Style and Power: the Indian Chief and Chief Vintage
There are motorcycle brands that exist out there that are completely recognizable. There’s no hesitation when it comes to acknowledging them as what they are.
These brands usually have a unique style, build, and feel that distinguishes them from all of their competitors.And while the innovation involved in motorcycles is constantly reinventing itself, it’s difficult to continue to evolve as a brand, all while staying uniquely your own. But one brand that does that in strides and with ease? Indian Motorcycles.
Stop right there and capture that image you have in your head, at just the mere mention of this brand. That’s their strength-the ability to be completely familiar to everyone with just a simple flick of style and flare. You might be picturing your current beloved Indian bike, or a favorite that you’ve seen before and marveled over, but all of them are purely "Indian." Indian Motorcycle history has proved that their style is almost impossible to successfully mimic and just their look suggests adventurous riding.
Indian Motorcycles actually emerged in as early as 1897, but they went by Hendee Manufacturing Company, which you can probably conclude was started by George M. Hendee. A popular bike hendee created was proclaimed the title of ‘Indian’, and with that, history began. Their Indian motorcycle won the companies first endurance race in 1902, and that would be one of many. After years of innovation and achievements, in 2011, Indian was bought by Polaris Industries and have since continued to supply us with bikes that have us dreaming of long roads and sunny days.
While Indian offers a variety of styles-all with the traditional Indian flair-there are two particular bikes that are powerhouse bikes for the brand. The Indian Chief and Indian Chief Vintage are two bikes that embody everything you’d expect from the beloved Indian family. And despite some similarities in function and style, there are differences that each person can appreciate.
This 2018 Indian Chief motorcycle is an absolute beauty. It’s all about slick, curved lines and compared to some of Indian’s other bike options, this one’s a bit more on the simplistic side. This is a big bike, that’s proven as fact with its 777-pound weight, so this mountain of power is the perfect throne for a confident and seasoned rider. But despite its large size, this thing rides like a champ and handles the bumps and curves of the road with surprising ease. This Chief bike is all about performance, all without jeopardizing the look and the feel. It’s got 5.5 gallons worth of fuel storage, so it’s ready to go on some long road adventures.
This bike is from the cruiser line so it’s perfect for exactly that, cruising. Its liquid-cooled 111ci engine and 6-speed transmission promise a speedy ride. If you’re a lover of some accent chrome finish, you’ll really appreciate the look of this one. It’s decked with ABS brakes, like all the bikes in the cruiser line, but there are no traditional Indian motorcycle saddlebags on this one. Like we said, it’s the height of simplicity with some excellent design choices. It rides like a dream, it looks like a dream, so what more could you ask for?
The 2018 Indian Chief Vintage
If you want a bike that’s really meant for the roads, this is the one. This bike doesn’t just look great, it rides great. But we can’t say we’re surprised, as Indian has always proven to gift us with some of the best bikes. This bike is in the ‘bagger’ line, and, if there’s one key giveaway that a bike is from the Indian family, it’s the vintage-looking leather saddlebags that adorn it. These bags are the perfect size and space to fit all your additional road needs.
The Chief Vintage has the traditional Indian Motorcycle look, so if you’ve always been in love with the style, take a seat on this baby, because you’ll fall head-over-heels for it. It also has a quick-release windshield, which means you can completely change the look and feel with relative ease, and you can make it ready for the highway or cruising.
It sports some traditional, whitewall tires and spoked wheels, and that helps to add to a very classic visual. Its 119 ft-lbs of torque and 6-speed manual transmission makes it a beast of a ride that’s ready for adventure. This is a bike that promises to turn heads because of its unique look, so if you’re ready for some heavy staring (or drooling) claim this bike as your own!
When it comes to Indian bikes and the craft that they put into these beauties, you really can’t go wrong with either option. They have strengths and weaknesses in different areas, so it all depends on what kind of adventures you’re looking to partake If you want a bike that’s made for a long tour the roads, where you can change the look up a bit, the vintage is likely the perfect one for you. If the thought of that classic Indian look makes your heart beat a little faster, it’s easy to say the vintage is a home run.
If you want clean lines, speed, and a little more simplicity in your bike option, take the Indian Chief for a spin. While it may be a bit more ‘understated’ compared to some other Indian rides, ‘understated’ is not the word you’d use when you compare it to other brands. We’d be lying if we didn’t acknowledge that this bike will get just as many looks as the vintage, but for different reasons. This is an ideal cruiser pick to ride around towns and explore, all while feeling like royalty of the road.
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