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Indian Teases New Chief: Will Be Revealed at Sturgis

This is an image released by Polaris of the all-new 2014 Indian Chief, which features the previously announced Thunder Stroke 111 engine.  The press release is below, together with a new video showing assembly of the bike.  The image at the top was enhanced by us with an editor, and the original darkened image is in the middle of this article (for you to play with in PhotoShop).  The production bike will be revealed at Sturgis in August, and the base model is priced at $18,999.

MEDINA, Minn. — May 13, 2013 — Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, today continued its trip toward the historic unveiling of the completely new 2014 Indian Motorcycle. Following on the heels of the reveal of the all-new Thunder Stroke 111™ engine on March 9 at Daytona Bike Week, Indian Motorcycle is announcing additional details as it accelerates toward the upcoming launch. 

Staying true to its heritage, the revival of the Indian Motorcycle brand will debut with the introduction of the 2014 Indian Chief. First introduced in 1922, the legendary Indian Chief is historically the brand’s most popular selling model and is widely recognized by motorcycling enthusiasts around the world as one of the most iconic motorcycles ever produced. The Indian Chief is the flagship of the brand’s 112-year product lineup, and it has come to proudly represent the spirit of the Indian Motorcycle brand. 

“We are honored to make today’s important announcements at this time, as it was roughly 112 years ago that the very first Indian Motorcycle prototype was demonstrated to the press on the streets in Springfield, Massachusetts,” said Vice President of Polaris Motorcycles Steve Menneto. “We’re especially proud to reveal that our inaugural model will be the iconic Indian Chief. Riders around the world will be thrilled to know their choice in American motorcycles will now come in the form of an all-new Indian Chief.” 

In addition to announcing the first model to come out of the Spirit Lake, Iowa production plant, pricing for the all-new 2014 Indian Chief will start at an MSRP of $18,999. Inventory is expected to be available at Indian Motorcycle dealerships throughout North America later in the year. Additional Indian Motorcycle dealerships will be opening across the country this summer to accommodate bike demand and service needs. 

To view a short video clip in support of today’s announcement, or to see a silhouette image of the flagship 2014 Indian Chief, visit the Indian Motorcycle website.

“When Polaris Industries acquired this brand two years ago, our goal from the outset was to leverage our engineering, manufacturing and operational prowess as a market leader in powersports to design and build a truly exceptional motorcycle that represents the perfect balance of legendary heritage and brilliant, state-of-the-art engineering and technology,” continued Menneto. “All of us at Indian Motorcycle are very proud to offer the 2014 Indian Chief at a starting price of $18,999. We set out to make the power and heritage of this beautiful new bike available at a price point that is competitive and more accessible to people who are looking for authenticity and choice in American motorcycles.” 

The new Indian Chief will be revealed at the 73rd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, which runs August 3-11, 2013. Specific details on the launch timing will be announced this summer. The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the world’s largest motorcycle rally, was started in 1936 by an Indian Motorcycle club, the famed Jackpine Gypsies. Indian Motorcycle is proud to reclaim that heritage and share the historic reveal of the 2014 Indian Chief with the rider community at  the 2013 Sturgis Rally. 

66 Comments

  1. Max says:

    Kudos to Polaris. They are taking a brand that is fondly remembered as uniquely American and playing to its strengths. Like any good business, they are establishing a revenue stream with what sells. They are not trying to vault to the top of the heap by being everything to everyone. They have a long term vision, something the Japanese used effectively against us over a period of decades. I am not in the market for a cruiser but I am also not in the market for a sportbike. I’m somewhere in-between and I am happy to live in a time when I have so many choices. I am not worried about buying American to save the country. American businesses do what they have to in order to survive and that often means using foreign suppliers for parts and labor. Even on the iconic H-D brand. I look forward to what Polaris brings forth under the Indian brand because it will be fun to see one on the road and give that other rider a wave. We are all riders, are we not?

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  2. Auphliam says:

    I like it. It definitely has me intrigued…which is all you can ask from your marketing and ad dept, right?

    Completely new motor. Completely new chassis design. ABS and integrated Cruise. The fact that they were able to slash the bas msrp that much is icing on the cake.

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  3. Jay says:

    It will never have Harley’s strengths. Harleys have several two inch thick catalogues filled with aftermarket stuff besides Harley’s own catalogue, and you never see your clone. There isn’t even very much aftermarket support for VIctorys and it’s been out for 15 years. It will be forever before companies can generate a profit selling Indian add-ons. There won’t be enough Indians around.

    Harleys have soul mates riding on 90% of the motorcycles on the road. How many Indian riders’ clubs are there going to be, five? With ten people in each? I can just hear the thunder when all the Indian riders get together for a poker run. Putt, putt, putt.

    And if Indians are $19K, what’s going to happen to VIctory? I dont think the price is accurate. It’s a monumental motorcycle, I’d love one, but it won’t be a big player.

    • Rob says:

      You don’t get it, do you? It’s not meant to be a Harley!!!! If everyone wanted a Harley, they would be buying a Harley!

      An Indian, is different… it’s the original American motorcycle company! You won’t see 100 of them on every corner. LOL!!!

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  4. Wendy says:

    Has anyone figured out that the deeply valanced fenders of the INdian Chiefs were notorious for sidewind instability? All that area on the steering areas is not the best idea.

    Otherwise, I am stifling a yawn over here. What almost everyone else said.

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  5. Michael H says:

    Good for Polaris, good for us. Increased variety and more competition are good things for motorcycle consumers. How many times have you left a Harley dealership thinking that you’ve been fleeced? Maybe having two good alternatives in Victory and Indian will change that a bit.

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  6. Les says:

    Yet another cruiser that throws back to the bikes of yesteryear. No wonder the motorcycle industry can’t sell anything; they have the combined imagination of a turnip.

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  7. mickey says:

    One good thing for the Indian brand, Polaris has the financial ability to follow through where others have not. If they can produce a decent product sales will start slowly but increase. HD and Indian had a great rivalry for several decades. Maybe they can again. Although this is a brand/ bike I would never buy, I wish them luck going forward.

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  8. MUSTAFA IBRAHIM says:

    For all you cruiser haters, Harley sells the majority of motorcycles sold in this country, more than all the others combined. So the majority of motorcyclists want cruisers, and Harley gives people what they want. I have been injured too many times to ride a sport bike comfortably, yet my touring bike is just too heavy. So it looks like a standard or cruiser in my future. I certainly hope that Polaris/Indian is successful to the point where they can expand with other models available, hopefully something smaller. An Indian Scout adventure tourer, under 500 pounds, would have me lining up to buy…two of them! One for my spouse and one for me.

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    • Kevin Willard says:

      “Harley sells the majority of motorcycles sold in this country, more than all the others combined”.

      I guess that depends on what you call a motorcycle.

      Report this comment

  9. Fred says:

    I hope they have bigger plans for the Indian name. I would like to see a high performance v-twin Ducati,buell, KTM. I hope the best for them. I think they will do well competing with a low tech company such as HD

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  10. Michael_H says:

    It better have tank flanges.

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  11. Kevin S says:

    I will buy one just to piss off the HD guys!

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  12. andy1300 says:

    +1 Looking good Indian

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  13. Chaz says:

    The reveal at Sturgis means that this model is aimed at the wannabe/poser biker demographic. I’m not sure what this bike says about the person who owns it, which of course is the real question. Maybe something like “my new bike looks much older than your bike”. The price is actually not bad, about half what a vintage Chief or a Motus would cost.

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    • Jeremy in TX says:

      You’ll find plenty of real motorcyclists at Sturgis. (I admit that you will never see THIS motorcyclist there, but to each his own.) I think the demographic they want is a buyer that is cruiser buyer that is over 35 with an appreciation for detail, a good bit of disposable income and a weakness for American nostalgia. Plenty of that type at Sturgis, so it seems the best venue for a reveal. Posers won’t even be interested unless Indian builds some critical mass.

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  14. Jay says:

    How are you going to get a huge boat like that up to 150 mph on a regular basis? Who would want a motorcycle that you can’t lean over 60 degrees on? Where am I going to put my girl friend, upright on the back? She won’t be leaning up against me? WTF good is that!

    They want $18,999 for that thing?

    Report this comment

    • mk says:

      If you have ever rode a cruiser then you would know

      Report this comment

      • Kent says:

        I’ve never blown a guy in an alley behind a bar. But I already know I wouldn’t want to. Same for riding a cruiser. I’m fine with guys who blow other guys in the alley, and with guys who ride cruisers, but neither one is my thing.

        I hope Indian branches out past the $20,000 chrome barge model.

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  15. Ricardo says:

    What is it with all the harley and indian haters here? there is a taste and a product for everyone, that is the beauty of diversity in people and in products, so everyone can chose things to their own taste. I don’t like all motorcycles but can certainly appreciate what companies try to do to “please” every one in the market. We are all entitled to express an opinion but some of the comments below are just to say “I hate HD”, “I hate Indian”, I hate…”
    Yes I own a HD V-Rod, but I also own a Ducati 999, a CB550k and a Cagiva Alazzurra, there is so much out there to chose from….and at cheap prices too!!

    Report this comment

    • AlanRand says:

      I agree. It’s all a matter of taste. I’ve owned and ridden bikes from a handful of different manufacturers over the years and each one was what I wanted when I bought it. The Indian Chief has a place in American motorcycle history and frankly I’m glad they’re still building them. I ride a 2001 Chief which works well for me because I’m 6’1” and it has more leg room than a FLH and besides, my next choice wouldn’t be a Harley any way. It would be a BMW Montauk or Phoenix or maybe a Triumph Thunderbird. If Indian decides to build crotch rockets great. Indian had developed a horizontal inline four prototype in the late 1940′s but it never saw production. A full 20 years ahead of Honda. I rode a 1976 Honda CB400F in high school in 1978 and that little bike would eat most anything out there in a stoplight. I’m older now and it’s time to move on…You young guys can run 150 is you want, just consider what you would look like if you hit a flock of birds at that speed…an Indian Chief.

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    • motowarrior says:

      Ricardo has a good point. I’ve owned nearly five dozen motorcycles over the years, and not one cruiser. But the motorcycle community has enough problems from the public and the government without us tearing each other apart. I’m glad Indian is back, and I look forward to seeing the bikes. I may never consider buying one, but I certainly don’t mind if others do. I won’t make it to Sturgis, but I will be at Riding Into History in St. Augustine, FL this weekend admiring all the antique, vintage, classic and competition bikes. Indian & Harley included.

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  16. Craig Jackman says:

    The new Indian. Indian head running light and fully skirted fenders? Check! Massive a/c V-Twin? Check! Big cushy tractor seat for big cushy asses? Check! Boatloads of chrome? No doubt …

    OK the latest “new Indian” is exactly what everyone expected to see. Fantastic. They’ll sell boat loads of ‘em after the first couple of years. What I’m waiting to see is what else Polaris or HD can do. The American Big Twin is not the highest tech engine in the world, but as you dig into them, they do have some interesting engineering. What about a bike for the rest of us that doesn’t want a cruiser and can’t afford the bucks for the EBR, or can’t fold ourselves onto a sportbike anymore? I like the now discontinued XR1200 and would love to ride one. I thought the Beull ST3 and XB12X Ulysses were among the best bikes I’ve ever ridden.

    I get how the economy works and would love to buy a North American made motorcycle. The bank would fall all over themselves to lend me the money. If I were to replace my beloved VStrom right now, the money would very likely go to Japan again (Kawasaki Versys 1000, not available in the US!). Maybe the UK or Germany (Triumph Tiger or BMW 800GS). I get that HD and Polaris are making money servicing the largest motorcycle demographic (cruiser riders). Doesn’t anyone want my money? Apparently not.

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  17. todd says:

    Funny how someone will buy this, trying to be different, and nobody but him and a couple other people will know that it isn’t a Harley. Maybe that’s what people really want; they don’t want to own a Harley but they want everyone to think they do.

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  18. Bud says:

    Oh,gee, just what the world needs-another overweight, overpriced v-twin cruiser.

  19. Hair says:

    The top half of the bike looks great. The finish seems to be pretty good too. I can’t wait until Polaris decides to enter the dual sport and trail bike market.

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  20. T says:

    I was really hopeful when I first saw the engine. Now I see the “New” Indian is just another 700 lb boat. Fail.

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  21. Gary says:

    O M G! How can some of you judge the looks, performance, or anything else about a coming bike model by an engine and just a few lines? Rebadged Victory 8 ball? Even from this engine with a few lines, anyone can tell that will be so far from the truth. I’m not a big V-twin fan for some things either, but I certainly wish them well, and congratulate Polaris on doing a great job from what I’ve seen so far with Indian. Yes, I hope that down the line they will be something more than V-twins, but they have to start with what Indian would be today with modern updates and some styling.

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  22. DeltaZulu says:

    Oh, look, another American made, over-priced, under-powered, non-handling, no-brake, overweight pig that they’re calling a motorcycle. Seriously, Michael Czysz, WHERE ARE YOU??? I want to buy an American motorcycle the exact opposite of this ancient recipe.

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    • Gentleman Rook says:

      Beat me to it. +1. :)

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I want to buy an American motorcycle the exact opposite of this ancient recipe.”

      EBR has answered your call and built the bike Michael Czysz hasn’t been able to (ie. 1190RS). erik nows ask O’ BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU???

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      • DeltaZulu says:

        Ummm, that bike is nothing like the MotoCzysz…. plus, I’d still be worried about the Hardley Ableson connection with Eric Buell. I know, I know, “there isn’t a connection…. yeah, but he worked for “them” and yes, I am paranoid – and in the military, we call paranoia “survival”. And, yes, I hate…A LOT!

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    • Mauler says:

      So did you buy a XR1200? Probably not. Once again its someone complaining about something they never plan on purchasing. H-D tried to product a bike with a more European and racing sensibility, but now they dumped it because NO ONE BOUGHT IT. Unfortunately for you, everyone loves their over-priced, under-powered, non-handling bikes. And if you think the Indian is going to handle poorly, you need to test ride a Victory, they handle like a dream.

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      • Kent says:

        Ugly as sin (in photos I think they look good, but not in person), expensive & heavy. You still have to deal with a Harley dealership to buy one (which I why I looked at a Buell once, and never went back).
        If HD is going to make something other than a ‘doo rag & chaps special, they need a different business model. I thought they might do well with Buell and with MV, but it’s clear that they are going to stick to their core business.

        They have every right to do so, but don’t expect me to buy a bike from their t-shirt and fringed jacket boutique.

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    • Dino says:

      I thought we were supposed to HATE the electric bikes, even if they have the performance of the MotoCzysz…

      I thought you were talking about Motus (V-4 GAS powered Sport Touring made right here in USA)..

      Report this comment

  23. PN says:

    I like it and am glad Indian will finally be back for good. Though I personally don’t ride a cruiser, I bet at this price Indian will be very popular. I think H-D should be afraid it’s going to lose its lockstep appeal.

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  24. halfbaked says:

    Well this proves it the new Indians will simply be re-badged Victory 8-Ball cruisers.

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  25. Gronde says:

    Gee…how original….a valance-fendered bike. Victory’s biggest problem so far has been conimg up with original ideas and now they offer of another rehash of a 1930′s Indian. Victory will always represent toilet filler and nothing more.

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  26. Tim says:

    I think they’ll sell plenty of these. I’m not a cruiser guy, but I find that motor really attractive. I doubt they hurt Harley’s sales much, but I do believe this is going to be the first bike to come along in a long while that will win away a few of the Harley faithful. Victory bikes are just a little too non traditional, but this has tradition written all over it, it’s made in America, and with that beautiful motor I think it will be a viable alternative for Harley guys who want something a little less common than any of the Harley models.

    If I was a cruiser guy, this bike or the Moto Guzzi California would be the bikes I’d be seriously looking at. I see very little appeal in going to a bike night on a bike that is identical to 50 other bikes in the parking lot, especially one that cost nearly $20k. For that price range, I want something unique, and not just distinguished from other bikes by a few pieces of chrome.

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  27. EZ Mark says:

    I hope they make a Scout quickly.
    That fat fendered look is a limited market.
    Ask Kawasaki how many Drifters it sold compared to the Vulcans.
    Love that new engine, though.

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  28. fast2win says:

    I was hoping for something a little more like what Guzzi did with the California. It still is identifiable as a California but with a much more moderb twist. This bike appears to be stuck on old styling with no new twist. Well we shall see what the future brings. I’ll rserve final judgement when we see the real thing

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  29. Dino says:

    I could print out that top image, and just stare at it. Good marketing, that is… Like looking at a locomotive with flair and style?? And I mean that in a good way, like nothing can stop a train.. Or something..

    Just kinda cool, and stylish.. I hope the real bike looks as good! Should be a solid runner with their new engine, and Polaris track record..

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I could print out that top image, and just stare at it. Good marketing”

      exactly what i was thinking. hard to find a good marketing department these days, yet they seem to be having no problem at all.

      Report this comment

  30. itchface says:

    Gawd, I was so hoping that I could have one more high-dollar v-twin cruiser to put on my shopping list. Having to make a buying decision when you only have a couple of dozen bikes to pick from is so hard!

    Seriously, this complete lack of originality is a major let-down. I think I understand the allure of this genre to the manufacturers; you don’t have to invest a bunch of money in R&D trying to get the bike to perform well, but you still get to charge a premium price for it. It bugs me that so many people will likely reward with their checkbooks this complete lack of imagination and innovation.

    Oh, what could have been…

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    • Ken says:

      “Oh, what could have been?” Like what? Something like… another Buell? Another sport bike? How about an Indian dirt bike? Hypermotard? A flying motorcycle?
      People looking for a big V-twin, cruiser-style experience are not interested in multi-cylinders and 13,000rpm. Or 8-settings of stability control + 5-settings of traction control. They might be more interested in a simple design yielding huge amounts of torque and high-quality components, and specific aesthetics, more than cutting-edge technology and “imaginative” designs. I think Indian (Polaris) knows their market, and I wish them success.

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      • Stratkat says:

        yeah, whats wrong with that? you find it surprising that some of us want a nice looking American sportstbike? Buell was on track but was shut down. if Americans excel at crusiers, why is it so much to want/ask/hope for something more sporty, with American engineering? where is it written that an American motorcyle have to be a heavy stretched out monster????
        good lord, we can send men to the moon, surely we can make sportbikes here!

        Report this comment

        • Ken says:

          “…we can send men to the moon”
          I was around, back then, and except for the flag, this is a different county than the one that ‘sent men to the moon.’ Anyway, sport bike sales are down. The trend is away from uncomfortable, tech-laden, high-insurance, crotch rockets, so why would the Indian brand bother? But if you want such a device, there are already more than enough available for you, aren’t there? Oh, right — they’re not “good lord…” American brands: Shucks!

          Report this comment

          • Stratkat says:

            geez man, why would you put a negative spin on my comment???
            im not talking full blown sports bike, but a nice upright performance oriented machine, that handles well and makes you want to go for a fast ride, how is wanting that made here a bad thing?

            Report this comment

    • Dino says:

      Bitter and disinterested, party of two, your table is ready…

      I feel like Polaris will do the Indian name proper, and that involves a delicate balance of history and technology. I’m not in to Cruisers, but I like what Victory has done, and am curious what they do with Indian. Once established, maybe they can push the envelope with an longitudinal 4 cylinder like past models. Perhaps a radial 5-cylinder pushing an automatic two-wheel drive, or something that would leave you less disappointed.

      Report this comment

      • Stratkat says:

        not such a fine line at all. have your flagship model that reflects you heritage, i have absolutely no issue with that at all.

        but hell, Indian was also know for racing, why nor also capitalize on that, expand, think outside of the box a little, do it in a cool way. they obviously have some great designers there, the engine is a work of art, so take it and let it evolve, give us a bike that is not a cruiser, to be proud of. we’ll stand behind you. i go out of my way to buy American product, sunglasses, fuel containers that are made here that guess what, dont leak! boots and shoes, cooking grills, tools, lighters. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease make a motorcycle for those of us without tattoos, beards, skull infested doo rags, shirts, & jewelry and wallets attached by chains, can be proud of! give us something with soul that can get us somewhere fast and go around corners. c’mon Indian, are you listening????????

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    • Gabe says:

      I think you are wrong, but that does not change the fact that you are the mas guapo hombre to ever set foot in a motorcycle dealership.

      Report this comment

    • blackcayman says:

      I HAVE high hopes that like “Triumph” they can bring back the Indian Brand as a complete motorcycle company. The Chief being like the Bonneville, to get the ball rolling, interest building, and $$$ flowing from bikes.

      That being said, you can still buy a crated Excelsior Henderson Super X… See Ted Nielsen in IL.

      I wish Indian all the best – and hope they won’t ONLY compete model for model with HD.

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  31. todder says:

    I’ll be taking my cross country from Wisconsin out to Sturgis this year and look forward to checking it out.

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  32. Bob says:

    Finally, real competition for HD. I wish them all the best.

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