By Wes Fleming
Stand Back, Kids, There’s a New Chief in Town
With little fanfare but numerous marketing emails and social media posts hyping a big deal in February, Indian released info and photos of its freshly redesigned Chief line.
“Wait a second!” you might be thinking. “They already have a Chief!” You’re right – they do, but the really retro look of the discontinued Chiefs (Classic and Vintage), with its full-coverage rear body panels, large swoopy front fender and iconic headdress fender topper is gone, replaced now by a stripped-down, more modern (but still fully retro) look.
The new Chief celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first Chief with an American-made $14,500 air-cooled V-twin powered heavy cruiser.
You might also be thinking the only surprise in that sentence is the price point – but that’s without ABS and in basic black. If you want any other color or ABS, your base price is $15,300 USD (+ABS) or $15,800 (+ABS +White or Ruby “Smoke,” Indian’s code word for a matte rather than glossy finish).
Hail to the (New) Chief
At first glance, the 2022 Indian Chief isn’t all that exciting, playing into the bobber trend with a solo seat, short rear fender, and offset license plate holder. On the surface, nothing about the bike makes it stand out, a disappointing development for anybody who was hoping Indian’s next bike would be more 21st century than 20th. To build excitement, you have to look a bit deeper and try to understand what Indian is trying to do with the Chief lineup – give riders something bigger and more traditional (i.e. air-cooled) than the Scout, but more affordable than the baggers and bigger cruisers in the lineup.
It uses a standard (and typical for the genre) steel-tube trellis frame, an easily recognized and inexpensive feature for bikes of this size and …read more