2019 Indian Chief, Springfield and Roadmaster Get Cool Upgrades

John Burns
by John Burns

Indian announced significant upgrades to its big touring bikes yesterday: The coolest one might be the introduction of automatic rear-cylinder deactivation (a thing its main competitor has had for a while), and a direct response to address one of the very few issues we’ve had with the big 111 Thunder Stroke twin. When you’re at a standstill in traffic, in temps above 59 degrees, the rear cylinder will automatically quit firing, thus reducing the main source of heat between your legs. Then, when throttle is applied, those 909 cc will instantly come back online. In addition, Roadmaster lower fairings are redesigned to flow a bunch more air to the cockpit once underway.

Elsewhere, we’ve got selectable ride modes to tailor throttle response – “Tour” for smooth, relaxed cruising, “Standard” for crisper throttle response, “Sport” for “head-snapping acceleration” when giving `er the old whip in top cog. Or any cog. No electronic suspension yet, though.

Indians already had great audio systems that go to 11, now Indian says they’re even better. Read all the details in Indian’s press release below:


2019 Roadmaster

MINNEAPOLIS (August 29, 2018) – Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company founded in 1901, today announced its 2019 Chief, Springfield and Roadmaster models with new technology designed to enhance and customize the riding experience. Dark Horse models also get darker with premium gloss black finishes and expanded color options on Springfield Dark Horse.

Developed in direct response to rider feedback, the new technology features focus on improving performance, comfort, and providing more customization. The new features include:

Selectable Ride Modes

2019 Chief Dark Horse: Choose your mode.

Riders can now choose between three Ride Modes on the fly – Tour, Standard or Sport – for a ride experience that’s customized to their riding style. The throttle map for each Ride Mode was designed with a specific application in mind, resulting in one motorcycle with three distinct personalities. “Tour” mode features a smooth throttle response for relaxed cruising. “Standard” mode features a crisp throttle response and well-balanced power delivery for responsive passing power and predictable, slow-speed handling. And finally, “Sport” mode features an instant throttle response and aggressive power delivery for head-snapping acceleration.

Rear Cylinder Deactivation

Chief Vintage mit 111 Thunder Stroke powah in Springfield Vintage

To increase rider comfort, all Thunder Stroke 111 models are now equipped with Rear Cylinder Deactivation. When the engine reaches operating temperature and the ambient temperature exceeds 59⁰ F, the rear cylinder will automatically deactivate when the bike is at a standstill, resulting in less engine heat for improved comfort in slow-moving or stopped traffic. The rear cylinder instantly reactivates when throttle is applied for a seamless transition to full power.

Improved Airflow on Roadmaster Lower Fairings

Roadmaster lowers, ventilated, two each

The lower fairings on the 2019 Roadmaster have been redesigned and optimized to provide significantly more airflow to the rider. This greatly improves comfort while cruising down the road. The redesigned airflow vent can be adjusted from all the way open for maximum airflow to fully closed for total weather protection. The new lowers can be retrofit to bikes from past model years with the addition of new highway bars.

Enhanced Audio System

Roadmaster command center

Several enhancements have been made to Indian Motorcycle’s stock audio system to significantly improve sound quality. First, the tweeters have been separated from the mid-range speakers to optimize sound output and clarity. Second, a dynamic equalizer that’s fully customizable now adjusts specific frequencies at different vehicle speeds to provide peak system performance at all times. As speed increases, the equalizer automatically adjusts each frequency to the optimal level to compensate for road, wind and engine noise. The result is crystal clear, 100-watt premium audio at all speeds.

“These enhancements for 2019 showcase our commitment to listening to riders and continuously improving their experience with our products,” said Steve Menneto, President, Indian Motorcycle. “We are laser-focused on delivering a best-in-class riding experience, and these new technologies represent a focus on quality that will continue long into the future of Indian Motorcycle.”

Chief Dark Horse

Also for 2019, Chief Dark Horse and Springfield Dark Horse receive several style updates that further accentuate their mean, custom styling. These models now boast premium gloss black finishes on the engine including the primary, valve, and cam covers, push-rod tubes, as well as on the exhaust and saddlebag hinges.

Springfield Dark Horse is now offered in two colors –Thunder Black Smoke and a new White Smoke option [lead image!]. Also, notable for the 2019 Springfield Dark Horse is the addition of the iconic Indian headdress on the front fender and a 19” contrast-cut wheel. The front highway bars and windshield were also removed to punctuate its sleek, streamlined stance.

Indian Motorcycle offers a wide range of authentic accessories for riders to customize their bike’s performance, style, comfort and storage. Exciting additions to the accessory line will be announced shortly.

Pricing for the 2019 Chief Dark Horse begins at $17,999 in the U.S. and $21,499 in Canada. The Chief Vintage is available starting at $19,999 in the U.S. and $23,999 in Canada. Pricing for Springfield begins at $20,999 in the U.S. and $25,299 in Canada, while the Springfield Dark Horse begins at $21,499 in the U.S. and $25,999 in Canada. Roadmaster will start at $28,999 in the U.S. and $35,499 in Canada.

2019 Springfield

Arriving at dealerships now, riders can learn more or test ride by visiting a local Indian Motorcycle dealership. For more information on the 2019 lineup, or to find the nearest dealer, visit IndianMotorcycle.com and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

end transmission…

John Burns
John Burns

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2 of 17 comments
  • AZgman AZgman on Sep 02, 2018

    WTF can read those little boxes on the "command center"? We're old farts now, ya know?

  • Aznable Rey Aznable Rey on Sep 02, 2018

    Indian bikes straddle the line between classic and modern in a real funky way. I'm not big into baggers or tourers, but if I had to go with one, there are worse options than these.

    I will say the leather fringe is a little... cringy.