By John Burns
“This might be the best quality chrome on a production bike I’ve seen to date,” quipped Pete on the 2010 Indian Chief Vintage’s high-luster shiny stuff. Indeed, the future “looks bright,” as Indian focuses on top quality, sticks to its guns, and lets the top-of-the-range Chief Vintage lead the way toward continued pride in the company’s slogan: “America’s First Motorcycle.” Verily, it is always sunniest before the axe falls: One year later, Stellican folded its North Carolina wigwam and sold Indian to Polaris.
Indian Rides Again!
As the flagship for the recently revived Indian Motorcycle Company, the 2010 Chief Vintage presents a synthesis of 1940s-era styling in modern running form.It and all the lavishly-executed moto creations from an American brand that was born in 1901, two years before Harley-Davidson, have been known to command a variety of visceral reactions.
From an aesthetic perspective – even though the new Indian Motorcycle Company only bought the name in 2004, and produced its first bikes in 2009 – it could be argued that this bike already deserves a page on a wall calendar of beautiful motorcycles.
From a nostalgic view, all the new Indians have been said to evoke memories for old-time riders and those who had fathers or uncles or grandfathers who rode an original one decades ago.
The Chief Vintage has some of the most popular design cues from the middle of the 20th century, while updating its operability for the standards of the 21st.
And from a critical perspective, some are wondering whether the upscale motorcyles made in the name of a once-great marque can be revived in this economy, and in spite of failures by others who have tried to restore Indian before.
Like every one of the seven variations of the Chief, the Vintage is …read more