Skip to content

Indian Chief Classic | BIKE TESTS

Here’s one Indian to recommend without reservation

In the A to Z of motorcycles, somewhere between Aprilia and Zündapp, sits the near 100-year-old American Indian brand. Recently reinvigorated and well priced in the marketplace, the 1811cc Chief Classic is a striped-down cruiser masterpiece based on the Thunder Stroke 111 platform shared by the Chieftain and Roadmaster –surely one of the best looking V-Twin motors in all of its chrome-finned glory. Paint and leather evokes the heyday of Indian supremacy, and the look is more than matched by the ride.

Surprised? Don’t be as this is one of the most well thought out rigs around. There’s no radiator and the sound of the modern V-twin is more refined and easier on the prefrontal cortex than other American offerings. And while mechanically sophisticated, it is the easiest ride you can imagine. Whether you’re braking, steering or just cruising along in sixth gear with the cruise-control switched on, the Chief will put you in a state of Zen-like calm. It even trumps the Japanese in laid-back attitude.

Heaps of grunt helps, the smoothest of throttle sensitivity does too. Steering is light and is surprisingly precise. Even the suspension didn’t react and kick around when I tried some mid-turn shenanigans – unlike some of the softer opposition with shorter travel.

Seat and bar contribute to a comfortable riding position, while the chassis and suspension provide excellent handling. You can choose how aggressively you want to ride it, though I found I was content to let the Chief lead me along. Through the twisties as well as the straights, the Classic plonks you in the zone of human happiness and keeps you there. Even when heavy traffic threatens to ruin the ride, it’s easy to stay light hearted and keep the brain relaxed So little effort, so much reward.

This little Indian love ode extends into every aspect of the bike, from changing gear to operating the controls. If a screen had been fitted I would have taken a very long way back to Ashfield HQ via Melbourne and Adelaide. This level of comfort could probably only be bettered by brother Vintage or Chieftain dressed up models.

There are a few differences between the 2015 model tested here and the 2016 version. The Classic now wears mag wheels and comes in white but still retains all that style of valenced guards and chrome side-lights. This was Indian’s brand new demonstrator so they choose brown leather seats to replace the single riders black perch. You can build your own too. If you want one of the best cruiser rides around to help you get in touch with your ‘inner’self, I urge to head down to the Indian Reservation.

ENGINE Configuration V-twin, four valves per cylinder, Capacity 1811cc, Bore/stroke 101x 113mm, Compression ratio 9.5:1, Cooling Air/oil ,Fueling Closed Loop EFI, Power Not given, Torque 138.9Nm@2600rpm (claimed)

TRANSMISSION  Type Six-speed ,Clutch Wet ,Final drive Belt

CHASSIS Frame material forged cast aluminium ,Frame layout Spine Rake 29 ̊Trail 155mm

SUSPENSION Front: 46mm fork, 119mm travel Rear: Single shock, preload adjustable, 94mm travel

WHEELS/TYRES Wheels 60-spoke laced Front: 16 x 3.5 Rear: 16 x 5 Tyres Dunlop Elite 130/90B16 73H 180/65B16 81H BRAKES Front: Dual floating 300mm discs, four-piston calipers, Rear: Single floating 300mm disc, two-piston caliper Control: ABS

DIMENSIONS Weight 357kg (wet, claimed), Seat height 660m, Max width 1000mm,Max height 1176mm, Wheelbase 1730mm, Fuel capacity 20.8

PERFORMANCE Fuel consumption 5.5L/100km (measured) Top speed 200km/h (est)

CONTACT & SALE INFO SALES & CONTACT INFO Testbike Indian Motorcycles Australia

Indian Chief QS-photo