Indian Motorcycle adds a performance cruiser to their vaunted Chief line
Indian Motorcycle Company has churned out some impressive, innovative motorcycles in recent years. From their flat track-inspired FTR, their water-cooled performance bagger known as the Challenger, and their revived Scout line of smaller cruisers, to name a few. We’ve had the opportunity to sample all of these, and absolutely love what “America’s First Motorcycle Company” is building. Indian has even been flexing their muscle on the track, winning a “triple crown” last year in American Flat Track as well as MotoAmerica’s King of the Baggers and Super Hooligans classes.
So it comes as no real surprise that Indian would hop up a Chief as a performance cruiser, given the growing popularity of the genre and the returning enthusiasm for racing again. Our friend Kevin Baxter predicted this about three years ago, and he’s been proven prophetic. The power cruiser is back.
Since Indian revived the iconic, 100-year old “Chief” moniker two years ago, the reimagined line has grown in model offerings as well as sales. Mike Dougherty, President of Indian Motorcycle, recently stated, “Since launching in 2021, the reimagined Indian Chief has garnered incredible feedback from riders all around the world. With the introduction of Sport Chief, the 2023 Indian Chief lineup is more diverse than ever– offering a wide range of performance and styling options to meet each rider’s unique personality and riding preferences.”
When designing the Sport Chief, Indian set their sights on performance by utilizing the finest components from proven brands. With KYB® inverted front forks, also featured on Indian Challenger models, the Sport Chief should offer great handling and ride performance. The Sport Chief’s dual-disc, four-piston, semi-floating caliper, radial-mounted Brembo® brakes deliver confidence-inspiring stopping power, while piggyback rear FOX® shocks increase travel to 4 inches and increases lean angle to 29.5 degrees, compared to other Indian Chief models. The result is a new Chief that begs for more aggressive riding and provides the confidence and capability to take the riding experience to another level. We think we can oblige.
Featuring a simple steel-tube frame, the Sport Chief preserves the model line’s mechanical styling. At the heart of it all, a blacked-out Thunderstroke 116 motor delivers 120 ft-lbs of torque, while a stylish new “Quarter Fairing”, along with new moto-style bars with machined triple clamps and six-inch risers set the Sport Chief apart from the rest of the Indian Chief lineup. With mid-mount foot controls and a solo gunfighter seat, riders are in a custom styled but comfortable riding position. The Sport Chief rolls on sport cast wheels wrapped in Pirelli® Night Dragon tires, with a four-gallon fuel tank, bobbed rear fender, dual exhaust, LED lighting, keyless ignition, and three selectable ride modes, Sport, Standard and Tour. The whole aesthetic checks all the boxes for us.
Ride-enhancing tech comes standard with Indian Motorcycle’s four-inch touchscreen, powered by their proprietary RIDE COMMAND package. Accessible via handlebar controls or the digital touchscreen display, riders can cycle through multiple interfaces, including two different gauge configurations, bike and ride information, and turn-by-turn navigation with connected features like weather and traffic overlays. If using a wireless helmet communicator, riders can control their tunes within the RIDE COMMAND system once their phone is paired via Bluetooth® or USB. Riders can also access phone information, including recent calls, contacts, number pad and text message history. When connected, incoming calls will appear and can be accepted or declined directly through the RIDE COMMAND system. Best done at a stop, of course.
Indian has a full array of accessories ready for the Sport Chief, many of which can also be added to their other Chief models. FOX® Piggyback Rear Shocks, Thunderstroke High Flow Air Intake or Thunderstroke Forward Air Intake, 10-inch Moto Handlebar Risers, among a catalog full of other comfort, style and performance options, are available on the Sport Chief and most the bikes in the Chief family.
We look forward to getting our hands on a Sport Chief soon, to bring a full ride review here and on our YouTube channel.
For more on the Sport Chief, click here:
*All photos and details provided by Indian Motorcycle.
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