Wow, the Indian biking market is really heating up. Especially the cruiser mile muncher section. Harley-Davidson is expanding like rabbits, Triumph just launched their first showroom days ago, Royal Enfield is churning out new bikes like never before, and even Bajaj is set to announce a brand new cruiser in Feb 2014. And now we have ‘Indian Motorcycles’ putting their foot down in where else but India.
A quick history lesson ‘Indian Motorcycles’ is a US brand and was established way back in 1901. The company has been a pioneer in the biking industry, and their bike ‘The Big Chief’ is the prototype to every single cruiser there is in the world. Technologies like electric lighting and fuel injection, were first introduced in ‘The Big Chief’ which happens to be their front line model.
In spite of its innovation, Indian Motorcycles have had a tumultuous history. The company has multiple run-ins with financial troubles, and have changed owners more frequently than other brands, trapping it in a cycle of new beginnings and failures. Its most prolific run ended in 1953, when the ownership was handed over to Brockhouse Engineering. Since then Indian Motorcycles under various owners have tried to revive its name, but none have survived long enough. Now Polaris Industries, which took over the reigns in 2011, hope to bring back the glory days.
Polaris plans to launch 3 variants of the its ‘Chief’ bike in India, and they plan to do it as early as January. Polaris is in talks with various dealers across the country, and they plan to have showrooms in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore by mid-Jan next year. No concrete details are out yet about the exact location of the dealers, but we do know something about the bikes that they plan to introduce.
1. Chief Classic
This is the entry point vehicle for Indian Motorcyles. Priced at a humble 18,999$, a direct translation puts its at around Rs.11.4 Lakhs. Don’t worry we do expect the prices to go down. Worry because we dont expect it to go down too much. The American model weighs in at 354Kg and boasts of a Thunder Stroke 111 engine delivering incredible 138.9 Nm (102.4 ft-lbs) of torque. The bike has a bit of old-schooled look about it, but every inch of its hardware is modern. Looks wise it is more of a cool looking ‘Bullet’ and in the words of the company ‘Every part that can be chromed has been chromed’. The Classic will be available in 3 colours: Black, Red and Blue.
2. Chief Vintage
For an additional 3000$, you can get the Chief Vintage. This is soft-Bagger as the company calls it, and has the same engine as that of the Classic, but weighs a little heavier at 364Kg. The differences are in the visuals (Obviously). The Vintage has more focus on the soft-leather finish, with genuine leather bags which feature quick release mountings. The Vintage also adds a leather fringe, chrome fender tips and a quick-release wind screen. This would probably make for the most desirable bike among the 3 for Indian riders with its multipurpose ‘take me to the road’ design.
3. Chief Chieftain
One look at it and the first thing that comes to mind is US Police Bikes. Well the visual design is similar and it saves you the custom paint-job, because the company provide you with that ‘Big-Ass Wind Shield Fender’ right out of the box. It’s the heaviest out of the 3 at 370 kg, and employs the same engine. This is the closest you can get(currently) to the original Big Chief that is remembered as an icon across the World, and it can be yours for the sum of 22,999$.
You can check out the Indian Motorcycles Home Page to devour even more info about the 3 monsters above. Just don’t be startled by the prices mentioned there, because the company still doesn’t have a dedicated Indian domain, so the prices are still quoted for the US.
What do you think of Indian Motorcycles joining the fray. Will they be pulverized by Harley, should Triumph be threatened, should Bajaj be worried with all these foreign big-wigs, or can Royal Enfield sit on his throne and watch them fight over what’s left. We want to know, scout’s honor, we do.