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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone,

Prospective buyer here, been dithering and procrastinating on a decision to buy an Indian Vintage for a while now. Where I live, one has to auction a kidney to buy one of these ... well not exactly, but you catch my drift. We have very high customs duties in my country and that pushes the prices of imported motorcycles up crazy high. I mean craaaaazaaayyyy high ! . So, buying one is not for the feint of heart and one tends to research endlessly before making the call. For the above cost reason too, dealers tend not to keep demos in all models, so Caveat emptor as they say ... mess up and you have a rapidly depreciating expensive lump on your hands, with very limited resale prospects.

Ok stage set for the 🧚‍♀️delicate🌷 question :- I have been keeping an eye on Indian motorcycle owner forums and FB Indian Motorcycle groups and am noticing many low mileage Indian bikes for sale (alas not in my country) as well as comments on electric faults and stalling engines in 97 degree F and above ambient heat conditions. I am curious whether the large number of low miles bikes on sale is a manifestation of "owner fatigue"😰 so to speak, with annoying niggles and technical issues of the kind I mentioned above as the cause, or is there absolutely no co-relation ?

As explained above, this is purely a question to learn and understand what I would be going in for as an owner... crunch time to take a call on the buy is very near and I would really like to walk into whatever I am going to walk into, with eyes open wide. This is not an attempt to attack the brand or marquee - I am besotted 🥰 by the Vintage (both Crimson and Deep water tan) but the last thing I can afford to make is a very big and expensive mistake.

Again I clarify, that is from the perspective of a person who HATES to keep running to dealerships for repairs and fault corrections .... so bottom line is - do these bikes give a lot of trouble ? Do they have gremlins in the Electricals ? Are there ANY major known issues from a technical or design basis, that cause recurring faults and breakdowns ? For example ,I have been reading that a forum member has had his 2021 RM quit on him a few times while riding - a few times, If I recall, in the middle of an overtake 😳 apparently he is yet to find the reason for this. It is this kind of concern I have because one of the main things I want, is a bike I can rely on and ride with no fear of regular breakdowns or conk outs mid route. Thanks in advance and would really like to hear some honest opinions.🙏
 

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All modern vehicle models have a certain percentage of units produced which seem to have more than their share of "issues". People who have these particular units seem to be much more vocal about it than those who are happy with their purchases. This can create a false impression as to the actual prevalence of issues. As the degree of technology incorporated into vehicles has increased, so has the number of possible failure points. Anything made by man will eventually break. Personally, I've been very fortunate in this regard and my 2014 Chief Classic has provided me with over 137,000 miles of relatively trouble free pleasure. Some owners have not been so fortunate. This isn't an indictment of Indian motorcycles in particular, just the current state of the industry in general. If you live in a country where there is limited or non-existent access to factor support, I would recommend against buying one of these machines, as there are potential failures that are not possible to repair without it. Other than that, the chance of getting a problematic vehicle by buying an Indian isn't any greater than you'd have with any other brand. If you have a dealer at hand, and really want one, go for it and enjoy the ride. ;)
 

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2021 Indian Springfield Darkhorse, bought in April rode it in 30-50 degree weather, no issues. Currently in the high 90's here,(got to love Minnesota weather.) I have 1500 miles, ride every day and haven't seen any issues as of yet. I think part of it is lemons, every vehicle manufacturer deals with that. I would not hesitate to buy one if it is what you want. 2 wheels move my soul and I am going to enjoy it while I can.
 

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I love my '15 Vintage. IMHO it's a down right sexy ride (o: and has been pretty much trouble free. But I'd be hesitant to buy an Indian if there wasn't a dealer available in case a fix is needed that I couldn't fix myself. I've been riding two wheels for better than 50 years, 99% HDs. I never did or needed to take any of them to a dealer for service or repairs, I maintained and fixed issues myself. My Vintage went to the dealer once, my 1st dealer experience, for a stage 2 cam swap, and it was not a good experience. Just food for thought. That said, happy shopping!! Post #2 by @WhizzbangK.C. says it better than me.
 

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I too am a prospective buyer. Awaiting delivery now. Remember the movie High Anxiety? Pointless to worry. IIRC, Polaris has a reported problem rate of about 14%. I think this rate is accepted within US standards. A certain Bavarian company has a much higher incidence rate. I believe UK producers are also at about 14%. Japanese producers fair a little better but it's really not comparing apples. In addition, we have the Covid thing screwing up everything imaginable so yea go worry, but it's useless to do so. Pretty sure if you buy the bike today, you'll be pleased as punch for quite a few years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
All modern vehicle models have a certain percentage of units produced which seem to have more than their share of "issues". People who have these particular units seem to be much more vocal about it than those who are happy with their purchases. This can create a false impression as to the actual prevalence of issues. As the degree of technology incorporated into vehicles has increased, so has the number of possible failure points. Anything made by man will eventually break. Personally, I've been very fortunate in this regard and my 2014 Chief Classic has provided me with over 137,000 miles of relatively trouble free pleasure. Some owners have not been so fortunate. This isn't an indictment of Indian motorcycles in particular, just the current state of the industry in general. If you live in a country where there is limited or non-existent access to factor support, I would recommend against buying one of these machines, as there are potential failures that are not possible to repair without it. Other than that, the chance of getting a problematic vehicle by buying an Indian isn't any greater than you'd have with any other brand. If you have a dealer at hand, and really want one, go for it and enjoy the ride. ;)
Thank you ... I agree with all your observations. We actually do have dealerships for Indian here and Polaris is entrenched deeply in my market because they are big suppliers to the Government and armed forces. The likelihood of getting support is high - it may not be instant and it may take them some time to sort out issues but they would e able to support . Tech in bikes is a double edged sword. Was discussing the other day with someone about whether or not all the new tech on bikes takes away from the "real riding experience" (whatever that may be defined as) like one used to have on the older non ECU bikes. However, I for one would not like to buy a motorcycle without ABS ... I guess its different strokes for different folks and some people like dials and some like screens :) the important thing is we all love bikes🤝
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
2021 Indian Springfield Darkhorse, bought in April rode it in 30-50 degree weather, no issues. Currently in the high 90's here,(got to love Minnesota weather.) I have 1500 miles, ride every day and haven't seen any issues as of yet. I think part of it is lemons, every vehicle manufacturer deals with that. I would not hesitate to buy one if it is what you want. 2 wheels move my soul and I am going to enjoy it while I can.
True that - happy miles mate 🤜🤛
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I love my '15 Vintage. IMHO it's a down right sexy ride (o: and has been pretty much trouble free. But I'd be hesitant to buy an Indian if there wasn't a dealer available in case a fix is needed that I couldn't fix myself. I've been riding two wheels for better than 50 years, 99% HDs. I never did or needed to take any of them to a dealer for service or repairs, I maintained and fixed issues myself. My Vintage went to the dealer once, my 1st dealer experience, for a stage 2 cam swap, and it was not a good experience. Just food for thought. That said, happy shopping!! Post #2 by @WhizzbangK.C. says it better than me.
Thanks :)🖖
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I too am a prospective buyer. Awaiting delivery now. Remember the movie High Anxiety? Pointless to worry. IIRC, Polaris has a reported problem rate of about 14%. I think this rate is accepted within US standards. A certain Bavarian company has a much higher incidence rate. I believe UK producers are also at about 14%. Japanese producers fair a little better but it's really not comparing apples. In addition, we have the Covid thing screwing up everything imaginable so yea go worry, but it's useless to do so. Pretty sure if you buy the bike today, you'll be pleased as punch for quite a few years.
I am inclined to that view too :)(y)
 

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I have a 15 vintage,love this bike,and have only changed the battery once ,tires multiple times and oil every spring.thats the only trouble.
For the bad,leather was changed in 15, I guess folks whined about taking care of real leather,so it was changed to crap that peals and mine has a hole in it now.
And you can't work on timing or access digital wrench,has to be a dealer.that sucks but Harley is doing that too.
16 they did away with the oil cooler.
That's all I can think of,don't own a water wagon(challenger)
Have a older Harley, best bike evermade ( other than my vintage)
I think if a guy put electronic ignition and a carb on a 111 engine,a guy could have a forever bike that Nevers sees a dealer for repairs.
 

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As said before any vehicle of any brand has some degree of failures. Indian is a quality product, and you will most likely have many miles of trouble free riding with it. If there is a decent dealer nearby for backup then you increase those odds. What you’re reading about here and elsewhere are the exceptions to the rule.
Someone gets a flat tire; they fix it and go on their way. Someone gets an electrical short they cannot find; they reach out everywhere, including here, hoping for someone who had a similar problem that can guide them through it. And of course someone has a problem the dealer can’t or won’t help with and they post here hoping for support or advice.
Not sure how high craaaaazaaayyyy high is, but you’re right to consider that. Will you get a fair return of fun for your investment, compared to say a Hero? True the Hero might get lost in the crowd but your smart to consider the cost carefully. But don’t overthink it either - you’re losing riding time!
 

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2018 Indian Chieftain (Tanto) Steel Gray
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Another consideration is how many of these failures happened to stock bikes. Everyone likes to make these bikes their own. Which means adding electronics, intakes, and exhaust.
 

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I love my '15 Vintage. IMHO it's a down right sexy ride (o: and has been pretty much trouble free. But I'd be hesitant to buy an Indian if there wasn't a dealer available in case a fix is needed that I couldn't fix myself. I've been riding two wheels for better than 50 years, 99% HDs. I never did or needed to take any of them to a dealer for service or repairs, I maintained and fixed issues myself. My Vintage went to the dealer once, my 1st dealer experience, for a stage 2 cam swap, and it was not a good experience. Just food for thought. That said, happy shopping!! Post #2 by @WhizzbangK.C. says it better than me.
back from ban camp... did you get a tan?
 
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Forgot,the chrome and plastic parts,not so good.
If you have spoke wheels,the rain gets past the spokes and rusts inside the rim,tire shops don't clean,just slap a new tire on.
Best to seal inside under the rim strip right away,and while your at it seal inside fender seams and fender running light.
 

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I recently traded my 2014 Chieftain with 90,000 miles for a newer Roadmaster. I rode everywhere in the Southeast, in all kinds of weather (except snow), in temperatures from 30 to 105 degrees. The bike never let me down. I had a small oil leak early on the cam cover, the 2014 belt squeal at a bout 20,000 miles, and changed a voltage regulator at about
70, 000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As said before any vehicle of any brand has some degree of failures. Indian is a quality product, and you will most likely have many miles of trouble free riding with it. If there is a decent dealer nearby for backup then you increase those odds. What you’re reading about here and elsewhere are the exceptions to the rule.
Someone gets a flat tire; they fix it and go on their way. Someone gets an electrical short they cannot find; they reach out everywhere, including here, hoping for someone who had a similar problem that can guide them through it. And of course someone has a problem the dealer can’t or won’t help with and they post here hoping for support or advice.
Not sure how high craaaaazaaayyyy high is, but you’re right to consider that. Will you get a fair return of fun for your investment, compared to say a Hero? True the Hero might get lost in the crowd but your smart to consider the cost carefully. But don’t overthink it either - you’re losing riding time!
To be honest the prices here are not justified. The only way they could be even somehow, is subjectively i.e. how much joy and pleasure the bike gives one. When you cross the point of sanity with respect to rates of customs duties and registration taxes and inventive little cesses tagged on left and right, nothing is "worth it" 😰 . But the heart wants what the heart wants ... 100cc Heros dont hit the spot anymore ... they did 35 years ago when thats really all we were able to ride, but now... having tasted the big bores its really hard to get back to the little fellows again. I now look at it from a more holistic point of view, if I am going to get years of ownership joy and happiness from having it, and its not constantly breaking down and causing me headaches - then that can also be worth the stretch to get it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have a 15 vintage,love this bike,and have only changed the battery once ,tires multiple times and oil every spring.thats the only trouble.
For the bad,leather was changed in 15, I guess folks whined about taking care of real leather,so it was changed to crap that peals and mine has a hole in it now.
And you can't work on timing or access digital wrench,has to be a dealer.that sucks but Harley is doing that too.
16 they did away with the oil cooler.
That's all I can think of,don't own a water wagon(challenger)
Have a older Harley, best bike evermade ( other than my vintage)
I think if a guy put electronic ignition and a carb on a 111 engine,a guy could have a forever bike that Nevers sees a dealer for repairs.
I agree, and particularly with your last sentence :) I had a BSA BB31 1956 model many years ago - mechanical points - endless fiddling required to keep it running .....and then I had a BMW R series old air cooled air head boxer - electronic ignition and twin Bing Carbs - the Beemer is still with me and starts every single time - rain or shine. Clunky box and dull rear breaks notwithstanding, needs little maintenance and keeps ticking on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
My 2018 Roadmaster has right at 20,000 miles and the only thing done was a gear shift sensor recall. Any brand will have problems. But the internet will exacerbate the perception of the problems.
you are quite right in saying that .
 
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