The most anticipated bike launch of the year is only six days away.
Yes, Indian is back, this time with the heavy financial backing of Polaris, the world’s biggest-selling all-terrain-vehicle manufacturer.
Under Polaris stewardship, the venerable brand will be revived with a new engine and a new model.
It could have been called the Scout, but they have gone with the iconic Chief model name.
The new Indian Chief will be unveiled at the Sturgis Rally in the US and simultaneously in Sydney next Sunday. Motorbikewriter will be there for the unveiling, so stay tuned for the images and words.
Here’s what we know so far about the 2014 Indian Chief:
It will cost $28,995 ride-away in Australia;
The bike will be powered by a 111 cubic-inch V-twin “Thunderstroke” engine;
Before it has even been unveiled, Indian Motorcycles Australia has deposits on 111 bikes;
The Chief will have a long and low silhouette;
The traditional Indian head will grace the front fender; and
It will have mini pullback bars, dual exhausts, lots of chrome even on the switchblock, cruise control, ABS, dual front brake discs, a black frame, antique “grandfather clock” style instruments on the tank, engine bars and big floorboards.
Polaris is pinning its hopes on this model after the lukewarm response to its Victory motorcycles.
While they are handsome bikes with top-quality fit and finish, they have failed to ignite public passion.
Meanwhile, Harley is forging ahead out of the GFC doldrums.
The Indian Chief is competitively priced against Harley’s Heritage Softail even though Polaris is claiming it will have equipment and performance equivalent to the much more expensive Harley CVO range.
What Victory lacked was the tradition that Harley oozes in its 110th year.
The Indian monicker has been around for 111 years and has a massive awareness boost thanks to the the popular Anthony Hopkins movie, “The World’s Fastest Indian” about the life of Kiwi Burt Munro who broke the under-1000cc land-speed record in 1967 at Bonneville on his 1920 Indian.
Only six days to go and we will know if the Chief is up to the task.