Indians – 2014 Edition

Indians – 2014 Edition

Today we are going to talk about one of the most marketed debuts for an alternative to an American made motorcycle. Reported here two years ago, industry giant Polaris acquired the rights and intellectual properties to the Indian name brand. Since that acquisition, we have been hearing stories that the new Indians would be well engineered, attractive and not priced out of the market. Polaris has been very busy, and during Sturgis this year they unveiled the NEW INDIANS. All I have to say, is this was one of the most anticipated debuts in American motorcycle history. The actual coming out party was extremely well attended and the folks who put it on did a marvelous job.

The all new Thunderstoke 111 Cubic Inch engine has the appearance of an early flathead, but trust me, there are modern day internals driving the beast.

Starting with a 3 cam valve train, I think Indian has done their homework and this little jewel produces a whopping 119 ft/lbs of torque.

All in all, it’s my opinion this is a very attractive design.

Initially offered in three models, these are attractive, well put together, and seemingly soundly engineered. The base model, the Chief Classic, is available in a stripped down no saddlebag version that has a no nonsense “ride me” aura to it. The iconic swept Indian fenders accent this look. Swoopy styling, a bunch of chrome, and a myriad of Indian logos and details, the base price of $18,999 seems like a fair value for what is received. The Chief Vintage is available with soft leather bags and a windshield. They named this one right. It truly has Vintage looks (it’s my favorite). The top of the line Chieftain takes things one step further. A hard fairing and bags are added to this machine for a solid touring appearance. My only complaint in any of these bikes is when you look at the fairing, you can see some Victory styling roots. As that is my only quibble, I think this new generation of Indian is an excellent initial offering. Manufactured here in Iowa, Spirit Lake, to be exact, we will have to see if they can produce enough AND get a dealer network in place. I, for one, am pulling for them.

By |2015-04-14T12:37:35+00:00September 10th, 2013|Categories: Editorial/Commentary Articles, News/Events Articles|47 Comments

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  1. Jack November 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Finally something new for old bikers. Something new for all bikers. Was getting tired of what’s out there.
    An American company that’s not looking to go off shore. Go Polaris.
    Check out they’re stocks and get on board.

  2. Ed November 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm


    • Davi November 4, 2013 at 8:15 pm


    • Ed June 30, 2014 at 12:56 pm

      I have been saying that for DECADES. INDIAN FOREVER, FOREVER INDIAN!

      • Göran June 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm

        Cant agre more ! Indian Rules !!!

  3. Ed November 4, 2013 at 12:49 pm


  4. Dan November 1, 2013 at 6:25 am

    I’m am a long-haul trk/drv and spend a lot of time dealing with breakdowns/repairs and the last thing I want to do is spend my limited time off, dealing with a bike that has to have a dealer within 100 miles of my route to keep it running. When American motorcycle manufactures build dependable bikes I will be the first in line to buy one. Hopefully Indian will be that manufacturer. Until then I will ride my Honda and smile every time any one says I’m not a real biker, because I’m on a jap bike, knowing sooner or later they will be sitting by the side of the road with their American bike going nowhere, watching me ride by with a big sh*t eating grin.

    • David November 1, 2013 at 12:10 pm

      Evidently you never owned a Victory, one of the most dependable bikes on the road, And American made!

    • CAPTAMERACA June 26, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      then you haven’t ridin a VICTORY. FYI INDIAN and VICTORY are the only American made motorcycles there are. tried and proven.

  5. Tom October 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    At least its American made..if you don’t like it dont buy it, but condemn it either, any enthusiast can tell they’re well built. I personally hope this come back is the best yet we need to keep this country working. It’s a beautiful bike, build on !

  6. Kenneth Grant October 29, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I have never heard so much BullS%#t in my life, how many times will Indian motorcycles fade away and be reborn? I’ll keep my Harley . . . THANKS!!!

    • Ed October 30, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      Ya Kenneth, it’s a bunch of Bull! So just keep walking. Keep your everyone has one harley. We don’t need ya anyway. Be like everyone else. choose not to stand out but to blend in. Like I say, Anyone can have a harley, And everyone does!

    • Göran Månsson October 31, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      I’ll wait for the Scout to ariwe. Then i bay one and sell my streetbob. I hope Indian is here to stay ! I think it s a better built motorcycle than Harley. Also more modern bike. More rilaible engine also with more power.

  7. Lisa October 1, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    Test road the classic & the chieftain. Both with the stage 1 . Super nice, great handling, lots.of.power. only one problem…! OMG! The cheapest quote was $1700/yr. I’ll wait.

  8. Rob Garity September 30, 2013 at 11:54 am

    The waiting line to test drive an Indian at Sturgis was at least two hours. There is a reason for that and I truly believe there is a segment of folks who want a traditional American motorcycle but have only had HD until now. Many don’t care for Victory, even though they are far superior than Harleys, and I’m sure their ideas and manufacturing skills will set the Indians up for success. As far as the lack of dealerships compared to HD, don’t worry – with a Victory or Indian you won’t get stranded in the first place! Rock on Polaris!

  9. Brad Beall September 30, 2013 at 8:51 am

    After reading about the Twin Cam timing chain tensioner nightmares that I can expect from my ’02 FXSTS, I’m seriously considering buying a new Indian. They look much more like the classic Indian bikes Ethan the previous S&S engined “Indians” did (I didn’t like them at all!).

    However, I will wait a year or two to make sure that all the bugs have been worked out, as first-year production models will almost certainly have a few.

    Also, Polaris should note that buyers of these bikes will be folks who love classic motorcycles. We don’t care about things like keyless ignition, and would rather have something “old” that we know will work, than some new modern technology that might prove troublesome after a few thousand miles. Also, a strong dealer network would do much to increase customer confidence. As of now, I don’t know of any Polaris, Victory, or Indian dealers anywhere near Pittsburgh, PA.

  10. Rocky September 29, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    I went up to Lavonia MI, last week & rode a new Indian Chief Vintage. It was really quick, but I didn’t care for the keyless ignition. Sorry, but batteries go dead & even though there is a code to use in such a situation, with the buttons, I can’t remember what I had for lunch, yesterday, much less a code, that I may never use…
    The stock mufflers were too quiet & I suspect the machine would sound & run better, if it was made to ‘breathe’ better, as with my HD Stage 1 kit coupled with my Screaming Eagle ‘race application only’ mufflers & minus a catylitic converter.
    The seat was a little hard, as with my wife’s new Victory’s seat.
    I missed my heal-toe shifter, as did the guy riding staggered just behind my left side.
    All in all, the bike was ok, but I’m kinda set in my ways & I think I’ll stick with my HD & my ‘Custom’.
    Btw I don’t much care for my wife’s Victory either… and I haven’t even rode it yet. I don’t care for it’s looks.

  11. Tommy Peacock September 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    I bought a 2012 H-D ultra-classic. Sooo sorry I did. Should have waited until 2013, for choice of Victory, or Indian. When you have to pay 1,000 dollars plus for 5 yr. coverage on a H-D, and it comes standard on a Victory, it makes me sick. Not, to mention the cam chain adjuster problems that can ruin an engine in a heart beat. Never own another H-D again.

  12. Göran Månsson September 28, 2013 at 8:24 am

    I ride a Harley Streetbob now . But im very courius about the scout next year. Hopefully it ariwes son.

  13. Rabbi September 28, 2013 at 4:06 am

    I ride an ’01 Vic (the first year with the good tranny). Polaris spent a ton of money making the ’99 and ’00 Vics right. I will wait for the Scout and give it a few years for the bugs and fixes to be resolved. This is a bike made by people who have the experience, financial power and new-era thought process to succeed.

  14. Dan Martens September 27, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I’m a dedicated HD owner for a couple of reasons. But the main reason for me is the major Dealer network. There’s nothing worse than to be touring North America and need Service of any sort and be stuck. Let alone have a break down in the middle of no where and have your holiday come to an ugly end. Harley is way ahead in that regard. However, I do like the style and how unique the Indian’s are designed. Not sure if I would buy a first year production. It might not be a bad idea to wait a year or two until all the bugs are out.

    • Göran Månsson September 28, 2013 at 8:26 am

      I think you have right on that !

  15. Indian Bob September 27, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    I have had a total of four Gilroy era Indians and Indian is the only ride I will ride. Smoked every HD I have come up against with an 88 in it and my 100 ci Chief smokes the rest of em. Where ever my Indian is parked it is always the one that gets the attention and compliments from guess who riders. Glad to see them back and maybe I will own one of these soon. Indian Bob EG Ca.

  16. Carl September 27, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    I am sorry but the only folks that are going to buy the “new” again Indian is an uneducated consumer with an axe to grind with Harley. If you want something different buy the Polaris or Honda Fury; not a $20,000 experiment.

    • Rob September 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm

      The Honda Fury is something different???Please tell me what is so innovative with the Fury??

    • Ed September 29, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      Carl, just keep on walking. I’m sure there will be plenty of educated consumers picking up the new Indians. HD isn’t the only ones that have a loyal fan base. Like I have always said, “Anyone can own a Harley”. They’re are always plenty of them for sale in the papers. You must be a proponent of Jap bikes. Good for you. Stay on your side of the fence. He’ll be fine with out ya. INDIAN FOREVER, FOREVER INDIAN!

  17. Rick White September 27, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    About time. Go Polaris.

    • David September 27, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      Just got back from a Demo ride event in my area and let me tell you there must be a lot of HD riders with an axe to grind because it looked like a Harley rally. I sat on one but didn’t test ride any.
      Talked to a few that did and the response was positive.
      I’m sure their will still be a few bugs to work out on these
      machines, but that’s to be expected.
      After all it took Harley years to keep their bikes from leaking oil! Lol

  18. Tom September 27, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I ride a 2011 Roadking classic. While at Sturgis this year I had a chance to ride one of the new Indians. I chose the Vintage since it was the closest to what I ride. I was blown away by the solid feel and power of the bike as we rode out to Whitewood on the frontage road. I was convinced I had to have one. But the we got onto Interstate 90 for the run back to Sturgis. Again the power and throttle response was great. But thats where it ended. The vibration in the floorboards was one thing, but the windsheld shook and flaped like a skirt in the wind. It was so bad I had thoughts of it comming off and taking my head with it. It seems as though they put a tremendus amount of thought and engineering into building a fantastic motorcycle and then someone came along and said “oh, a yea throw something on there to keep the bugs off the rider.”

  19. Dave September 27, 2013 at 7:03 am

    Although I’ve got a late model HD and not really in the market for a new ride.. I will test ride a new Indian. I think if they retain vintage styling, they will sell. The new hard fairing looks interesting from the rider’s seat but I have to admit, it’s too modern looking from the front. Other than that, I like the looks and advertised features of the bike.

  20. Obe1katobe September 27, 2013 at 6:00 am

    I test rode a new Chieftain about a month ago. Very, very nice. I’m an HD rider but the new Indians are highly impressive in many ways.

  21. Len September 27, 2013 at 3:01 am

    To me dealer support nationwide is most important. I got the first yr (’99) Victory. Polaris went all out to fix issues. The dealer network… basically had not a clue about folks who tour. EX: Victorville Victory refused any service even a week in advance, so I told them I’d buy a bucket and oil and change it in their parking lot (I didn’t need a tire). They gave me an address… Garmin took me to an empty lot! Well, they made a sale for HD! The next day the owner of LA Pacific Motorsports hung around after work as his day was booked solid. He was great! Yes there are exceptions but I don’t tour based on dealer location. The Vic had over 50,000 miles by 2003. I now ride the Ultra on trips. I bought the Ultra after the HD dealer in Grand Junction Colorado got me an appointment at another dealer (!!) to fix a tire that took a bolt in Utah. Check for yourself the same way I did: I called a Vic. dealer OUT OF TOWN, said I was on the road and need a tire and oil change in 2 days. I had no problem IN OCTOBER… I called again in July… Guess the response. HD is used to tourers. So is Honda. Most others don’t grasp the concept (and profit!) of people on the road. Try this with one of the new Indian dealers and see if they just want to sell bikes or if they want to support the brand.

  22. Rodster September 26, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    I like what Polaris has done design wise(visual) to many of the previous products and this new Indian. Victory Vision looks very nice. Having said that, I want you to know that I have been in the custom Harley-Davidson and clone motorcycle aftermarket business for 30 + years. I have had to work on some of these Polaris products. Unfortunately I see many things about the products that are not very well designed mechanically to really get ahead of Harley-Davidson or give Harley-Davidson a run for their money. The Polaris products, the engines(engine cases) look fragile, very foreign, low cost injected molded parts. The engine castings do not have the look of the industrial beefy american made product. The side covers and misc body work are cheaply fastened. Wiring is something to be desired. Overall the motorcycle looks like a throw away product. Cheaper to buy another vs fixing it.

  23. Gary September 26, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    I’m jonesn for a new Chieftan! May be trading up from my Electra Glide. Just saw them at the Oyster Run in Annacortes, WA. Don’t like either of their choices for color, muck blue or muck red, would buy the black one and put some nice paint on it.

  24. Göran Månsson September 26, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    When does the Indian Scout ariwes ? And how big is the motor in Scout ?

    • Rob September 27, 2013 at 10:05 pm

      There is no Scout just yet.Hopefully next year!

  25. joe September 12, 2013 at 8:45 am

    its not a Harley clone thank god. this is a complete new design. I also ride Harleys no comparison

    • David C Davidson September 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Same here. Will keep the Ultra and later convert to an indie-suspensioned trike. Harley reminds me of Detroit cars in the mid-seventies. They did NOTHING until ToyotasOhWhatAFeeling began taking away their market share. Same with MoCo. F**kemintheEars.

  26. Joe September 11, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    already ordered my black vintage 6 to 8 weeks for delivery. ready to put lots of fun miles on it.

  27. Scott September 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    I am curious to see how well they do. I like the looks of them myself and hope they live up to the hype and tradition of there namesake.

    • joe September 12, 2013 at 8:42 am

      I have test rode and was impressed with the power and well balanced. keyless ignition is pretty cool too.

  28. Nicky bell September 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    i don’t understand the excitement for a re-release of an American classic, give me an original Indian for 19k and then I’ll jump for joy. the fact remains that until this brand can stand on its own again, it’s just a Polaris- Indian replica. they tried to reboot Indian like 12 years ago fell flat on their faces, and now those bikes are hard to get parts for and don’t hold value. I can get a HELL of a nice Harley for 19k.. and if you don’t mind a bike with a few miles you could buy 2 or 3 for that

    • David September 27, 2013 at 12:16 am

      The company that built Indian 12 years ago used a Harley copy engine. Polaris has the money to make it work. If the Indian is as well built as the Victory’s they will do just fine.

      Also the new Indian was built from the ground up, nothing at all like a HD.

      • Ed September 29, 2013 at 2:49 pm

        Harley copy engine? WTF? Harley has been using an Indian copy engine since Indian designed and produce it in 1906. Remember when harley had it’s carburetor on the Indian left? For all I know, harley is nothing more than an Indian clone with modern technologies. Another one that know very little if anything about Motor bike history. Every thing harley enjoys was cloned from Indian. The head light, electric starter, front and rear suspension, rap around frame. BRAKES. Tear drop gas tank. Even the freak’n front fender light. And more. Get a grip. Pull your head out and educate yourself before your next thought.

        • Ed September 29, 2013 at 2:50 pm

          In 1906 Indian introduces the first V-twin engine!

        • David November 1, 2013 at 12:22 pm

          Sorry, you misunderstood my post. I’m very aware of the history of Indian. What i was referring to was the Indian’s
          made in the last 20 years or so. They do use a v twin Harley type motor. S+S or whatever and the new Indian’s
          are completely different motor technology. I’m a big fan of the new Indian’s and would love to own one. But for now i will ride my very dependable Victory.

          • Ed November 4, 2013 at 12:47 pm

            To me it doesn’t matter how old or how new a V-twin is! The fact is that Indian design it at the on set. So, EVERY V-TWIN IS THE GRAND SON OF THE ORIGINAL.

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