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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
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.
Thanks Dan. By any standard that is a reliable set of wheels (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
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.
I had actually not considered that - fair point (y)
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
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.
Thanks for that . Shall keep it in mind. I had heard that sometimes the chrome strip on the valance fenders looses colour but then who knows how many bikes it happens to 🤷‍♂️
 

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I think you should decide what it is about the Indian you have fallen in love with, looks, V-twin vibe, owning a classic etc. and consider whether those love points will always outway any negatives. Kinda like a good marriage.

I'm lucky enough to have a number of bikes, three of them are big bikes, all cruiser types, RM, Goldwing and Triumph Rocket touring. Deciding which to ride is tricky because though they are all different characters I like each of them, none is perfect but if I crashed them all and could only replace one of them it wouldn't be the Indian. If they were women I'd choose one of the other two...just the balance of forces.
 

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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.
Have a friend that has an old beemer,still runs,he rides it often.
Has the Earl front end.i think I said that right.
 

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I think you have made up your mind.

The Vintage is a classic, beautiful Indian and they look so 1946 in the two-tone paint jobs.

And I wouldn't worry about the tech issues too much. The Vintage and Springfield have some hidden tech that is viewable in the speedo, but just the basic stuff. ABS, ability to see the code # if something happens, and basic mandated tech features controlled by the various department of transportation requirements industry wide. Like the stupid side stand sensor.

But overall a Vintage is still an old school air cooled twin. Keep the battery and frame grounds tight and ride on. It also is only a TS111 engine so lower heat issues from the rear jug and a proven by years of production size and durability compared to the newer 116 configurations. There is one guy, Larry, that has surpassed 400K on his bike with his major issues being a voltage regulator and like two starters. Of course, I am not counting batteries, brakes, tires, clutches, etc.

The newer Vintage has lost some of the old look with the shorter rake and differing trail, but it gains in the that it comes with the adjustable air shock vs the old style spanner shock adjustments and is easier to turn in parking lots with the different neck configuration and etc.

My 17 Springfield, knock on wood, will hit 37k this week and I have only changed the oil in the big picture. I had a bad Foxx racing shock from the factory that was replaced at the 5k service (the shock itself was leaking some fluid; not the air valve connection) and some crinkling chrome strips on the front fender done under warranty that is it. I did not do the gear position sensor recall. My dealer simply cleaned the frame ground, have it a better bonding point, and tightened it. So the old one is still working and have ridden on for another 17k since my first minor --- gps issues showed up well before the recall. My tech at A.N was a master tech for Polaris so I had a good guy that has spent his entire career working on only Victory's and then Indians. So he wasn't a newbie.

To date, my Springfield is and remains the best bike I have ever owned.

I love my 2001 Gilroy Indian for what it is, but there is really no comparison, None of my other bikes came any where near the reliability of this bike. Those include: my 2001 Indian Spirit, my 2007 Heritage Springer, my 81 Low Rider, and my first street ride a 1975 Kawasaki KZ440.
 
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“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.”
Yup. Exactly - that’s the “Return On Investment” we are all looking for from these machines.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I think you should decide what it is about the Indian you have fallen in love with, looks, V-twin vibe, owning a classic etc. and consider whether those love points will always outway any negatives. Kinda like a good marriage.

I'm lucky enough to have a number of bikes, three of them are big bikes, all cruiser types, RM, Goldwing and Triumph Rocket touring. Deciding which to ride is tricky because though they are all different characters I like each of them, none is perfect but if I crashed them all and could only replace one of them it wouldn't be the Indian. If they were women I'd choose one of the other two...just the balance of forces.
Thanks :) I think the looks definitely pull at my heartstrings, I love the V Twin sound and torque, am a total retro nut and dont really like screens and music systems on bikes ....but tech wise, I know the Beemer cruisers, tourers and bagger as well as the Goldwings are way ahead of the Indians. But above all I am looking for reliability because the one thing that can kill the buzz is a buggy machine.
 

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Why yes, yes I did @high plains rider and thank you for asking. That, and realizing I'm afraid of the dark, HINK left the lights on for me :giggle:
Did you do something terribly awful or was it something awfully terrible? Most of your posts seemed to have been written with a wink and were usually entertaining reads.
 

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Thanks :) I think the looks definitely pull at my heartstrings....
Ah, be careful with that one. I too find the classic Indian to look beautiful. However, consider your riding and how you'll use the bike. How long are your journeys, what speeds you like to travel at, how you like to ride...lazy or scraping pegs? The torque thing is over rated imho, the bike gets along fine but loads of folk mess with trying to drag more power/torque from the engine. If you want muscle buy a Triumph Rocket, smoother, good manners and pulls like a train....ah, but it's not as pretty and that nice dress matters.
The V-twin is vibey, slow riding the engine is crude and snatchy and it's very much what gives the bike it's character, certain engine speeds produce different levels of vibe, all are tolerable for a while but if you're a long distance rider, having your eyeballs shaken continuously for three hours ceases to be fun..at least for me it does. On the other hand if you're a lower speed cruiser and need a stop for a ciggy every hour you'll likely be fine!
Can you hire one for a couple of days? Alternatively, wait a while till your love struck brain becomes rational again! o_O (y) It could be a long wait....
 

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OceanBreeze: I purchased a 2021 Vintage in September of 2020. Deep Water Blue/Dirt Track Tan. The styling is timeless. I absolutely love the old school look. It has all the modern features I needed. ABS brakes, three ride modes, rear cylinder deactivation, mono shock with air adjust, aluminum frame, etc. The bike is capable of long rides and touring but the windshield and bags can come off in minutes if you just want to cruise. I have 4,000 miles on now and have had zero problems or issues. The 111 Thunderstroke has been proven reliable. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Vintage so far. Once you move past the Vintage/Springfield models you start paying for Ride Command/infotainment/stereo systems and body work/fairings. The price escalates quickly. Depending on how you intend to use the bike, these can be viewed as absolute necessities or just more things to worry about.
I can highly recommend the Vintage. However it is not my only motorcycle. I have the luxury of owning three other street legal motorcycles and each is different from the Vintage.
 

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Ah, be careful with that one. I too find the classic Indian to look beautiful. However, consider your riding and how you'll use the bike. How long are your journeys, what speeds you like to travel at, how you like to ride...lazy or scraping pegs? The torque thing is over rated imho, the bike gets along fine but loads of folk mess with trying to drag more power/torque from the engine. If you want muscle buy a Triumph Rocket, smoother, good manners and pulls like a train....ah, but it's not a pretty and that nice dress matters.
The V-twin is vibey, slow riding the engine is crude and snatchy and it's very much what gives the bike it's character, certain engine speeds produce different levels of vibe, all are tolerable for a while but if you're a long distance rider, having your eyeballs shaken continuously for three hours ceases to be fun..at least for me it does. On the other hand if you're a lower speed cruiser and need a stop for a ciggy every hour you'll likely be fine!
Can you hire one for a couple of days? Alternatively, wait a while till your love struck brain becomes rational again! o_O (y) It could be a long wait....
;) Sorry, but I have to disagree with several of the blanket statements you've made here. I own a 2014 Chief Classic, 137,000+ miles all put on by me. I have been to all 48 contiguous states on it, coast to coast twice, many 700+ mile days and many 200+ mile rides between stops. Also many full tanks of fuel run out at over 85 MPH. Last week myself and a few friends put on over 2,200 miles. I pull a camping trailer regularly as well and my engine is completely stock, still has the original clutch pack in it. Although one can feel the engine vibration, it has never been bothersome or annoying, it has never been "crude and snatchy", and it has never "shaken my eyeballs". Of course, my other main bike is a 1979 Shovelhead, so I do know what all those terms mean and feel like. You are trying to equate all V-twins into the same category, and they most definitely are not equals. For one thing, the Thunderstroke engines have counterbalancers to smooth out the worst of the inherent imbalance. You do still feel some, at least on the first several years production, because the designers intentionally left a bit of vibration in to let you feel the engine running. Personally, if I can't sense the engine running through the bars, seat, and pegs/boards, I find a bike boring as hell to ride.:)
 

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;) Sorry, but I have to disagree with several of the blanket statements you've made here. I own a 2014 Chief Classic, 137,000+ miles all put on by me. I have been to all 48 contiguous states on it, coast to coast twice, many 700+ mile days and many 200+ mile rides between stops. Also many full tanks of fuel run out at over 85 MPH. Last week myself and a few friends put on over 2,200 miles. I pull a camping trailer regularly as well and my engine is completely stock, still has the original clutch pack in it. Although one can feel the engine vibration, it has never been bothersome or annoying, it has never been "crude and snatchy", and it has never "shaken my eyeballs". I also touch the floorboards down in curves on a regular basis and never feel as if I have to fight the bike through them, even with a trailer attached. Of course, my other main bike is a 1979 Shovelhead, so I do know what all those terms mean and feel like. You are trying to equate all V-twins into the same category, and they most definitely are not equals. For one thing, the Thunderstroke engines have counterbalancers to smooth out the worst of the inherent imbalance. You do still feel some, at least on the first several years production, because the designers intentionally left a bit of vibration in to let you feel the engine running. Personally, if I can't sense the engine running through the bars, seat, and pegs/boards, I find a bike boring as hell to ride.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Ah, be careful with that one. I too find the classic Indian to look beautiful. However, consider your riding and how you'll use the bike. How long are your journeys, what speeds you like to travel at, how you like to ride...lazy or scraping pegs? The torque thing is over rated imho, the bike gets along fine but loads of folk mess with trying to drag more power/torque from the engine. If you want muscle buy a Triumph Rocket, smoother, good manners and pulls like a train....ah, but it's not a pretty and that nice dress matters.
The V-twin is vibey, slow riding the engine is crude and snatchy and it's very much what gives the bike it's character, certain engine speeds produce different levels of vibe, all are tolerable for a while but if you're a long distance rider, having your eyeballs shaken continuously for three hours ceases to be fun..at least for me it does. On the other hand if you're a lower speed cruiser and need a stop for a ciggy every hour you'll likely be fine!
Can you hire one for a couple of days? Alternatively, wait a while till your love struck brain becomes rational again! o_O (y) It could be a long wait....
Sage advise (y) What amazes me is the different opinions people have of the same vehicle . Your description of the V Twin character are totally in keeping with my experience with the Heritage Classic - but people wax eloquent about the smoothness and lack of vibes on the Indian range . So its quite interesting to me . I am sure its about what is a persons riding style. I am a laid back cruising type of rider. Not a peg scraper at all. Have occasionally been tempted to be a hooligan on some bikes, one of the reasons I would stay away from the FTR for instance. I love speed but recognise that my skills cannot match the need for fast riding so I have learned to love the slower pace of things - i think it was a Clint Eastwood movie where he said " A Man must know his limitations":) Its a battle between heart and head.
 

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Sage advise (y) What amazes me is the different opinions people have of the same vehicle . Your description of the V Twin character are totally in keeping with my experience with the Heritage Classic - but people wax eloquent about the smoothness and lack of vibes on the Indian range . So its quite interesting to me . I am sure its about what is a persons riding style. I am a laid back cruising type of rider. Not a peg scraper at all. Have occasionally been tempted to be a hooligan on some bikes, one of the reasons I would stay away from the FTR for instance. I love speed but recognise that my skills cannot match the need for fast riding so I have learned to love the slower pace of things - i think it was a Clint Eastwood movie where he said " A Man must know his limitations":) Its a battle between heart and head.
OceanBreeze,sometimes you just have to go with your heart. Sometimes too much analysis can lead to paralysis! There is some risk in everythiing we do. No one would ever get married if they wanted a "perfect spouse".
I also tend to do a lot of research when buying a large ticket item. For example, I wanted to buy a Ford F150. One of the most popular and reliable vehicles ever made. Just Google "F150 problems" and you'll find hundreds of posts about "blown engines", bad transmissions, "I'll never buy another Ford!". Look at that and you'd never buy an F150! I bought one. No problems and I love it! Truth is, 95% of owners never have major problems witrh anything they buy.
IMHO, modern motorcycles probably have too many unnecessary doodads but do we really want to go back to ignition points, hard to tune carbs, fouled plugs? Now you press a button, the engine starts immediatley, and the fuel/air mixture is automatically adjusted 100 times per second! Modern handling and suspensions are for the most part wonderful!
You're also right about everything being subjective when motorcycles are reviewed. Personally, I find the reviews about "too much engine heat", "wind hitting me"," vibration", "uncomfortable seat", very much overblown. It's a motorcycle!
Would I have bought my Vintage if there wasn't an Indian dealer close by? Probably not. I do want to know I can ride or haul my bike to a qualified shop if something happens that I cant fix, especially under warranty So consider that. Otherwise, if you are in love with the looks and can afford to buy a Vintage, and love to ride, 90% chance you won't be sorry.
 

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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.
Go visit a Harley forum or any vehicle forum for that matter and you will see a lot of reasons not to buy what ever vehicle the forum is about. As I think someone has already said people are more vocal about issues than they are if everything is working the way it should. Ive owned three Polaris Indians now and haven’t had any major mechanical or electrical failures on any of them. Just test ride before you buy and make sure you like the way the bike rides and feels at all riding speeds.

Don’t talk yourself into buying if if there is something major about it that you don’t like.

That was the mistake I made. I loved the looks of the bike so much I discounted the issues I saw with that bike and is why I bought three Indians within four years.

The first bike was a beautiful Springfield in Indian Red. I noticed that just having a windshield didn’t give me enough protection but bought it anyway because it was beautiful. When I went on my first multi state ride I didn’t like the way the wind was buffeting me so wound up selling it.



My second was an Indian Chieftain Limited. I noticed a strong vibration in the floorboards at certain RPMs on the test ride but ignored it because I loved the way it looked. After I owned it for a while the vibration became a big issue on long rides with my feet tingling for a while after I got off the bike. I tried a lot of things to address the vibration but without success so I sold it.



So I was a lot more careful when I test rode my present bike to make sure everything was acceptable.




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I have a 2019 Chieftain Classic. It’s a workhorse. The only problems I’ve had is it threw a few error codes when I first got it that promptly went away, and the windshield motor broke, which seems to be a fairly common problem (which you won’t have to worry about with a Vintage). Otherwise, it’s been rock solid. I could probably ride it to the moon and back without it dying, sputtering, or failing to start. And IMO, while the TS 111 likely won’t win you any races, it’s as reliable as any other engine out there. And thankfully I have the pre-20 Ride Command, which never gives me any problems, unlike the horror stories of RC 2.0.
So that’s my .02.
 

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I bought my 2014 Vintage used in 2016. I only had two complaints about it... the original leather requires lots attention to keep it conditioned and colored.(Granted, I haven't tried an oil based dye, yet...that will be next time), and the cruise control went bad, but it turned out to be a wire that was pinched - maybe my fault. They did have to change the gear position indicator on a factory recall, but they worked well with me.
The old Vintage as been a steady and reliable mount. Changed the battery once, and tires three times, a testament to torque...lol.
She is stable as a rock, especially at speeds above 70 mph... I can cruise at 85 all day long without a hiccup. However, if you get an older Vintage, find and empty parking lot and practice U-Turns until you have it figured out, it takes a particular skill set to perform them .
The looks are beyond compare, in my opinion, and I wouldn't have done anything differently.
 
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