The story goes that, when Polaris acquired the Indian Motorcycle Company, they had the Powerplus engine-powered Chief in the kitty. But they were also at the time thinking about a new product. The famous Scout did come up, but it quickly became clear that the Chief was the model that had to lead the resurrection. And, that it wasn’t as much the famous valenced-fenders as it was the distinctive look of the engine that would determine the Chief’s identity and its link with the present as well with its complicated past.
At a glance, it’s as classic as classic could ever get; big, bold and imposing in its stance from every possible angle, squatting there and basking in all its burly and magnificent power cruiser glory. One glance at all that minute detailing on this motorcycle and you really feel that you’re getting your money’s worth. There’s enough ‘Indian’ badging on and around this motorcycle for you to spend hours on end admiring. Its everybody panel oozes retro styling, yet as soon as you seat yourself on the bike, you’re welcomed by a boatload of modern tech. There’s the key-less ignition on the tank, the retro-styled speedo that flank the digital readout, letting you toggle between every numeric readout you could possibly use as you while away your time astride this motorcycle. Numbers like the tyre pressures, trip meters, gear position, average fuel consumption and a whole lot more. The left handle bar comes packed with a hoard of buttons, including a small remote-like section on the left bar that lets you switch between FM, USB and Bluetooth audio modes. Even the huge windscreen can be automatically adjusted at the press of a button. On the right, below the engine killswitch, you get the cruise control system that you could first find ridiculous on a motorcycle, only to later find it to be of much convenience, particularly once you’re on the long open highway.
The 1811cc Thunderstroke engine is a real treat. Although it revs to a humble 5500rpm, and performance isn’t as ferocious as you would expect from an engine with more cubic capacity than the average Indian hatchback, the refined method in which the Indian Chieftain ushers you up to pace is commendable. You can be cruising at 90km at 2500rpm in sixth and at a small flick of your wrist. The Chieftain remains really stable at all speeds, and you would find the Chieftain to be quite manageable over rough roads. It’s surprising how something this big can be so easy to manoeuvre.
Arms stretched out wide, you feel every thump of the twin cylinder pulsate through them and through the footrests that resemble size 15 shoe soles. It feels outrageously sublime. The Chieftain doesn’t sound overly loud, and is rather muted with a nice hollow cruiser thump low down the rev band. Astride the Chieftain, you tend to get this very connected feeling, with the road, and with the motorcycle itself.
Astride a masterstroke of a motorcycle that is the Indian Chieftain, you instantly create a serious style statement for yourself. And more than being a brilliant motorcycle to ride, this big Indian is an expression of art. Some might find it hard to find reason in paying ₹32 lakh for a motorcycle, but the Indian Chieftain isn’t what laymen would consider buying. Art isn’t for everyone. Hell, it costs around the price of a luxury sedan. In a way, the Chieftain demands a much higher state of understanding its reasoning altogether. If you’re a person who already owns a luxury sedan, and is planning on getting another one just for kicks, the biker in you will really fancy a go at this one. Overall, more than just an expensive cruiser, the Chieftain is a gorgeous, involving, rolling work of art.
The Indian Chieftain doesn’t bank on being loud to announce its presence; it has enough magnetism in its persona for that.
Rate this Review :