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.
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.
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.