Indian Chieftain Dark Horse Review
Indian Chieftain Dark Horse – Click above for high resolution image gallery

Indian Chieftain Dark Horse Review

Bike Tested: Indian Chieftain Dark Horse; Road Test No. 918

Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 39.88 lakhs

The Indian Chieftain Dark Horse is a bagger with plenty of creature comforts

Adrenaline rush. This phenomenon has come to be synonymous with every other two-wheeled vehicle that wades past the half-a-million mark when it comes to price. However, akin to two sides of a coin, there exists an audience in motorcycling fraternity as well that doesn’t give two hoots about blistering performance but rather prefers to soak in the experience. This time around, we are tearing the roads of Mumbai astride a cruiser that’s tailored to meet the expectations of such elite customers. It’s called the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse and it costs a staggering Rs. 40 lakhs! We test it to the core through traffic, sweepers and straights to frame a verdict. To find out whether or not it makes sense at this price, read on!

Motor Quest: Coming into existence in 1901, Indian Motorcycle is among the oldest motorcycle brands with a great deal of heritage associated with it. The American brand was revived by Polaris in 2013 and flaunts a number of cruisers, baggers and tourers in its stable as of now. Draped in Thunder Black Smoke colour, Indian Chieftain Dark Horse is the range-topping bagger model from the manufacturer.

Indian Chieftain Dark Horse combines traditional styling with present-day features

The Chieftain will leave you astonished with its phenomenal level of attention

Styling –- To start with, the Chieftain is a behemoth in the world of motorcycles with dimensions of 2506 x 1000 x 1388 (length x width x height, in mm). While the bagger features modern mechanicals and a ton of electronics, it stays true to the iconic motorcycles of the 1950s as far as design is concerned. The signature War Bonnet, vintage badging and valenced fenders covering the brake calipers make it resemble the original Chief remarkably well while the Quick Release backrest, powered windscreen, LED lighting, 100-watt bluetooth-enabled audio system and other contemporary elements manifest modernity. The Dark Horse theme plays its part in providing a strong character as there’s minimal use of chrome. To top it off, a number of parts are cleverly designed to demonstrate complete symmetry, right from a fake pass light switch to a dummy fuel tank lid!

Part quality and fit & finish levels are a class apart

Instrument Cluster and Switchgear – Being an older version, the Chieftain at our disposal came equipped with a semi-digital instrument cluster with two analogue pods on either side and a medium-sized MID in between. The newer versions come with a Ride Command system that consists of a 7-inch colour touchscreen with support for two-finger touch and pinch-to-zoom. Along with 15 telltale indicators, this system can be customised to showcase vehicle info, ride data, navigation and audio information display. Meanwhile, the speedometer and odometer pods get their separate monotone displays to display gear position, real-time fuel efficiency and even engine oil life percentage! In the latest iteration, the analog gauges get a black background while the power button (yup, keyless ignition!) has been moved near the instrument cluster.

Even at its highest setting, the powered windscreen lets in some windblast at speeds over 100 km/hr

Ergonomics -– With a seat height of 660 mm and a fairly spacious seat, the Chieftain Dark Horse is well-suited to riders of all sizes. As is typical with cruisers, this one offers a relaxed laid-back seating position that replicates the feel of sitting on a sofa! The handlebar is sufficiently wide and is set at a perfect height such that it falls into place naturally. What this translates into is a fatigue-free ride experience even after hours of non-stop riding. The seat cushioning and contours are spot-on for the rider as well as pillion. The Chieftain comes with footboards for the rider that are placed far ahead than the usual position which takes some time to get used to. While the pillion gets relatively utilitarian footpegs, the supremely comfortable backrest exclusive to the rear seat makes up for it.