Indian celebrates the Chief's 100th birthday by launching three new motorcycles

Ronan Glon
·3 min read

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Indian Motorcycles is celebrating 100 years of the Chief, one of its best-known nameplates. It marked the occasion by releasing three new models for 2022 named Chief, Chief Bobber, and Super Chief, respectively.

While all three motorcycles are built around a tubular steel frame, and they're powered by the Thunderstroke V-twin engine, they each have a unique personality. Indian developed the standard Chief as a more stripped-down bike for riders who prefer power and a minimalist look. Stylists chose not to add fairing to the bike's sides to leave the two-cylinder engine and the exhaust system fully exposed, though short fenders cover the 19-inch wheels.

Some motorcycles blend a retro-inspired look with cutting-edge tech features sourced from the car world, like a touchscreen; the Chief doesn't have to be one of them. Riders face an analog speedometer that encompasses a small information screen, while the commands are refreshingly simple. Indian nonetheless installed a keyless ignition, cruise control, and a system that allows users to select one of three riding modes called sport, standard, or tour. Alternatively, the speedometer can be replaced by a smartphone-connected screen that displays the kind of software you'd expect to find in a modern car, complete with navigation and a variety of gauges.

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Shown in the gallery above, the Chief Bobber is a midrange model that gains fatter tires wrapped around spoked 16-inch wheels and a less stripped-down appearance thanks to fork and shock covers. Indian explained the design is a tribute to the V-twin-powered models that were chopped and bobbed by military veterans and blue-collar rebels after World War II. Styling aside, the Bobber is mechanically and structurally identical to the Chief.

Finally, the Super Chief (pictured below) is a road trip-friendly model with saddlebags and a windshield — eating dragonflies gets old after a few miles. It's fitted with the Bobber's bigger Pirelli tires and spoked wheels.

Regardless of which Chief you choose to ride, you'll be straddling an air-cooled V-twin engine with a displacement of 1.8 liters (111 cubic inches). It sends 108 pound-feet of torque to the rear wheel, so the Chief is certainly not slow, but Indian notes all variants are approachable enough to suit a wide range of experience levels.

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Those who want more power can select one of three premium models respectively called Chief Dark Horse, Chief Bobber Dark Hose, and Super Chief Limited. They're equipped with a 1.9-liter (116-cubic inch) twin that makes 120 pound-feet of torque. Specific design details further set them apart from the bikes they're based on.

"We wanted to capture a timeless look that never goes out of style, and looks beautiful whether naked or fully dressed. Ultimately, this is a bike that evokes emotion with simple mechanical styling and raw American muscle. It's a pure riding machine," summed up Ola Stenegard, the company's director of industrial design.

2022 Indian Chief deliveries will begin in April 2021. Pricing starts at $14,499 for the entry-level Chief, which is available in Black Metallic, White Smoke, and Ruby Smoke. Next up in the range is the Chief Bobber, which costs $15,999. Finally, the Super Chief carries a base price of $18,999.

Indian points out that riders who want to customize their motorcycle will have over 80 factory-backed accessories to choose from, including new-look exhaust components, windshields, highway bars, and a big bore kit that unlocks about 20% more power.