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Indian Big Chief Custom Meets New York



At the Javits Center in New York City, Indian displayed a version of its Chief Classic customized largely with Indian Motorcycle accessories. The stunning bike features, among many other details, a 23″ front wheel held by a billet aluminum girder front end custom built by an Indian team. Here is the full press release from Indian on the “Big Chief Custom”.

Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, today revealed a fully customized, Indian Chief Classic at the Indian Motorcycle display inside the International Motorcycle Show at the Javits Center in New York City. Conceptualized and designed by Indian Motorcycle’s Industrial Design team, the “Big Chief Custom” is the first custom Indian Chief created around the 2014 models introduced with great fanfare at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this past August.

Spearheaded by the head of Polaris Industries’ Industrial Design team, Greg Brew, a small and dedicated team undertook the task of customizing a stock 2014 Indian Chief Classic.  It features an array of Genuine Indian Motorcycle aftermarket accessories along with a custom paint scheme and billet girder front fork. This Big Chief Custom was designed to spark owners imagination on how to customize, enhance and personalize the 2014 Indian Chiefs.

One special highlight of the custom build is the billet aluminum girder front end that recalls the early Indian models. Designed, machined and built in-house, the girder fork features fully machined uprights and sand-blasted billet cross members with a custom 23-inch front wheel. The custom front valance fender maintains the classic look of the Indian Chief. A custom shock and headlight complete the front end package. Custom paint was applied in-house by team member Steve Leszinski with a multicolored theme from prior generations of Indian Motorcycles.


Another nod to the long history of Indian Motorcycle is the springer style seat, though updated through a cantilevered design. Combined with the standard  single rear shock, the Big Chief Custom promises to be a smooth ride.

The “Pinnacle Series” of Indian Motorcycle accessories on the Big Chief Custom includes the Cam Cover, Primary Cover, Chrome Grips and Beach Bars.  The robust sounding Stage 1 exhaust sports Fish Tail Tips. Other custom accessories include War Bonnet Floorboard Pads, a Heel Shifter and chrome Rear Fender Bumper.

The “Big Chief Custom” will be on display in the Indian Motorcycle exhibit as part of the 2014 International Motorcycle Shows tour. Remaining tour stops include Novi, Michigan; Washington, DC; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Cleveland, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; and Seattle, Washington. The Display features the 2014 line of Indian Chief motorcycles including the Chief Classic, Chief Vintage and the Chieftain — Indians’ first-ever bagger. The display also includes the Spirit of Munro, a custom tribute to the legendary Burt Munro, and a display of vintage Indian motorcycles dubbed “Springfield Row” that will change from show to show. Additional features include an accessory and apparel display, a cut-away Thunder Stroke 111 engine and a rolling chassis that showcases the advanced technology underpinning all Indian Motorcycle models.



  1. Boris says:

    One too many colors… just using a two-tone would make it less gaudy. But… beautiful lines, and a great looking front end — a modern interpretation of a classic girder. Scale it all down for the new Scout, with a de-stroked, hopped-up engine to make it rev quicker… and give it about 86 cubic inches. Keep the big 111 exclusive to the Chief line.

    Oh yeah, that front wheel… how about a 18″ or 19″ instead?

  2. Blue says:

    Spectacular custom Indian high five. I would stick with the original front wheel size and that front end if I could, but it still works. The fit and finish on the frotn suspension is beautiful. I’m sold/

  3. Asphaltsurfer says:

    I rode a test unit and liked it just not ready to go back to a cruiser again just yet. I think and hope they’ll do well. Can’t wait to see the 111 Scout with red frame, red and gold body work with a stepped up motor to carry on the 101 tradition

  4. Joe Lewis says:

    The 23 in front end cruiser, bagger look, is the rage at all biking events these days. At Daytona this past Oct. I saw a large crowd checking out a similar bike. It might even have had. 26in wheel! Air ride blvd cruiser. I personally didn’t get it. It had a 1000wt stereo and LEDs everywhere.
    A non rider told me they liked the artistic interpretation of the bike…Wow.
    If you aren’t into cruisers you never will, but they do out sell every other bike 2-3 to one.
    No one even took a second glance at a Ducati Paniglae with all carbon fibre body work! It was a $40k bike. Essentially a full superbike with lights. It was awesome.
    So I guess we like what we like and may never get it.

  5. BOSCOE says:

    This is a lovely execution of classic styling – that ain’t a Harley clone. I usually prefer to look forward, not backwards, but I’d consider adding this to my fleet if it wasn’t so “CVO” priced

  6. bru says:

    See,s to amaze me,,all the negative comments here,,a bunch of idiots,,crying morons..shut the hell up,,quit your complaining…If you have nothing good to say,,shut we have another motorcycle manufacturer making motorcycles so we can ENJOY the PASSION of RIDING,,it seems here the ones complaining are the ones saying,,oh honey or dear asking permission from there wifes or girlfriends to go out and ride their bikes..any manufacturing company building motorcycles I give them thumbs up,,good for them,,there is a type of motorcycle for everyone..also ones forgot when starting out riding most on a beater type enduro or dirt bike,,wasn,t the best looking,,but fun factor 150%..ones lose the view here,,pity them..I don,t care what you ride,,I just know that inside that head is a huge grin while out on the open quit the negative remarks,,go be miserable by yourself..enough out there as it is..then bring it here on a passion we so much enjoy..just remember its about the ride…time passes when out with friends and talks abound about the places and experiences we have encountered..and that my friend..I call priceless good luck Indian..hope you have great start of a passionate business!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • richard says:

      well said

    • Mike says:

      bru: Thank you and best post of this decade and thank you.


      And all this negativity from those that would not have a clue on how to design and build one single part on this amazing bike.

      They all have one thing in common and we see it in too many Americans every day who live by the premise that ………”it is all about me”…….and in this case, if a bike is not exactly what they have or want……. it is unacceptable.

      New Rule recommendation here…… want to rag on anything here paragraph after paragraph…… have to post what you ride so we can all tear you and it down!!!!

      Polaris joins Buell and other American companies related to motorcycles that all of us can be proud of, respect and admire for their vision, creations and them having motorcycle souls in making parts bikes that should speak to each of us no matter what we ride or like……..but of course for all the “selfies” among us………and I join bru in being sick and tired of it.

      For all the rest of us ……….I propose this offering as the best I can do ………..riding this new Indian or your dream bike with me…….to video/theme song of “Going Down That Long Lonesome Highway……..Doing It My Way” Diff pix and the song playing the first 90 seconds …….then a video of him riding the bike with end of song playing for last 30 seconds

      We can all dream

    • kando says:

      uh bru…..this is a comment section nimrod, if we don’t like the bike or parts of it we can share. Stooge I own stock in Polaris so I can make any comments negative or positive I feel……

      • Mike says:

        There is a difference between offering a balance of positive and negative views….. and the “selfies” that only post negative about everything and everyone that does not match up with their bike and likes.

        If the keyboard fits……wear it and just maybe cut the “nimrod and stooge” crap ………which would add greatly to your credibility in buying Polaris stock

  7. free doggy tacos says:

    Meh, still doesn’t look as good as a Harley,

    The Street Bob, Wide Glide, and Soft tail Slim look better.

  8. Doc says:

    Thank you Jamo and halfbaked. Agree with both of you. And all this Harley bashing. WTF! This could be a story about a KTM motocrosser and somehow it would turn into a bashing of all things Harley. Good for Indian. They hit the ground running and I hope they are successful. But I’ll be keeping my Roadking Classic for now. I’m actually looking forward to an Indian Scout.

  9. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    I guess it’s a good looking bike, for those who like this sort of thing. Quite attractive, even.

    I like the billet girder fork – looks pretty cool.
    The large diameter, low profile, and relatively narrow front wheel and tire looks kind of stupid under that great big valanced fender, IMO.

    But what do I really know about cruiser styling? Not really my bag.

  10. Neil says:

    Harley customs like this regularly show up at – The large front wheel is in. I actually like this bike. Fenders. That cool seat. Motor. The modern springer front end. Exposed frame metalwork. I think if we rode it, we’d like it. 70s Bell style helmet. Car people would be checking it out everywhere. The ladies would be, “Hey now.” Regardless of where you stand, it’s a nice machine. Of course I like the new FZ09 too!

    • mickey says:

      jabe says:
      December 17, 2013 at 9:00 pm
      Oh goodie, ………….., “look at me” bike……
      Report this comment

      I think Neil’s post is kinda making your point lol

    • richard says:

      a 23″front wheel is purely for looks…handling is terrible…nice bar hopper though.

  11. ed says:

    Why the hell does it have REAR PASSENGER PEGS?????

  12. ed says:

    That cover over the front brake caliper…some may argue is ugly, but I’d point out that it’d look better if it had the pinstripe on the OEM fender continued onto the caliper cover. Instead of that ugly cover, it’d look better to cover it with a $100 bill (and that’d probably be cheaper).

  13. jake says:

    The overall flow of the bike doesn’t fully work. Pieces of the bikes look impressive and desirable, but the differing parts fail to come together to form a seamless and cohesive whole.

    This is supposed to be a classic bike, with many styling cues to that effect, but it has too much Victory, with its I’m young, fresh, and modern (for a cruiser at least) lines. This uneven combination causes the bike to look feminine and too dang delicate, like a porcelain ornamental piece that would go perfectly with a fully decorated Christmas tree.

    Indian can do traditional without the tough guy, sledge hammer look HD commonly resorts to, but there are 2 definite no no’s it must avoid at all costs: (1) A cruiser should never have too many feminine lines and should never remind you of the sexy curves on a women, This is the obvious reason why Victory’s have failed so miserably to catch on. Such lines are OK for niche market bikes, but not for your main bread and butter bike lines. (2) Never make a cruiser (esp. one supposed to be classic) with lines which suggests being an up and coming, disrespectful upstart. Being hip and down with the time is ok for hip bikes, but is a death spell for traditional cruisers. Traditional cruiser buyers are typically old farts, and the people these old farts hate most of all with a doubt, the ones which get their blood boiling and always annoys them most is the upstart, know it all, disrespectful, condescending, stuck up, young Hipster. How a large company like Victory could not know this and be so clueless is beyond my comprehension?

    Of course, nevertheless, the bike will sell. The cruiser market is too large for it to fail, but because of the above issues, most Harley riders will look at this bike with the same upturned, disdainful noses as they do for Victory’s.

    • Bud says:

      “A cruiser should never have too many feminine lines and should never remind you of the sexy curves on a women”

      Interesting. Personally, I am an admirer of feminine lines and sexy curves. Harley riders, not so much?

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “A cruiser should never have too many feminine lines and should never remind you of the sexy curves on a women”

      hoyt, you’re flying solo on this one.

      • jake says:

        To clarify, I meant particularly for cruisers styled classically. Sexy curves on a modern cruiser when done right can be exotic looking and a refreshing change of pace on occasion, but that’s all they’ll ever be. Just an alternative and never the mainstream.

        But as a general rule, I’ll stand by what I said. Sexy curves belong on women, high heels, and Italian sports cars. That’s it. Putting sexy curves on American Iron and expecting it to sell in large numbers is about as realistic as putting them on pick up trucks and expecting the same. Sorry, but it just ain’t happening. And you don’t have to be an Einstein to know this. Just have two fully functioning nads and it will become crystal clear.

        Ever see some nice lines from behind in sexy, revealing garb, and walking in an ultra, come look at me fashion? Naturally, you’re gonna look, any man in his right mind will. But then you look closer and it turns around and you are horrified to learn it’s a freaking man, a dang attention seeking transy with his man features still showing unmistakably from underneath all that makeup and wig. Upon the realization, you’re so horrified that you want to just go and shoot yourself on the spot and wash your mouth out with soap, being too traumatized to dare to glance, even out of the corners of your eye, at another pair of nice looking legs from behind for the next couple of days.

        Well hell, in a nutshell there you have it, a freaking horror show. That’s basically how a person feels when he looks at a cruiser, esp. a classic cruiser, which we all know is supposed to be manly, that has too many feminine lines and over-exaggerated sexy curves.

        • Gary says:

          Oh my God people! Get a life! The designers of this bike have to be laughing their a..’s off at some of this remarks. Bahahahaa

          • Bud says:

            Some of the silliest things ever said have come from the mouths of designers. As a rule, they are just happy that anyone is saying anything about their work.

  14. Jamo says:

    The bike is nice to look at. It must have cost $60,000 to put it together. But I don’t care for all this “Indian is the first motorcycle company” and “Indian’s long history” crap. It’s a Polaris. Indian died a long time ago and exists in the name only.

  15. mugwump says:

    I am not the demographic you are seeking. Wave of the hand

  16. halfbaked says:

    I only wish I had the cheese concession to go with all the whine. I swear you people will piss and moan about anything.

  17. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    yawn….whatever happened to originality and creativity? Where are the Eric Buells and Confederate designers/ engineers hiding? C’mon ‘Merica, is this the best we (or Canadians) can do?

    • halfbaked says:

      Polaris is an American company and has never had anything to do with our neighbors to the north.

      • Norm G. says:

        he may be thinking can-am and bombardier (BRP), the other multi-line conglomerate. that or Polaris’ physical location may see them employeeing a maple leaf or two…?

      • jake says:

        Ah, what’s the difference? Isn’t Polaris located up in Wisconsin or somewhere very close? Both places are cold as hell and just a stone’s throw away from one another.

  18. jabe says:

    Oh goodie, another overweight, over priced, “look at me” bike……

  19. Gronde says:

    I’d rather ride a Honda Grom if I had to choose between the two.

  20. adaleb says:

    I love the Fox shock. H-D could take a lesson.

  21. iliketoeat says:

    Oh jeez, that’s ugly and pointless. I don’t get cruiser design at all. Swoopy lines and chrome in random places, without rhyme or reason. Design needs a unity of form and function; there needs to be some sort of a functional reason why a part or a component looks the way it does. There is none of that in this bike – it’s totally form over function. Some of the details are nice for sure, and the engine looks pretty good, but overall this design doesn’t hang together for me at all.

  22. joe b says:

    reminds me of the sixties, when the chopper craze was in full swing. It wasn’t / isn’t a better motorcycle, its fashion. Paisley, bellbottoms, leisure suits, not for me.

  23. Tuskerdu says:

    The engine is beautiful, but, overall, it is pretty clownish.

  24. Mike379 says:

    Recently went to the Atlanta international mc show to check out the new Indians and low and behold We wasted our time because they were not there. So I said to my wife well let’s go look at the Victorys and of course they were not there either. That made up my mind on those 2 brands, makes one wonder what their commitment is when they are a no show at the largest mc show in the country, I’ve heard their dealer network is pretty slim anyway, not something we want to deal with out on a cross country trip. So we had a good time checking out the other brands but will not write that check for an Indian without being able to see one.

    • Gary says:

      So let me get this straight … you make your purchasing decisions based on whether they attend a show? Errrr … okay. I make mine based on how a bike starts, stops, looks, turns, feels and accelerates.

  25. Bill says:

    The multi-color paint scheme breaks up the flatness of the midsection nicely; what goes around comes around-my old 1979 Honda XL500 had a 23″ front wheel.

  26. Gary says:

    Nice paint and chrome, but I’m too pragmatic to ever be interested in a bike that would grind itself to smithereens in very short order. I like the standard-issue Indian, though.

  27. Norm G. says:

    I saw this bike. the spokes are what’s off. while normally they are a good thing, I think the designing of some billet wheels would’ve better completed the “modded” look. but that’s just me.

    • VLJ says:

      Agreed, on the billet vs spokes things. On this bike, with that massive front wheel, it ought to sport some sort of wicked billet design. The other aesthetic flaw is that enormous gap between the fender and frame, which looks to be the unfortunate result of the girder forks’ support brackets pushing the wheel too far forward.

  28. ApriliaRST says:

    Looking more, it seems there’s a big gap between the frame and fender.

    • Mike says:

      Yes……that is a minus.

      Polaris did the same thing on their tour version before the Vision.

      It has to be the same designer…….demotion time

      • xlayn says:

        Making the design flow will mean custom frame, geometry… design… and that means lovely dollars… If the price it’s not exorbitant I guess you can overlook that (and you will once you are riding…) bike is beautiful, not like 100k$ beautiful but still damn nice.

        • Mike says:

          I love this bike……..see my posts on December 17, 2013 at 8:55 amd December 20, 2013 at 9:09 am

          Your reply is a statement of the obvious which is fine and no issue, but in my view that massive steering head showing ………and way too large gap between the forks and the tank showing it is a distraction that could have been easily fixed in many ways by those that designed and put this bike together …..who overcame far more design issues with ease.

    • jake says:

      If you talking about the elongated, giraffe looking neck stock of the frame, then I agree. Clearly, one of weakest points of the bike. In this respect, it reminds me of the Bonneville and the little supporting pipe between the engine and the frame.

      Nothing says made in Thailand and not an authentic Triumph like that out of place pipe. Its existence basically ruins the whole look of the bike for me. My eyes just can’t turn away from it. Triumph could stamp made in Thailand at every single point of the bike, and it would still scream “Made in Thailand” less than that one little dang pipe.

      Similarly, nothing says “Made by Victory”, I am just an extremely overpriced Victory dressed up like an Indian, more than this elongated neck stock.

  29. jim says:

    hat off from another “I am not a cruiser guy but that is beautiful…”

  30. VLJ says:

    Aren’t these things unwieldy enough as it is? What’s with cruiser riders’ obsession with mile-long, needlessly crazy-heavy exhaust systems and circus clown handlebars? Do these people care about function at ALL?

    If I were a millionaire retiree with a mansion at Lake Tahoe, sure, I could see wanting one of these things to decorate my billiards room. For the life of me, however, I couldn’t picture myself buying one with any real intentions of riding it anywhere other than in a Toys for Tots parade, or some such.

    • Stratkat says:

      circus clown handlebars?… what about the circus clown front wheel!!
      god the first time i saw one of those here i laughed because i couldnt believe someone would do that to a motorcycle, it just looked stupid. turns out there is an entire subculture based on it. people try to be different but they just dont have the talent to pull it off. maybe next years trend will be really big headlights, lol!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “What’s with cruiser riders’ obsession with mile-long, needlessly crazy-heavy exhaust systems and circus clown handlebars? Do these people care about function at ALL?”

      stand down, leave them be. their kit is powered by ICE. that means they get it and as such hold lifetime memberships in the BOM (ie. Brotherhood of Motorcyclists).

  31. Crim says:

    That bike is flat out beautiful.

  32. Jeremy in TX says:

    I am no fan of the genre, but that is a very nice-looking bike.

  33. glen says:

    Thumbs up.

  34. Trent says:

    Beautiful bike.

  35. Jan J says:

    Now if they would only have a dealer on the North side of Chicago!!!

  36. Tom Shields says:

    …and the gauntlet is thrown down!

  37. motowarrior says:

    You know that you are out of touch with modern motorcycling when the “upgrades” to a bike cost more than you are willing to pay for a complete new motorcycle. Having said that, and not being a cruiser guy, I really think Indian is going to make waves in the coming years. They are off to an impressive start in a short period of time. Whether they can take the dollars away from H-D remains to be seen, but they are the biggest threat to do so in decades.

  38. Mike says:


    No qualifications, no changes, no would rathers………. necessary

    Made in America then……… made in America now

    Soul then……. soul now

    Spoke to riders then…….. speaks to riders now


  39. Tommy see says:

    Classic and so Beautiful.
    Marilyn Monroe Motorcycle. Indian all the very best !

  40. ApriliaRST says:


    A month ago I went past an Indian dealer somewhere near Gaffney, SC. I was not able to stop, but the store had a very attractive front edifice. Looks to me like the parent company is doing things right.

    Additionally, I’ve seen one new Indian bike on the road. Can’t wait for warm weather!

  41. Tim says:

    This is beautiful. This is almost enough to make me spend $30k or more on a cruiser, and I’m not really a cruiser kind of guy.

  42. starmag says:

    The girder front end is cool, the paint, meh, the 23″ front wheel craze for bagger/customs I don’t get at all. It lends a Mattel “big wheel” flavor, not in a good way. Maybe it lightens up the steering or something. I’m sure there will be many great Indian customs to come.

    I wonder what new Indian sales numbers are. I haven’t see one on the road in the Tampa Florida area so far but the dealers are on the other coast.

    • Bob L. says:

      I agree, the 23″ front wheel doesn’t look right. I think it needs a proportionate wheel/tire to balance the whole design. But, what do I know….overall, just crazy-gorgeous!

      • Stratkat says:

        yeah, where did the trend come from, any one know? having seen trends come and go (spinners comes to mind, that subsided only to be followed by tricking out your mid eighties ride with crazy oversized wheels…), i am amazed at what people see and decide they have to also do. ape hangers are another one that has me scratching my head whenever i see a set, especially the crazy tall ones.

  43. aussie Mike says:

    I think it is one very beautiful machine. Very very retro. Love it.

  44. brinskee says:

    Wow, that’s a really bad photoshop job on the top photo. Otherwise, it’s a pretty bike.

  45. kando says:

    Better but butt ugly exhaust…get rid of the valanced fenders

  46. Tank says:

    I think I just saw a Harley owner at Wal-Mart buying a “For Sale” sign.

  47. Bud says:

    I didn’t even know they made tires thAt size

  48. goose says:

    It is certainly beautiful but I think the 23″ front wheel is really out of place.



  49. Rocky V says:

    My buddy Mr Bear had an old one –a 47 i think — he has since died — but i know he would have loved this bike