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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i plan on getting a chief dark horse this coming December, but may get an itchy trigger finger and get one sooner if the conditions are right. i have been scouring over the internet and multiple forums trying to soak up as much information as i can about this particular model and the things surrounding it, but also have some general questions. a lot of my questions pertain to EFI tuning so i will try to exclude those from here and post those in a more appropriate place later as i go on, and i'll place any specific questions pertaining to the dark horse in the dark horse forum if they don't get addressed here. so here are pretty much the main things i'm still looking to find out:

1)besides the 3 ride modes and rear cylinder deactivation and paint/color scheme, are there any other differences between the '19 model and previous year dark horses? some have mentioned here there could be different shock/seat height/intake manifold size/cam chain tensioner/or possible chassis differences from previous years. the '20 model has been purported to have a 25 degree front end rake vs. 30 degree on previous years and an adjustable rear shock.

2)has anyone had any issues after removing their catalytic converter? ie. a rougher tune/ridability?

3)what would necessitate an oil cooler? just upgrading to a big bore kit?

4)have there been any issues with rear cylinder deactivation that weren't resolved with an upgraded tune/ECU flash?

5)how do stage 1 mods affect the 3 ride modes of the dark horse? does this mapping stay the same no matter which exhaust/air you put on?

6)is there any difference between the 3 ride modes besides throttle mapping?

7)does the ECU fuel mapping adapt to individual rider characteristics/conditions as time/miles are put on? such as fuel trims or air/fuel ratios. does it 'learn'? if you pick up a used bike then will the ECU characteristics it developed for the previous rider/conditions change as you ride it?

8)what is the typical break-in periods for a new dark horse? do they check anything differently than any other manufacturor production bike (oil change, inspect nuts/bolts/belt)? are you encouraged to stay below a certain RPM or 'baby' it for the first X number of miles?

9)anybody feel the clutch lever is somewhat heavier versus other makes/models of bikes? i test rode what i believe was an Indian Vintage some time around 2014/15 and was surprised by how heavy it felt to just pull the clutch lever which made me think at the time that bike was more suited to highway travel. most of my riding will be my daily commute. someone mentioned that i may have ridden a bike produced out of Kings Mountain and those bikes were notably 'heavier' feeling before production moved to Spirit Lake. any insight on this?

any responses to any of these questions i have are greatly appreciated. i've definitely decided on getting this bike (barring some horrible reaction from a future test ride), but these are still some things i'd like to know beforehand.
 

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1)besides the 3 ride modes and rear cylinder deactivation and paint/color scheme, are there any other differences between the '19 model and previous year dark horses? some have mentioned here there could be different shock/seat height/intake manifold size/cam chain tensioner/or possible chassis differences from previous years. the '20 model has been purported to have a 25 degree front end rake vs. 30 degree on previous years and an adjustable rear shock.

Yea I think most of the bikes now are the 25 degree rake. In 2018 they updated pistons and cam chain tensioners. In 2019 they added the heavy duty valve springs as standard.

2)has anyone had any issues after removing their catalytic converter? ie. a rougher tune/ridability?

The CAT on these bikes is where both pipes meet at the 2 into1 into 2 header. The CAT has little to zero effect on performance. The only reason to remove it is for heat. The CAT is however not easy to remove, it has to be cut out. However there are many places that will do it for you, and there are many non CAT header options as well.

3)what would necessitate an oil cooler? just upgrading to a big bore kit?

Oil Coolers were stock at one time but are now only stock on the Chieftains and Roadmaster's. I have a Chieftain so I have the oil cooler so others who don't may chime in.

4)have there been any issues with rear cylinder deactivation that weren't resolved with an upgraded tune/ECU flash? This appeared on 2019 and later models and have heard zero issues from others about it.

5)how do stage 1 mods affect the 3 ride modes of the dark horse? does this mapping stay the same no matter which exhaust/air you put on?

Zero, Ride modes are simply throttle mapping. These bikes have fly by wire throttle (no cables) the Ride modes simply control how fast the throttle ramps up based on grip twist.

6)is there any difference between the 3 ride modes besides throttle mapping? Nope Zero

7)does the ECU fuel mapping adapt to individual rider characteristics/conditions as time/miles are put on? such as fuel trims or air/fuel ratios. does it 'learn'? if you pick up a used bike then will the ECU characteristics it developed for the previous rider/conditions change as you ride it?

In closed loop operation (O2 sensor controls mixture) is where short term and long term fuel trims are set. This simply helps the O2 get the AF set quicker in closed loop, but nothing else is stored like cars do.

8)what is the typical break-in periods for a new dark horse? do they check anything differently than any other manufacturor production bike (oil change, inspect nuts/bolts/belt)? are you encouraged to stay below a certain RPM or 'baby' it for the first X number of miles? Typical 500 mile break in, but others will tell you the rode like they stole it.

9)anybody feel the clutch lever is somewhat heavier versus other makes/models of bikes? i test rode what i believe was an Indian Vintage some time around 2014/15 and was surprised by how heavy it felt to just pull the clutch lever which made me think at the time that bike was more suited to highway travel. most of my riding will be my daily commute. someone mentioned that i may have ridden a bike produced out of Kings Mountain and those bikes were notably 'heavier' feeling before production moved to Spirit Lake. any insight on this?

I find the clutch pull is pretty light compared to may bikes, but I have 4XXXL size hands too. The friction zone is pretty wide and nice, not like the ON/Off feel on many metric bikes. Also the Kings Mountain bikes have zero at all in common with the bikes made today 2014+. Not even close. Polaris simply continued the Kings Mountain bikes to finish up the outstanding orders. And then they were put to rest.

any responses to any of these questions i have are greatly appreciated. i've definitely decided on getting this bike (barring some horrible reaction from a future test ride), but these are still some things i'd like to know beforehand.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
awesome. thanks for taking the time. forgot to add one more:

10)are exhaust tips between different companies generally interchangeable between several different pipes? seems like there are tips from one company that can be installed onto pipes from someone else. do you check with maker before doing this or are tips pretty much universal?
 

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I'm a 5'2" lady and I don't find the clutch lever any more difficult than my past large cruisers.
 
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