2022 Indian Pursuit review - First Impressions after an alpine ride

Indian Pursuit 2022 review

Made in America, ridden in the Alps. We were out in Chamonix near Mont Blanc, France, to test out the new Indian Pursuit (2022) touring motorcycle.

Details
Manufacturer:
Category:
Tourers
Price:
£ 27895
Overall
Not rated

As the oldest motorcycle brand in America, Indian Motorcycle is enjoying a wave of new models under the ownership of Polaris, and the next new release to lead the way is the Indian Pursuit - and Alex was out in Chamonix, France (near Mont Blanc and the Alps) to test it out.

The new Indian Pursuit is a feet-forward two-up tourer built for long, comfortable miles in a low saddle, packed to the nines with tech & gadgetry, and powered by a beast of a liquid-cooled 60º V-Twin motor.

Indian itself has enjoyed a growing market share in the last 5 years, and significant to that is the PowerPlus V-Twin motor, which will prove to be a huge stand-out star of this tour.

But also a huge star of the tour was the route itself, which wound up being around 150 miles of endless windy Alpine roads from Chamonix to Annecy. Our route for the day is marked as the birthplace of the bike, as back in 2015 senior members of the Indian team rode these very same roads to help understand the needs and wants of European riders, helping bring both the Pursuit and Challenger to market.

So this isn’t an American tourer chucked into the EU market, it’s developed with the EU roads and requirements in mind.

Fortunately, we had a couple of Challenger models accompanying us for comparisons sake to jump on. The bagger was launched back in 2019 for 2020, and forms the foundation on which the touring-focused Pursuit sits. I ended up spending the morning on the Challenger and afternoon on the Pursuit, handy for comparisons.

This was also my first time jumping on an Indian Motorcycle - so this truly is a first impressions take - and I had a few preconceived ideas about the bike to put to task.

Indian Pursuit 2022 price in UK

With a £28,995 base price, or up to £29,095 on the Icon Limited, the Pursuit is available in ‘Black Smoke’ (as seen), ‘Silver Quartz Smoke’, and Icon Limited Alumina Jade paint netted for more bucks.

How does that price match up against the rivals? As an eternal classic rival, the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited starts at £28,095. For European challengers, the BMW K1600 Grand America (with top box) is £24,410, and the Honda Gold Wing Tour (with top box) is £32,349.

I bring up the European competition as Indian were quite direct in mentioning these models in the pre-ride presentation - a sign of their confidence in the motor.

What is the Indian Pursuit 2022?

The Pursuit is certainly a premium touring model, billed as a new entrant to the market as opposed to a specced up variant - distinctly noted as not replacing the Thunderstroke.

The full-dress Pursuit tourer adds a top-box with an integrated backrest for your riding partner, a new touring seat, heated grips & seat, adjustable vents on the lower fairings, and electronic suspension with rear preload adjustability. Plus we had Bosch 6-axis IMU with Smart Lean tech, and RoadCommand system to play about with.

Bundle in the abundance of accessories (more speakers, different screens, Climacool saddle, trim parts, etc), and you could be well over the £30k mark - which for me, for a motorcycle, is about as expensive as it gets - but you do get a top motorcycle for your cash if after a V-twin tourer. 

Indian listened to the comments from the Challenger launch to the tune of ‘if only there was storage space, if there was more touring capability built-in’. Whilst you can spec up a Challenger bagger to be a Pursuit tourer, it’ll be far more expensive. 

Engine

Now, straight into the motor. The PowerPlus unit is a 1768cc liquid-cooled 60º V-Twin. With 120 bhp at your disposal peaking at 5500 rpm and 178Nm torque at 3000 rpm, it’s a surprising unit. Certainly a low revver with buckets of torque, gutsy and packed with loads of pace.

My preconceived idea here was the bike would be sluggish, lethargic, neither happy at town speeds or on twisty roads. I was very wrong. As I mentioned this is the first Indian Motorcycle I’ve jumped on, so it was a pleasant surprise that town speeds (and even filtering) were comfortable, and opening the throttle to an open road is responsive and confidence-inducing.

You have 3 rider modes to pick from - Rain, Standard and Sport - each giving you a predictable response per level from the throttle. Naturally, ‘Sport’ is no-holds-barred access to the full capabilities of the PowerPlus V-Twin, with torque and peak power accessed so low down in the revs that it’s practically instant at the twist of the throttle. Hardly the lethargic motor I was thinking it would be.

I stayed in the more tour-friendly ‘standard’ mode. Every vista was a postcard, and whilst the bike was certainly happy to be pushed on and into corners, handling sweeping bends and sharp switchbacks with the same amount of ease and character, I was far more interested in soaking up the views atop a supremely comfortable tourer with music blaring - after all, that’s what these are all about, right?

I didn’t spend much time in Rain mode, but it was noticeably relaxed with a bit less ‘bite’ for lack of a better word. Riding around in towns and built-up areas is perfectly fine in Standard mode, but for tight city spaces two-up in the wet (a far cry from my then-current surroundings) I can see the appeal of a Rain mode.

Riding the Alps

As mentioned, these roads were superb - and there were plenty of other motorcycles on the roads enjoying the perfect weather and sublime alpine roads. You’d never have thought such a large machine could be perfectly happy in the Alps, a far cry from the ‘Route 66’ straight-line riding I wrongly assumed this bike would be all about.

Though it shouldn’t have been a surprise, both the Challenger and Pursuit were in part conceived on these very roads. The PowerPlus motor was perfectly happy being pushed to conquer the switchbacks en route with nimble responsiveness thanks to the balance of the thing, with the occasional scraping of pegs reminding you of the limits.

Particularly apparent at lower revs, the clutch is light and the 6-speed box is easy to click through. Throttle play can mean a bit of over-revving once you get up-to-speed, but again that may be down to me being on a big beast like this for practically the first time. Riding in 6th gear at 70 mph is done at a low, smooth 3000 rpm - with cruise control to simply flick on and sink miles (though it’s not the radar assisted cruise control that we’ve seen Indian patent for their bigger models back in mid-2021).

It was a seriously sunny & hot day out, and riding in town at low speed got the motor noticeably hot. There is a switchable rear-cylinder deactivation setting which can help keep the heat down, with the suspected uneven knocking sound produced as only one cylinder works to keep tick over - both cylinders will roar into action instantly as you twist the throttle.

The Bosch 6-axis IMU is superb, and the Smart Lean riding assist is really useful if you get caught out being a bit too ambitious. On the note of being over-ambitious, I found shifting down through the box at speed can have a tendency to lock up the rear if you’re not smooth enough on the clutch, though clutchless shifting if possible basically all the way up the box if you fancy.

As a quick comparison with the Challenger, you certainly notice the additional weight, and where the bagger feels a tad sportier and nimble, the Pursuit will be a much better option for two-up tours.

Touring

Next up, is the abundance of touring features on the Pursuit. It’s a seriously specced up touring machine, so let’s dive into it.

First, is the 7” RoadCommand centre touchscreen.

With a fully customisable, connectable, and clear interface, it was an impressive system. Easy to understand and really quite very good at showing you the details you need - with a clever widget-styled home screen that allows you to pick 3 boxes of information to display what you want (range, weather temperature, engine info etc).

You also navigate the system to adjust preload adjust and riding modes, plus heated (or cooling) seat options. A gripe is that whilst the touchscreen is great, navigating a touchscreen a little left/right/push selector on the hand controls, but for a display that isn’t laid out in left/right/push format, it’s a right chore if you can’t press what you want. Also a minor grumble, the indicator switch is the same, and the ‘push’ click is a bit vague - small problem though. There are dedicated buttons for the various functions, too (map, music, phone, settings).

Turn-by-turn maps is native to the RideCommand, as is Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth integration with USB and adapter charging point, radio, and built-in speakers. A deep compartment for your bits and pieces (like a phone) though it isn’t locking so don’t keep stuff in there and walk away.

The fuel tank is a specific 22.7 litres, and is in theory good for about 250-300 miles. Since we rode about 150 miles and the tank was just under half-empty, that range figure does seem to work out. So flick on the heated grips & seat (or cooling option) and ride away, cowboy.

Seat height is a low 672 mm, with a noticeably comfier seat on the Pursuit. Well-suited for all-day rides. The rear seat is akin to a throne and is simply superb. I sat in it whilst waiting for the others to do their photo bits, and if I was riding two-up on the launch I’d be a bit jealous of my companion in the gunner seat gawping at the scenery, to be honest. 

Loads of storage, too, with over 130 Litres to be packed up - about as much as you can get on two wheels. The top box easily fits a rucksack in the top, pannier boxes are top loaded and fit loads in too - with optional accessory luggage to fit in. My size L Shoei NXR2 lid fit in the top (with a Cardo Packtalk Edge on, too) even if the top box was a bit of a faff to slick closed. Though it’s a smart pannier system with remote locking, which is handy.

We were blessed with the weather, but weather protection was good. Adjustable powered screen  (comes in all different shapes and sizes as accessory options) placed inside the front-fairing which itself is mounted to the chassis, operated with a dedicated switch on the right bar to move up/down, plus openable vents to direct some wind into your legs. If it were to rain, I’m not sure I would have gotten very wet.

Ride feel - suspension, brakes

Impressive suspension for a tank of a bike, weighing in at 400kg dry and about 628kg wet (though this is GVWR, so with a rider). You do feel the weight at low speeds, and with no reverse gear, a car park or incline turn you’ll have to be very careful.

But, when you’re rolling, the suspension is top. 43mm front fork with 130mm travel, and single shock Fox rear with 114mm travel. Great feel in corners, turn-in is sharp, and it holds a line well. You have to be in command of the bike to get the right lean angle and counter-steer through sharpening bends, but I’d hazard a guess that experienced riders of tourers like this will jump on and be very impressed.

In terms of wheelbase, it’s a long 1668mm, with 19” front and 16” rear Metzeler Cruistec rubber. Grippy.

Particularly impressive was the preload adjustability, you can be specific enough to enter the weight of rider, pillion, luggage, and it’ll do it for you (there is also a simple mode for quick adjustments) - so after a lunch stop you can add in your estimated addition weight!

Brakes are twin 320mm floating discs with Brembo calipers up front, and really really good. Foot positioning for the rear 298mm single rear disc brake is classic foot-forward cruiser - which to me means a pain in the arse. The initial bike provides a good, progressive feel, but if you want to hammer on the brakes hard it feels a tad lacking in my view, unless you really really give the span adjustable lever a full squeeze - but the fact it’s over half a tonne rolling might have a lot to do with that.

Conclusions

We spent practically all day swinging around the mountains - and if you’re after a route, this has just entered the #1 spot for the best roads I have ever ridden. 

Above is a photo of the exact route we took from Chamonix to Annecy. Follow it and enjoy. Stop at the cafes on the way, make a day of it, and have great fun. 

A big American-styled tourer would perhaps not be my first choice of bike to explore the Alps, but I came away distinctly impressed. The PowerPlus unit is impressive and responsive, the RideCommand system is a great feature, and the comfort is difficult to surpass - especially if after a two-up mile crunching tourer. Straight roads will be no problem, carving up canyons and back-roads will be a delight.

Though the low-speed stuff can be a bit of a fuss, the throttle at very low speeds a tad snatchy, and the weight & size a bit of a burden (particularly for shorter riders) - the overall package is seriously impressive. The bike itself is a looker, and you do feel a tad cool riding through the streets. Plus the sound system is top and it is spot on if you’re after a speaker system for both ride outs and overnight campouts. Though, steady on, as that’s a battery muncher. 

Would I go for the Challenger or Pursuit, you ask? Depends on the riding I’d plan on doing. The Pursuit is certainly more of a two-up machine, and the preload electronic suspension can be added to the Challenger if you want that. In fact, the Challenger can be specced up with the Pursuit bits - but it’s friendlier on the wallet to go Pursuit in that case. They ride the same, and I prefer the bagger look… Personally, I’d go for the Challenger.

I will say, you ultimately come away from the Indian Pursuit with the feeling that every aspect of the design and assembly has been thought about in advance to a high standard.

Indian motorcycle should be seriously impressed with their tourer offering in the 2022 Pursuit, and if you’re after a big tourer this is well worth a look. Whilst heavy on the wallet and on the foot (as are all in the class, to be fair), it’s a tech paradise, easy to jump on for long miles, and the V-Twin is a joy to use, particularly in sports mode - yet easy enough to jump on and get on with, and as mentioned this was my first taste of 'America's oldest motorcycle brand'.

Cheers to Indian for having us, more spec and info on their site

First impressions of the Indian Pursuit (2022) post ride: