Cruiser riders can be pretty particular about what they want. Why would cruiser aficionados who have a bit of wanderlust be any different? Indian was aware of this before they even released their first models. Those who are more classically inclined go for the Indian Chief Vintage. The riders for whom maximum mileage is the primary concern can opt for the Chieftain or the Roadmaster. What about the riders who want the classic windshield and hard bags? Until now, they haven’t had any option. The release of the 2016 Indian Springfield changes all that.

The Springfield is Indian’s step into the convertible bagger market. By taking signature elements of the the Vintage and the Chieftain and combining them into a neatly produced package, the Springfield gives the cruiser rider the versatile style of the Chief Vintage while offering the weather protection and cargo capacity of the Chieftain. Although it may be easy to consider the Springfield a parts bin approach to segmenting the cruiser touring market into ever narrower slices, a good bit of thought went into the model’s creation.

The windshield pops off easily, making the Springfield more comfortable on hot days. Tall and low optional windshields are available.

The windshield pops off easily, making the Springfield more comfortable on hot days. Tall and low optional windshields are available.

Looking at the Springfield in profile, anyone who knows anything about Indians will know the family line from which it hails. The Thunderstroke 111 engine is not only the throbbing heart of the machine, it is the centerpiece which the entire motorcycle is designed to showcase – much like a gemstone in its setting. Similarly, while not all Indians wear skirted fenders, a perusal of the Indian website reveals a deeply rooted family link to them. The headlight nacelle? Well, it’s pure Chief Vintage but ties it in an altered form to the Dark Horse.

Then there is the name. Careful MO readers may remember the name cropping up as an Indian color option, Springfield Blue, and in the occasional Indian-related press release or news items, referencing Springfield, Mass. – where Indian Motorcycle began full-scale production in 1902. So, the name carries a certain historical cachet with the company.

The Thundestroke 111 is the same as it ever was, and that’s a good thing.

The Thundestroke 111 is the same as it ever was, and that’s a good thing.

The Springfield was designed to blend key characteristics of the Chief Vintage and Chieftain for an optimal combination of style and function for the traditionalist touring cruiser rider. As with the Chief Vintage, the classic windscreen is easily removable, allowing riders the protection from wind blast on long trips while still letting them benefit from cooling air-flow on shorter hops. On the cold winter morning beginning our ride, the wind protection offered by the windshield was greatly appreciated. Indian did its homework with the shield design as there was no buffeting and minimal back pressure at highway speeds. Additionally, the swap from the Chieftain’s batwing fairing to the windshield removed a whopping 24 lbs from the front of the bike, compared to the Chieftain.

This weight reduction alone makes the Springfield lighter steering than the Chieftain. The Springfield does, however, share the Chieftain’s 25°, 5.9-in rake and trail numbers, which are themselves sportier than the more laid back, stretched out Vintage (a difference that was quite noticeable in our previous tests of the Vintage and Chieftain). With the reduced front end weight of the Springfield, the handling becomes sportier by comparison. This is most noticeable in S-bends where going from floorboard-to-floorboard happens quite quickly for a, roughly, 825-lb. motorcycle.

The fit and finish are typical Indian quality.

The fit and finish are typical Indian quality.

Reaching back to the rider is a buckhorn handlebar, putting the pilot in a comfortably upright position for racking up the miles. The seat and the floorboard position feel unchanged compared to their progenitors. Similarly, the technology afforded to the rider and the instrumentation are both what we’ve come to expect from Indian’s premium models. Cruise-Control, in-dash informational displays controlled from the switch pods, ABS, and tire pressure monitors are all standard – as are the remote locking features controlled by a wireless remote. The handlebar wiring is routed internally for a neater appearance.

In addition to the wireless lock control, the saddlebags are waterproof, easily removable, and offer 19 gallons of storage capacity. While a 17-gallon accessory trunk is available, the lines of the Springfield’s rear are so tidy that we’d hate to clutter it up. Most importantly, the Springfield offers a 533-lb. carrying capacity which should easily accommodate all but the largest-sized Americans and enough clothing for a decent-length tour. The Springfield passenger, like the Chieftain’s, benefits from floorboards that are adjustable in both height and rotational angle.

We’ve always loved the beefy headlight nacelle that Indian has on many of its cruiser models. The oil coolers shown on these pre-production models were found to be unnecessary and were removed before final production.

We’ve always loved the beefy headlight nacelle that Indian has on many of its cruiser models. The oil coolers shown on these pre-production models were found to be unnecessary and were removed before final production.

Power delivery from the Thunder Stroke 111 is the same as other ones we’ve sampled. The 49-degree V-Twin delivers plentiful torque from its undersquare cylinders. The 101mm x 113mm bore and stroke combine to displace 111 cu. in. (1811cc) and twist out the motivating force via a single-pin crankshaft. The fuel metering is quite smooth and incorporates ride-by-wire technology.

Aside from the quicker steering afforded by the lighter windshield, the Springfield’s handling is standard Indian fare. The stiff forged and cast aluminum frame combines with the 46mm telescopic cartridge fork and the single, air-adjustable shock (with 4.5 in. rear-wheel travel) to deliver a comfortable ride. While the steering is more responsive, the high-speed stability that we’ve enjoyed in the Chieftain remains. Similarly, the dual 300mm semi-floating discs and four-piston calipers deliver plenty of stopping power – though the lever effort is still high. Two channel ABS provide a safety envelope during panic stops or slippery conditions.

All-day comfort and entertaining handling, what’s not to love?

All-day comfort and entertaining handling, what’s not to love?

To put it succinctly, the Springfield is everything we liked about the Chieftain – and less. The effect that the weight reduction on the front fork has on the bike’s handling can’t be overstated. Couple that with the grunty Thunderstroke 111 plus the premium features that Indian is known for, and the Springfield is a good option for cruiser riders who prefer traditional styling yet don’t want to compromise on a bagger’s carrying capacity. The 2016 Indian Springfield starts at $20,999 and will be available in Thunder Black and Indian Motorcycle Red. The Springfield should start shipping to dealerships in the next few weeks.

2016-03-03-IndianSpringfield-BJN44246

2016 Indian Springfield
+ Highs

  • Improved handling
  • Still love the engine
  • Bagger convenience with an easily removable windshield
– Sighs

  • Brakes are still fairly high effort
  • No touring plans on the horizon
  • We had to wait this long to get it
2016 Indian Springfield Specifications
Engine Type 49˚ V-Twin
Transmission 6-speed/constant mesh/foot shift
Battery 12 volts / 18 amp/hour, 310 CCA
Bore x Stroke 3.976” x 4.449” (101 mm x 113 mm)
Charging System 42 amp max output
Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Compression Ratio 9.5 : 1
Cooling System Air / Oil
Displacement 111 cid / 1811 cc
Exhaust Split dual exhaust with crossover
Final Drive Belt drive, 152 tooth
Fuel Capacity 5.5 gal / 20.8 ltr
Fuel System Electronic fuel injection, closed loop/54 mm bore
Oil Capacity 5.5 qts / 5.20 ltr
Primary Drive Gear drive wet clutch
Front Suspension Telescopic fork, 46 mm diameter, 4.7 in /119 mm travel
Rear Suspension Single shock with air adjust, 4.5 in / 114 mm travel
Dry Weight 815 lbs / 370 kg
Ground Clearance 5.6 in / 142 mm
Gvwr 1,385 lbs / 630 kg
Length 101.2 in / 2571 mm
Rake/Trail 25° / 5.9 in / 133 mm
Seat Height 26 in / 660 mm
Wheelbase 65.7 in / 1668 mm
Brake System Type Individual front and rear control with ABS
Front Braking System Dual 300 mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers
Rear Braking System Single 300 mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
Front Tire Dunlop Elite 3 130/90B16 73H
Front Wheel Cast 16” x 3.5” with tire pressure monitoring
Rear Tire Dunlop Elite 3 180/60R16 80H
Rear Wheel Cast 16” x 5.0” with tire pressure monitoring
MSRP Thunder Black:$21,499 ($21,749 in California)
Indian Motorcycle Red: $21,949 ($22,199 in California)
  • Auphliam

    Obligatory Roadking vs Springfield comparo to come? Shame Victory dropped the Cross Roads.

    • Max Wellian

      And this still ain’t a good replacement for the Cross Roads. I rode my Cross Roads 250 miles to test ride the Indians when they first came out. I felt fine when I got there. Rode the Vintage 10 miles and my butt was irritated and my right leg was on fire.
      Got right back on my Cross Roads and rode the 250 miles back home snug as a bug in a rug,
      Unfortunately, my Cross Roads met its demise in a fight with a rather large deer. As Victory killed the model I liked, they lost me as a customer. Shame as the wife and I really loved that bike.

      • Don Falloon

        I would assume you could locate a decent, reasonably low mileage Cross Roads in the used bike market. To say they’ve lost a customer simply because they don’t currently build the bike sounds kind of like a pouting child. Not calling you such; just belaboring the obvious to point out that a reasonable alternative solution may have been missed.

        • Max Wellian

          Problem with used cruisers is most prior owners go and throw loud pipes and other assorted nonsense on them that does nothing for their reliability or desirability.
          I mentioned they lost a customer, because they did. I now ride a Kawasaki, because Victory is turning away from their roots making well performing cruisers into making flashy crap that I could care less about. YMMV.

          • TheMarvelous1310 .

            I dunno, the Octane seems like a well performing cruiser to me.

          • Evans Brasfield

            You are right. My first ride test will be up almost immediately.

          • TheMarvelous1310 .

            Ooh, can’t wait!

          • Don Falloon

            Valid to a point. I love perusing Craigslist (yeah, the Kellogg’s of the internet with more flakes than you can count) and seeing the HD advertised as “2005 w/ only 4,000 miles, never been in the rain.” Never been ridden, you mean.

            I didn’t buy my bike ( ’08 Suzuki M50, 50K on the clock) to be a garage decoration. Anywho, my contention is that some patient search can often find “the one.” But I do understand and respect where you’re coming from.

            YMMV – funny, that’s usually my sign-off.

        • Ian Parkes

          Obviously. But Max wouldn’t be paying that money to Victory -ergo lost customer.

          • Don Falloon

            Bingo. I stand corrected. (Actually I’m sitting at the moment, but you get my drift.)

    • ChrisS

      I ride an RK 7 days a week, and that thought was indeed the first thing to pop up in my mind when I saw this. I like just about all bikes though, no brand hating here.

    • Mark Vizcarra

      I think it’s required to do a Road King and Springfield comparo now. If you dont the motorcycle gods will

      • Evans Brasfield

        Will what?

        Oh my God, how am I supposed to sleep with this hanging over my head?

        What will they do????

        • spiff

          They will will their will!

    • Phil Dalachinsky

      I sat on one today, it is very nice, and althoug in size and wieght it is close to the road king, it more closely matches the switchback in personality, I would like to see that comparison…

  • http://www.themotorcycleobsession.com/ Chris Cope

    I love how old-school this looks. Makes me wish I had $21,000. And an enormous garage. And the patience to polish chrome.

    • toomanycrayons

      “And the patience to polish chrome.”

      Too true. And, bugs? Nobody told me there’d be BUGS!

  • TheMarvelous1310 .

    Okay, am i the only one who thinks it’s bullshit that the Dark Horse doesn’t have the 25 degree rake? That alone ruins the bike for me. Really it should be on the whole line, but at least the sporty one!

  • Ser Samsquamsh

    nice looking except in Canada it’s $5500 more than a Road King. Er, that’s pretty optimistic on Polaris’ part don’t you think?

    • Goose

      I don’t know anything about Harley or Indian prices in the Great White North but are you comparing a base RK (103 CID, not all the options) with the Indian’s 111 CID motor and pretty optioned out Springfield? I’d be very interested to see the price difference when the bikes are roughly equally equipped. The 110 CID motor alone is a pretty big price increase by itself. Can you do a little research and get back to us? I’m curious.

      • Ser Samsquamsh

        True – Indian has 7% bigger engine/ heated seat and grips and maybe longer travel suspension; HD didn’t say anything about that but they have notorious short travel shocks. HD doesmention 110 years of heratige A LOT in the engine section which to me seems like an intentional subterfuge for those innumerate consumers out there.

        Still a 20% premium and the resale is worse- not that bikes make any financial sense:)

        • Vernon682

          Financial sense is for houses and old Ferrari’s. One day one of these will be mine.

  • halfkidding

    Wheel skirts have always been ridiculous on cars and absurd on bikes. I think it was the skirts carried to an extreme which finally did Indian in to begin with.

    • SRMark

      Sure would be nice if they offered a normal looking front fender. The engine is stunning, the exhaust is a work of art. Bags could use a little styling retouch. But, damn, the fender is hideous, IMHO.

      • Douglas

        Yeah, an optional Bonneville-style fender would get me to think seriously about adding an Indian to the stable. But, the fenders are their trademark. Back in the early 1900’s up thru even the ’30’s, paved roads of any distance outside of cities were a rarity. With all the dirt, gravel, mud, etc thrown up by the tires, large fenders were quite useful. But now, not so much. I advocate keeping the oversize ones for the nostalgia buffs, but offer something a little less “overdone” for those of us with more subtle tastes….how ’bout it, Polaris?

  • Ducati Kid

    Evans,

    This motorcycle could be so much more – depicted with relocated Turn Signals.

    Hope Springs Eternal …

  • Craig Hoffman

    That engine looks like the business. Saw one with black valve covers and liked that better.

    On the other hand, I know it is the signature styling cue, but I hate that front fender.

  • Ducati Kid

    Evans,

    This motorcycle could be so much more – depicted with relocated Turn Signals and Front Reflectors.

    Hope Springs Eternal …

  • Ducati Kid

    Evans,

    The ‘Springfield’ could be so much more – depicted with relocated Turn Signals and Front Reflectors.

    Hope Springs Eternal …

  • Ducati Kid

    Evans,

    A ‘Springfield’ with relocated Turn Signals and Front Reflectors illustrated.

    Hope Springs Eternal …

  • Ducati Kid

    Evans,

    A revised INDIAN ‘Springfield’ depicting relocated Turn Signals and Front Reflectors.

    • Evans Brasfield

      Thanks for the hint, too. Took me a while to figure it out. :-)

      • Ducati Kid

        Evans,

        Corrected my Turn Signals information and added the Indian logo to that Reflector.

        Depicted further below for your viewing …

  • sgray44444

    A beautiful bike. I really think the bagger configuration is the most versatile. Anyone know how the 111 compares with the motor in Harley’s Road King? I prefer the looks of the Road King a little more, but this is very nice.

  • Ducati Kid

    Evans,

    A further revised INDIAN ‘Springfield’ with relocated Turn Signals (mirror mounted) and single piece, Indian logo, Amber color, Reflector completing the Front fender.

    Appears better now … :-)

  • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

    After adding a backrest, taller windshield, it’s up a couple Gs. Want the tourpak? That adds a bunch too. We’re up to 24-25K at that point. What bikes are available at that price and how do they compare? In that ballpark I can get a RT for less or a very lightly used K1600GT and both would be better bikes in every category objectively. May be I just don’t get it, and I used to ride Cruisers too, Vulcans, but when BMWs start to become better values, it’s time to stop and think.

    • Max Wellian

      I was thinking about a new RT, then I looked at the service recommendations. Valve adjustments at 600 milles, 6k miles, then every 6k miles thereafter. Hell, I barely give the drive chain on my bike that much attention.
      One thing great about cruisers is uber low maintenance. Even the clutch cable in my Vic came with a no service Teflon lining. Talk about simple, change the oil once every 5k miles and make sure the tires ain’t flat. That’s my kinda machine!

      • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

        You have incorrect info. They may check it at 600, but the intervals on the new RT are 12K miles and it’s easy to check. I’ve ridden a Vision and it’s no RT. Yes the maintenance is simpler and they are reliable, but it’s not in the same category performance wise. The RT does everything well and weighs a lot less. Do I wish it had less maintenance (mine is a 2009, so it’s a little more maintenance than the new one), yes. Sometimes I think it’s like owning an airplane, but it rewards the owner with competence. I used to ride cruisers too. I had a 1600 Nomad and a Vulcan 800 Classic. Easier to live with in most ways, but not in the same class performance wise. No one has brakes as good as BMW. OK, may be Ducati. I had an incident where a guy in a suburban made a left in front of me. I was doing 75 at the time. I grabbed all the brake I could (BMWs have partial integral ABS so the front lever operates both front and rear fully) and the tail started to come up. I stopped before the suburban. With most other bikes, including cruisers, I would have hit him. That alone is worth the hassle of extra maintenance.

        • Max Wellian

          I currently ride a Kaw Versys 1000. It requires a valve check every 15k. My previous FJR only once every 26k miles.
          Every page I google on BMW is different. Here’s one that specifies every 6k miles. I’ve seen them required every service visit and I’ve seen them every 20,000 km (~12k miles). If one is apt to do it themselves and not worry about warranty, I guess there’s no big worries, but seems to me a BMW dealer could justify checking them every time the darn thing needs oil if they like.
          https://stagingas.ascycles.com/2/pdf/ServiceSchedules/R1200RT-DOHC_6K_Service.pdf
          FWIW, I really like the RTs. I’ve rented a couple for vacations and the only issues I have with them are the seat height and their tendency to get blown around a lot when its very windy. These aren’t issues on the Vics. But you’re right, in terms of outright performance the BMWs have it all over cruisers. But I can be perfectly happy without riding the fastest thing on the road. If it’s got the grunt to make quick 2 lane passes, it serves my needs.

          • http://www.mymotorrad.com/ james lagnese

            The K26 is a RT like mine, a 2009. They’ve gotten rid of throttle syncing, valves are now 12K and the clutch can be easily replaced instead of splitting the bike in half.

            I have noticed getting pushed around more too compared to my Nomad and I think it’s because the bike is high. It’s sits a lot higher than the Nomad I had and air doesn’t pass through it at all. Thing is that if I am going over 60 in the rain, I hardly get wet. Just my shins. Another thing to consider is heat. I live in AZ and in the summer, a harley or similar bike will cool your crotch without getting rid of the stock exhaust system and retuning. I don’t get engine heat from the boxer.

            The FJR is a no go for me as the ergos don’t work for me. I am 6’5 and over 300 with a bad neck. Even with the RT I put peg lowering kit and bar risers. The problem with the Nomad in terms of ergos was having all my weight on my tailbone and pelvic bones. Even with a Mustang seat I could only go 125 miles before wanting to jump off the bike.

  • Ducati Kid

    Evans,

    After consideration – a revised INDIAN ‘Springfield’.