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Indian Motorcycles gears up for 2014 UK relaunch at Motorcycle Live

Indian says that cruisers have come a long way in the past 15 years
Indian says that cruisers have come a long way in the past 15 years
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Tuesday, 03, Dec 2013 03:24

by Chris Jefferies

When Indian Motorcycles relaunched in the USA back in August, you got the feeling that this was a true giant of the motorbike world awakening.

So it was with great delight that we prowled the Indian stand at Motorcycle Live 2013, looking for evidence that this iconic name would be returning to the UK's forecourts.

Lee Frankish, Sales & Marketing Manager for Indian and Victory, was only too happy to confirm our hopes, with nine Indian dealers already on-board for a spring 2014 relaunch.

But could these behemoths of the two-wheeled world truly feel at home in the land of narrow cobbled streets and endless roundabouts?

"Our cruisers have come a long way in the last few years, and so has the underpinning technology," Lee tells us.

" Victory set the performance cruiser benchmark 15 years ago with the V92c and have developed their bikes extensively ever since; and now that Indian is under the control of the same parent company, US multi-billion dollar powersports giant Polaris, the future is bright for a new generation of cruiser owners."

"Whenever people have reservations I say: 'just ride one'. Our modern performance cruisers are easier to ride, have more power, more built-in rider aid technology and better handling characteristics than our competitors."

Icons and imitators

It's inevitable to make a comparison with Harley-Davidson, but as Lee quite rightly points out, Indian came first, as their est. 1901 trumps Harley's est. 1903.

"We are to the motorcycling world what Coca-Cola is to soft drinks," Lee boldly claims, before refusing to be drawn on whether or not that makes Harley the Pepsi of bikes.

Taking a look at the three new models on display the overwhelming sense of Americana is inescapable, from the Native American Indian on the front wheel arch to the Daisy Duke-style model straddling the Chieftain.

Despite this, or maybe perhaps because of this, there is a steady stream of British punters looking to take their turn aboard the great big hog.

Indeed, just getting a clear shot at the Chief Classic was a real challenge for our photographer.

But it isn't just the UK market that is being swept up by the excitement created by the return of Indian, and owner Polaris also has major designs on the flourishing South African market.

Talking torque

British cruiser fans will have high hopes for the arrival of the all-new Chief Classic, Chief Vintage and Chieftain and the spec sheet doesn't disappoint.

The four-part aluminium (or should that be aluminum?) chassis contains a titanic Thunder Stoke 1,811cc V-twin engine that revs to 5,400rpm.

A six-speed constant-mesh gearbox controls all that power, while 46mm telescopic fork suspension makes for a suitably smooth ride.

The main difference between the three models comes in the styling and equipment, with the Chief Classic keeping things simple with pure cruiser styling and valanced fenders.

Meanwhile, the Chief Vintage is a classic soft bagger with leather fringes and chrome fender tips adding to the timeless look.

At the top of the range, the Chieftain is the top choice for long-range touring, pairing a power windshield with fork-mounted fairings - an industry first.

Indian has gone all-out on the tech for this flagship model, which boasts Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and a tyre pressure monitoring system.

All three models are available in a choice of three paint schemes: Thunder Black, Springfield Blue and the classic Indian Red.

Prices start at just under £18,500, rising to more than £20,000 for the Chieftain, but you certainly get a lot of bike for your money, in every sense of the word.

What's more, the new Indians benefit from the same five-year warranty package that Polaris recently rolled out on the 2014 Victory range.

We'd say keep an eye out for the new Indian range, but if one of these crosses your path, you'll know about it right away.

To see a selection of our Indian pics from Motorcycle Live click on the slideshow below:

Find more photos like this on MotorbikeTimes

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