New Bikes

Indian reveals Chieftain Dark Horse

How much more black could this be? The answer is none. None more black.

BAGGERS are undoubtedly better suited to Route 66 than the A606 but they represent a growing scene and Indian’s latest take on the idea seems a good stab at the genre.

The Chieftain Dark Horse is, unsurprisingly, a cross-breed between the Chieftain bagger and the stripped-back Chief Dark Horse custom. As such it’s got fewer frills than the chrome-bejewelled Chieftain, and the result benefits from being taken down a notch in the look-at-me stakes.

The underpinnings are familiar air-cooled Indian fare. There’s the macho-titled Thunder Stroke 111 V-twin, cranking out 102.4lbft of torque at a thudding 2,600rpm. Power isn’t officially quoted, but if you were to put it in the region of 95hp you’d be close. It’s fitted in the usual Indian cast aluminium frame, and most of the bits that are usually polished, buffed or chromed have been given a workmanlike coat of satin black paint.

The single seat means you’ll be doing your touring solo, so there should be plenty of space in those panniers for spare leather vests and tasselled chaps. Or, more realistically, a laptop and a copy of last month’s accounts.

The styling might be stripped back, but the equipment certainly isn’t. The Dark Horse offers everything from a stereo (with Bluetooth) to an on-board computer that will tell you everything from the remaining engine oil life to the overall hours that the motor has run, not to mention voltages, average speed and fuel consumption, air temperature, gear position and a record of when you last changed your underwear. Well maybe not the last one, but it’s comprehensive.

Then there’s the cruise control, ABS, tyre pressure monitoring system, keyless ignition… even the tiny remnant of a windscreen, despite looking like it’s evolving away like a vestigial limb, is electrically adjustable.

Unsurprisingly, all this doesn’t add up to a flyweight. Dry, the Chieftain Dark Horse is already straining its belt buckle at 364kg.

Buy one and you’ll be lighter, though. To the tune of £19,599. That’s grand less than a non-Dark-Horse version of the Chieftain, leaving you a bit left over to splash out on extras like the optional ape-hangers, or the performance cams and ‘six-shooter’ exhaust tips. Or maybe you’d prefer to make up for the relatively subtle paintwork by blasting the surroundings with extra speakers in the ‘Thunder Black Concert Audio Lids’ and ‘Concert Saddlebag Audio Kit.’

You can even pay extra to replace the few remaining chrome bits on the grips, floorboards, fenders and panniers with black versions. So actually we were wrong, it could be some more black after all.

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