One hundred years ago, in 1921, Indian Motorcycle launched the Indian Chief. At the time, nobody could have imagined what a cultural – and motoring – icon that bike would turn out to be. A century on and a lot has changed since then, including the rise and fall and rise again of the Indian Motorcycle company. But today marks an important day, as Indian celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Chief with a complete revamp and three new models: the Chief, Chief Bobber, and the Super Chief.
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.
A strange thing happened at Sturgis last summer. The Sturgis Rally and Races has pretty much been a Harley-Davidson festival since the 1970s, even more so than Daytona’s Bike Week. Sure, you’ll see some metric cruisers, a smattering of Victorys, a trickle of Gold Wings and a handful of sportbikes, but there’s no denying the overwhelming dominance of The Motor Company at the South Dakota rally. Look at the image above of Sturgis’ Main Street for visual evidence of the Harley lovefest.
It’s no secret; like clothes, the majority of motorcycles are designed and built for people of average height. Also like clothes, it’s not uncommon for someone to buy something that just doesn’t fit. More often than not, said garment or motorcycle ends up collecting dust rather than getting use, and that’s a shame.