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Indian Redefines Cruiser V-twin Performance With New 122 Horsepower PowerPlus Engine

If you have your eyes set on the emergence of electric motorcycles, Indian’s announcement today may catch you off guard. Indian has apparently blown up ICE v-twin cruiser performance standards with the new 108 cubic inch (1,770cc), liquid-cooled PowerPlus engine … putting out a claimed 122 horsepower and 128 foot/pounds of torque.

The PowerPlus is destined to reside in Indian’s 2020 Challenger, a fixed-fairing bagger. An image of the Challenger was leaked in a video shown dealers earlier this year (see screen grab), as well as a photo of the 2020 Scout with the Challenger behind it. Here is the press release from Indian:

MINNEAPOLIS (OCTOBER 22, 2019) Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, raised the bar for American motorcycles today with the announcement of its most powerful engine to date, the PowerPlus. The all-new 108 cubic inch, liquid-cooled, V-twin engine delivers a class-leading 122 horsepower and 128 ft-lbs. of torque and establishes a dramatically new standard for V-twin performance.

The PowerPlus will serve as the heart of the new Indian Challenger, an all-new, fixed-fairing bagger that utilizes Indian Motorcycle’s state-of-the-art technology to become the highest-performing American V-twin ever developed. The new engine’s name is a nod to Indian Motorcycle’s iconic history, paying homage to the Indian PowerPlus motorcycle produced from 1916 to 1924.

“We challenge our engineers with the notion that anything less than best-in-class design and performance will simply not get it done, and it’s clear with this new engine that they have delivered on that high standard,” said Steve Menneto, Indian Motorcycle President. “Countless hours were spent in design, development and testing to ensure this is the best liquid-cooled V-twin ever developed, and I could not be prouder of our team and this incredible motor.”  

The PowerPlus adopts several design and performance features from the liquid-cooled 1,133 cc Indian Scout engine, including an overhead camshaft design utilizing four valves per cylinder. But comparisons end there. The PowerPlus was developed with a big-piston, big-torque mindset with an end game of maximum power delivery across the entire curve.

The all-new powertrain features a six-speed transmission with true overdrive, assist clutch to reduce clutch effort, and three ride modes that allow riders to tailor throttle mapping to their riding preferences. Advanced technology also includes hydraulic valve lash adjusters and hydraulic camshaft chain tensioners for ease of maintenance and reliability. 

The PowerPlus was tested, refined and proven by one of the industry’s most rigorous development and testing programs, accumulating nearly one million miles of simulated testing, including state-of-the-art dyno testing, and more than 250,000 on-road miles. 

“You simply cannot deliver the ultimate bagger without an engine that stands head and shoulders above anything else in its class, and that was the motivation behind the PowerPlus,” said John Callahan, Indian Motorcycle Vice President, Engineering. “We developed the most sophisticated V-twin powerplant in the industry, and then we spent month after month, hour upon hour, putting it through the most intense paces to ensure it could take whatever we threw at it. The end result is something truly special.”

Another leaked image depicting the 2020 Indian Scout with the Challenger behind it.

Indian Motorcycle PowerPlus Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Displacement: 108 cubic inches (1,769 cc)
  • Power: 122 hp at 5,500 RPM
  • Torque: 128 ft-lbs at 3,800 RPM
  • Maximum Engine Speed: 6,500 RPM
  • Architecture: 60-degree V-twin, liquid-cooled powerplant
  • Crankcase: Unit design featuring a high capacity semi-dry sump oil system
  • Timing System: Overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder
  • Fuel System: Electronic fuel injection. 52mm dual bore throttle bodies
  • Compression Ratio: 11:1
  • Transmission: Six-speed with true overdrive, constant mesh
  • Clutch: Assist clutch 
Screen grab from video shown Indian dealers – depicting 2020 Indian Challenger.

The PowerPlus will be built in Osceola, Wisconsin with final motorcycle assembly taking place in Indian Motorcycle’s production facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Riders can learn more at IndianMotorcycle.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


See more of MD’s great photography: Instagram

51 Comments

  1. Joe in Charleston SC says:

    How about making some real power? Maybe mirror a Ducati v twin. How about the Diavel. It is a smaller engine and makes 163hp and 98 ft lbs. it’s a cruiser as well.

    • Dave says:

      The the buyers of bikes like this, this *is* real power, and even though high-reving sport bikes make more, that *isn’t* real power.

  2. CrazyJoe says:

    The Indian Thunder Stroke is nice to look at. Not so much here. What if they polished the fake(?) fins. Not that I mind fake fins. Was this the engine Polaris was supposed to get? Polaris engines looked like bee hives and definitely needed replacement. Wouldn’t this look great in a Scout.

    Still wishing Indian comes up with a straight 4. Also still wishing they coat engines in anything but black.

  3. Tex Scout says:

    I’m glad it’s out of the bag. Been a pain in the tail trying not to talk about it.

  4. Mat says:

    122hp from 1.8 litres is laughable, and then to call it Power Plus. Maybe their engineers should ask Kawasaki for help
    Mat

    • Provologna says:

      I presume this new Indian twin makes considerably more power and torque per liter than any metric twin including KHI’s.

      • Ralph W. says:

        The Suzuki SV650 makes more power and torque per liter. The Boulevard M109R is almost the same as the Indian in displacement, power and torque.

      • Jeremy says:

        The humble Vulcan 650 outpowers it, liter for liter. I don’t think Japan has ever tried to make a performance, liquid-cooled twin for cruiser duty, though.

      • VLJ says:

        The Ducati Diavel has a much smaller metric V-Twin that makes far more power than this Indian motor. In terms of power and torque per liter, this thing isn’t even close.

    • Ralph W. says:

      Displacement is irrelevant, other than for bragging. The weight and physical dimensions of the engine are what is important. It looks like it could be reasonably compact for an engine of its size.

    • SharkGuitar says:

      You should ride a Ducati or Kawasaki, 2-up, with 70 pounds of luggage on a trip across the USA.
      I think then you would understand the difference between high RPM engines designed to rev and make horsepower vs low revving motors that make gobs of torque while effortlessly pulling you down the road.
      Comparing the two is just ridiculously ignorant.
      You need the correct tool for the job and this bike isn’t for the track anymore than a Ninja 1000 isn’t for 2-up loaded touring.

      • VLJ says:

        http://motorcycle.com.vsassets.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/022316-2016-ducati-xdiavel-dyno-vs-diavel.jpg

        With 144 hp and 85-ft lbs of right-off-the-bottom torque at the rear wheel, not just at the crank, a Ducati Diavel weighs so much less and makes so much more power than this Indian, it’s not even funny. Power-to-weight ratios matter. Two up, with seventy pounds of luggage, the Ducati will easily out-acccelerate this Indian on the streets, on the highway, up in the mountains…everywhere.

        It won’t be a close fight.

        • SharkGuitar says:

          The Indian makes 128 ft lbs of torque at only 3800 rpm.
          Regardless, it’s not a question of speed or acceleration.
          It’s a question of which bike is better for touring.
          I can’t even imagine how ridiculous and uncomfortable a Diavel would be 2-up with 70 pounds of luggage, but hey, if that’s what you want, you should get that and do it.

          Really, if some of you are not understanding this type of power and the way it’s used, it’s no sweat off my back.

          I love sport bikes, and especially Ducs, as a previous owner of V-twin Aprilias.

          I’ve owned my share of GSXR’s, FZR’s, Interceptors, and even raced for a number of years.
          But for touring I’ll take the Indian.
          You can ride the sport bike.

  5. SharkGuitar says:

    As a current Victory Vision owner, I’m looking forward to seeing the full touring edition of this motorcycle.
    Going to let someone else take the depreciation hit and buy it used a couple years from now.
    This motor is groundbreaking in respect to the ‘liquid cooling’.
    It allows a higher state of tune from the factory and in this class its about time.
    The current air cooled motors can have detonation on warm days. Especially when you start tuning them and advancing the ignition timing.

  6. Markus says:

    One upmanship from Indian in the form of 1 cubic inch and 10 horsepower…but in doing so, the engine has lost its soul. The “Challenger” is aptly named, as it is cosmetically challenged.

  7. fred says:

    I wish Indian well. Not being a cruiser guy, it’s hard to get excited about their product line, but they seem to have some really good engineering, especially with their engines. First the Scout, and now the Challenger. These may be the best engines in the class.

  8. VLJ says:

    105 hp and 120 ft-lbs of torque at the rear wheel are certainly plenty strong for a V-Twin cruiser, but I don’t see how this redefines the class, or anything like that, not when a far more powerful V-Twin cruiser already exists, in the form of the Ducati Diavel.

    Now, if you want to limit that claim solely to American V-Twin cruisers, fine.

    • Evan says:

      To be fair, the Diavel is not really a cruiser. They might call it that, but it’s got an even firing V-twin from a sport bike, and only weighs 520lbs. A true cruiser weighs more, has a much longer wheelbase, raked out steering and traditional styling; like this Indian.

      It’s good to see a manufacturer putting some new school engineering into an arguably fun platform. Harley’s certainly have a unique ride to them, which can be quite enjoyable. It’s the poor quality, terrible suspension, and loud and weak engines that kill the mystique though.

      FWIW, I ride a european super naked, so I’m pretty unbiased in this regard.

      • VLJ says:

        There isn’t only one type of cruiser. What defines a cruiser isn’t its weight, the firing order of its motor, or any one type of “traditional” styling. Moto Guzzi makes a cruiser that looks and behaves nothing like what you’re describing. BMW used to make a cruiser. Triumph still does.

        The Diavel is a V-Twin cruiser. Full stop.

        • Evan says:

          You can call it whatever you want. Full stop. I don’t consider it a cruiser. Full stop.

          Ducati is welcome to call it a cruiser, because it pretty much is by definition, but not by genre . Ask any non-motorcycling member of the general population what a cruiser is, and they will talk about Harley Davidson and big, long, low and heavy bikes with lots of chrome and a low-stressed low rpm engine. That is what I’m basing my opinion on. If a Harley is the classic cruiser, I am going to pretty much let it own that definition. The only real competition from the euro’s is the Rocket III, which is basically a cruiser.

          BMW can put the new S1000RR engine into a low slung frame and saddle with ape hangers, big teardrop tank, highway pegs, complete with OHLINS suspension and marine grade speakers and call it a cruiser… still not a cruiser. It will also sell like crap.

          The Diavel is a sport cruiser, or a cruiser-y sport bike, but it’s not a cruiser. It’s an oddity if anything, and no one shopping for cruisers is looking at the Diavel. Diavel buyers are looking at the Diavel.

          Plenty have tried to make “cruisers” and failed at capturing the HD level sales.. BMW, Moto Guzzi (who I’m surprised is still in business), Indian, etc, and they are all completely flumoxed. They are missing large parts of the ingredients, and are treating HD “cruiser” riders as another population of motorcyclists, when in fact they are their own breed. Until they figure that out, they’re going to keep releasing “cruisers” that don’t sell for nothing, and end up as the type of the bike that is mentioned in the sentence that starts with “oh I actually saw one of XXXX today, first time in years”

          V-Rod
          V-Max
          Diavel
          Rocket III
          Moto Guzzi (snooze fest)
          BMW cruisers
          etc

        • Dave says:

          “There isn’t only one type of cruiser. What defines a cruiser isn’t its weight, the firing order of its motor, or any one type of “traditional” styling. ”

          But all of that does define cruisers. Sure, there are some companies trying to market their way into the market segment with alternative products, but they’re not converting any “crusier” riders away from HD and products like this Indian.

          What HD or Indian model would the Diavel compete with, other than the discontinued V-Rod?

        • VLJ says:

          “other than the discontinued V-Rod.”

          There you go.

          It’s neither the responsibility nor the goal of other manufacturers to make clones of existing H-D and Indian models. Cruisers come in many forms: tourer, bobber, bagger, chopper, beach cruiser, custom, and, yes…power. Cruisers also come with many types of engine configurations: I4, V-Twin, Transverse V, Parallel Twin, V4, Thumper, Triple, even V8.

          What defines a cruiser isn’t the engine’s firing order, a certain H-D-derived aesthetic, or a prescribed weight. No, what defines a cruiser is a low-slung, feet-forward riding position, an exposed motor, and relatively relaxed chassis geometry.

          The Diavel, like the V-Rod (sorta), the V-Max, the Rocket 3, etc., slots within the Power Cruiser category. In terms of V-Twin cruisers, the Diavel makes significantly more power than any stock cruiser from H-D or Indian, and the power-to-weight difference is simply off the charts.

          Oh, and yes, other manufacturers are most certainly converting SOME cruiser riders away from H-D and Indian to their products. One can be fairly certain that any buyer of a Rocket 3, V Max, Thunderbird, or even the Diavel is well aware of competing products from H-D and Indian, and they choose not to buy the H-D or Indian product. If none of these other products existed, it’s fair to assume that at least SOME of those buyers would have purchased an H-D or Indian, simply due to a lack of any other options.

          The notion that a cruiser has to be slow as November mud and make a potato-potato sound while turning like a tugboat and looking like something that escaped the local circus is just one of the myriad reasons that H-D is very publicly circling the drain, to the point that now they’re even belatedly trotting out overpriced farces such as the LiveWire.

          Cruisers aren’t my cup of tea, but, thank god, at least some other manufacturers are attempting to move that particularly game forward a bit.

          • Jim says:

            I agree on the power. Too bad your beloved Diavel is ugly AF.

          • VLJ says:

            I don’t own a Diavel. I agree, I think it’s quite ugly.

            Anyway, I have no dog in this fight. I don’t like cruisers. Will never own one. I’m simply stating the facts, regarding the definition of a cruiser, and how much more powerful the Diavel is compared to this new Indian.

      • DeltaZulu says:

        Please explain how the Diavel engine has “an even firing order”.

        • Evan says:

          You are clearly being pedantic, but I’ll engage. Most of the HD demographic, who coincidentally may be cross-shopping Indian bikes, don’t know or give a crap what a 270 degree firing order is. They are buying it for what it sounds like. They are not aware that it is a 315 degree firing order, or that the pistons share a crank pin, nor do they likely care. What they are aware of is a shaky imbalanced rubber mounted engine that makes a floppy rumbling noise when it is running. Most other V-twins have a much more “even” sound to them. This break in tradition is partly why the V-Rod largely flopped. I am not simply saying that a Diavel has a 180 degree firing order, but nice try at schooling me.

          This is what motorcyclists can’t understand about Harley Riders, which I do not consider one in the same. HD riders don’t typically care about the technical whizbangery, valve actuation method, compression ratio, etc. They’re buying the bikes for how they look, how they sound, and the prestige of the brand.

          Harley riders do not even consider BMW, Moto Guzzi, or Ducati bikes when shopping, hell, they don’t even wave to these kind of bikes on the road. Indian, because of the brand heritage, is probably the only manufacture that has a chance of dethroning HD in the minds of people actually looking at HD.

          There are of course break-aways in every population, but the by and large HD demographic would sneer at a Diavel engine inside of a Electra-Glide, even if it looked exactly like their precious 117, or whatever is in them these days. It would sound wrong and run too smooth.

          Of course people buy them, but just look at the sales numbers. HD buyers fork over $40,000 for an FLTRXSE, and it’s literally a piece of crap welded steel frame, extremely basic suspension, and a ton of fiberglass and chrome with some extra badges and literally automotive DIN radio units implanted in the boating quality manufacture fairings.

          • DeltaZulu says:

            “I am not simply saying that a Diavel has a 180 degree firing order, but nice try at schooling me.”

            Well, here’s a little bit of school for you; unless said twin is a two stroke (Diavel is NOT, FYI) it CANNOT have a 180 degree firing order, as you state above.

          • DeltaZulu says:

            “I am not simply saying that a Diavel has a 180 degree firing order, but nice try at schooling me.”

            Well, here’s some “schooling”; unless the Diavel is a 2 stroke (it is NOT), it CANNOT have a 180 firing order.

          • fred says:

            You must live in an unfriendly area. I ride a small-displacement sport bike, wearing full gear (hi-viz 1-piece suit), and the no-gear, cruiser & Harley riders wave at me most of the time, and often wave first.

            Perhaps some riders get tired of waving during “riding season”, but those of us who ride year-round give & get a lot of waves, regardless of the type of bike.

  9. mickey says:

    Should be a formidable bagger. Wonder how much longer they will be in vogue?

    • Hot Dog says:

      Mickey, if you have to ask that then you just don’t know. There are those that will always think that theirs is bigger than ours. The feeder group for this type of machine is dwindling with time.

    • Neal says:

      I doubt baggers are going anywhere. There will always be riders that want to travel and value comfort and ease of use (low seat height, engine not in the way of legs) and low maintenance needs (belt, hydraulic valves) over performance.

      • Grover says:

        One of my bikes is a bagger for all the reasons listed by Neal. I want to go places in comfort, take a passenger and have her be comfortable and enjoy the ride. The bike rides and handles smoothly, has cruise control, ABS, wind protection, storage and all the other amenities expected of a tourer. Excessive horsepower is not a requirement for a touring bike, no matter how much horsepower the manufacturers claim. More horsepower is nice but not really necessary. Having said that, the human ego wil always want more. It’s just the way it is.

  10. Dino says:

    Rider modes for the motor in a Bagger? What are the modes? Coffee shop, Bar hop, and full power actual riding mode?

    Baggers not my thang, but I should check out the FTR…. Keep up the new intro’s Indian!

  11. Anonymous says:

    How about a bagger that doesn’t weigh 900 pounds?
    In case noone has noticed, bikers are getting older every year.
    If you want them to keep riding into their 80’s, you’d better start making lighter bikes.

  12. Fast2win says:

    Have you not seen the FTR?

  13. Fast2win says:

    Have you not seen the FTR?

  14. Fast2win says:

    92-95? Bmw K 1100 had an electric windshield. Just sayin. And this one does too.

  15. falcodoug says:

    If a cruiser was in my near future the Indian Scout would fill that bill.

  16. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Wouldn’t this look neat with a bikini fairing and no bags ? no radio ? no cruise control ? no his and her vanity mirror ?

    • Hot Dog says:

      I saw a Harley that had a lipstick holder attached to the handle bar. The owner proudly said that he uses it for Chapstick too. I didn’t know if I should’ve felt sorry for him or worry about my safety since he was obviously from another planet.

  17. DucDynasty says:

    But that fairing.

  18. bmbktmracer says:

    Maybe a Diavel/Rocket/V-Max fighter on the way?

  19. Tom R says:

    Yeah but Harley has the.….LiveWire. Or, with production recently halted, is it the DeadWire? ComatoseWire?

    Looks like ICE bikes will still be with us for a while. This new Indian version seems able to extend the lifespan.

  20. Ralph W. says:

    Cruisers simply aren’t my ‘thing’. But if they put this engine in a ‘Buell-like’ bike it could be a fun ride.

  21. ApriliaRST says:

    Don’t tell Harley-Davidson, but it looks like the engine and transmission are one piece.

    • redbirds says:

      Seems this would allow for more freedom in design as far as wheelbase and peg placement. Would like to see this motor in something other than a bagger or cruiser.