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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A local dealer is offering a good deal on a 2019 Chief Vintage in Sky Blue. I guess Sky Blue is a love it or hate it color. But I think it’s gorgeous.

Thing is, I know the pre-2020 Vintage bikes had a longer rake/trail that some people think makes it handle like a battleship. And I’d rather buy the right bike than save a few dollars.

My current Honda Shadow 750cc bike has a rake of 34 degrees and a trail of 6 inches, which is longer than even the 2019 Vintage. And I can figure 8 it pretty well.

My thought is that the 29 degrees of the 2019 might actually feel agile compared to the 34 degrees Im used to. Does knowing the rake/trail specs and feel of my much smaller Honda give me any idea of how a larger Indian will handle and feel? Or is it complete apples to oranges?
 

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Good luck with whatever you get. I know some on here have commented about this on other threads. I'm still waiting to get my new 2019 Vintage out and ride it. Bought in in November and it's been in storage because of the snows. Hopefully won't be long.

I also love that blue Vintage. I bought a black one but really would rather have bought the blue one. I think its the nicest looking bike made, bar none. If I manage to get mine out any time soon, I'll give some comments on it. I was able to get one of my other bikes out for the first time this year. Can't wait for regular riding weather.
 

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I have a '17 Vintage (green/cream), and I love the extra rake. I does a surprising amount to make that bike cruise like an old Buick. It's not as easy to maneuver in parking lots, but I didn't buy it to run circles in parking lots, either. I have had no complaints over the last 35k miles.
 

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I have a '17 Vintage (green/cream), and I love the extra rake. I does a surprising amount to make that bike cruise like an old Buick. It's not as easy to maneuver in parking lots, but I didn't buy it to run circles in parking lots, either. I have had no complaints over the last 35k miles.
Agreed. My '15 Vintage is a dream cruiser. Not so for a 18 ft U-Turn. Taking the Ride -like-A-Pro course gave far better skills for handling that rake.

However, coming from the Honda @J Troska should practive a little in a large (empty) parking lot to get a feel for the weight of the Indian.
 

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I also have a Shadow 750, and a sky blue Vintage. In my opinion, you notice the differences between those bikes more going from the Indian back to the Shadow rather than from Shadow to Indian. At least I did. The trail/rake, however, has never been an issue to me. I mean it's never going to maneuver like my FZ-1 but that's not what any cruiser is designed to do. It handles just fine for an 800+lb bike and I've never had any complaint. Been through curvy mountain roads, made u-turns, navigated parking lots, done some long interstate jaunts, and never had any trouble with handling. I honestly don't see how a couple degrees would make it much different for normal riding. It might make the one off maneuver you may or may not have to do at some point slightly easier, but that's about it to me. It makes the entire bike less than 2in longer/shorter, wheelbase about 1in different. Even with the 2020 rake it'll still be about 5-6in longer overall than the Shadow is.

So to put it simply, if it's between the same bike with just different rake, different color, and different price then the rake would easily be the last in my list of priorities to decide. But if you're that worried about it maybe try to get a test ride on bikes with both rakes and see if you even notice the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm still waiting to get my new 2019 Vintage out and ride it. Bought in in November and it's been in storage because of the snows.
Must be torture to see that in the garage every morning and not be able to take it out.
I have a '17 Vintage (green/cream), and I love the extra rake. I does a surprising amount to make that bike cruise like an old Buick. It's not as easy to maneuver in parking lots, but I didn't buy it to run circles in parking lots, either
I love that color. I think if they had both Willow Green and Sky Blue for the same price, i*d probably go with the Green.
However, coming from the Honda @J Troska should practive a little in a large (empty) parking lot to get a feel for the weight of the Indian
i definitely would. I still make a point of practicing maneuvers on my old Honda Shadow in the empty park & ride to keep my skills up.
Been through curvy mountain roads, made u-turns, navigated parking lots, done some long interstate jaunts, and never had any trouble with handling.
Thats something that*s surprisingly not mentioned a lot. Curvy mountain roads. We seem to discuss the extreme ends of parking lot U turns and interstate cruising. But perhaps my favorite kind of ride is a 40mph curvy mountain road. I’m not an aggressive rider at all, which undoubtedly affects what I should get. I’m into lazy 40mph mountain roads or 70mph highway cruises mainly.
But if you're that worried about it maybe try to get a test ride on bikes with both rakes and see if you even notice the difference
unfortunately this dealer doesn’t have demo bikes for that. And he doesn’t want people Doing demos on bikes he*s trying to sell as new. He suggests waiting for Indian Demo Day to come around, which would be deal because I could try several models and really know I was getting the right bike for me. But by then the discounted 2019 Vintage will probably be gone.
 

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Agreed. My '15 Vintage is a dream cruiser. Not so for a 18 ft U-Turn. Taking the Ride -like-A-Pro course gave far better skills for handling that rake.

However, coming from the Honda @J Troska should practive a little in a large (empty) parking lot to get a feel for the weight of the Indian.
I came off a Sportster when I bought my Vintage. I will admit that the first 5k miles were a learning curve. Now that I have 50k miles between my '16, and my '17 Vintages, my garage and some parking lots still give me some heartburn, but I think I got the hang of it. If someone would make something like a rifle holster that I can leave my walking stick in, all would be right with the world. :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
If someone would make something like a rifle holster that I can leave my walking stick in, all would be right with the world. :p
My father actually did that! After seeing my Honda Shadow, he wanted a bike of his own. Bought a 250cc Honda Rebel and make a holster for his walking stick. Unfortunately he was really in no shape to be riding at all. He suffered a few strokes and didn’t even have the balance to walk well. He gave up on the dream and sold the bike pretty quickly.
 

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J.... I got off a '12 Road King onto my '15 green'n cream Vintage a little over a year ago. Not sure (never checked) but think my King has a 26ish degree rake, and maybe 60-70 lbs. lighter than the Vintage. I was able to test ride the Vintage before buying it. Decided to do a U turn and almost dumped it. I immediately discovered, steering/front end lock to lock the Vintage is not as tight on my Road King. That wasn't at all a deal breaker though, and I handed the seller a pile of cash. I've heard/read talk about how other the Indian 111s out perform the Vintage in the twisties. I dunno, maybe but I find cruising through the hills, valleys, curvy roads, around town, highway etc. to be pure pleasure. I do believe however that the other 111s likely are likely more user friendly in the parking lot. So if you spend a lot of time cruising the parking lots....LOL There was a bit of an adjustment going from the Road King to the Vintage, but it was no biggie.

Best thing to do is ride one and see if you like it. Maybe the dealer has a used Vintage you could test ride? 2014 thru 2019 are all pretty much the same. Whatever you choose, have fun shopping!! (o:
 

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The Vintage is a 29 degree rake. It should handle better than your Honda. And a slightly longer rake is a bit more stable on the long highway in heavy cross winds...
 
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A local dealer is offering a good deal on a 2019 Chief Vintage in Sky Blue. I guess Sky Blue is a love it or hate it color. But I think it’s gorgeous.

Thing is, I know the pre-2020 Vintage bikes had a longer rake/trail that some people think makes it handle like a battleship. And I’d rather buy the right bike than save a few dollars.

My current Honda Shadow 750cc bike has a rake of 34 degrees and a trail of 6 inches, which is longer than even the 2019 Vintage. And I can figure 8 it pretty well.

My thought is that the 29 degrees of the 2019 might actually feel agile compared to the 34 degrees Im used to. Does knowing the rake/trail specs and feel of my much smaller Honda give me any idea of how a larger Indian will handle and feel? Or is it complete apples to oranges?
I had a 2015 Classic/Vintage with @ 24k (hit a deer, it is dead now-wife and i survived...lucky). I replaced it with a 2017 Springfield (same rake and trail as the new 2020 Vintage). I am turning it into a Vintage with whitewalls, spokes, custom leather bags,etc. My opinion is that the 2020 Vintage/Springfield frame geometry is vastly superior. The old one was a battleship-the Springfield/2020 Vintage handles much better (way less heavy at slow speeds, and has a much tighter turning radius, etc.) and is perfectly stable at high speeds. It might be a good deal on the '19, but I would get the new, revised frame on the 2020.
 

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I know going from a 2016 scout 60 to a 2018 vintage was a learning experience. However after a couple of weeks I had things figured out. A vintage won't put maneuver a scout but a vintage also won't make my back hurt after 40 or 50 miles. Also takes a crosswind better than a scout. I decided that the tradeoff was worth it.
 

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It all depends on how you define handling. I love riding all of my Indians, and they do have different handling characteristics. The Springfield is my 2nd best handling bike behind my Cross Country. The Vintage is still a pleasure to ride and the turn radius is only an issue at parking lot and slow speeds. If you like the Vintage, go for it. Once you get beyond 10MPH the differences in the two bikes are very small.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Wow so opinions on this are quite varied. Thanks for the input, everybody.

According to the dealer web site, they now have a preowned 2019 Vintage in Coastal Green. Maybe they’d let me try that one since it already has miles on it anyway.

if that doesn’t work out, maybe the smart thing to do—as much as I’d like a new toy for the summer—is wait for demo day, try everything I can, really know what works for me, and wait for the close outs on the 2020s.
 

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Wow so opinions on this are quite varied. Thanks for the input, everybody.
I think that's the biggest factor right there. No bike is one size fits all, and what makes no difference at all to one rider can mean a world of difference to another. But that's what gives us options and opportunity to make the bikes our own.

Thats something that*s surprisingly not mentioned a lot. Curvy mountain roads. We seem to discuss the extreme ends of parking lot U turns and interstate cruising. But perhaps my favorite kind of ride is a 40mph curvy mountain road. I’m not an aggressive rider at all, which undoubtedly affects what I should get. I’m into lazy 40mph mountain roads or 70mph highway cruises mainly.
Either rake to me handles both the mountain roads and the interstates better than the shadow. The indian while being a bigger bike actually has more clearance, my shadow has the pegs ground down from scraping in corners(even have a pair of old boots with one corner of the heel missing on each side), but on a lot of the same roads I've only scrapped anything with an Indian twice. I always felt I could cruise all day on the Shadow at about 50mph, but past that(so like interstate speeds) and I couldn't go very long in comfort. I did a 300mile in a day all interstate ride once on the shadow(well twice, once to get there and again a week later to get home, same trip).Did 700mile in a day interstate ride on the Indian last summer, and felt better after that than 300miles on the shadow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Either rake to me handles both the mountain roads and the interstates better than the shadow.
it’s quite possible I might initially prefer the longer 2019 rake/trail because it may feel closer to what I’m used to.
I always felt I could cruise all day on the Shadow at about 50mph, but past that(so like interstate speeds) and I couldn't go very long in comfort
the stock final drive ratio on the Shadow is ridiculous. You run out of gears at around 40mph. ? I changed the ratio with different sprocket sizes and it’s much better now. But it’s still revving pretty high >65mph.

great to get input from someone who knows both bikes. Thank you. ?
 

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Just for comparison.... About 80ish MPH at about 3,000 RPM on my '15 Vintage. I'd guess it's likely about the same with a 2020.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just for comparison.... About 80ish MPH at about 3,000 RPM on my '15 Vintage. I'd guess it's likely about the same with a 2020.
i don’t have a tachometer on the Shadow so I’m not sure what my RPMs are. But 80mph isn’t pleasant for very long. The bike will do it no problem. But it’s screaming for me to shift to higher gears that aren’t there.
Everyone raves about the smoothness of the Indians. I met a guy on my neighborhood with an Indian Chief Classic and he says he prefers it to his Gold Wing.
 

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I have a 2015 Classic and making u-turns is not confidence inspiring. But on the highway, the straight line stability is improved with this rake. Seems to be OK in the twisties.
 
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i don’t have a tachometer on the Shadow so I’m not sure what my RPMs are. But 80mph isn’t pleasant for very long. The bike will do it no problem. But it’s screaming for me to shift to higher gears that aren’t there.
Everyone raves about the smoothness of the Indians. I met a guy on my neighborhood with an Indian Chief Classic and he says he prefers it to his Gold Wing.
The engine and entire bike in general is very comfy at 80 MPH. This goes for my '15 Vintage and I'd guess all of the 111/116 bikes are the same, and maybe more so. On the slab I generally cruise along at around 75ish and bike and I both like it. And it's comfy with the occasional +100 MPH jaunt down the slab too. And as someone already eluded to, once you get above duck walking speed the rake is of no consequence... even for a 69 year old youngster like me ;)
 
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