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Indian Introduces 2016 Chieftain Dark Horse


Indian has just introduced a new member of the Chieftain family that we first sampled when originally introduced a few years ago at Sturgis. Sharing many of the features found on the original Chieftain, the Dark Horse arrives with a solo seat and a shorter, tinted power windscreen.  The rest of what makes the Dark Horse special is a series of parts that are “blacked-out” as you can see from the photos.  The Chieftain Dark Horse is available now in U.S. dealerships starting at $21,999. You can follow this link to the appropriate page on Indian’s web site for details on the Chieftain Dark Horse. Here is the press release received from Indian earlier today:



MINNEAPOLIS (May 11, 2016) — Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, today introduced the Indian® Chieftain Dark Horse®, a blacked-out hard bagger that allows riders to easily customize their ride and hit the highway in head-turning style.

A bagger with undeniable presence, the 2016 Chieftain Dark Horse offers a ton of matte black, a flicker of chrome, and a wealth of features to roll as one of the most bad-ass American-made V-twin touring bikes on the market. By all but eliminating chrome from the motorcycle, the Dark Horse conveys an aggressive attitude that demands attention for all the right reasons.

Powered by the celebrated Thunder Stroke® 111 engine and built upon the same highly lauded chassis and suspension as the Indian Chieftain, the edgy new Chieftain Dark Horse comes from the factory outfitted with a solo seat and short, tinted power windscreen, yet maintains its spacious hard bags, ABS, electronic cruise control, integrated premium audio system and remote key fob with keyless ignition.

To amplify the Dark Horse family attributes, not only are the fenders, fairing, fuel tank and bags blacked out, the iconic Indian Motorcycle headdress, forks, mirrors, handlebars and switch cubes, turn signals, tank console, engine and airbox cover, lower controls, floorboards and taillight housing are also blacked out.

Of course, Indian Motorcycle also offers a large selection of authentic factory accessories to further individualize your already stealthy ride, including new Blackout series accessory air cleaners, performance cams and slip-on exhausts, as well 100-watt saddlebag lid speakers.

“The Indian Chieftain Dark Horse’s blacked-out styling and powerful Thunder Stroke 111 engine will elevate our rider to the top of the pack,” says Indian Motorcycle Marketing Director Reid Wilson. “Starting with the award-winning Chieftain platform, the Dark Horse series signature matte black paint and raw attitude is an open canvas for customization that makes it the perfect bike for riders who are ready to ‘Be Legendary’.”

The 2016 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse comes with a two-year unlimited mileage factory warranty and is available in dealerships now starting at just $21,999. For more information, visit


See more of MD’s great photography:



  1. Scottie says:

    Just give me the Vintage. Red, black or even blue. That’s all I need. No stinkin’ fairing. No plastic saddlebags.

  2. Peter says:

    Polaris should have gone all in since they have almost everything that comes in chrome offered in black now, leaving the new owner on the hook for accessories to take this bike all the way to “Dark Horse” status. At least they got the matching paint color (instead of chrome) for the front sproket cover right. They should do this on all Indians since that is the way they came from Springfield back in the day.

  3. Beasty says:

    The matte black looks good on this bike. I’m not crazy about Indians fairing design, but I do like that motor. Bike is too big for me, so I’ll never own one, but it should fit taller riders well.

    • Fast2win says:

      Try sitting on one. The seat height is very low

      • beasty says:

        It’s not the seat height, that’s fine. It’s the stretch to the bars and the floorboards that would make it unsuitable for me. I’m kinda fussy about bike ergos, ‘specially now that I’m in advanced geezerdom. It’s always the first thing I check out on any bike I’m interested in. It does eliminate a lot of really nice bikes, but I won’t pay good $$$ to be uncomfortable.

  4. Grover says:

    I feel sorry for Indian dealers having to explain to customers why the lack of paint on the motorcycle is a GOOD thing. Kind of like the emperor has no clothes story….

  5. mechanicus says:

    837 lbs wet with a 66 in wheel base. My legs are cramping just thinking about duck paddling that thing in the jiffy burger parking lot.

    • Scott says:

      It must be fun designing a motorcycle when you have absolutely no constraints on how much it has to weigh.

  6. Randy in Nebraska says:

    I just purchased a new 2016 Indian Springfield because I love the “Indian Look,” and it’s truly a terrific motorcycle. I also really like things that are shiny, so I picked a model with a completed paint job.

  7. Gary says:

    Now I get it. It is a new model. It’s the only Chieftain that has a solo seat, and easy wash rear fender, and a short windshield so there isn’t so much to clean there either. Marvelous. Not only that, but much less chrome to keep clean and blind onlookers.

    • Mike says:

      Gary…..Harley has been doing the “new is never” new for decades….same for other manufacturers

  8. Grover says:


  9. carl says:

    I ride a Victory and like the Polaris product but I don’t get it either, how is painting a model already in existence matte black make it in new?? How about something really new instead of beating the dead horse!

  10. joe b says:

    I just don’t get it. Its not for me.

    • Grover says:

      That’s because you’re not a fan of grotesquely styled, overweight motorcycles.

  11. ABQ says:

    They say that cruisers are for us old guys,
    But how many of us old guys can handle
    803 lbs / 837 lbs (364 kg / 380 kg)??

    I often hear from old guys that want to get rid of their Harleys because the weight has become too much for them any more. And the price of trikes goes way beyond their social security checks. So what are us old guys to do?
    BTW…nice bike

    • mickey says:

      This old guy plans on down sizing to something like the SV Suzuki, or NC 700 or Honda CB500 or FZ07

      • VLJ says:

        The new SV650 promises to be a sweetheart of a bike, no doubt, just like the original. Before you drop all the way down to a budget middleweight, however, do yourself a favor and grab a ride on the XSR900. It has enough motor to allow you to lug it around at your favored low rpm while still possessing the punch to sate your former Speed Demon Self’s most lusty desires. It’s also very light, and I’m sure you wouldn’t turn your nose up at ABS and traction control.

        The only potential downside for you is the tallish seat height, but you’ll manage.

      • VLJ says:

        I fear a double-post is on the way.


        • mickey says:

          Been there (double post) lol

          Yea I sat on one, good ergos but like you said pretty tall for a Keebler elf like me.. But then again they all are it seems.

          Lighter weight is the goal. Right now my lightweight is the CB @ 575 lol

          My son sure is liking his FJ and my yonger brother ( still a senior) test rode and bought a new 2016 Bonnie. Hes a 3000 rpm guy too lol

  12. JimW says:

    Enough with the matte black already! ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

  13. Frank says:

    Another great looking bike from Indian. And for those who like these bike highway twins, it’s always nice to have more choice, even if it’s mostly color. And those who are complaining about an additional color choice here…are you the same folks who also complain about the limited number of colors choices offered by most of the other manufacturers? The big four Japanese brands come to mind. How about if you want ABS, and can only get it on one color bike, or equipped with another feature you don’t want?
    Color is important to people who buy bikes. The more choices the better.

    • VLJ says:

      More color choices are fine. We’re all for ’em. Well, okay, perhaps not flat black. Hardly anybody wants flat black anymore—not that I can recall anyone ever pining away for flat black, ever, actually.

      But I digress. What most folks here are complaining about, or mocking, to put a finer point on it, is the Big Twin, Inc. notion that every time you come out with a new (old) color, you need to give it an all new model designation.

      Here’s an idea for the next Indian-Davisdon press release: “New for 2016 is our same bike as last year, offered in one new color, with a few more new optional accessories. Oh, and if you’d prefer, we can ditch the passenger seat, which you easily can do on your own anyway with our old model. Whatever. There’s also a new optional lower windscreen, in case you want Extra Buffeting(tm) during your annual Bucket List Sojourn to Sturgis (trailer not included).

      P.S.-Bring money. Lots of money.”

  14. Cagefree says:

    I think Indians next step after the “primer series” will be optional high end paint just like HD does. Following the undisputed cruiser bike leader is not the way to go in my opinion.

  15. mickey says:

    I don’t know, Indian may just have more models made out of one basic model than Harley does. It’s incredible how both companies can keep coming up with new models that are basically the old models.

  16. falcodoug says:

    Maybe when I get older it will look good?

  17. Hot Dog says:

    Huh? I don’t understand, so I can’t ask.

    Ugh, I don’t know, so I can’t ask.

    Gee, I don’t get it, so I can’t ask.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Clearly, you just aren’t ready to “Be Legendary.”

      • Hot Dog says:

        Only in my own mind, even then nobody cares.

        I ride by a Indian shop everyday where they park bikes outside for display. There is a matt silver/gray Chieftain that sits there in her pretty dress, staring at me as I ride by. She may be fun to ride but I just can’t do phat chicks anymore.

        Just to prove how naïve I am, I wish they’d build and sell a small adventure bike. Nine out of the ten voices in my head agree.

  18. TexinOhio says:

    Not really sure why they need to have a special release just for the finish. Good solid bike that I’ve ridden many times but, new paint does not a new press release make.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      But just think of how many guys out there were thinking to themselves, “Gee, I’d love to buy a new Indian Chief… If only they would make one in flat black. And give it a cool name.” I mean, how else would they know without a press release?

    • Bob says:

      You must be too young to recall when Harley’s new model introductions were headlined with the exclamation “BOLD NEW COLORS!! It was big news. 😉

  19. Randy in Ridgecrest says:

    Reminds me of the line in MIB “I’m twice the man you are”. Intrenched as HD in bloat.

    I think the flathead valve cover style (weird saying it that way) is strange combined with the tall cylinders, strange but not bad. Like the Amal style throttle bodies on the new Triumphs.

  20. North of Missoula says:

    Very cool bike. I love the look of that massive Thunderstroke.

    I prefer bikes that have a lot more power, much better handling and braking, weigh 300lbs less and offer better value for their money.

    It is a shame that Polaris refuses to produce anything but cruisers.

  21. Curly says:

    One of my typical rants is on custom “builds” with no fenders. In this case I’ll say, too much fender. Isn’t it time for the matte finish thing be over? The photos make it look like the bike is made of unpainted ABS. I guess you could spray the whole thing in high gloss clear.

  22. Gary says:

    I guess some will like this supposedly bad ass flat black look, but I’ll pass. I like bright flashy, and if you seen my bike, you would have to agree. And from all the oooos and ahssss I and my wife get for our bikes, most seem to agree. If I wanted black, it would have to be high gloss, none of this dingy stuff.

  23. Auphliam says:

    Polaris press copy is starting to read like a bad romance novel…”for all the right reasons”. ugh

    I guess “Hot AF on a Summer Day” didn’t make the cut.

  24. MGNorge says:

    Where’s the “Fire Horse” with some dazzling colors?

  25. bmbktmracer says:

    They should make an all-white version and call it the “Elizabeth Warren”.

  26. Stuki Moi says:

    I love the look of these Indians. Of course, I did at one point pay good money for the Kawi version, so I’m not entirely unbiased.

    I do wonder how much longer there is going to be a market for these realistically $25K out the door cruisers. My “good money” above was less than a quarter of that, for a bike with, I believe less than 1000 miles…. Anecdotally, amongst people I know, or even meet, there aren’t many new riders entering the cruiser demo anymore, the way they did 10 years ago. Instead, the ones I know, are adding bikes to their stable. Many of the Indian owners I know, also have a Harley or two. And they’re getting older. So I’m concerned we’re running towards saturation in that market. Very few young riders have $25K for a car, much less a bike.

    • steveinsandiego says:

      speaking of the kawi version: i bought a new 2005 kawasaki vulcan 1600 classic for $9999 otd, then threw on leatherlyke bags and a wide rifle windshield. best dadgum motorcycle of the five i’ve owned in the past 18 years. tools and i are enemies, but i could pull most maintenance on that kawi. nearly every item needing attention stared you in the face. and that thing ate up the slab very comfortably. 66k miles in 6 yrs.

      the dark horse looks “cool”, but i can’t afford it.

  27. Larry K says:

    unattractively large or bloated.
    “I feel fat, gross—even my legs feel flabby”
    synonyms: obese, corpulent, overweight, fat, big, large, fleshy, flabby, portly, bloated; More

  28. Briumph says:

    Not a single response. What! Not a cruiser fan but Indian has something here.

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