Indian PowerPlus is Here

John Burns
by John Burns

What’s old is new again in the American V-twin wars. The original Indian PowerPlus ran from 1916 to 1924. The new PowerPlus isn’t a bike at all; it’s an engine – an all-new 108-cubic inch (1769 cc) liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin, and it’ll be powering a new fixed-fairing bagger called Challenger, “the highest-performing American V-twin ever developed,” says Indian. We’ve probably already seen the bike due to a leaker! at a dealer meeting, and our in-house eye that never sleeps, Dennis Chung (see below Indian’s press release). Matter of fact, DC already uncovered even more information, last April, about the new engine than is contained in Indian’s official release (also see below), which just flew in over the transom.

We’re looking at four valves per cylinder activated by a single overhead cam via roller rockers, using hydraulic lifters – as in, no pesky valve adjustments ever.

One-hundred and 20-plus pound-feet of torque is the minimum daily requirement in the class. H-D rates the new Road Glide’s Twin-cooled Milwaukee 8 114 at 122 lb-ft, and never brings up horsepower. In our Big Dam Shootout last year, an M8 107 made 78.1 horses at 4800 rpm, and 102 lb-ft torque at 2900 rpm (rear-tire dyno numbers).

In the same comparison, the Yamaha Eluder’s biggest-in-class 1854 cc Twin pumped out 106 lb-ft at just 2800 rpm – but only 75 horses at 4300 rpm. We dug the Eluder a lot, but we kept banging into the rev limiter. Is that all there is, my friend?

In contrast to those very nice powerplants, the new PowerPlus V-twin seems to be playing a different game: Its 128 lb-ft of torque is said to occur at 3800 rpm, and its horsepower peak – 122 claimed – is way up at 5500 rpm. Even if those peak hp and torque claims wind up being 10% higher than what our dyno will read (typically the case), we’re still looking at an Indian engine that’s shooting par in the torque department, but blows the other monster V-Twins out of the water in horsepower terms.

Furthermore, Indian says there’s another 1000 rpm available in the future, as max safe rpm is 6500. It’s about time somebody built a big V-twin that revs a little, and may even at some point give the BMW K1600B that won last year’s Big Dam Shootout a run for its money.

We’ll be able to reveal much more about all of it one week from today.

Indian Press Release!


Liquid-Cooled 108 Cubic Inch Motor delivering 122 Horsepower and 128 ft-lbs. of Torque to Power New Indian Challenger

MINNEAPOLIS (OCTOBER 22, 2019)Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, raised the bar for American motorcycles today with the announcement of its most powerful engine to date, the PowerPlus. The all-new 108 cubic inch, liquid-cooled, V-twin engine delivers a class-leading 122 horsepower and 128 ft-lbs. of torque and establishes a dramatically new standard for V-twin performance.

The PowerPlus will serve as the heart of the new Indian Challenger, an all-new, fixed-fairing bagger that utilizes Indian Motorcycle’s state-of-the-art technology to become the highest-performing American V-twin ever developed. The new engine’s name is a nod to Indian Motorcycle’s iconic history, paying homage to the Indian PowerPlus motorcycle produced from 1916 to 1924.

“We challenge our engineers with the notion that anything less than best-in-class design and performance will simply not get it done, and it’s clear with this new engine that they have delivered on that high standard,” said Steve Menneto, Indian Motorcycle President. “Countless hours were spent in design, development and testing to ensure this is the best liquid-cooled V-twin ever developed, and I could not be prouder of our team and this incredible motor.”

The PowerPlus adopts several design and performance features from the liquid-cooled 1,133 cc Indian Scout engine, including an overhead camshaft design utilizing four valves per cylinder. But comparisons end there. The PowerPlus was developed with a big-piston, big-torque mindset with an end game of maximum power delivery across the entire curve.

The all-new powertrain features a six-speed transmission with true overdrive, assist clutch to reduce clutch effort, and three ride modes that allow riders to tailor throttle mapping to their riding preferences. Advanced technology also includes hydraulic valve lash adjusters and hydraulic camshaft chain tensioners for ease of maintenance and reliability.

The PowerPlus was tested, refined and proven by one of the industry’s most rigorous development and testing programs, accumulating nearly one million miles of simulated testing, including state-of-the-art dyno testing, and more than 250,000 on-road miles.

“You simply cannot deliver the ultimate bagger without an engine that stands head and shoulders above anything else in its class, and that was the motivation behind the PowerPlus,” said John Callahan, Indian Motorcycle Vice President, Engineering. “We developed the most sophisticated V-twin powerplant in the industry, and then we spent month after month, hour upon hour, putting it through the most intense paces to ensure it could take whatever we threw at it. The end result is something truly special.”


Indian Motorcycle PowerPlus Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Displacement: 108 cubic inches (1,769 cc)
  • Power: 122 hp at 5,500 RPM
  • Torque: 128 ft-lbs at 3,800 RPM
  • Maximum Engine Speed: 6,500 RPM
  • Architecture: 60-degree V-twin, liquid-cooled powerplant
  • Crankcase: Unit design featuring a high capacity semi-dry sump oil system
  • Timing System: Overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder
  • Fuel System: Electronic fuel injection. 52mm dual bore throttle bodies
  • Compression Ratio: 11:1
  • Transmission: Six-speed with true overdrive, constant mesh
  • Clutch: Assist clutch  

The PowerPlus will be built in Osceola, Wisconsin with final motorcycle assembly taking place in Indian Motorcycle’s production facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Riders can learn more at and follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Previously on MO…

from July 29:

2020 Indian Challenger Leaked from Dealer Meeting

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from April 11:

Fixed-Fairing Indian Spotted with New Liquid-Cooled V-Twin Engine

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John Burns
John Burns

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7 of 75 comments
  • Allworld Allworld on Oct 23, 2019

    This type of competition is great for both Indian and HD, and especially for the consumer.
    It's too bad someone doesn't scoop up the V4 developed by Motus, which posted some very impressive numbers.

    • See 4 previous
    • Alaskan18724 Alaskan18724 on Oct 24, 2019

      Brought my own, probably.

  • Nick Nick on Oct 23, 2019

    Give us a stripped down version. At least something without the giant fairing.