2017 Indian Chieftain Elite and Chieftain Limited Review

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By John Burns

2017 Indian Chieftains Elite and Limited

Editor Score: 86.5%

Engine 17.0/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.0/10
Brakes 8.25/10
Instruments/Controls 4.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.0/10
Appearance/Quality 9.5/10
Desirability 9.25/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score 86.5/100

Indian continues to bring the battle to Milwaukee with a pair of new baggers: the 2017 Chieftain Elite and Chieftain Limited – baggers being such a big deal they’ve spawned their own magazines and websites, and why not? They’re a great balance of form and function, combining the ability to cruise the dirty boulevard in style, then hightail it out of town without having to leave all one’s worldly goods behind. We could call them “American Sport Tourers,” really.

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What’s new with these two Indians isn’t a lot functionally, but in a world where form is just as important, these two mark a significant departure. If you can’t put your finger on exactly why at first glance, here it is: These are the first modern-era full-sized Indians to do away with the company’s signature valanced front fender.

Removing it encouraged the engineers to come up with a spicy new 19-inch contrast-cut front wheel packing a pair of 300mm floating brake rotors squeezed by four-piston calipers bearing the Indian brand. Beyond that, a color matched headlight bezel and streamlined leather saddle complete a subtly sleeker, more aggressive look (which looks quite a bit more like Harley-Davidson‘s best-selling Street Glide).

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Does the carpet match the drapes? Yes. What? These two Chieftains carry on with the same 111 Thunder Stroke V-Twin as before, rated at 119 lb-ft of torque by Indian and measured by our Dynojet rear-wheel dyno at 105 lb-ft at 2800 rpm, and 76.1 horsepower at 4500 rpm in last year’s Baggers Brawl. In …read more

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