Indian Springfield Review: We Don't Need No Stinking Fairing

Discussion in 'Indian Motorcycle News' started by NickJ, Mar 18, 2016.

  1. NickJ

    NickJ Administrator Staff Member Moderating

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    [​IMG]

    I put over a hundred miles on the Springfield this last week in Daytona during the IMRG ride out to Standard Motorcycle Co (more on this soon) in Orlando, FL. We had a great turnout and got to spend some time with Ralph Wessel who is the current AHRMA Class C Handshift championship holder.

    First Swing of the Leg
    It is always a bit intimidating stepping off a small and nimble bike like the new Octane and swinging a leg over a full and proper bagger like the Springfield. Pulling in to the hangar on the little ripper that is the Octane (More on this @ theVOG.net) I get a chance to do a solid walk around of the Springfield.

    At first glance, the Springfield carries all the classic lines that are unmistakably "Indian." It is not until you break out the tape measure that you see where this Springfield is something completely different.

    The Springfield features an all-new chassis that is most similar to the Roadmaster, but with a few key differences. The rake angle is identical at 25 degrees, but the trail is slightly different coming in at .7 inches (5.2 in) less than that of the Roadmaster. This translates to a quicker turn-in and a bit more lively steering attitude out of the Springfield. This is controlled by a set of beach bars with loads of pull-back for an upright seating position and leverage on the steering head.

    At low speeds, most big baggers can feel a little tippy and top heavy, but not the Springfield. Within the first 4 or 5 sub-25 mph turns, I had the hang of it and was ready to dip into the turns with ease. The huge crank at the heart of the Thunderstroke 111 motor is more than enough to provide gyroscopic stability. The absence of the full fairing up front does well to bring the center of gravity down in the overall chassis quite a bit.

    [​IMG]

    The Power & The Ride
    The IMRG and I hit the road toward Orlando and I got the chance to stretch the legs of this machine a little. Out on the open road, the longer wheelbase (67 in), provided for a smooth and easy to control platform. I was amazed at how solid the Springfield felt on the road for being so ready to dip into turns. When traveling along the rulers that Florida calls roads, the Springfield allowed me to set the cruise: which is much more easily done with the left hand rather than stretching the right thumb across the control pod, roll back in the seat, and put my feet up on the standard highway bars for a leisurely ride. There were a few turns to dip in to, and they came and went without so much as a second thought.

    The windshield did a fantastic job of keeping the air flowing around me (I'm 5'10"), and I didn't once have any sort of buffeting. In all honesty, I could have gone for the airflow as we headed inland and away from the cool air of the coast. If I had a place to stash it, I would have utilized the quick-release feature and ditched it for the ride back to the beach.

    The Thunderstroke 111 is the same as it is across the rest of the big bike lineup, as is the gearing, so no big surprises there. The motor is smooth and delivers a great deal of power throughout the rev range. Weighing just 17 lbs more than it's soft-bagged brother (818 lbs wet) the Springfield is ready to turn that twisting crank into your butt down the road in a hurry. While it may not have the same down-low torque as the competition, it doesn't run out of puff in the middle or the top of the range, and it is decidedly smoother doing it. I will say that the bike with the accessory Stage 1 Cam Kit I rode a few months back does well to give it more down low punch as well.

    [​IMG]

    Fit and Finish
    This is where the Indian brand shines in my opinion. The motorcycle just looks amazing. The designers did a great job with the lines of the Springfield, and every big Indian in the lineup for that matter. I am not a huge fan of chrome and even less of a fan of fringe. This bike does chrome right. There is a lot of it, but it works with the style. Would I add more? Absolutely not. Would black pipes work on this bike? Probably not. Knock down all the chrome to a brushed finish? It wouldn't look bad, but I don't think it would work as well as chrome.

    The hard bags are a must for me when I think about a bagger. Not to knock the leather bags, but they are just not my style, nor are the fiberglassed, stretched bags that are so popular right now. The stock bags are perfect and I sort of don't like the look of the bike without them on there. They give the rear end a nice, solid, finished look.

    The beauty of the hard bags is also in the arrival to the hotel while out touring. Drop the packed bags in the room via four clips and two wiring harness connections and you are off to the store, concert, or races without a second thought about your bike looking like it is missing something. Without the bags, the rear of the bike doesn't have any ugly brackets, supports, or anything to make it look incomplete. Dropping two bags and a windshield should take you less than 2 minutes. In fact, I would say it would take longer for you to find a place to put them than it would to take them off. That is forethought, and designing forward and backward.

    For those worried about those quick-release parts releasing quickly into a thief's truck, there is a spot for a locking pin that will secure your windshield to the bike. The releases for the bags are located on the right side of the locking lid as well.

    Why It's Important
    It should be noted that Indian Motorcycle, in it's rebooted form, is only 3 model years old and to see the level and variety of product that they have brought to market in such a short time is impressive. This bike represents the 8th bike brought to market in just 3 years and an incredible push for new product.

    The "other guy" should be worried in a real way because the level of refinement that is coming out of Spirit Lake is something to be reckoned with. At the end of the day we, the consumers, are going to reap the benefit with better and better products being offered in the market from all sides of the coin. The bar is being raised and I cannot wait to see what is coming next!

    Breakdown
    There are a lot of things to like about the Springfield and only some nit-picks to dislike. The bike is incredibly stable at cruising speeds. The turn-in is lightning quick and held stable with that heavy crank whirring away. The styling is spot on and topped off with a larger Indian Script logo on the tank.

    The dislikes are harder to suss out, but there are a few things I would change. The instrument clusters on the handlebars are just a little too large for me to easily manipulate with one hand. I found myself having to reach across with the other for accurate inputs. Right now you can get the Springfield in any color so long as it is Indian Red or Thunder Black. The fog light switch was placed almost as an afterthought on the rear of the headlight housing. Lastly, I would have liked to see some sort of power output tucked away somewhere. In this day and age, a phone charging point is almost a must especially when out touring.

    At the end of the day, this would be the bagger that I would buy. That is not just me being a fan boy and pushing the latest model. That is me liking the functionality of the hard bags but not wanting a full front fairing. The quick steering is also a deciding factor.

    They are in dealers now, and should be on the demo truck soon, so get out there and take one for a spin.

    MSRP: $20,999

    [​IMG]
    Photo: @Sturgis 75th
     
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  2. cereal killer

    cereal killer Administrator Moderating

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    Great review brother! I'm REALLy glad you mentioned the handling at sub 25 mph speeds :) Most reviewers leave this off and it really is something to consider when purchasing a bagger--in my opinion.

    Thanks for the review!
     
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  3. Indy

    Indy Senior Member

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    Very well written and informative. I don't think the reviewers from any of the cycle magazines I read could have done as well. Thank you brother.
     
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  4. dmk

    dmk IndianMotorcycles.net Gold Supporter Gold Supporting Member

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    Nice review!

    I've been riding without the windshield, and I think the bike looks better that way without the nacelle chrome being partially hidden. Power for phone charging, etc. is in the right bag.
     
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  5. The Blue Chief

    The Blue Chief Member

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    Nice write up but you don't mention too much about the handlebars. Compared to my numbered production Classic I liked the feel of the new handlebars on the Springfield. Very relaxed. Even with a 35" sleeve I'm reaching for the stock 2014 Classic bars (granted I shoved the seat as far back as possible with 6'4" frame).
     
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  6. Thepreacher

    Thepreacher Junior Member

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    Great review. I have Spriengfield and there is a power outlet in the right saddle bag. Whether it that convenient is up to debate, but it is available.

    My only complaint on my Springfield is the top end power. At higher speeds it seems that there may be a governor of some type on the motor. Anyone else sense this?
     
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  7. Squatch

    Squatch Junior Member

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    I am also 6'5 and I'm trying to decide between the Vintage or Springfield. Have you noticed a significant difference in the two because of your size? I'm seriously looking at a 2014 Vintage with only 1750 miles and spotless condition or wait on the new Springfield to hit the floor. I am a new rider so it's hard for me to judge and to really have a good feel for difference. Because we are the same size, you probably have a good understanding for where I am coming from.
    All things being relatively equal, I'd probably go with the barely used Vintage and save $3000 that also has about $1900 of additional add-ons already. But if there is enough of a difference, I'll wait on the Springfield. Thoughts?
     
  8. The Blue Chief

    The Blue Chief Member

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    Hey Squatch. My 2014 Classic is basically the same as the 2014 Vintage and I find it comfortable with highway pegs on the crash bars. This way I can shift my feet around from the floorboards to highway pegs and open up my hip angle. I recently bought an airhawk seat cushion to make riding with feet on the floorboards comfortable without using the highway pegs. This is great now since the weather is cold. Sitting 1-1.5" higher is surprisingly comfortable for me. See if you can take the Vintage for a long test ride of at least 30 minutes so you can get a feel for the comfort factor. Then do the same with the Springfield if you have a demo available. I sat on the Springfield and the arms seem more relaxed and I heard the steering is lighter than the Vintage. Lemmy from Revzilla rode a Springfield about 100 miles at Daytona and he really liked the steering properties.
     
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  9. dthorny

    dthorny Junior Member

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    In the right saddlebag rear is a 12v charge port with a cover plug.
     
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  10. ssgwhetung

    ssgwhetung Junior Member

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    Just to add a quick note to Nick's post, I was riding with him that day and we had a car stop right in front of us for no reason. Not that I ever wanted to test the anti-lock brakes but they work like a charm. Never been on a bike that had them, but once I used them was glad they where there. Extremely easy to control and handle in the situation we found ourselves in.
     
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  11. rickkcir

    rickkcir God Bless Texas

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    "
    We Don't Need No Stinking Fairing" .... Said every Springfield owner .. every Gilroy Owner .. Every KM owner... every SL Vintage/Classic DH owner ....
     
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  12. Shuje Sunge

    Shuje Sunge Super Moderator Staff Member Moderating

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    NickJ said "fanboy". LMAO!!
     
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  13. damondarkwalker

    damondarkwalker Junior Member

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    Fantastic review, and I would add "ditto" here. Those nitpicks are the same for me, and that's just me trying to find something to point out about the bike. Maybe the weird "clacking" sound, but I think every engine has its own quirks (or I may just be getting used to the shifting points). I love, love, love this motorycle. It has given me that first-bike feeling again. Where I'm riding and I see the reflection of clouds in the chorme and I think "Damm, I'm free and the road is open." I've ridden in cold temps now that I never would have bother with before. I cannot stand being away from her for a minute.

    Ride this bike, folks. If you don't already own an Indian, ride this bike. If you're wanting to upgrade from a Scout, ride this bike. [happy][happy][happy]
     
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  14. Bobby jesus

    Bobby jesus Bronze Member

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    There is a power outlet in the left died saddlebag.
     
  15. Blackhoof

    Blackhoof Junior Member

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    Good review. I agree with the fog light switch and power port observations. The "beach bars" look great!
     

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