Indian Motorcycle now completes its range of tourers with the Springfield convertible hard bagger.
It’s a stylish blend of a comfortable and competent tourer with a powerful and potent cruiser thanks to its quick-release windscreen and panniers.
The Springfield arrives at $33,995 which is $1500 more than its direct competitor, the Harley-Davidson Road King. Read our two-way comparo.
However, Indian has thrown a few extras at the Springfield to appeal to the top-end customers it hopes to attract, such as tyre pressure monitors, internal handlebar wiring, remote lockable luggage and heaps of chrome.
Indian Motorcycle Australia and New Zealand marketing manager Adrian Givoye says the Springfield is aimed at males 45-60 earning more than $100,000 a year and with 10 years’ riding experience.
Adrian says these riders are seeking comfort, style, handling and performance.
So the motoring media set out from the Sydney dealership on the Springfield launch last week, through the city traffic, to the curly delights of the Putty Road and the opulence of the Crowne Plaza in the Hunter Valley – probably a typical ride for their targeted Springfield customer.
The Springfield feels very much like the Chief Vintage and the Chieftain, which is understandable as it has the same drivetrain.
It sprints quickly from the lights and the Thunder Stroke 111 has a linear power delivery with a rumble and roar right through the rev range.
You slip quickly through the gears and always seem to have plenty of roll-on response when needed.
However, at the top end, it feels like it needs an extra gear to make the highway roll by a little easier.
While it features the same drivetrain, there are subtle differences in the suspension and frame.
The Chieftain and Springfield have the same 25-degree rake on the forks, which is tighter than the Vintage at 29 degrees.
But the trail is 132mm compared with the Chieftain at 150 and the Vintage at 155 for a wheelbase of 1702mm that sits between the Chieftain (1669) and Vintage (1729).
Consequently steering is a little sharper than the Vintage and highway stability better than the Chieftain with its heavy fork-mounted fairing.
The frame is also modified to take the weight of a pillion and an optional 64-litre top box on the back, one of more than 180 accessories offered, including saddlebag audio.
Adrian says he suspects a lot of buyers will opt for the top box for extra touring capacity.
Other accessories include a tall and low windshield, heated driver and passenger seats, sissy bar, soft lowers and heated grips for ultimate two-up touring comfort.
Or if you want to just go solo cruising, you can strip off the bags and screen, and even remove the pillion seat.
Once out of the Sydney traffic melee and on to the famed Putty Road, we put our heads down and pushed the bikes a little harder.
Through the smooth and tight bends, very few of us scraped the floorboards and we felt the bike turned tightly and efficiently.
However, on the rougher road sections, the plush ride resulted in some wallowing in the corners with the front and rear suspensions doing different things.
The front felt a little light, vague and flighty over imperfections while the rear wanted to unload and pogo after bumps.
The Springfield has cast wheels, so it gets the touring Dunlop Elite 3 tubeless tyres which are probably a harder compound than the Vintage Dunlop American tyres.
While lateral grip is similar, the straight-line grip isn’t as good and on hard braking before a corner, it felt vague and slightly squirmy with the ABS kicking in.
Comfort is king on the Springfield with an easy reach to the buckhorn bars and a natural bend for the wrists, while the two-piece leather seat now features a softer vinyl centre insert.
The floorboards are large so you can move your feet around and the rear floorboards can be adjusted in three different positions to suit your pillion’s leg length.
On the second day of the launch, we headed back along the freeway and I mostly sat on the cruise control which is effective and quick to respond, but should be on the left handlebar like on the Touring Harleys, rather than the right.
The moustache-shaped front highway bars also came in handy for resting a leg or two on the freeway.
After a mixed session of spirited canyon riding and highway cruising, the bike yielded 6.5L/100km in economy, according to the onboard computer, which is good for a decent 320km in range from the 20.8-litre tank.
Indian Motorcycle country manager Peter Harvey says the Springfield is both a “pure touring bike and a sleek urban cruiser”. I can’t disagree.
ABS; Cast AluminIum Frame with Integrated Air-Box; Cruise Control; Highway Bar; Indian Script Tank Badge; Keyless Start; Quick-Release Windshield; Quick-Release Hard Saddlebags, Tyre Pressure Monitoring
Gauges: Tank Mounted Electronic Speedometer with Odometer; Dual Tripmeters; Digital Tachometer; Ambient Air Temperature; Fuel Range; Average Fuel Economy; Battery Voltage; Gear Position Display; Real-Time Clock; Vehicle Trouble Code Read-Out; Heated Grip Level (If Heated Grips Installed); Low Engine Oil Pressure; 9 LED Telltale Indicators: Cruise Control Enabled, Cruise Control Set, Neutral, High Beam, Turn Signal, ABS, Check Engine, and MPH or Km/H Unit Designation; Tank Mounted Electronic Fuel Gauge with Low Fuel LED Indicator