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2020 Indian Challenger Limited in Bright Freaking Red!
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey everyone. I’ve lurked here for a year or so, and finally decided to post, because I’m having some issues with my new 2020 Challenger, and I’d appreciate some feedback! Some of the issues below have been raised in other threads, but I really haven’t seen any clear answers/solutions, so I was hoping you all might humor me by offering me some advice here!

I also want to be totally honest - I’m not mechanically inclined at all! I made a minor adjustment to my clutch lever free play, and even that made me nervous that I’d screw it up and destroy my clutch. Lol Just so you know who you’re dealing with...

Finally, notwithstanding the list below, I love the bike. Coming from another bike I loved, an Indian Chieftain Dark Horse, the Challenger has great power, handling, and technology all around. I see the issues below as inconveniences, but appreciate the engine sounds may be more serious.

Here are my experiences after my first 1000 miles:

1. Metallic rattling/knocking noise coming from the front end of the bike in neutral and at low speed in first gear. The noise is not constant, but frequent, and sounds abnormal. When I ride at low speed in first gear, as in stop & go traffic where you’re feathering the clutch/rear brake and just giving it a touch of throttle to inch along, the knocking sound becomes something you can feel just a bit in the bars. I know others have heard similar. Has anyone identified a root cause/solution? At my break-in service my dealer said they heard the noise, and the mechanic (“an old oil cooled guy”) chalked it up to something associated with water cooling, but had no additional thoughts. Dealer said they plugged the bike in and got no codes. In their view, absent codes, there’s nothing wrong with the bike and just keep my eye on it. Seems like a rather unimpressive response about a diagnosed “weird” noise coming from a $30k bike you just sold.

2. Cold start: bike frequently will not start the first time I try when it’s cold. Always starts on the second attempt, but just barely. And every time I start the bike it certainly doesn’t roar to life like other challengers I’ve heard. It kinda limps into its start and always seems like it just barely starts up. Dealer also said “no codes,” so in their view there’s nothing wrong. Service manager said “hey man, it’s a motorcycle and sometimes that’s just the way it is.” Again, that doesn’t seem like an appropriate or meaningful response.

3. Unreliable throttle, particularly in Standard mode: as luck would have it, I’ve found myself in quite a bit of stop and go traffic since I got my bike a couple of weeks ago. I find that the throttle is a bit unpredictable at low speeds. When you’re trying to be ginger with the throttle just to get enough power to inch the bike along, it can be a real chore to get the reliable flow of power you’re looking for. I get the point about ride-by-wire and play in the throttle. The Chieftain has the same kind of throttle, but I never had an experience like this. Play is one thing. But if I put it in standard mode and attempt to hold the RPMs steady at 1500 it’s damned near impossible. Once you get past the initial play (certainly more than on my old Chieftain) and gently get the RPMs up to 1500 and hold the throttle perfectly steady, the RPMs still shoot up to 2000+. Is this just “play” in the Challenger throttle I need to accept? Is this the "throttle body/syncing" issue you've been discussing here? Or is the “play” I should expect just a little bit of twist on the throttle before you feel any power, but once you do it should be predictable/precise? I put it in sport mode when I get into traffic, and while the throttle is "too responsive" for low riding for my tastes, it seems to be more reliable and deliver on my expectations better than standard mode. Admittedly, I forgot to raise all this at my break-in service, because I had a long list. 🤦‍♂️ I'll have them take a look when I go back in a week for the new gas cap (mentioned below!), and insist they check into the throttle body/syncing update issued by Indian per the advice I've read here. But still curious to know your thoughts!

4. Ride Command touchscreen lags: it’s a touch screen, and therefore it’s a common technology at this point, so it shouldn’t happen. The old ride command on the Chieftain had no such delay. This new version takes a second after pressing a function for the display to respond. Not the end of the world, but it’s a disappointing experience. At break-in, dealer said they did something - maybe wiped the unit and re-loaded the software - but I really am not seeing any improvement. Anyone else experience this issue and find a fix, or is the new ride command just a bit sluggish? For what it's worth, I have not experienced the severe loading issues of others, but it definitely takes a minute or two to load up on start-up at times.

5. Gas cap is broken: the little pin that sticks out when you open the cap won’t slide back in when you close the cap. The dealer had to order a new cap, so this will be fixed. But mentioning it for the sake of completeness. 😂

6. Clutch: when I took possession of the bike the clutch lever had zero free play, and using it in traffic was a challenge - I’m short and have small hands. As I mentioned above, I added the 1.5mm the owner’s manual recommends, and the clutch is much easier to use. The friction zone still takes some getting used to on the bike, but if you’re having issues I strongly encourage you to check your free play - makes a huge difference!

So what do you guys think? Once I’m off and moving through the gears I have zero problems with the bike. Power is amazing. Handling is outstanding. Love the fairing/substantially reduced buffeting compared to the Chieftain, and all while looking over the stock windshield fully raised! It’s a true pleasure to ride. But these issues are a concern to me, particularly the noise/throttle at low speed. And I like to get my Jerry Pallladino on, so the throttle issue is super irritating! lol

Anyway, my dealer is not an Indian-only franchise. It’s a dealer that sellls a number of different brands (triumphs, etc). I’m thinking I should take my bike to an Indian-only dealer and let them take a look. Does that sound like an appropriate decision in light of the above, or should I relax, ride the bike, and just keep my eye on these things and continue trying to get used to the throttle? I feel like the lack of "codes" may just produce the same result at an Indian dealer as the dealer I bought the bike from.

I just know my Chieftain was a flawless transition from a Scout. Never had any issues, difficulties, etc on either of those bikes, so my first 1000 miles on the Challenger, while exhilarating on the highway and in the twisties, is a little disappointing at low speed. And if you're at all familiar with the DC area, even these days we still have tons of traffic, so reliable low speed maneuvering is a pretty big deal.

Appreciate any advice you all have to offer!

DMV
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Hey all. I was out for quite a bit on the bike earlier today. I decided to run some errands in a 100 mile loop with a rainstorm coming in, so I had to run a tight ship and just ride without thinking thinking about it. I might be just getting used to the throttle. Didn’t seem as touchy today as my last ride. Taking a little 300 mile cruise tomorrow, so will be curious to see if I still experience improvement (since it might just be me, not the throttle!).

Also, for whatever reason I kept forgetting to try turning off the rear cylinder deactivation to see how that affected the weird metallic rattling/knocking noise and vibration. Finally remembered today. The knocking noise/vibration completely disappeared. It’s nice to know there’s a temporary solution, but still not happy if a nice feature like that is the source of the issue.

Looking forward to your thoughts...
 

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Did you see this when you read thru the manual? Yeah it sounds like a knocking or thrown rod, but it’s actually smart engineering ...turns the rear cylinder into a big air pump to cool that cyl & header. I appreciate the design & leave it always on; but then again I care nothing about anyone else’s “sound” opinion.

Sounds like your dealer lacks any dedication to Indian or schooling their techs with advanced training.
Yep you got the clutch cable set right; it is fussy. As the clutch plates wear the cable will tighten rather than stretch loose, so check it every 1000mi & do as you did to keep it 1 - 1.5mm freeplay.
Enjoy the Ride
 

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My challenger just started clunking (2700 miles) on start up the other day and I heard a little grinding as well when starting on an incline. (This is not the normal engine tapping that you hear when the bike is stopped and the rear cylinder is not firing.) It would also clunk a little in first gear as I was taking off. Took it into my dealer and they heard it right away. Mechanic thought it might be the starter. Made a recording of the sound and sent it to Indian tech support. They told him it was not normal and to start taking the starter assembly apart. I have not seen it yet but they called and said there are 3 starter gears and one of the starter gears is missing 2 teeth which they found under the gear set. No damage to anything else or the engine (Thank God because this engine runs like a dream.) So I am waiting for parts to get it fixed. This is the first bike they have had this happen to but Indian told them that there is another part in the starter gear set that is suppose to prevent this from ever happening and they believe that part must be faulty as well so they are sending both the gear and this other part for replacement. They are not sure how long the parts will take to get but they put in what they call a bike down request which is suppose to speed things up because they understand that it is the only bike you have and you may need it. This is an Indian only dealer and the first 2 mechanics they had were so so but the mechanics they have now and have had for a couple years are excellent and know how to handle situations when they come up. It's a great feeling to know that when you leave your bike with them they are going to take care of it, figure out whats wrong, and fix it. I'm going in tomorrow so they can show me the gears and whatever this other part is.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Gman1 - I did read that in the manual. I'm one of the types who reads the whole manual. lol And I had rear cylinder deactivation on my Chieftain, so I'm familiar with it. I just find it odd that it's making that knocking noise on my challenger. I didn't have that experience on the Chieftain at all - rear cylinder deactivation was pretty seamless/silent. When you say sounds like a "thrown rod," what does that mean exactly?

Mgg - that's the kind of service I'm looking for! Not everyone's a mechanic or knows much about how engines work, so when a service guy says "the onboard computer isn't saying anything, so the bike is fine...and it's just a motorcycle" it's not a great feeling. lol
 

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Sorry, your new Challenger is such a POS. I was riding mine today and after a year it's the smoothest bike I have ever owned.
Of course I had the July 2020 reflash and I'm on my 3rd battery, but I didn't get a Yuasa this time and everything seems fine.
I find the more I ride it the better it gets so I guess anything needs some break-in time.
Personally, rear cylinder deactivation is useless on a water cooled engine that keeps 182' in 100" temperature.
 

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@DMV SoloRider I've spent a lot of time on the forum and there are a lot of people that come here to complain so don't take some of the responses you'll likely get personally. I had an issue that no one else had when I first got my bike and you would have thought I was the class idiot. It was a minor issue and I posted about it out of curiosity. To address your points, I'm going to start off with one idea... The Challenger is a machine, hand built, in small batches, using parts sourced from the least expensive place. That doesn't excuse poor craftsmanship but it does explain higher variability.

To your points:

1. I saw a video where a guy had a noise he couldn't explain, turned out a baffle in the gas tank came loose. A good bump from a fist would cause it when the bike was off. This stuff can happen, finding it can be the hard part. Given the response from your dealer, it sounds like it should be taken to someone that's more Indian focused.

2. Check your battery connections and battery. There have been a few people having issues in that area. I lost power one time on my previous bike and couldn't figure out what it was. Took it to the dealer and they replaced the battery and the issue went away. It was a different bike but completly unexpected results. (Or the dealer did something they didn't tell me about.)

3. Sounds like you're already better with this.

4. Have you done the July Ride Command update? It fixed some bugs.

5. The gas cap lock/unlock feature was what was broken for me. The whole thing is replaced as a unit.

If you don't want to learn to do maintenance yourself, find a good dealer. Keep reading and keep enjoying your bike. I've got a little over 5k on mine and it's changed a lot since I first got it. I love it and look forward to many many more miles.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Sorry, your new Challenger is such a POS. I was riding mine today and after a year it's the smoothest bike I have ever owned.
Of course I had the July 2020 reflash and I'm on my 3rd battery, but I didn't get a Yuasa this time and everything seems fine.
I find the more I ride it the better it gets so I guess anything needs some break-in time.
Personally, rear cylinder deactivation is useless on a water cooled engine that keeps 182' in 100" temperature.
Haha it’s definitely not a POS, just has some rough edges! I was out on a nice 400 mile ride today - just a little neighborhood jaunt. Amazing engine, and the handling is outstanding! I’ll get these issues sorted out and it will be perfect! I’ll check on the red lash - that may be what my dealer did, but it didn’t seem to make any real difference. I’m not the kind to take no for an answer, soI’ll get it all squared away - there or elsewhere!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
@DMV SoloRider I've spent a lot of time on the forum and there are a lot of people that come here to complain so don't take some of the responses you'll likely get personally. I had an issue that no one else had when I first got my bike and you would have thought I was the class idiot. It was a minor issue and I posted about it out of curiosity. To address your points, I'm going to start off with one idea... The Challenger is a machine, hand built, in small batches, using parts sourced from the least expensive place. That doesn't excuse poor craftsmanship but it does explain higher variability.

To your points:

1. I saw a video where a guy had a noise he couldn't explain, turned out a baffle in the gas tank came loose. A good bump from a fist would cause it when the bike was off. This stuff can happen, finding it can be the hard part. Given the response from your dealer, it sounds like it should be taken to someone that's more Indian focused.

2. Check your battery connections and battery. There have been a few people having issues in that area. I lost power one time on my previous bike and couldn't figure out what it was. Took it to the dealer and they replaced the battery and the issue went away. It was a different bike but completly unexpected results. (Or the dealer did something they didn't tell me about.)

3. Sounds like you're already better with this.

4. Have you done the July Ride Command update? It fixed some bugs.

5. The gas cap lock/unlock feature was what was broken for me. The whole thing is replaced as a unit.

If you don't want to learn to do maintenance yourself, find a good dealer. Keep reading and keep enjoying your bike. I've got a little over 5k on mine and it's changed a lot since I first got it. I love it and look forward to many many more miles.
Thanks for the sentiment and advice! I’m going to have my dealer check the battery - was thinking about that earlier today. Ride command is sluggish, bike has issues starting. Maybe I have a bad connection to the battery/bad battery. 🤷‍♂️ Ride command has CarPlay, so I think I have the latest updates, but I’ll double check when I have them revisit my issues when I’m back at the dealer.

As for the dealer. I have two excellent dealers I’ve used. The new dealer I bought the from - well, they gave me a great trade-in on my Chieftain, so I’d like to give them a chance to keep my service business, but they’ll have to do better. I’ll revisit things when I get the gas cap replaced, but with two other helpful/good dealerships equidistant to me, I won’t stick around!
 

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1. Mine has a rattle during a certain range of lower RPM. I've only ever ridden my Challenger so I don't know if others do it but I wouldn't worry about it. I've written it off under the premise that the Power Plus is just a mechanically loud engine.
2. Mine will start on the first attempt but it's a 'weak' start. It doesn't bang to life but so much as it eases into running condition. As long as it starts I'm not worried.
3. The dead spot in initial throttle is annoying. On the other hand, instantaneous and aggressive throttle can be equally annoying (i.e. my MT-09). If were given the chance I would reduce that initial numbness of the throttle. Otherwise, no problems here.
4. I have a Base that I added Nav to. I do feel the screen is a little more laggy now than before the install. Not dramatically so however.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
1. Mine has a rattle during a certain range of lower RPM. I've only ever ridden my Challenger so I don't know if others do it but I wouldn't worry about it. I've written it off under the premise that the Power Plus is just a mechanically loud engine.
2. Mine will start on the first attempt but it's a 'weak' start. It doesn't bang to life but so much as it eases into running condition. As long as it starts I'm not worried.
3. The dead spot in initial throttle is annoying. On the other hand, instantaneous and aggressive throttle can be equally annoying (i.e. my MT-09). If were given the chance I would reduce that initial numbness of the throttle. Otherwise, no problems here.
4. I have a Base that I added Nav to. I do feel the screen is a little more laggy now than before the install. Not dramatically so however.
Once I turned off the rear cylinder deactivation all I could hear was a faint rattling noise, but I think that’s just the way the engine is. My Scout was similar, and usually I’m flying down the road and all I can hear is the roar not the rattle! 😂 But good to know you have a similar starting issue and all is still fine!

I think I’m slowly getting used to the throttle. I’ll still have it checked just in case, but after almost 20k miles on Indians, the “play” is something I think I’m just used to. I’ve never known anything else, you know? lol
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I display the coolant temperature in the infotainment window. Rear cylinder deactivation makes a significant difference if you are in stop and go.
I know. Turning it off is just a temporary measure. It's too valuable a feature to just not use it, especially in the DC area where we have some of the worst stop and go traffic in the country!! I'll insist my dealer (or another) get to the bottom of it, because I need my rear cylinder deactivation!
 

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The gear driven primary drive (compared with the chain primary drive of the Harley's) has a little bit of lash. At lower speeds in the lower gears under very light load it's more pronounced (the rattle). I think that's just the nature of the beast. I'm not saying other posters concerning the cylinder deactivation aren't also accurate. I think this is also another component that causes noise. I'm also not a fan of the unpredictable throttle. Unfortunately, I don't see much improvement in this unless we go to an aftermarket tuner.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The gear driven primary drive (compared with the chain primary drive of the Harley's) has a little bit of lash. At lower speeds in the lower gears under very light load it's more pronounced (the rattle). I think that's just the nature of the beast. I'm not saying other posters concerning the cylinder deactivation aren't also accurate. I think this is also another component that causes noise. I'm also not a fan of the unpredictable throttle. Unfortunately, I don't see much improvement in this unless we go to an aftermarket tuner.
The only thought I really have about a belt drive, given my overall inexperience, is that I appreciate not having to lube a chain. Lol But interesting to hear that may be a source of the noise.

As for the throttle, I’m honestly not sure what my thoughts are at this point. I seem to be getting more of a handle on it, but it’s definitely distinct compared to the ride-by-wire throttle on the Chieftain. On the Chieftain, the only “play” was just a little bit when you just started to roll on the throttle, but once you felt the resistance, it was super steady and reliable. So the Challenger’s is still a bit of a mystery and a little disappointing after almost 1500 miles so far. 🤷‍♂️
 

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For what it's worth, I think if you start looking at ANY new vehicle under the microscope you're going to find something that seems 'off'. Here's a quick list off the top of my head:

2020 Yamaha MT-09: 3rd and 6th gear howled
2020 Triumph Speed Twin: Shift from or to 3rd gear felt clunky
2019 RAM 1500: Rattles on startup, sometimes ticks while warming up
2018 Camry V6: Sloppy/confused shifting at times.

In every single example above, the vehicle itself was just fine and had no reliability concerns to speak of. I think you can chalk your list of Challenger observations up to this sort of thing. It's a lot of money for a bike and I'm guessing you're pretty fond of it so small stuff can seem like a big deal. Don't sweat the small stuff and just love the bike for what it is. Ride on and should something give out, you've got a warranty.

If it's something that could become a safety issue (i.e. spongy brakes, poor road holding, sudden engine shut down, etc.) then bring it to your dealer's attention.
 

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The only thought I really have about a belt drive, given my overall inexperience, is that I appreciate not having to lube a chain. Lol But interesting to hear that may be a source of the noise.

As for the throttle, I’m honestly not sure what my thoughts are at this point. I seem to be getting more of a handle on it, but it’s definitely distinct compared to the ride-by-wire throttle on the Chieftain. On the Chieftain, the only “play” was just a little bit when you just started to roll on the throttle, but once you felt the resistance, it was super steady and reliable. So the Challenger’s is still a bit of a mystery and a little disappointing after almost 1500 miles so far. 🤷‍♂️
Only the primary is gear drive. That's the source of some noise. The belt drive, typically, is a silent low maintenance way of transmitting power.
 
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