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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here in Reno, NV it's time for the annual Street Vibrations Rally. The local Victory/Polaris/Indian dealership has recently received shipments of the new Indian motorcycles. They also have the demo truck in town for the Street Vibration's week and have several Indians of each model available for test riding.
SO! I road a Cheiftain as my choice today. Weather is a bit on the chilly side for this time of year (55 degrees and cloudy) but not too bad. The first thing that hit me was how small the bike looked in person compared to what seen online. Probably similar in size to a HD Street Glide. From the riding position the bike feels small too. Again very similar to what a HD SG feels like. The dash is right there & almost felt like the top of the windshield was right under my chin. I've got a '13 Vision and its size probably made the Indian 'feel' small in comparison.
I'm also 6'-3' tall with 36' inseam and long arms so the ergos on any bike are the first thing that I really notice. The handlebars were fine, but rider position felt a little cramped in regards to leg room and control positions. Again the Vision is pretty stretched out and the Indian not so much. The Indian was not uncomfortable in any way, it just didn't feel as big as I expected it to. It also appears that there is very little that could be done to provide more leg room. The floorboards are only an inch or so from the engine/crash bar so I doubt there will be any options for moving anything forwards. Some hwy pegs on the crash bars would help but only marginally.
As far as comfort the seat on the Indian did feel very nice. The demo ride was not all that long, but was long enough to see that the seat is well made and very comfortable. The leather is sweet and I really wish my Vision's seat was made the same way. I'd imagine that the seat will get even more comfy as the leather breaks in.
Then there's the power... All I can say is... DAMN! The 111 not only looks fantastic (big & chunky with gorgeous valve covers) but it has got some serious torque! Pulls very nicely from 1700 rpms on up. Definitely more low end grunt than what the Vision has. Its not that there's a massive difference in total power, its just how its delivered. Torque comes on earlier and just pulls for days. Love it. I'll be adding some performance mods to my Vision soon as I'm ordering Lloydz Timing Wheel, Top Filter and VFC-III to my current Stage 1 setup. I'm sure it'll improve the power on the Vision. I doubt it'll pull as hard as the Indian does, but I'm sure my future changes will close the gap some.
The transmission on the Indian is nice too. Very smooth and shifts well. Feel is similar to the Vision without the loud clunk when down shifting. I also felt as if the Indian is geared a tad bit lower than the Vision is. Don't know if it actually is or not, just felt that way. Could just be the torque of the 111 making it feel that way.
Ride... Also very nice. Tight and light feeling to say the least. Very flick-able for a cruiser. The demo route didn't get me into any tight corners so I can't tell ya how it truly is in the tight twisty stuff. However, it did feel as though it'd handle my kind of tight twisty stuff just fine. Even with the fork mounted faring the bike nice and light. Probably even lighter than the Vision in slow speed parking lot stuff.
Overall, the Indian Chieftain is a very nice bike. Its got fantastic power from that beautiful 111 engine. The looks are very classic yet modern. I think Polaris did a great job building these bikes. Would I buy one? I'd have to say 'NOPE'. Most everything on the bike is nice but the ergo's just don't fit me well enough. Plus it doesn't look like there's any way I could make the needed adjustments to make it fit better.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Steve, for taking the time to give that very good, balanced, review. I'm 6'1' with a 34' inseam and I didn't notice any lack of space but maybe I'm used to it. :) I, too, was blown away with the power. That is what closed the deal for me. Great power and nimbleness, very cool look, and high quality. I can't wait but I understand your situation completely. Thanks again.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
sat on the chieftain yesterday. I'm 5-9 and the bike fit me perfectly. I can def see where anyone over 6 foot would have a very difficult time with the ergos of this bike.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I pretty much have the same feeling about the new Indians that you do. Love the looks, love the torque, handling is above average.

However we're spoiled by the open cockpit designs of the Cross/Vision bikes.

I keep thinking a Vintage in my garage next spring to complement my CCT but I also made the mistake of riding a High Ball. Considering this time of the year I can get a brand new High Ball for around 12k(before TTL) that leaves a lot of room over the Indian for some tweaking to customize the High Ball.

Not as cool as a stock Indian but for the 10k difference, change the rear fender, some pinstriping and a little engine work from Adel IA and I'd have a fun bike to ride on shorter trips.
 
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