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Discussion Starter #1
I got a chance to ride a Chief Classic at the demo ride in Quebec this weekend, so I'll add my review to the pile.
Before I start, here's some background: I've owned various bikes for 8 years but have had my license and been riding for 18. I've owned, in chronological order:
<ul>
<li>Hyosung 250 GT</li>
<li>Hyosung 650 GT</li>
<li>Triumph Bonneville</li>
<li>Triumph Street Triple</li>
<li>Harley VRSCA V-Rod</li>
<li>2005 Victory Kingpin</li>
<li>2013 Victory Judge</li>
</ul>
I like most bikes except for Japanese supersport bikes; don't ask why. The Judge is pretty much the bike I dreamed about as a kid, so when Victory made it, I had to have one, no matter what.
I reserved a test ride a couple weeks ahead during the demo day at for 10:30am. I was giddy with excitement that morning, and had driven up with a buddy from 90 minutes away to get on the bike. I got there at 10:28am and the crowd was already huge (they had group demo rides going out ever 30 minutes). I went inside to the reception and gave my name to the pretty young girl at reception. This is where things went south for a bit.
'Hi, I'm here for the demo ride.'
'What's your name and what time are you booked for?'
'xxxx, 10:30am.'
'Oh, well you're late. They left already.'
'What? It's 10:32. How can that be?'
'Yeah well you were supposed to be here at 10:30 sharp...' [goes back to doing her paperwork'.
[arguing back and forth, sales manager comes back to see what's going on]
At that point, he tells her that the 10:00 group didn't even come back yet. The 10:30 group won't leave for another 10 minutes. Completely unapolagetically she basically throws me a pen and sign-up sheet and says 'Fill this out.'

I was appalled. Here I am, a customer who just bought a $14k bike from a dealer this year, wanting to try out a $25k bike that I have serious intentions of buying, getting major attitude from the first person I have contact with during my test ride. I realize that it was my fault that I was a whole 2 minutes late, but some courtesy and maybe a 'let me check to see if the group left' or something would have been in order.
I sign up and head back outside, where I eventually find my way onto a beautiful red Chief Classic. We're about a dozen vehicles in the line up, and while most folks headed straight for the Vintage or Chieftain, I really like the simple look of the Classic (I'm not a bagger guy... yet...).
I can't put into words how solid this motorcycle felt when I sat on it. The handlebar and the view above it just 'feel' powerful. I know what sitting 'in' the bike vs 'on' the bike means now, and the ergonomics were close to perfect if a little stretched at the foot controls for my 5'8 frame; nothing I couldn't get used to. After a few minutes of trying to figure out the push-to-start button (you have to hold it down for a bit), and a sort of condescending question from the ride leader regarding if I've ever ridden a motorcycle before - I guess wearing designer jeans and fluorescent running shoes in a sea of Harley-Davison leather jackets and chaps kind of makes you seem out of place - we started to lurch forward as a group and about a hundred envious onlookers watched us leave.

Any discontent I had with the way the morning had played out thus far vanished as we left the parking lot. The Chief, by any measure, is a fantastic, utterly awe-inspiring piece of machinery. A heavy one, make no mistake - but all that weight disappears as soon as you hit any sort of speed. We cruised around some quiter rural roads for a while before hitting the highway, and though we were specifically told not to, many of us purposely built some distance from the group in front of us to slingshot back by opening up the throttle - and man, what a sound that engine makes when you do. It's very very quiet when you're not gunning it, and even when you are, the volume level never gets really high... but the tone of the engine at wide open throttle really makes you feel like you're in the wrong era. There are very, very few bikes whose sound can have an effect like that (my Judge's stock rumble is annoyingly tame and tinny in comparison) and the Indian's up there with Italian triples and KTMs as the most distinctive roars I can think about. Do I wish it was louder? Sure, but it's pretty damn near perfect out of the box.
Everything on the motorcycle feels tight and solid - I felt ike I could ride for a million miles straight. Comfortably. Stopping for gas, food and sleep. It's hard to put into words how well-put together the Chief felt. Nothing rattled, nothing seemed out of place, and you could almost swear that the only shaking or vibration you felt was purposely put there by the engineers to give the bike more soul. I didn't scrape the floorboards but certainly felt I could, easily, if I wanted to.
The ride last 30 minutes but felt like 5, possibly due to the very comfortable seat. We got back, had the obligatory 15 minute sales pitch before we were handed our licenses back, and I drove back to the city. Despite the initial unpleasentness of my experience - I hope they work on that - I came away very, very impressed with the new Indians. Would I trade in my Judge? Probably not just yet. But if I had to pick the best vehicle to drive across the continent on right now, I can't think of many bikes that would be more comfortable, funner or cooler than the Indian.
 
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Discussion Starter #2
There must be 30 Indian trucks at dealers every week end around the country
 
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Discussion Starter #4
Great Review, only got to test the Chieftain myself which thought was great and love reading what others think about all models as well .. When there is more availability may find myself on one ..
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Very nice review, BusterMcHooli... Thanks!

I demo'd the the Chiefs and Chieftan this past weekend in Lowell, NC. I was equally blown away by all three models, and will leave the ride and quality assessment there as I do not need to add anything more to what's already been written in this forum about these awesome machines.

But, I would like to offer a contrast to BusterMcCool's unsettling experience with his local dealer's orchestration of the demos.
I could not have beeen more impressed with the thoroughness, professionalism, and courtesy in which Indian-Victory of Charlotte (in Lowell, NC) handled this past weekend's demo event. Mark Moses and his staff put on a class act, working with the Indian Demo Truck guys to pull off two days of demo rides. Check-in was organized and smooth, the demo rides stayed on schedule in half hour intervals, and the established riding route had a little bit of everything... congested town traffic, a couple miles of interstate 85, hills, 3 sets of railroad tracks, and plenty of twisties. About a 15 mile ride. At the end of the ride everyone got the chance to display their parking lot skills doing a tight 180 degree turn in front of the 20 or so riders waiting to take their turns for the next ride. Yikes!

In addition to the well orchestrated demo rides, I must make a comment about the very cool look and feel of the dealership itself. It's a legacy Indian dealer in a very nice facility. On display are several old Indian motorcycles and artifacts from the 111 years of Indian heritage. It had a full assortment of Indian 'stuff' to purchase. Complimentary morning pastries/coffee and hot dogs for lunch were a nice touch.

Of course, the bikes do sell themselves. But, it sure is nice to see a dealership that appears to totally have their act together.

...MDHawk
 
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Discussion Starter #7
I have a boy who wears florescent shoes and designer jeans, lol, while on his bike....and when he rides with me! He probably would have used the term 'more funner' too....or 'gnarly'....or 'sick'....

It's tough being your own person, isn't it? Hang in there....you might live long enough for stereotypes to become a thing of the past.....

Or...maybe not....

Great review, thanks.
 
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`<em>Of course, the bikes do sell themselves. But, it sure is nice to see a dealership that appears to totally have their act together.</em> `

I have no doubt that 99% of the time, the demo experience is much more positive. I'm certain that what happened to me was not par for the course, but the fact remains that the first thing that springs to mind is the less-than-warm-and-fuzzy welcome I had from the receptionist. It didn't turn me off of the bike or the company.

<em> 'I have a boy who wears florescent shoes and designer jeans, lol, while on his bike....and when he rides with me! He probably would have used the term 'more funner' too....or 'gnarly'....or 'sick'.... '</em>

I don't make a habit of it ;) . I had a triathlon later in the day and kept my runners on instead of my riding boots. I'm guilty of judging other riders too based on what they wear. And I guess it didn't help that I couldn't even figure out how to start the bike.

One more interesting tidbit - during question period after the ride, I asked the sales manager 'When is the Scout coming?' He answered 'Well... you know... there's a lot of demand for the Scout. It's Indian's most famous model. I'm allowed to say that it will happen, probably sooner than most people think.'

I can almost see a matte military-green Scout in my driveway...

A couple more pics from the ride:






I'd say about 3/4 of the test riders arrived there on their Harleys.
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the time and effort to put together your experience of the demo ride. I always thought my CC was a great choice of motorcycle, but the Indians sure sound intriguing!
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Nice review, thank you. So I haven't had a chance to test ride, or even see one in person yet but I am very interested. One thing I notice though is that you said you are 5' 8' and it looks like you're on your tip toes. I'm shorter than you (5' 6') and worried I won't be as comfortable on it as I want to be on my next bike.
 
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19584 said:
One thing I notice though is that you said you are 5' 8' and it looks like you're on your tip toes. I'm shorter than you (5' 6') and worried I won't be as comfortable on it as I want to be on my next bike.
That was when I first got on the bike trying to get used to it. Once we started the test ride, at every stop, I was able to flat-foot the bike easily (and this is in running shoes, not riding boots with an extra inch or more of sole). Of course once you sit on one you'll be able to tell right away, but the official seat height is only 26 inches which should be fine for most people coming from any other cruiser, I'd figure.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
I was also at the Demo in Montreal, flew up from NB, I was a bit of a fish out of water, not speaking French, but had a good experience with the dealer, they went out of their way to accommodate my English only...... Had a chance to try the Chieftan and Vintage, and although I had every intention of ordering a vintage, I was completely impressed with the Chieftan, although both are great bikes, I found the Chieftan had a nicer ride, and better handling due to the 25 deg fork rake, and did I mention gobs of power...... The seat is extremely comfortable, and the handling was superior. I ordered a Chieftan, should have it around late Feb or march, can't wait to get riding next season
 
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19589 said:
I was also at the Demo in Montreal, flew up from NB, I was a bit of a fish out of water, not speaking French, but had a good experience with the dealer, they went out of their way to accommodate my English only...... Had a chance to try the Chieftan and Vintage, and although I had every intention of ordering a vintage, I was completely impressed with the Chieftan, although both are great bikes, I found the Chieftan had a nicer ride, and better handling due to the 25 deg fork rake, and did I mention gobs of power...... The seat is extremely comfortable, and the handling was superior. I ordered a Chieftan, should have it around late Feb or march, can't wait to get riding next season
Congrats on your order.
For those sitting on the fence it sounds like they better get on board now
If they want a bike next year.
 
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18680 said:
Congrats on your order.
For those sitting on the fence it sounds like they better get on board now
If they want a bike next year.
Thanks, a couple things I forgot to mention, the exhaust note is really nice, low rumble, but not obnoxious, I'm not a fan of super loud pipes, the boards seemed a little high, but not uncomfortable, the engine and tranny are extremely smooth, over all I was very impressed, it was every bit as good as I was hoping for. The biggest down side for me is lack of dealers, only 4 in Canada and the closest for me is 700 km, however I spoke to the Rep, and I can get work done at my local (200 km) Vic dealer , although I would have to initiate any warrantee work with an Indian dealer, once they determine I am too far away etc, they will authorize the Victory dealer to do the work, and they will have access to the tech line, parts etc.
 
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Living in FL... land of the 'snowbirds' we get allot of visitors from Quebec, Ont. As a group they are the rudest, most short tempered, cheapskates around. You live there and don't know this???
 
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19589 said:
I was also at the Demo in Montreal, flew up from NB
They mentioned you several times at the sales pitch - they were very proud that someone flew up to their dealership from several hours away just to try the new bikes.

<span>For those sitting on the fence it sounds like they better get on board now </span>
<span>If they want a bike next year.
Folks ordering their bikes at the demo day were told they'd be able to take delivery by spring. The sales manager can only sell, order and receive one bike at a time according to my understanding.

<span>I'm not a fan of super loud pipes
Me neither, but I still felt it could stand to be a bit louder all things considered. The tone itself is great at speed.

<span>I can get work done at my local (200 km) Vic dealer
</span>

Yes, even though they really want folks to go to the Indian dealer for service, when distance is an issue Vic dealers are able to order parts for the Indian. I'd be worried about the Vic tech not knowing much about the Thunderstroke and all the high-tech wizardry on the Indian though, as it's completely different from the Freedom engine.

<span>we get allot of visitors from Quebec, Ont. As a group they are the rudest, most short tempered, cheapskates around.
Right behind Miamians, of course. Ever been to Calle Ocho? </span></span></span>
 
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I'm also a bit concerned about the service thing, but.... If I wanted this bike then this was really my only option, the Rep said they will probably have a dealer in Halifax in the future, so that's a little closer, but not much hope of the small Vic dealers picking up the line. With luck , and if the engineers did their job well it won't be much of a problem.......here's hoping!!
 
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Discussion Starter #18
I did my demo rides at Wagner Motorsports in Worcester, Mass. It was a great experience all the way around for me. The owner and staff are great folks.
 
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