The relaunch of Indian Motorcycle has been the biggest news to hit the cruiser market in many years. Under the stewardship of Polaris Industries, Indian is now well-capitalized for the first time in more than 60 years. Sales of the three-model Chief lineup have been meeting projections, and the Chief platform has received widespread critical acclaim.
But there’s more to relaunching a brand than simply producing good motorcycles. Indian has been busy, launching not only its new line of Chiefs in 2013, but also a new network of dealers and accessory and apparel lines.
Indian had just 13 active dealers at the beginning of 2013, stalwarts from the Kings Mountain era of production. By the end of the year, 70 dealers were retailing the new Chief lineup, and there are 70 more dealers which are set to come on line.
Indian Motorcycle of Orange County is one of the brand’s newest dealers, and the moto press was invited to the store to check out its decor and to see a sampling of Indian apparel and accessories.
A so-called Media Hearth will grace new Indian dealerships as an integral part of the decor.
Indian of OC has been open for two months and replaces a Harley-Davidson dealer from the same location. The interior design is clean and classy, and it’s a template for Indian’s new dealers, incuding fixtures, signage, furniture and flooring. Indian’s PR rep, Robert Pandya, describes it as “homey and casual.”
On the showroom floor were fully accessorized examples of each Chief model: the basic Classic; the bagged and windshielded Vintage; and the high-zoot faired Chieftain. Here are a few highlights.
The Classic is the bare-bones Chief, but the fork includes bracketry for the Vintage model’s windshield, so adding a screen to a Classic couldn’t be simpler. The accessorized version we saw was fitted with components designed to accommodate shorter riders. A handlebar ($199.99) pulled back two inches and a heated seat ($599.99) that places a rider one inch forward and one inch lower significantly reduces the gangly layout of the stock rider triangle.
These bar-mount speakers ($599.99) can be wired to a music player or connected via Bluetooth. Indian rep Mark Boswell says music can be heard up to 75 mph without a windshield.
The Chief Vintage already includes saddlebags and a windshield, but there are plenty of accessories available to further personalize it.
This Chief Vintage is fitted with Indian’s Stage 1 Slip-On Exhaust ($699.99) which also includes an ECU reflash to suit the freer-flowing pipes. Floorboard decoration will please fringe fetishists.
The Chieftain sits at the top of Indian’s line, boasting a fairing with an electrically adjustable windscreen and a 100-watt audio system.
This Chieftain is equipped with Concert Audio Lids ($399.99) and the Concert Saddlebag Audio Kit ($574.99). The kit’s 100-watt amplifier cleverly fits under the saddle, so it’s not stealing space from the bags.
Indian tells us its apparel is developed in-house from scratch in the U.S. and UK under the direction of female designers. Indian seems to understand its market quite well, acknowloging that most of its customers are middle-aged and older. As such, they coined the phrase “V-Twin Fit,” a nice way of saying it fits older riders who likely have extra girth around their waists. Jackets are sold in sizes up to 5XL.
Indian’s apparel and casual wear have been available for about a year. Indian tells us the gear is manufactured in Vietnam at an unnamed facility that’s said to also produce apparel for premium brands like Alpinestars. Look for an updated apparel lineup to debut in August.
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