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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my initial review of the 2014 Indian Chief Vintage after a bit over 2200 miles.
Starting up front, the headlamp housing is a beautifully designed work of art, and the lighting is excellent, especially when used in conjunction with the spot lights. I like the spotlight switch design, a push button, not a toggle switch, and the spots provide a nice wide illumination that light up the side of the road well. I also found that they are not too bright to have on for oncoming traffic, and the illuminated Indian head logo on the front fender is beautiful. The instrument console consists of a Keyless ignition power button, fuel quantity gauge, and a Speedometer with multi-function display toggled by a switch on the left handlebar control. The MFD includes odometer, trip 1 & 2, RPM, DC voltage, gear position, ambient air temp, fuel range, and average fuel economy. It’s also programmable to change the following parameters- MPH/KPH, 12/24hr clock, US gallons/Imperial gallons/Liters, and Celsius/Fahrenheit. The keyless ignition is really nice, I wasn’t sure how I would like it on a bike, but it’s nice not having a key to think about. I found the fuel gauge to be accurate, but the reserve triggers the fuel range to change from miles to a “Lo Fuel” message that, as far as I know, can’t be toggled, and shuts off the remaining range mileage. So if you don’t pay attention to your remaining range, you won’t know how many miles you’ve got left when you need it most. Otherwise, the fuel range function works well, and seemed to be quite accurate. The production version of the fly by wire throttle seems more sensitive than the demo bike version. The demos had a noticeable delay in throttle response which appears to have been remedied in the production model. The clutch control is light, smooth, and precise. It’s also equipped with a clutch safety switch to prevent starter activation while in gear, unless the clutch lever is pulled in. The front brake lever position is adjustable, allowing you to set the lever position just right. Some have commented that the rear brake pedal is too high, but I found it to be perfectly positioned, I’ve got big feet, maybe that’s it. The floor boards seem a bit high, but are comfortable, and seem to afford quite a bit of ground clearance. The Handlebar Control Switches are well positioned, but as with any new bike, it takes some time to remember the location, especially when wearing heavy gloves while riding at night. There is a second MFD switch on the right control that is inactive on the Classic and Vintage, strange but true. The Fuel Tank has a 5.5 gallon capacity, and seemed much easier to fuel than the Cross, not as easy to end up with splash back. You fuel through the right fuel cap, the left is ornamental, and isn’t supposed to be removed. The cruise control has an excellent central switch interphase that’s very easy to use. I found myself resting my thumb on the switch and easily making small speed adjustments while cruising in lite traffic. The throttle does not move with speed increases, unlike a cable driven unit, the throttle remains stationary. It seems to require a bit more of a twist when engaged to accelerate from the set cruise point, and cancels with a closed throttle movement. When canceling with the closed throttle, I found that the disconnect is not as abrupt as lightly tapping a brake. It must be programed for a quick deceleration when disconnected by the brake switches. I did find that when the cruise was engaged, hand resting on the grip, a good size bump or dip would cause an inadvertent disconnect due to the throttle being pushed forward by my hand. The gear shift lever is nicely positioned, I don’t see any reason for a heel/toe shift arm as some have suggested, but that’s a personal choice, and I’m sure someone will make one. The mirrors are quite nice, providing a good view of the road behind you, and have a nice teardrop shape. While I initially noticed what others have commented on regarding the side stands close proximity to the clutch arm, I’ve found that once I was aware of this it quickly became a non-issue. The saddle, like the saddlebags are made of beautiful quality leather. I found the saddle to be quite comfortable, even without the rider backrest, and I didn’t notice the wrinkling that some have reported. The Saddlebags are beautiful, nice functionality, with the quick releases being very easy to operate. They also include a forward and aft snap to help hold the bag closed. I found no water intrusion while riding in the rain, and no weather effect on the leather. I did notice that the fringe on the bag had caused small scratches on the top of the exhaust pipe chrome. I was never big on fringe, and now I’m really not a fan, and will be contacting Polaris to see what they have to say about it. The Windshield provided good wind protection, I didn’t experience any flimsiness or vibration, even in intense wind gusts riding across Nebraska. The quick release mechanisms could not be simpler, and removal and installation takes but a quick minute. As far as I can tell, the ABS works great. I had several occasions to aggressively apply the binders with nothing but firm positive braking. I did notice that the ABS light remains on until you get rolling. The Riders Manual says the ABS is not active below 6mph, so it’s consistent with the indication. This is one smooth riding machine with a very balanced suspension. It’s soft enough to absorbed impacts comfortably, and stiff enough for confident aggressive cornering. It absorbed road impacts well, and I’ve found it to have a very good balance of ride quality and handling. It has heavier steering than the cross, but still comfortably dives into turns, and rides like it’s on rails on the open highway. Though the rear shock is not air adjustable on the Vintage, it is mechanically adjustable. I don’t ride two-up very often, but have on one occasion with my daughter, and had no noticeable issues leaving the adjustment at nominal. The high speed handling is excellent, and though I’ve heard some criticize the low speed handling, I’ve had no issue with it. The low speed handling is consistent with an 835 lbs., 68.1” wheelbase, heavy cruiser. It takes a bit of skill, but is more consistent with learning the nuances of any new bike. The transmission is very smooth, neutral is easy to find. No fishing around for neutral like on some bikes. The transmission is very positive in the shift, without being clunky, a definite refinement from my Vic or HD’s. The Thunderstroke 111 is certainly the jewel at the heart of this machine. Torque galore, smooth running, and the deep throaty sound of a finely tuned musical instrument, I have the stage 1 kit installed, lovely! There is a bit of low RPM valve train noise, as expected, but this disappears quickly at cruise RPM. This engine is so torquey it will make you lazy on the shift because she’s capable of pulling hard at low freeway speed in 6th gear. The 111 cu inches really showed in the fuel economy, she’s thirsty! Initially showing about 32MPG during break-in, and rounding out to about 35MPG after. I was running between130-160 miles between fill ups with a bit of reserve to spare. I think this will improve, as I spent most of the ride at high altitude through the Rockies, and at speeds between 75-85 MPH. The engine break-in procedure is a bit unusual using throttle position instead of engine RPM. The throttle position restrictions are an interesting twist on a standard break-in, especially when trying to stay within the guidelines on a long open highway ride home. I did my best, but honestly, it’s hard to determine how much throttle you have applied at any given time. On a positive note, you could actually feel the engine scrubbing in and getting stronger as the miles ticked on. Interesting side note on the 500 mile service, the dealership sent an Indian oil filter with me so the Victory dealership in Cheyenne could change the oil and perform the service. The Vic guys, on their own, confirmed that it’s the same filter used in the 106, just an Indian Part Number.
So, what are my impressions of the 2014 Indian Chief Vintage after an 1800+ mile ride, and 2200+? I love this bike! Smooth running engine, smooth ride, nimble suspension, solid build, and finely finished down to the smallest detail, a big refinement from my Victory and Harleys. I love that I can pull the windshield/saddlebags and ride away on the classic. While I love her all dressed up, she really is a beauty all stripped down! Huh? Also, the Springfield Blue is gorgeous! Pictures don’t do this paint justice, and the tan saddle and bags really make it pop! I think she’ll be great for the long haul once she’s properly equipped with the rider backrest and highway pegs, possibly as good as or better than my Cross.
The only complaints that I can come up with have nothing to do with the machine. It’s communication between the mother ship, dealership, and customer. While I’m sure they have their hands full, the communication has been poor, and the only stop gap is the aggressive customer alternately calling the manufacturer and the dealership. I truly believe that the dealership was trying, they just didn’t seem to get any help from Polaris. Also, thrown in the mix for me was the General Manager leaving to work for another dealership, and a new General Manager taking over. While the new GM was a super nice guy, helpful, and tried his best, he was left to deal with a lack of information and a bunch of customers that he didn’t have established relationships with. Now don’t get me wrong, I would rather deal with this than any pretentious HD dealership, are there any that aren’t pretentious? My 1800+ mile ride home was made without a rider backrest or highway pegs. I wasn’t told that they were backordered until the day of pickup in Lincoln, NE., a bit late to make other arrangements. Maybe not a big deal for some, but after multiple abdominal surgeries, it’s a big deal for me. This is only a few of the laundry list of accessories that are currently backordered, including the concho for the windshield bag. The only other difficulty that comes to mind is a funny one, it taking at least 45 minutes to fuel because everyone wants to check out that “beautiful bike”. At least half of these looky-loos wouldn’t know a Harley from a Honda, but when you tell them what they’re looking at, they swell with pride…me too! The other half have a million questions, stories, and just want to chat. Not a bad problem to have! A bit wordy, but that's what I've got!
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for taking the time to post your impressions, and nicely done. I'm hitting the Chandler, AZ dealer's Demo days this weekend to give them a whirl. Could be dicey if one of them really speaks to me, since I just bought a new '14 Road King a month ago, which I like a lot, with 1200 miles on the clock and a 4-5 day trip coming up in a few days. Would have to get a smoking deal to be able to trade again, but who knows?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My blue Vintage #953 was delivered on Monday and our weather forcast is for rain all week with highs in the upper 40s. Bummer!! Thanks for your comprehensive review as I am now left with hopeing for an 'Indian Summer'(no pun intended). Had to spend my first day of ownership removing all the labels and stickers and a general cleaning. A company called Keyboard Express delivered my bike and I would highly recommend them to anyone considering shipping their bike anywhere. Bike is carried by a custom made motorcyle dolly in an insulated trailer and are loaded/unloaded by a platform elevator that is hidden and enclosed by the back doors. Bike is removed from the rolling dolly once rolled onto the road. These dolly wheels fold up for transport as the bike and dolly can not be moved until the wheels are lowered. Very clever and secure transport system. Because there were several pianos on the trailer with my bike, their trailers are insulated and heated so as not to damage the piano soundboards. After obtaining several eatimates for shipping, I asked the dealer who they would recommend and they said they use them all the time as they are very professional and have never had any complaints or problems.
Now if the weather would just coperate, I can write my own review.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great review!

I talked to the Indian rep at the test ride I went to and he said that Indian will have a heel-toe shifter available soon.
I have foot drop, so I can't ride without one.

 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks! That was a great review. Appreciate that you took the time to give us a taste of what we have to look forward to. Now I really can't wait for my Chieftain to get here. Be safe and continue to keep on enjoying the ride.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for taking the time to provide such a great riders view of your first 2K. Can't wait to start changing oil and replacing tires on my Chieftain...
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks, Tim. What a great, spot on, detailed review! Thanks for taking the time. I picked up my beautiful red Chieftain on Monday in Little Rock and then spent the day putting miles on it in the Arkansas countryside before returning to the dealer late in the day for my first oil change. I rode the 490 miles home yesterday and LOVE this motorcycle! LOVE it!!! Kudos to Gregory Polaris/Indian/Victory in Jacksonville, just northeast of Little Rock, too. Great folks!

My best bike ever and I've had a few.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Would be interested to hear from other new Indian owners aout MPG. 30's is not that great. I know terrain can play a big factor in things.

Another rider posted mid 40's. That's more like it for me.

Want to hear other numbers.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I've averaged 38-40 at, or near, sea level and higher elevations should do much better. It will improve as the engine gets some miles on it. That's at some pretty high speeds too. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Great review. I agree completly with your statements about the communication between the mothership and the dealers... I was supposed to go and pick up my Chief Classic today, but then was told at the last minute that my accessories weren't there... I spent most of the morning dealing with that issue (which was partially self inflicted as I made some tweaks at the last minute). The one item that I've never changed my mind about was that I know I need a windshield. Its only 45 degrees here in TN today, and I wanna ride dammit... Well after dealing with that all morning, it finally turned out that the windshield WAS at the dealership... However, I pissed away most of the day, and now have to wait another day to go pick it up... Thank goodness I only live 45 miles from my dealer otherwise I'd be very upset right now.
 
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Nice update/review. I'm looking forward to the day a new Indian is in my gargage.... especially after demo riding one last week.

Thanks!!
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
<span style='line-height: 115%; font-family: 'Calibri','sans-serif'; font-size: 11pt; mso-ascii-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family: Calibri; mso-fareast-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-hansi-theme-font: minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family: 'Times New Roman'; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-bidi; mso-ansi-language: EN-US; mso-fareast-language: EN-US; mso-bidi-language: AR-SA;'>Believe it or not, I forgot to mention something. While riding through Eastern Oregon (31' on the ambient temp) I found that just between the rear cylinder and the trim panel is a nice little area to alternately warm your hands, very nice, and easy to find.</span>
 
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update:

My average fuel economy has now settled in at about 42 mpg. I'm sure the lower numbers were a result of the break-in, high altitude riding, and higher freeway speeds.
 
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great reviews and information about the new Indian. I'm getting an average of 38 - 41 mpg according to the gauge. I have not tried to figure it out the old fashioned way tank-by-tank. Your point about the fit and trim is right-on. The bike is beautiful, sounds great and is powerful as hell. Even Harley dudes come over and admire it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
<em>As others have said, Great Review!

I was all set to order a black Vintage if I do move on getting an Indian. Now, the more that I see the blue, the more I'm liking it and I still haven't seen them in person. I'm going down to the Charlotte dealership in NC on Monday to see them. Hopefully, I'll keep my senses about me and not allow myself to jump the gun an order one that same day, lol.
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
19917 said:
<em>As others have said, Great Review!

I was all set to order a black Vintage if I do move on getting an Indian. Now, the more that I see the blue, the more I'm liking it and I still haven't seen them in person. I'm going down to the Charlotte dealership in NC on Monday to see them. Hopefully, I'll keep my senses about me and not allow myself to jump the gun an order one that same day, lol.
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Thanks! I'll tell ya, I haven't seen a picture that does the Springfield blue justice, it's just plain beautiful! Enjoy the visit to Charlotte, I'm sure you'll see what I mean.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Great review, my Vintange mirrors what you have reported. My mileage is a little less due to wrist condition, I just can't stop twisting it to enjoy the motor. I'll keep and eye on the fringe and exhaust pipes. My bike doesn't seem to have any of the fringe touching but a quick snip can fix that.
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
11345 said:
Great review, my Vintange mirrors what you have reported. My mileage is a little less due to wrist condition, I just can't stop twisting it to enjoy the motor. I'll keep and eye on the fringe and exhaust pipes. My bike doesn't seem to have any of the fringe touching but a quick snip can fix that.
I think the wrist condition is contagious, I'm sure it was a factor in my initial MPG! As for the pipe scratches, I spoke with the dealership about them, and the fact that it was right side only. They recomended trying a chrome polish called White Diamond, and said if that didn't help they would recomend that I put in a warranty claim. Gave the polish a shot today took about 5 min, and it looks perfect once again.
 
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