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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

  • August 4, 2013
  • Dirck Edge
  • Dirck Edge and Tom Riles

Indian Motorcycle Company Reveals All-New 2014 Indian Chief Motorcycles


2014 Indian Chief Classic


Classic and Vintage share this tank-mounted instrument layout.

MD is in Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual ralley, and to ride the all-new 2014 Indian Chief bikes revealed by the company last evening.  The three Chief models, including the Classic, the Vintage and the Chieftain, employ the Thunder Stroke 111 engine, which puts out a stout 119 foot/pounds of torque in final specification. These bikes are superbly finished, with spectacular paint quality and detailing. Yours truly took the photos on this page (although my buddy Tom Riles took the top picture), and I have already ridden both the Classic and the Chieftain.

The flawless fit and finish is not surprising given our experience with the other brand owned by Polaris, Victory, and the fact that Polaris views Indian as the premium brand in the United States.

Although we expect Indian will eventually have a very broad range of motorcycles on offer, it makes sense that this new journey funded by Polaris (a $3 Billion company) begins with a heavyweight cruiser honoring the legendary Chief model.

More details are in the press release below, and the specifications for the Classic model can be found here. Stay tuned for a brief riding impression (Part 1 of my first ride), as well as further reports later this coming week.


The view from behind the Chieftain fairing.

STURGIS, SD— August 3, 2013 — Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, today announced the highly anticipated details for the all-new 2014 Indian® Chief® family of motorcycles.  Before thousands of motorcycling fans at the site of the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame in downtown Sturgis at 9 p.m. Mountain Time on Saturday, August 3, Indian Motorcycle unveiled the three models that comprise the Indian Chief line up. The reveal ceremony and party signaled an inflection point in motorcycling history with the renewal of America’s oldest and most legendary brand.

2014 Indian Chief Classic (starting MSRP: $18,999)

The new Indian Chief Classic is a pure, powerful cruiser forged from key heritage design elements yet wrapped in advanced design, engineering and technology. It features iconic styling like valanced fenders, rich genuine leather saddle, classic tank-mounted instrumentation, tear-drop fuel tank design, and sculpted and lighted front fender war bonnet. The 2014 Indian Chief Classic comes standard with a host of premium features  including endless chrome, keyless ignition, ABS, cruise control, throttle-by-wire, true dual exhaust, high quality chrome laced spoke wheels, brake caliper covers, cast aluminum frame with integrated air intake, and much more.

The Indian Chief Classic, like all 2014 Indian Chief models, is powered by the all-new, clean sheet design Thunder Stroke™ 111 engine. Offering 111 cubic inches of pavement pounding power and 119 ft-lbs of torque, this class-leading power plant draws powerful design cues from heritage Indian Motorcycle engines merged with brilliant engineering and advanced technologies. The Thunder Stroke 111 is a 49-degree, air-cooled V-twin with 6-speed overdrive transmission, and features unmatched premium exterior finishes and touches. It offers owners the peace-of-mind that comes from over two million miles of on-road and test-lab verification and Polaris Industries’ 60 years of engineering prowess.

2014 Indian Chief Vintage

2014 Indian Chief Vintage (starting MSRP: $20,999)

The new Indian Chief Vintage is a soft bagger that takes iconic Indian Motorcycle styling to a whole new level with handcrafted detail and a signature heritage aesthetic. The Indian Chief Vintage offers top-quality quick-release soft-sided leather bags, leather fringe, chrome fender tips, vintage chrome badging on the front fender and a quick-release windshield for easy installation or removal. It includes the same premium standard features as the Indian Chief Classic, and sports the same iconic design elements like valanced fenders, laced wheels, whitewall tires, tank-mounted instrument cluster and extensive chrome finishes throughout. It is also powered by the new Thunder Stroke 111 engine.


2014 Indian Chieftain

2014 Indian Chieftain (starting MSRP: $22,999)

The first Indian Motorcycle of its kind, the 2014 Indian Chieftain maintains the legendary Indian Chief styling, while taking this progressive machine to new heights with advanced features and premium comfort. Unlike any Indian Motorcycle ever made, the Chieftain features a fairing with integrated driving lights, and its power windshield is an industry-first for a fork-mounted fairing. Standard features include hard saddlebags featuring remote locks and quick-release anchors, a high-output audio system featuring integrated Bluetooth® smartphone connectivity, and a tire pressure monitoring system.

“When we acquired Indian Motorcycle two and a half years ago we set out to capture the heart, soul and legendary heritage of this iconic American brand and then infuse it with unparalleled design, engineering and state-of-the-art technology,” said Scott Wine, CEO of Indian Motorcycle parent company Polaris Industries Inc. “On Saturday night we revealed three stunning new Indian Chief models that represent the results of our journey and the future of this brand. It was a triumphant day for all of us, and I know motorcycling fans around the world proudly join us in celebrating Indian Motorcycle and the realization that choice in American motorcycles is here to stay.”

The First 1901

To pay tribute to Indian Motorcycle’s past, the first 1901 Indian Chiefs to roll off of Indian’s assembly line in Spirit Lake, IA will be identified with a limited-edition badge. Numbered between one and 1901, these rare bikes will reflect the year of Indian’s inception by Oscar Hedstrom and George Hendee in Springfield, MA. “We have been very conscientious about honoring Indian Motorcycle’s storied history while establishing a foundation for what’s yet to come,” said Polaris Vice President of Motorcycles, Steve Menneto. “The lucky few who purchase these limited number bikes will truly own a piece of history, concurrently representing Indian’s rich past and its limitless future.” More information is available at Indian Motorcycle dealers across the country.


Indian Motorcycle is adding dealerships across the US and globally, and is on plan to have 125-140 North American and 70 international dealers by year end. The full line of 2014 Indian Chief models are available for order now and will arrive in dealerships in September, along with an extensive array of apparel, parts and accessories. Indian Motorcycle demo rides will be available at dealer events across the country starting later in August. Visit to check out the Demo Tour schedule or to locate an Indian Motorcycle dealer near you, and to see the full line of apparel, parts and accessories.



  1. Maneesh Mali says:

    I heard sound of this bike. …its very pretty. …no one bike can compare this sound…..but if Indian want to surviving this race they must have to come with same machine in flexible light bike those attract not ony fat guy but also youngsters like iron 883 harley davidson. …with good sufficient ground clearance… lot of people want to buy this type bike. …dont look behind, look Morden classic. ..think about not only fat guy but also flexible light guy …They will give you lot of prosperity. …good luck….

  2. Rocky says:

    Ever notice at a biker event the new Road Kings, HD Heritage or even and old turnip will draw a lot of looks, that is until someone rides in on a pan or knuckle. Then not only the Bikers, but everyone in the crowd comes out to check out the bike.

    Those classic bikes are riding artwork that everyone can appreciate. The new Indian captures that historic American motorcycle look. This new bike has a lot of potential.

    The only problem with many modern bikes is that they are made cheep, plastic and aluminum mostly. Throw away bikes made to only last a short while. Even the great Harley Davidson is sneaking more and more crappy parts into there iconic designs. I hope Indian doesn’t make the same mistake. There are dozens of new cheep bikes out there. The difference between crap and a classic, is after a 100k (or less) a cheep bike goes on the scrap heap. A true classic is rebuilt (over and over). You don’t throw away a true piece of rolling art. Its to early to see if Indian will regain its iconic status as a classic, but it does have the potential too.

  3. freddy says:

    Please , buy one if you like or go get what you want if you don’t…I think it is awesome .I believe it will survive and we will be talking about them for years to come

  4. sportsterfan says:

    If Harley is going to be successful they are going to have to get rid of their crappy twin cam engine. Harley should have put an enlarged version of the sportster 1200 motor in their larger bike. The new Indians don’t appeal to me at all, too heavy, ugly, just another geezer glide.

  5. chris says:

    For those that say this is a bad decision for Polaris, get a clue. The reason’s Indian never lasted past a few years was due large in part to poor management and OVER PRICING. Indian will succeed under Polaris due to much more competitive pricing, an already existing dealer network with plans to add more. I am sure Polaris will expand the current lineup to include the Scout, and who knows, maybe even the Arrow to compete with Harley’s Sportster. The future looks bright for American Motorcycles.

    P.S., I’ve been a Harley owner for 20 yrs. It’s about time an intelligent corporation finally bought the rights to Indian.

    • Tony says:

      The powers-that-be at Polaris seem to exhibit excellent business sense. They’ve proven it with the Victory. With the crew that they’ve gotten to develop the Chief, it is poised to exhibit much potential! I can’t recall a launch that has shown quite this much promise. From what I’ve read from all the reviews, the ride-ability and workmanship on these bikes is virtually second to none and will be tough to beat for awhile! I like your idea of offering models such as the Scout and Arrow. If I had a say, I think the next model should be a Scout.

  6. jnor says:

    I don’t see Indian going anywhere, even if they built better bikes than Harley. Harley by far has that market, many have tried, even with better bikes at a cheaper prices they haven’t made a dent in the Harley market …Indian has bombed out too many times, Indian will never get past that, especially in these times IMO.

  7. Craig Jackman says:

    Same old …
    Would never buy something like that.

  8. Bruce says:

    Actually, I rather like the styling, and think they did a good job of creating what an Indian Chief might look like if the original company had stayed in business.
    From the test ride reviews I’ve read, it sounds like they are also a decent ride.

    I can’t justify paying $20,000 for any motorcycle, however. Who knows? Maybe a few years down the road they’ll make a Scout model priced for those of us with slimmer wallets.

  9. hillmd says:

    I have a sport touring bike but the Indian Classic has my nose open !!!

  10. Ed Chambers says:

    The more I look at these bikes the more I like em.If I didn’t just buy a Electraglide Limited I’d be even more interested.If they survive the next few years and come out with a full two up touring version with a tour pack I’d buy one.

  11. Mr D says:

    When Polaris Started the Victory line, you got a cruiser with more power, innovation, and a fresh new approach to ugly. Now we have the Indian. Love the engine, but is that Vespa bodywork on the back?
    It’s still a really nice bike, just go with the soft bagger. They cover the…….let’s say the little bits that seem off.

  12. JimmCapp says:

    I am really happy to see that Polaris has done a great job bringing the new Indian back to life.
    I was optimistic when I saw the fantastic job they did redesigning the new motor.
    When they did the reveal on Sunday I was relieved to see that they made the new Chief look how a 21st century Indian should.
    Everyone has their own taste and crotch rocket riders, the yuppie Beemer crowd and some Easyreader faux outlaws will no doubt look down their noses at the retro good looks of the reborn Indians – to each his own.
    I like to see designers looking back at classic designs for inspiration, change for its own sake has given us a fairly bland cookie cutter look to most autos until recently – the majority of the most artful designs were made decades ago and form, flow and proportion are timeless..
    As soon as I finish with my car payments, I’ll be adding a red Indian vintage with tan bags to my garage to make the daily 42 mile round trip commute to and from work and save money on gas to boot.
    This Chief was the logical starting point for the relaunch of the company and ties the past and present Indian together flawlessly.
    I think we can only expect to see the brand grow and prosper if they keep up the good work.

  13. baxterblue says:

    Now that I have seen the Indian, I can go buy a Victory Vision.

  14. dave says:

    It is just plain ugly

    • GuyLR says:

      I’d ride that any day. I hope Indian will sell a real standard bike like that and “Scout” would be a good thing to call it.

      • 502flier says:

        Then go buy it. It’s called a Royal Enfield. Looks just like a Honda 450 I had about 40 years ago. Nothing wrong with that. I’ll still wave to you on the road ’cause you’re riding, and that’s what it’s all about.

        I’ll be the guy on the new Indian or maybe my old one, ’cause I’m keeping it, too.

    • mickey says:

      Now there is a Royal Enfield I could like

    • Gronde says:

      Don’t count on it. Victory only knows how to build BIG, UGLY bikes!

    • mpolans says:

      Now THAT would be awesome.

    • Al T says:

      Just ditch the RE badging and it would be perfect

    • GuyLR says:

      You know that really would be an ironic turn of events if Indian got Enfield to build that bike in India so that they could make a decent profit on it,sell it in other markets as the Enfield Cannon and here as the Indian Scout.

  15. Ed Chambers says:

    I think what killed the last few attempts at reviving Indian was distribution or the lack of a robust dealer network in place. Harley has just about everyone beat there.Even though there are 2 Polaris dealers easily within driving distance from my house neither one sells Victory.If I wanted to look at or test ride a Victory or Indian I’d have to drive over 150mi God help me if I needed parts or warrantee work.They’ll need to fix that if they want to succeed.

    • Auphliam says:

      Yeah, Polaris definitely needs to focus on improving in that area. I did a search for the closest Indian dealrship…187 miles away…next closest is in Canada. Quality Victory dealerships are sparse enough. Can’t imagine “make the bikes as difficult to buy as possible” was near the top of Polaris’ Release Date checklist.

  16. clasqm says:

    I’ve got nothing against retro. In fact, I like retro. But how is this any different from the last three or four attempts to revive Indian? Just how many times does it need to be shown that there are not enough fond memories tied to fat bank accounts to make a revival of the late-40’s to early-50’s Chief range NOT a viable proposition?

    There was an Indian motorcycle company before big, valanced fenders. Indian ruled the race tracks of North America between the World Wars. Reach back to that and you might have a chance. Just a chance. That’s what the reincarnated Triumph did. FIRST show that you can play with the big boys, THEN play the nostalgia card.

    • EZ Mark says:

      Three big differences.
      1) A quality engine that is NOT a Harley clone.
      2) A price that is competitive with Harley.
      3) The quality and financial backing of an established company.

  17. Gary says:

    Wow …. I try to be open-minded when it comes to bikes. We all have our own tastes. To each his/her own. Yada yada yada.

    But I honestly would not hit my dog in the butt with that hideous thing.

  18. russ says:

    Mixed bag for the bike. The motor is stunningly gorgeous. And for the first time I fid myself liking the way these valanced fenders look. Love the leather.

    Beyond these impressive styling cues, the rear end of the bike, in my opinion, should have captured that looooong, rear upper frame-member dipping in a straight-line from the tank, down to the rear wheel — to give the authentic persona that captures the cool, old indian look.

    Instead, my lingering impression was all about rear body cladding that’s a little scooter-like. Hey — it’s extremely well done and sexy, but it doesn’t fit as an INDIAN ICONIC LOOK you’d want for your FIRST IMPRESSION of this newly revived brand name.

    I’m not a basher — I want SO BAD for Indian to succeed beyond everyones wildest dreams. I’d even like to work there. So I mean my comments constructively. Let’s hope the next model(s) that broaden the Indian line will offer more of what I hoped for.

    • russ says:

      After a couple days, The body cladding IS growing on me more.
      I bought a Harley FatBoy 9 months ago – having been all over
      the country on a slightly older model of it in days past.

      Indian Team: If I were in the market today, I’d definitely be
      looking at the Chief and hoping I liked the ‘feel’ better than
      the HD. You guys have in your hands, EXACTLY that kind
      of well-wishing from millions of American Cruiser fans. I hope
      you make the most of it, because we ALL WIN if there’s more
      competition in the Cruiser market.

  19. EZ Mark says:

    Love the front half of the bike, especially the engine.
    The back half looks a bit to integrated, like a scooter.
    The rear fender doesn’t have the sleek lines of the original, but I guess that isn’t possible without a hard tail. Got to allow for wheel travel.
    Looking forward to a Scout version myself.

  20. Al T says:

    I like the styling, it’s exactly what the designers were going for, a new retro. I also wish they would put that motor in a lighter weight, stripped frame, maybe a Scout or a real hot rod.

  21. graham mccullough says:


  22. Mr.Mike says:

    I’m not a cruiser guy (yet) but if I were this would be my bike. They nailed the period styling, especially the fairing that appears to pay homage to 1950’s diesel locomotives like the Santa Fe Super Chief seen here:, and I’m sure the engineering is top notch. Very well executed all around.

  23. Don says:

    I’m not one for cruisers, because of the riding position, “hard on the back” and lack of real power, like high speeds (something to get the adreniline flowing, 120 mph plus but these Indians are beautiful and cruiser lovers are close to heaven and perfection with one of these. These should sell plenty. If they put the controls farther back for a sport touring position I just might buy one.??
    Don in Iowa

  24. Cinderbob says:

    These are beautiful new Indians that capture the true essence of the originals, and I applaud Polaris for a job well done. If they ride as good as they look, and with Victory-like dependability, Polaris will undoubtedly sell a large number of these bikes to their intended audience.

    It’s been a long wait, but WELCOME BACK, INDIAN!

    This time, FINALLY, you are clearly back for good!

  25. Edpix says:

    Very disappointed in the styling… I expected a much fresher and detailed look then this.
    The Victory looks better which is sad actually. The engine and tank look ok. The worst part is the uni body look under the seat that carries into the rear fender. It makes the rear of the bike look almost scooter like and really cheapens the look and is very dissimilar to the front where there is a conventional frame showing. The exhaust is also very uninspired with its completely straight and too long looking shape.
    This is very disappointing from a styling standpoint which is bad enough to make me not buy one. I have waited a very long time for Indian to become relevant again and as much as I want Indian to truly succeed this time this bike will never see the inside of my garage.

    I am hoping that when they make a Scout it will be much fresher and more cohesive in style
    as well as leading edge in actual performance because the Scouts traditionally were lighter and sportier than the Chief.

    I really am having a hard time believing this is what they brought out after all that investment, they should have had the designer that built the Spirit of Munro streamliner draw the new Chief at least then it would have been semi inspired and cohesive looking.

    The worst part is because it is a cruiser it will retain this poor styling the rest of its life which means it may never get acceptably good ever again.

    • Dan says:

      I agree, too much bodywork under the seat and on rear fender, reminds me of some old scooters. The base model needs saddlebags to cover all that. Maybe aftermarket will come out with better styled hard bags for Chief after a while. Engine looks great and I like the dual exhausts as well, makes for a nice balanced look. Don’t care for fairing design at all, maybe it will get restyled later if not sold well. Pricing structure seems good and in line with other OEM’s.

      • Joe Bogusheimer says:

        When I looked at the pictures of these new Indians, especially that area behind the engine/under the seat, I thought “I’ve seen that somewhere else recently, haven’t I?” Well, yes, I have – in last weeks story on the 2014 Victory bikes. Same faired-in area behind the seat, same (goofy looking, but maybe they’re adjustable?) passenger pegs on stalks.

        Neither are bad looking bikes, and I like the looks of the Chieftan – it would probably be a nice touring rig – but they could really have distinguished themselves a little more from the Victory models. That’s what I feel they’ve done – worked up a new(ish) motor, and slightly modified an existing Victory chassis to hold it.

        Speaking of the exhausts, if it’s a true dual system, why does it look like the two pipes run into one on the right side? Is it really a 2-1-2 system? Also, I think some sort of fishtail muffler tips might look good on these.

  26. Gronde says:

    I would be more impressed if Polaris offered something other than a 700# cruiser. I know, I know, there’s a demand for big ugly bikes, but can’t they at least build something a bit more exciting? Enough already with the retro cr@p!

  27. John says:

    Oh thank God! We almost were faced with a shortage of bad handling, low performance, overpriced motorcycles.

  28. Asphanaut says:

    Cruisers don’t usually get a 2nd look from me and never liked the valenced fenders look but these bikes are beautiful. I may hvae to hearken right back over to an Indian dealer and find out how they ride. Much as many of us hope that Indian does something soon to revive Indian’s performance heritage (actual performance not just styling) they would have been absolutely nuts to start with anything other than these bikes. From what I can see they hit the bullseye.

  29. Jim says:

    If only one bike could be everything to everyone…
    The bike will appeal to it’s target audience, most likely Harley types that want something nostalgic but new. Bulls-eye.

  30. CowboyTutt says:

    All in all, I’m pretty impressed. Based upon what I’m reading on the ‘net, they tried to quiet mechanical noise (Victory’s have terrible gear whine) and emphasize the exhaust. A lot of technology under the cruiser styling. A couple of things that I’m not so thrilled about. Why do they need the safety decal by the gas cap on the tank? I have never seen one of those on a Harley. And the side-covers look sort of weird on the naked model, less so on the full Bagger. But its amazing what Polaris did in only 2 years. -Tutt

  31. Andrew the Hun says:

    I was looking at a HD Fatboy but wanted to see the Indians first. A Chief Vintage, red with tan leather is in the future for me! I want that fuel tank from the Chieftain, the Indian headdress logo, don’t care for the “Indian” script.

    Nice looking bikes, just enough nostalgia with modern electronics!

  32. Joe R says:

    I am surprised to hear so many complaining that Polaris made the Indian look like an Indian. That was an absolute “must do”, or they would have been ripped to shreds by the target audience. All of you looking for ground breaking styling or a “fresh look”… Polaris offers that at your Victory dealer. Kudos to Polaris for showing respect to the orginal Indians while providing a completely modern bike with an aluminum frame, and all sorts of modern electronic technology. The engine is a work of art.

  33. Hair says:

    Nice bikes, and a lot of comments to boot. Comments are always a good sign. Even if there are some negative ones in the lot.
    I can’t wait to read the first ride reports. If these bikes ride and fit as well as they look then Indian is back. Maybe this time it will stick.

  34. kawatwo says:

    Eh, all cruisers look the same 🙂 I do hope this makes room for Victory to branch out into other styles (Standards, sport-bikes, dirt and dual sport). If Indian becomes their premium cruiser stable they may make room for bikes the other half of the market care about.

    • halfbaked says:

      I would like to see Polaris produce some off-road and dual sport machine as well but I think they would be better of selling those under the Polaris brand as they do with their excellent line of ATV’s and side-by-side 4 wheelers.

  35. BlackCayman says:

    “Although we expect Indian will eventually have a very broad range of motorcycles on offer, it makes sense that this new journey funded by Polaris (a $3 Billion company) begins with a heavyweight cruiser honoring the legendary Chief model”.

    This is the direction I hope they go.

  36. Jay says:

    Beautiful motorcycles, especially the red one. But I was looking for something iconic. Are you sure this Indian is iconic? Does it pay tribute? I want something that harkens back.

  37. Cage free says:

    Time to stop reliving the past with the styling..I dont want a new bike that looks like a old bike and the model with the fairing is overstyled and ugly!(Victory Vision design team maybe?) Im not a cruiser guy but would still buy an HD before this bike or better yet the F6b Honda or Guzzi 1400. O well not really suprised but was just hoping for more..

    • Jim says:

      The F6B? Seriously? That bike is not in the same league as the Guzzi nor this Indian for that matter.

      • Dan says:

        That’s correct, F6B is eons better than both Guzzi and Indian, however it is not a cruiser. It is not a poser bike but a bike built for riding. 1800cc flat six is a marvel of engineering, and F6B also handles amazingly well.

        I do like the new Indian, my favorite version is Vintage in Dark Blue color with brown leather. I would need to remove the fringe though. I don’t like the look of the fairing as well as hard bags. Also, base model would be cool in blue too with some nice bags to cover up those acres of bodywork. Those whitewalls look great but are difficult to keep clean (I used to have them on my Road King Classic).

        I am looking forward to a possible test ride at Biketoberfest in Daytona later this year.