The Springfield has been a very anticipated model here at the dealership. We knew somewhere along the line Indian had to come out with at least an option to put hard bags on a Classic or Vintage style Chief. It was something that people were asking for and we passed that feedback up to the guys at Indian HQ. They got it, and have responded with a model that is, at least dynamically, the best performing Chief yet in my opinion!
Quick Ride Review:
As with most of my first ride impressions, I took a new Springfield to lunch for some familiarity miles. The route I take compromises only a few short miles each way, but it's got enough of a variety to get a solid idea of what a bike's all about. The first thing you notice is the low speed manners. The reduced trail and sharper-raked touring chassis make for a very nimble 800+ pounds. The pull back bars are a bit different from anything offered from Indian till' now and are spot on for quick maneuvers. You can feel the advantage of the added leverage through the bars. The air assist shock gives an awesome ride independent of load, and the chassis just gives tons of feedback. Engine wise, nothing's changed. Still, not that the 111 motor needs much in the way of improvements. It's the same endless torque and smooth response as always. I must say though that I'm looking forward to trying those new performance cams!
My usual ride at home is a 14' Vintage, and as much as I LOVE the saddle leather bags, the convenience of the hard bags has finally won me over. They are spacious, water-tight, have a power socket, and are remote lockable. The lids are also hinged from the front so the lid open towards you on the side of the road. It's hard to explain but this makes a world of difference in practice out in the real world! The Springfield adds a level of convenience that my Vintage trades for timeless style in a sort of form over function approach. The Springfield, on the other hand, is all about style, performance, and function.
Indian has given us all the right ingredients to make this a serious back roads touring machine.
Here's some up close detail shots: