Indian Motorcycle Forum banner
  • Hey everyone! Enter your ride HERE to be a part of MAY's Ride of the Month Challenge!

1 - 20 of 34 Posts

·
Founding member / distinguished
Joined
·
2,763 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As most of you know, I love my Chieftain.
This past Saturday, Adventure Motorsports of NW Florida had the Indian of Pensacola grand opening. Other than it being incredibly hot, it went very well.
Having heard about the different steering (rake) angle between the Vintage/Classic frame and the Chieftain, I took the opportunity to test ride a Vintage. Wow. The difference is very noticeable right off the bat. To me, the Vintage steered much heavier in the parking lot. Surprisingly, that heaviness did not go away on the road. I expected that heavy steering to go away on the highway, but it was still there. The Chieftain just feels like a much lighter, more agile motorcycle to me. It could be just because I am used to the Chieftain now.
At any rate, I encourage everyone to ride both before you buy. The difference is significaant.
 

·
Texas Hill Country
Joined
·
4,697 Posts
Very wise advice.

I have never rode a Chieftain so I really can't speak to the difference.
But I can tell you that my Road King felt like a jet ski compared to the ocean liner feel of the Vintage.

All that I read about the Chieftain says that it handles very differently than the Vintage/Classic.

I do like the Vintage handling. Especially out on the road. That heavy feeling translates to a rock solid stable ride at speed.
Now you probably can out-donut me on parking lot slow speed maneuvers though.
It's almost a feeling like I have to file a flight plan to make a u-turn. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
As most of you know, I love my Chieftain.
This past Saturday, Adventure Motorsports of NW Florida had the Indian of Pensacola grand opening. Other than it being incredibly hot, it went very well.
Having heard about the different steering (rake) angle between the Vintage/Classic frame and the Chieftain, I took the opportunity to test ride a Vintage. Wow. The difference is very noticeable right off the bat. To me, the Vintage steered much heavier in the parking lot. Surprisingly, that heaviness did not go away on the road. I expected that heavy steering to go away on the highway, but it was still there. The Chieftain just feels like a much lighter, more agile motorcycle to me. It could be just because I am used to the Chieftain now.
At any rate, I encourage everyone to ride both before you buy. The difference is significaant.


The Chieftain has 25 deg. The Vintage has 29 deg. of rake that is the heavy feel you write about. I rode all the bikes when the demo trailer was at my dealer. I ordered my vintage because I like that feel and look. My Roadstar is raked out also so I am used to that heavy feel.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
571 Posts
Whatever you do, don't ask what the turning radius is for each bike, some folks here take offense for some strange reason.

Burt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
731 Posts
I did two test drives each of both the Chieftain and the Vintage. The Chieftain does have a lighter feel and tighter turn radius during slow speed maneuvering. The Chieftain is certainly a great bike....... At highway speeds the Vintage is as steady as a locomotive and as smooth as a Cadillac and the highway is where I spend most of my time on a bike. I have found the maneuverability of the Vintage is more than adequate for real world operations in parking lots and executing u-turns. Just required that I step up my low speed handling technique and get familiar with the nature of the Indian as opposed to my Road King. I am not a "bagger" guy but I have to say that the Chieftain did tempt me. In the end though I don't use a radio when riding and I preferred the more open air experience sans fairing along with the classic Indian look of leather bags.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
295 Posts
Today I took about a seventy five mile ride on the Blue Ridge Pkwy. I was riding my Vintage. Plenty of twist and Turns. The bike handled great.
 

·
Founding member / Distinguished
Joined
·
5,115 Posts
My last bike was a Victory Cross Roads. Sit testing the Vintage and Chieftain I thought for sure I would end up with a Vintage due distinguishable to the tight cockpit of the Chieftain. Once I got them on the road however IMO the Chieftain blew the Vintage away. I hated the heaviness of the Vintage as well as the distinguishable flop. I think both bikes are great, but for me I feel the Chieftain handles much better.

But as others have said, there are those who feel the Vintage's handling is much better. Thing is we are both right :cool: The "feel" of a motorcycle is very subjective. No two riders are the same. As I've said before, this would be an extremely boring world if we were all the same. I wholeheartedly agree with Dan when he said "I encourage everyone to ride both before you buy. The difference is significant."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
571 Posts
Has Polaris ever said why they the two different frames between the two bikes. I did read that the Roadmaster was created before the Chieftain, so I'm guessing the extra weight forced the change. But I have not heard that officially.

Burt
 

·
Founding member / Distinguished
Joined
·
5,115 Posts
My understanding was the reduced rake was to support the additional weight and wind resistance of the fairing. Here is what Cycle World had to say:

2014 Indian Chief Vintage and Chieftain Bagger- First Ride Review

On the road, the real difference between the Vintage (and Classic with its identical chassis geometry) comes down to steering feel and cornering behavior. The Vintage’s “cruiser” geometry of 29 degrees and 6.1 inches of trail definitely tips it toward the stable side. Gray says that rider feedback from the target customer dictated this. It makes the steering heavier than on the Chieftain with its 25-degree rake and 5.9-inch trail. Further, the Chieftain uses negative-offset triple-clamps because of the greater loads expected on this more-touring-oriented model. This offset places the fork tubes behind the steering head to put more weight on the front contact patch, which gives more consistent handling when carrying greater loads.
Despite the heavier, fork-mounted fairing (with highly effective electrically adjustable windscreen), the Chieftain (65.7-in. wheelbase) has much lighter steering and better agility than the Vintage (68.1). I did about 80 miles on my riding day and also earlier spent some time at a racetrack (yes!), and even under pretty severe cornering and braking loads (within their design confines), both bikes behaved very well.


New 2014 Indian Chief and Chieftain Review From Sturgis

Performance-wise, what separates the Chieftain from the Chiefs is its steering geometry and air-adjustable monoshock, which completely change the ride feel. All of the new Indians are a snap to ride, but the Chieftain is the model that riders report feels most “effortless” and “light,” even though it’s slightly heavier than the others. And it’s true. The Chieftain’s steeper rake (25 degrees), shorter wheelbase (65.7 in.) and lower bar height make it the most nimble-feeling of the bunch at low speeds and also during aggressive cornering, where it requires extremely low effort. Not surprisingly, you can feel the weight of the amenity-laden fairing on the fork in the form of a slight wallow in fast sweepers, and major corrections that involve braking during cornering—say, when some a-hole rider coming the other way cuts into your lane—can cause a hinging effect high on the pucker-factor scale. Fortunately, the Chieftain’s cornering clearance is excellent, allowing you to dive even deeper instead of slowing down.
The Classic and Vintage use a more traditional rake (29 degrees), which along with positive-offset triple-clamps (the Chieftains are negative offset), results in a 68.1-inch wheelbase. The single shock features mechanical preload adjustment. Both of these Indians feel more like cruisers; steering is a little heavier but very predictable, with rock-solid tracking no matter your speed. The only difference between the two Chiefs is the addition of fringed leather saddlebags and a windshield for the Vintage, which does appeal to the nostalgic set. Hard bags, for the record, are not intended to go on the Classic or Vintage, says Indian, because of chassis geometry concerns, load ratings and potential stability issues
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
571 Posts
Thanks Goatlocker, that was an interesting read.

Burt
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
571 Posts
Don't know about the Chieftain but have seen the Classic make a u-turn in 18 feet.
That was easy, thanks.

For all the comments about the Classic/Vintage handling, 18 ft is impressive. I wonder why they had to add more trail.

Burt
 

·
Founding member / distinguished
Joined
·
2,763 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That was easy, thanks.

For all the comments about the Classic/Vintage handling, 18 ft is impressive. I wonder why they had to add more trail.

Burt
I remember reading that the rake is different on the chieftain due to the extra weight of the fairing. The forks are also placed to the back of the center of the triple tree for better weight distribution and loading from aerodynamic pressure of the fairing at speed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
571 Posts
I remember reading that the rake is different on the chieftain due to the extra weight of the fairing. The forks are also placed to the back of the center of the triple tree for better weight distribution and loading from aerodynamic pressure of the fairing at speed.
That makes sense, Harley has had the same setup for their big bikes for a long time. But what I was wondering is why the Vintage couldn't use the same frame set up like the Road King uses the Ultra frame. I'm guessing it must have been a little unstable somewhere. Since the Vintage can be rode with or without the windshield, the design has to cover a lot of different types of riding at both high and low speeds. So it makes sense that it might require a different frame.

Burt
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,998 Posts
Reviving an old thread out of
curiosity.........
The frame on the 2014 model Vintage and Chieftain is the same part number. The triple tree is different which reduces the rake by four degrees. I wouldn't imagine reducing the rake would affect the handling in any negative manner, in fact it could possibly improve the slow speed and corning manners of the Vintage.
Even though the weight would be less, the wind force on the Vintage's slab windshield would be substantial, much like the fairing on the Chieftain and removing the windshield shouldn't matter.
It would definitely be a slightly different look, maybe sort of pseudo chopper-ish? Not sure all the Vintage's stock bolt-on chrome goodies would work (were the tree's be changed) but it might be worth a look.
Now there is someone a winter project!
 

·
Founding member
Joined
·
952 Posts
I done several demo rides on various Chieftains and Roadmasters. Steering a bit quicker but not much different to me. A matter of wanting a fairing or not. Rode a shovelhead bagger for twenty years. With the king size removable windshield. It's what I'm used to. Fairing makes it feel smaller to me. Like having a removable windshield way out in front of me. There is no wrong one just what you prefer. I never regret getting the Classic. They all feel like driving a battleship to me.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,998 Posts
I like the option of removing the windshield from the Vintage....Wouldn't mind having hard bags but again I also like the look of the Vintage bagless. There is much about all the Chief's I like but I can't have it all.
My Vintage gets the job done....for now anyway.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,998 Posts
Oh and one other thing....While following a friend on I-24 toward Nashville a few weeks ago, he on his Chieftain I was on my Vintage. I noticed his bike get squirrely once to the point I was watching out for what he was dodging. After asking him during the next stop what the jiggle was about, he replied that the gust from the truck we were passing caused the movement.
I wasn't following him too closely but I was close enough to see it happen. I passed the same truck running the same speed and didn't feel anything I would consider out of the ordinary.
Maybe the Chieftain is more susceptible to the whoosh effect? Could be the way the fairing caught the wind or perhaps the reduced rake? Could be that he was not holding the grips tightly at the time.
I don't know, but it was a very noticeable wiggle by an experienced rider and it concerned me a bit. Not so much him, but it did concern me.
Don't get me wrong, I am by no means Chieftain bashing. Had I not bought the Vintage I would have one in my garage right now!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
I have not ridden a Chieftain or Roadmaster.

But chassis design theory is, "the steeper the fork, the quicker the steering, which costs stability". Fork angle is altered two ways, triple tree angle and steering neck angle. The cheapest and quickest way to alter fork angle is to install a longer rear shock. Which is what I did to my bike when I bought and installed a Roadmaster shock. This has quickened and lightened the steering of my Indian. I also got a MUCH better ride out of the rear of the bike at the expense of not being able to flat-foot the bike at a light. So what, I'm short and have had to one leg it at stop signs on almost every bike I have owned.

As much as I wanted the steeper fork of the touring bikes, I did not want all that mass on the forks that those bikes carry. That weight is a detriment to a light steering motorcycle.


 

·
Founding member / Distinguished
Joined
·
4,503 Posts
I found the turning on the Vintage a little awkward at first. I always went wide. Once I figured out what I was doing it was a snap. I love my RM but without a doubt would consider a Vintage. They are truly a beautiful bike.
 
1 - 20 of 34 Posts
Top