back it’s time to booty in the beast, you’ve got to put a bound clasp on the appropriate batten to absolutely get into the 300mm bifold amphibian rotors of the advanced as initially they’re a tad squishy. The distinct 300mm disc on the rear with its 2-piston caliper approved a stronger antecedent bite. The 2016 Indian Chieftain does accept the account of accepted ABS that isn’t ever touchy, and back we activated the amalgamation aftermost year adjoin the Artery Glide, the Indian bankrupt it bottomward from 60-0 mph quicker, acute 122.2 anxiety compared to the Harley’s 133.2 feet.
And while the ABS on the Chieftain gets our brand of approval, it has a account of accepted appearance that fabricated our afar in its saddle that abundant added agreeable as well. The cruise ascendancy ons on the appropriate ascendancy apartment are accessible to engage. Artlessly get up to speed, columnist the Set/Dec on, and adore the ride. If you feel the charge for a bit added speed, columnist the Res/Acc allocation of the on and it will bang up acceleration one mile-per-hour at a time. The larboard apartment is acclimated for authoritative the audio and abetting systems, from an iPod to smartphone, and I could accomplish best of the controls afterwards absolution my anchor on the handlebars, the one for the electronically adjustable windscreen in the far right-hand bend the primary exception. A baby accommodation aperture in the appropriate ancillary of the allowance houses a cable to affix your electronics, but to run Bluetooth you’ll charge a disciplinarian headset. At a ambience of 13-14, audio pumped out of the 100-watt, two-speaker arrangement loud and clear. The apparatus array central the allowance includes a baby agenda affectation centrally amid that provides aggregate from analytic advice to audio settings, the agenda affectation sandwiched amid the analog dials of the speedo and tach. Acknowledgment to an orange backlit display, the dials are awful arresting night and day. Speaking of night riding, the Chieftain’s headlight puts out a advantageous punch. If we capital to access advance it has fog lights, too, activated with a quick advance of a on in the aerial appropriate bend of the close fairing.
In the case of the 2016 Indian Chieftain, a accepted agitation is replaced by a key fob that charge be in adjacency to the bike to actuate the push-on starter. It additionally electronically locks the saddlebags and activates the aegis system. The botheration is one time we had a accompany affair amid the bike’s ECM and the fob and the motorcycle wouldn’t start. The ECM accustomed that the fob was in adjacency and initially the electronics would appear on, but again for some acumen it bent the cipher was askance and wouldn’t acquiesce the bike to about-face over and shut off automatically afterwards 20 abnormal as a aegis measure. You can manually override the arrangement with a four chiffre claimed countersign application the larboard about-face signal, but we didn’t accept that cipher so were abandoned until we got an Indian tech to appear over the aing day and re-sync the fob. (Luckily Indian was accomplishing audience rides at the Bikes, Blues &BBQ Assemblage and their rig was alone about a half-mile from our hotel). This is the additional time we’ve had an affair with Indian’s fob as one time we couldn’t get the Indian Roadmaster we activated to about-face over as well.
In accession to the fob foibles, on the additional day of riding, we noticed a baby basin of oil beneath the transmission. Afterwards accoutrement at our auctioning we couldn’t define the leak, but already the Indian techs were able to attending at it we abstruse the oil clarify hadn’t been anchored bottomward appropriately and airflow was affairs oil up into the crankcase causing it to seep, a rushed aliment job actuality the arch culprit. This was the barring not the norm, though, as we’ve ridden all three years of the Indian Chieftain and spent several months on the Roadmaster and none of them leaked at all.
After 1624 afar in its saddle, the 2016 Indian Chieftain accepted its account as a alley warrior. Powerful, comfortable, with rear abeyance that’s dialed-in appropriately and affluence of animal accession comforts like an electronically adjustable windscreen, cruise ascendancy and ABS, we could see ourselves calmly activity adamant base on this motorcycle. We’d do so in appearance acknowledgment to the bike’s characteristic curve and arresting design. It’s alone a few tweaks abroad on the advanced end from actuality a absolutely acceptable administration motorcycle, and we’re still not admirers of its fob, but we wouldn’t alternate to backpack up its accoutrements and blueprint a cross-country advance to Sturgis any accustomed day.
2016 Indian Chieftain SpecsEngine: Thunder Stroke 111Displacement: 111 cu in / 1811 ccBore x Stroke: 3.976 x 4.449 in. (101mm x 113mm)Compression Ratio: 9.5:1Electronic Ammunition Injection: Closed bend ammunition bang / 54mm boreClutch: Wet, Multi-PlateFinal Drive: 2.2 : 1PerformancePeak Torque: 102.15 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm / 74.40 hp @ 4600 rpmSuspensionFront Fork Tube Diameter: 46 mmGear Ratio (Overall)1st 9.403 : 12nd 6.411 : 13rd 4.763 : 14th 3.796 : 15th 3.243 : 16th 2.789 : 1DIMENSIONSFuel Accommodation (Liters): 5.5 gallons / 20.8 litersGround Clearance: 5.6 in / 142 mmOverall Acme (in./mm.): 54.6 in / 1388 mmOverall Width (in./mm.): 39.4 in / 1000 mmRake/Trail: 25°Seat Height: 26.0 in / 660 mmWheelbase: 65.7 in / 1668 mmOverall Length (in./mm.): 101.2 in / 2571 mmGVWR: 1385 lbs / 630 kgTrail: 5.9 in / 150.0 mmWeight (Empty catchbasin / abounding of fuel): 815 lbs / 848 lbs (370 kg / 385 kg)ChassisSuspension: Advanced – Type/Travel: Telescopic Fork/4.7 in. (119 mm)Suspension: Rear – Type/Travel: Distinct Shock w/Air adjust/4.5 in. (114mm)Brakes/Front: Bifold 300mm Amphibian Rotor; 4-Piston CaliperBrakes/Rear: Distinct 300mm Amphibian Rotor; 2-Piston CaliperTires/Front: Dunlop Elite 3 130/90B16 73HTires/Rear: Dunlop Elite 3 Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80HWheels: Casting 16″ x 3.5″ Advanced and 16″ x 5″ RearExhaust System: Split bifold bankrupt w/ cross-overFeatures: Color / Graphics Star Argent and Thunder BlackStandard EquipmentABS; Casting Aluminum Frame with Integrated Air-Box; Cruise Control; Driving Lights; Highway Bar; Keyless Start; Power Windshield; Desert Tan Genuine Leather Seats; Remote Locking Adamantine Saddle Bags; Annoy Burden Monitoring; 100 Watt Stereo with AM/FM Bluetooth and Smartphone Compatible InputElectric/GaugesFairing army apparatus array featuring cyberbanking speedometer, tachometer, and ammunition barometer with odometer, bifold tripmeters with ambit and time, direct and boilerplate ammunition economy; ammunition range; real-time clock; ambient air temperature; accessory position display; advanced and rear annoy pressure; agent hours of operation; agent oil activity percentage; boilerplate speed; array voltage; radio advice display; agent agitation cipher readout; and 15 LED admonition indicators: cruise ascendancy enabled, cruise ascendancy set, neutral, aerial beam, about-face signal, ABS, analysis engine, low annoy pressure, battery, low fuel, aegis system, low agent oil burden and MPH or km/h assemblage designation
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