Wayyyyyy back in the olden-golden days – in 1922, to be precise – Indian debuted the Chief motorcycle. Now, to celebrate that 100th anniversary, we’re getting an overhaul on the current Indian Chief line.
For 2022, we have six Indian Chief models. There are three base-level models, and three higher-spec versions of those machines.
Starting with the lower-spec Indian Chief, Indian Chief Bagger and Indian Super Chief models, we see they get the air-cooled Thunderstroke 111 again for 2022 (with 108 lb-ft of torque). Indian doesn’t list any big changes to this engine. ABS is optional on all these machines, as well as an anaolgue speedometer.
Then, Indian also has the Chief Dark Horse, Chief Bagger Dark Horse and Super Chief Limited models. These premium models have the Thunderstroke 116 engine as standard (still an air-cooled V-twin, with 120 lb-ft of torque), as well as some other perks. These bikes come with ABS as standard, as well as a new four-inch IPS touchscreen gauge. Along with speedometer function, this has other display capabilities, including a turn-by-turn navigation feature that allows weather and traffic overlays. As well, riders can use it to control the onboard Ride Command system. Ride Command connects to your phone by Bluetooth or USB, and also connects to wireless helmet communicators. Then, riders can switch through music or even answer calls by pressing the touchscreen gauge. Indian tucks this new touchscreen gauge in between the handlebars, like a standard vintage speedometer.
Even though the Dark Horse name implies a blacked-out paint job, Indian says these machines have a higher-gloss finishes, while the Super Chief Limited has a flashy chrome finish.
Despite the two different classes of machines here, these bikes are all basically the same thing. They’ve all got a welded steel tube frame, with super-low 26-inch seat height and 64-inch wheelbase. They’re all heavy, with the Chief coming in at 670 pounds, the lightest of them all. All these machines have preload-adjustable dual rear shocks, a dual exhaust, LED lights, keyless ignition system, rear cylinder deactivation, and Pirelli Night Dragon tires. Cruise control is now standard, along with a four-gallon gas tank, making them better-suited for touring now. All these machines come with three ride modes built in (Sport, Standard, or Tour). All models have 46mm front forks, with 5.2-inches of travel. The bikes are capable of a 28.5-degree lean angle.
“These bikes capture the mechanical simplicity and attitude of classic American V-twins, yet bring it all forward with modern sophistication and features,” said Polaris motorcycle division bigwig Mike Dougherty. Overall, it’s a mix of old and new, then. Indian seems content to stick with the Chief as its retro cruiser, leaving the FTR line as its more aggressive series of bikes.
Indian Chief/Indian Chief Black Horse
These are the most basic machines in the new lineup, with 19-inch cast wheel up front and 16-inch rear, a solo seat, and a drag bar. Indian says these are mid-mount controls, although they’re placed forward of the rider’s backside, since there’s nowhere to fit a set of pegs under that 26-inch seat height. Pricing for the Chief starts at $14,499 in the US, or $16,999 in Canada. The Chief Black Horse costs more, thanks to the bigger engine and other upgrades. Its MSRP starts at $16,199 in the US, or $19,999 in Canada.
Indian Chief Bobber/Indian Chief Bobber Black Horse
This model has the same basic architecture as the standard Chief, including a solo seat, but with some old-fashioned trim added. Instead of cast wheels, the Bobber gets 16-inch spoked rims and a set of mini-apehanger handlebars, as well as fork and shock covers and a nacelle around the headlight. Adding more trim may seem opposed to the traditional bobber ethos, but nothing’s stopping you from pulling those retrotastic bits off when you buy the bike. The Chief Bobber has an MSRP of $15,899 in the US, or $18,999 in Canada. The Bobber Black Horse, with the Thunderstroke 116, nicer paint, and touchscreen gauge is $18,999 in the US, $22,499 in Canada.
Indian Super Chief/Indian Super Chief Limited
The Super Chief is a vintage-styled bagger, essentially. Instead of modern fairings and hard bags, you get a clear quick-release windshield and leather saddlebags, just enough for a road trip. The Super Chief also has a two-up seat, so you can take a passenger (pillion seats are available as accessories for the other models). It has the same fork and shock covers as the Bobber models, and the same 16-inch wire wheels. Chromed-out exhaust comes standard, and upswept handlebars, and there’s a set of floorboards instead of standard footpegs. The Super Chief Limited comes with all that stuff too, along with the 116 engine and other upgrades.
The Super Chief MSRP starts at $18,499 in the US, and $21,999 in Canada. The Super Chief Limited is $20,999 in the US and $24,999 in Canada.
Indian says the 2022 Chief lineup should be at dealerships by April of 2021. There will be more than 80 accessories available for the Chief models, including some specifically designed for those bikes as well as general bits made for the Thunderstroke engine. Of course there will be muffler options, a big bore kit, windshields, different handlebars, driving lights, racks and other pieces.