While nine motorcycles may have been listed on the Reader’s Choice ballot for Motorcycle of the Year, the reality is that two of them garnered 42.67% of the votes. The two bikes going mano-a-mano in a V-Twin, bare knuckled brawl for supremacy? The KTM Super Duke R and the Indian Chief. We bet you didn’t see that one coming, did you? What surprised us was that you, the readers, didn’t choose the KTM SDR, like we did. Instead, you let us know that you think the Indian Chief is the motorcycle that stands at the top of the 2014 model year heap in our first annual Reader’s Choice Awards.

2014 Indian Chief – Reinventing An Icon

2014 Indian Chief Classic Review

We can’t argue with your choice. After all, when we named the Chief Cruiser of the Year, we crowed over Polaris’ efforts at relaunching the historic brand: “Polaris knows motorsports (being the number-one powersports OEM in North America) and is clearly applying what it’s learned from developing Victory over the past 15 years to the Indian revival.” Or how about: ”The fit and finish of the bikes – from the paint to the quality and amount of chrome – announced that Indian is here, here big, and for the long-term. The same can be said of the Indian logos on just about every visible piece of hardware. The overall feeling is one of quality.”

The Thunderstroke 111 artfully links both Indian’s present and past.

The Thunderstroke 111 artfully links both Indian’s present and past.

Then there’s the Thunderstroke 111 engine that powers the entire Indian line (with the exception of the Scout). The vintage style pays enough of an homage to Indian’s past to show that the current keepers of the Indian name respect their heritage which will, hopefully, keep traditionalists happy. However, the bike isn’t a step back in time. Rather, the engine’s internals – and features like ride-by-wire – are high-tech enough to deliver riding conveniences (keyless starting and cruise control) plus the exciting ride, fuel economy and emissions expected from a modern cruiser.

2014 Indian Motorcycle Review: Chief Classic, Chief Vintage And Chieftain

Additionally, Indian sales have been strong, pointing to the fact that the brand is creating a connection with the customers. Your votes for the Chief, bested the KTM Super Duke R by over 4%, which doesn’t seem like a lot until you know that third place was over 12% behind the Indian. That’s the kind of passion the bike has engendered. If the recently released Scout is any reflection on what else Indian has up its collective sleeves, there’s plenty more to come.

Cruiser of the Year Winner: Indian Chief

Reader’s Choice Best of 2015 winners:

Best Motorcycles of 2014 Best Sport Bike
Best Streetfighter/Hooligan Motorcycle Best Touring Motorcycle
Best Cruiser Motorcycle Best Sport Touring Motorcycle
Best On-Off Road Adventure Motorcycle Best Value Motorcycle
Best Standard Motorcycle Best Dirt Bike
Best Scooter Best Electric Motorcycle
  • Old MOron

    I call “bullshit”. This is just propaganda from VerticalScope. They’ve been wanting to turn this into Cruiser Online. It’s bullshit!

  • VeganLondonMan

    I want one so bad. Nicest bike Ive ever ridden and I tested some KTMs, a BMW and several Harleys last year, and the Scout too. The Chief does it for me.

    • DickRuble

      Yeah, I rode it too, side by side with a Toro LX. The Indian had a je-ne-sais-quoi that put it slightly ahead of the Toro.

    • Max Wellian

      Seriously? I rode a Vic Cross Roads 250 miles to test ride a Chief and was disappointed. The tan leather on the seat looked like hell after about a thousand miles of demo rides. It emitted an enormous amount of heat on my right leg. It was difficult to keep stable at low speeds. After 10 miles or so I was developing hot spots in the seat. I never developed those on the Cross Roads on the 250 mile ride up or the 250 mile ride back or at any other time.

      On the bright side, it did have better front brakes and more giddyup down low, but the engine stopped making power very early in the rev range and was constantly bouncing off the rev limiter. That was not a problem for the Cross Roads.

      Given the fact that the Chief runs tubed tires, it automatically axes it as a go anywhere bike. I’d be stuck riding it where I felt I might be able to get a tow if I got a flat…not to mention that a flat on tube tires often results in a wreck.

  • Nice job Polaris!