INDIAN REIMAGINED CHIEF RANGE
It’s been eight years since Indian unveiled the Chief, when the Polaris-acquired and -resurrected Indian Motorcycle company launched three varieties of its all-new flagship at the 2013 Sturgis Rally. The Chief Classic, Vintage, and Chieftain bikes represented an outstanding first-year brand effort. The platform’s design paid meticulous homage to the art deco styling of the original, and ride quality was more than up to the task. But to some, the bike’s slavish devotion to period forms hadn’t aged well, suggesting it might be time for a fresh start. Understandable, especially since the original Chief made its debut in 1922, and it doesn’t take much marketing savvy to tell that a 100-year anniversary is the perfect time to launch a redesign.
And so it is that Indian is again unveiling three “new” models for 2022; the Indian Chief, the Indian Chief Bobber, and the Indian Super Chief, all built on the same platform but each aimed at a slightly different rider.
In Indian Motorcycle-speak the new Chiefs are “totally reimagined”; in other words, not how you might remember them. Underpinning all three main models is a simple new steel-tube frame with a cast-aluminum rear subframe in a more exposed, open arrangement. There are different suspension combinations and control placements for some models, unique tire and wheel sizes for others. Indian didn’t just give the Chief a few nips and tucks. It revamped the platform’s entire personality, giving us a total of three models if you count the different trims, with separate Thunder Stroke engine and riding component variations to distinguish each.
The result is a more minimal, visually lighter bike. “We wanted to capture a timeless look that never goes out of style and looks beautiful whether naked or fully dressed,” said Ola Stenegärd, Indian Motorcycle’s director of industrial design. “Ultimately, this is a bike that evokes emotion with simple mechanical styling and raw American muscle.”
1921 marked the debut of the Indian Motorcycle Chief. Designed by the legendary Charles Franklin, the dirt track racer and engineer who also dreamed up the Scout, the Chief had a 61-cubic-inch V-twin, dual cams, a low seat, and graceful lines. Riders loved its reliable power, formidable torque, and agile frame, and the bike quickly gained fans around the world. In the 1940s, the Chief helped fuel the postwar era of bike racing and customization in America.
For its’ 100th anniversary, one of America’s most iconic bikes has been completely reimagined by America’s first motorcycle company. The new Chief is the perfect blend of old and new — a timeless design supplemented with modern technology and performance, and zero compromises. It retains its classic compact stance, simple steel frame, and 64-inch wheelbase. With the Chief’s timeless design, dedication to Indian Motorcycle’s legendary past, and unobtrusive modern technology, the only people it will disappoint are the ones who hoped to keep it in their rear view.