Indian Motorcycle Forum banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of MAY's Ride of the Month Challenge!

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
2020 Chief Dark Horse
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last week my buddy brought home his new Chief Dark Horse Bobber and we got in a great ride over the weekend on the Peak to Peak Highway here in Colorado. I joined him on my 2020 Chief Dark Horse (which Indian now calls a Vintage Dark Horse) and we traded rides a few times to compare the two. It pains me to call my bike anything other than what it is but to avoid confusion in this post I’ll refer to my bike as a “Vintage” and his as a “Chief”. I’ll start off by saying the only two things these bikes really have in common is the name and the price.

When you first sit on any of the new Chiefs you can tell right away that it is has a completely different feel than the Vintage. The lighter weight, handlebar position, narrower profile and more compact seat provide a more nimble and sportier stance. It’s easier to maneuver at slow speeds and the mini apes of the bobber make the low center of gravity seem even lower than it is. The difference between the bikes here is not subtle. The Chief had an aggressive, nimble, fists in the wind feel to it. By contrast the Vintage is more grounded, committed, roomy, and stable.

The differences continued to rack up during our ride. Even though my Vintage has had some engine upgrades it was hard not to notice the response of the 116 bolted into a bike weighing a 100 lbs less. I nearly pulled a muscle holding myself back as I tried to respect the recommended break-in rpms of my buddy’s new bike but the Chief wanted to run. Torque and horsepower aside, the weight difference became obvious. On the mountain roads there was no need to take it out of 4th gear. When people start upgrading these bikes they are going to be monsters.

But in terms of overall riding experience the biggest differences didn’t come from the engine. The riding positions of the mid controls/mini-ape set-up of the Chief are so different than the shoulders back/feet forward position on the Vintage that they really can’t be compared. They’re simply two different bikes this regard.

When it comes to handling the similarities were also few. The Chief was not twitchy but it was responsive. Best compared by example; when I hopped off my Vintage and onto the Chief it was on a particularly winding stretch of road and I found myself inadvertently hugging the inside of every corner because it was so much easier to steer. When I tried to simply throttle out of the situation, I found that all I did was go faster, not wider in the turn. The Vintage by comparison was more solid in the corners. Perhaps not as quick in terms of throwing it around or changing directions but absolutely smooth and predictable at every bend in the road.

The seat and suspension of the new Chief were adequate for a 200 mile ride but might become taxing for some beyond that. A lot depends on the condition of the road. I expect that aftermarket mods will smooth out some of the bumps but this is where the Vintage shines. Comfort is subjective but I prefer to be able to stretch out a bit and appreciate the softer ride over long distances. As far as vibration goes when riding the Chief I noticed it was hard to tell when glancing in the mirror which rider was behind me but on the Vintage I could see as clearly as if I were sitting still.

The Vintage also comes out ahead in terms of storage and seating although I expect there will be a wide range of options in the Chief’s future.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the new touchscreen on the Chief. Indian nailed it with this one. The screens are laid out well and it’s bright enough to see in all lighting conditions. Navigation is long overdue, and great to have on a cruiser. I also like its position on the handlebars which puts it in your field of view without having to turn your head down to the tank.

We didn’t test any two-up riding but if you’re going to bring a passenger the Vintage makes more sense. I’ve only seen pictures of a new Chief with a passenger pillion, but it looks like its really just made for bar hopping.

I could keep going on about the details but after comparing notes with my buddy at the end of the ride we agreed that both bikes are an absolute blast to ride but are very different. Both do their jobs really well and are very versatile with different strengths. I’m glad Indian brought this new Chief into the lineup and after spending some time on it I’m sure it’s going to do well.

633167
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Nice write-up.

On a side note, how do you like that Corbin seat? Do you have any photos of your bike with out the lower back rests on it?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
2020 Chief Dark Horse
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice write-up.

On a side note, how do you like that Corbin seat? Do you have any photos of your bike with out the lower back rests on it?

Thanks
Thanks. I do like the Corbin seat. I didn't actually have any complaints about the stock seat but was looking for a backrest when this option came up for sale here on the forum. It does sit back a little further than I was expecting. If you're not at least 5' 10" tall you might consider another option or your arms will be stretched out more than you wanted.


633185
 

·
Registered
2022 Chief Bobber Dark Horse, 2021 Indian Vintage, 2019 Indian FTR-RR, 1977 Yamaha XS750
Joined
·
329 Posts
Your review is spot on. I own a Vintage and a Chief Bobber Dark Horse. I love them both. They are two completely different bikes. The Chief indeed is a beast. (My stage1 upgrades for both bikes are supposed to arrive this week.)
EA4004EA-A334-4726-8CEC-2BB1C9186AAC.jpeg
 

·
Registered
2020 Chief Dark Horse
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Your review is spot on. I own a Vintage and a Chief Bobber Dark Horse. I love them both. They are two completely different bikes. The Chief indeed is a beast. (My stage1 upgrades for both bikes are supposed to arrive this week.)
View attachment 633197
Nice Stable!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
What a beautiful "Vintage", great comparison you wrote up. I get my Dark Horse this month and am super anxious.
 

·
Premium Member
2019 Chieftain Base++++
Joined
·
455 Posts
All I can say is "go Indian" first the Challenger now the new Chief, keep em coming Indian, keep em coming, I'm sure we will see a new bike with the power plus in the next few years. Though I will say the name changes with the Chief seem a bit dumb and confusing, but whatever.
 

·
Founding member / Distinguished
Joined
·
5,253 Posts
Having had a Scout for just over a year and knowing what the ride is like with those very slanted twin shocks over rough pavement, I believe the new Chief models will ride pretty near the same. More than likely very harsh jolts to the ass and spine. That being said it's a very attractive bike and should be about as nimble handling as the Scout.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,415 Posts
Last week my buddy brought home his new Chief Dark Horse Bobber and we got in a great ride over the weekend on the Peak to Peak Highway here in Colorado. I joined him on my 2020 Chief Dark Horse (which Indian now calls a Vintage Dark Horse) and we traded rides a few times to compare the two. It pains me to call my bike anything other than what it is but to avoid confusion in this post I’ll refer to my bike as a “Vintage” and his as a “Chief”. I’ll start off by saying the only two things these bikes really have in common is the name and the price.

When you first sit on any of the new Chiefs you can tell right away that it is has a completely different feel than the Vintage. The lighter weight, handlebar position, narrower profile and more compact seat provide a more nimble and sportier stance. It’s easier to maneuver at slow speeds and the mini apes of the bobber make the low center of gravity seem even lower than it is. The difference between the bikes here is not subtle. The Chief had an aggressive, nimble, fists in the wind feel to it. By contrast the Vintage is more grounded, committed, roomy, and stable.

The differences continued to rack up during our ride. Even though my Vintage has had some engine upgrades it was hard not to notice the response of the 116 bolted into a bike weighing a 100 lbs less. I nearly pulled a muscle holding myself back as I tried to respect the recommended break-in rpms of my buddy’s new bike but the Chief wanted to run. Torque and horsepower aside, the weight difference became obvious. On the mountain roads there was no need to take it out of 4th gear. When people start upgrading these bikes they are going to be monsters.

But in terms of overall riding experience the biggest differences didn’t come from the engine. The riding positions of the mid controls/mini-ape set-up of the Chief are so different than the shoulders back/feet forward position on the Vintage that they really can’t be compared. They’re simply two different bikes this regard.

When it comes to handling the similarities were also few. The Chief was not twitchy but it was responsive. Best compared by example; when I hopped off my Vintage and onto the Chief it was on a particularly winding stretch of road and I found myself inadvertently hugging the inside of every corner because it was so much easier to steer. When I tried to simply throttle out of the situation, I found that all I did was go faster, not wider in the turn. The Vintage by comparison was more solid in the corners. Perhaps not as quick in terms of throwing it around or changing directions but absolutely smooth and predictable at every bend in the road.

The seat and suspension of the new Chief were adequate for a 200 mile ride but might become taxing for some beyond that. A lot depends on the condition of the road. I expect that aftermarket mods will smooth out some of the bumps but this is where the Vintage shines. Comfort is subjective but I prefer to be able to stretch out a bit and appreciate the softer ride over long distances. As far as vibration goes when riding the Chief I noticed it was hard to tell when glancing in the mirror which rider was behind me but on the Vintage I could see as clearly as if I were sitting still.

The Vintage also comes out ahead in terms of storage and seating although I expect there will be a wide range of options in the Chief’s future.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the new touchscreen on the Chief. Indian nailed it with this one. The screens are laid out well and it’s bright enough to see in all lighting conditions. Navigation is long overdue, and great to have on a cruiser. I also like its position on the handlebars which puts it in your field of view without having to turn your head down to the tank.

We didn’t test any two-up riding but if you’re going to bring a passenger the Vintage makes more sense. I’ve only seen pictures of a new Chief with a passenger pillion, but it looks like its really just made for bar hopping.

I could keep going on about the details but after comparing notes with my buddy at the end of the ride we agreed that both bikes are an absolute blast to ride but are very different. Both do their jobs really well and are very versatile with different strengths. I’m glad Indian brought this new Chief into the lineup and after spending some time on it I’m sure it’s going to do well.

View attachment 633167
I appreciate and enjoyed the write up!
Love the picture! I saved it!
Those bikes look great together!

I still much prefer the Vintage over the new Chief over all, but as an Indian fanatic, I am psyched for the new model.

I did not hear any hint from you of any desire to change bikes.

Riding a Scout at the moment....I need an FTR and then I will get a Vintage DH. I change bikes every year or two. Haven't found THE one yet!
 

·
Registered
2020 Chief Dark Horse
Joined
·
39 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I appreciate and enjoyed the write up!
Love the picture! I saved it!
Those bikes look great together!

I still much prefer the Vintage over the new Chief over all, but as an Indian fanatic, I am psyched for the new model.

I did not hear any hint from you of any desire to change bikes.

Riding a Scout at the moment....I need an FTR and then I will get a Vintage DH. I change bikes every year or two. Haven't found THE one yet!
Thanks. Honestly never considered changing bikes. They're both great rides but I tend to buy and hold. My daily driver is 17 years old and I've been married even longer than that.
 

·
Senior member / rider
Joined
·
1,307 Posts
I appreciate and enjoyed the write up!
Love the picture! I saved it!
Those bikes look great together!

I still much prefer the Vintage over the new Chief over all, but as an Indian fanatic, I am psyched for the new model.

I did not hear any hint from you of any desire to change bikes.

Riding a Scout at the moment....I need an FTR and then I will get a Vintage DH. I change bikes every year or two. Haven't found THE one yet!
No such thing as “THE one”. Just ask my checkbook!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Thanks. I do like the Corbin seat. I didn't actually have any complaints about the stock seat but was looking for a backrest when this option came up for sale here on the forum. It does sit back a little further than I was expecting. If you're not at least 5' 10" tall you might consider another option or your arms will be stretched out more than you wanted.


View attachment 633185
Thanks for the pic.

I find that the stock seat is too soft, and I'd like to be an inch or 2 further back, so the Corbin sounds like an option for me.
 

·
Rider
Joined
·
1,311 Posts
Two great bikes and one great review.

If I was 20 years younger I might take a serious look at the new Chief. But I'm not and I very, very happy with my DH Chieftain.

Like others, just really glad that Indian (Polaris) is making these kids of moves to stay on top of the heap ! ! !





BD
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,415 Posts
No such thing as “THE one”. Just ask my checkbook!
I often envy the guys that find "the one" and are happy dumping gobs of money into their baby and never hardly look at another bike.

I am a one woman man.

I am a polygamist with motorcycles. Never want to overdo upgrades cuz someone else will be enjoying them in a year or two, lol.

Also have 16 fiddles and half dozen guitars....

Don't ask about guns and knives, lol.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14 Posts
I saw a 2022 Chief a couple of weeks ago at the dealer. I want one. I have a 2019 Springfield and a BWM R1250 GSA (which I just got by trading in my 2018 BMW R nineT). The 2022 Chief was designed by Ola Stenegard the head of design at Indian. He used to be the head of design at BMW and he also designed the R nineT. I clearly see his mark on the new Chief and the customization potential.
Question: are those tubed tires on the 2022 Chief bobber with the spokes?
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top