There has been a lot of discussion and speculation over the last few years about the new Indians and how they would be accepted in the market. It seems pretty evident now that the Indians are being accepted well and are here to stay, at least for a while.
This brings up an interesting point. When Indian and Victory stepped into the market they inadvertently did something amazing. They gave the American V-Twin buyer a choice! Comparing the Indian Chieftain and the HD Street Glide the question is, which bike is better for you?
There are quite a few things to consider when you are looking into buying a new ride. The cost of a new bike can be daunting these days and making the right choice is something you want to get right the first time. There are quite a few articles out there reviewing the bikes, but we wanted to give you insight from our staff. These are things we noticed that may help you make a decision that is right for you.
One of the main things we noticed that was a similarity between the Indian Chieftain and the Victory is the top heavy feel. Both Victory and Indian are produced by Polaris, and both bikes have a similar feel. Compared to a Harley Davidson, the handling is quite different. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s just different. It can make moving the bike around a bit unsettling at first. I noticed it immediately trying to move the bike around in my garage. I noticed it more when I rode the bike. At slow speeds the bike feels a bit unstable and takes some time to get used to.
The Indian Chieftain is more “finished” than the comparable HD Street Glide. What I am referring to here is the details. The seat is very comfortable and well built, the handlebars are comfortable and the hardware holding everything together is more aesthetically pleasing than the OEM hardware that comes on the Harley. It has baffled me for years why Harley uses such ugly hardware.
Maintenance on the Chieftain is also a little more convenient. The oil filter faces forward and is easily accessible. The oil pan is directly located on the bottom instead of the side. It makes things a little easier and sometimes less messy. Changing the oil on an HD is not difficult by any means. It’s just not as easy as it is on the Indian.
Another thing that the J&P staff brought up was the ability to customize your bike. Harley wins this one hands-down. There is a wide assortment of customization products that you can buy for any Harley which is something the Indian just doesn’t offer. We have seen some exhaust and a few other items come out, but having a large assortment of products to choose from so you can make the bike your own is something you just cannot get for the Indian….yet. As long as the people in Polaris keep the same basic style and don’t change the bike too drastically, parts manufacturers will start tooling up accessories for these bikes. It remains to be seen if Polaris will follow the same methods as HD.
In conclusion it really comes down to what you prefer. If you want something that you don’t want to customize and you are happy to ride it just as it is, the Chieftain may be a good choice. Either way it’s nice to see some American made products in the market competing against each other in the same segment. This usually means better products for the consumer. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds over the next 10 years.