Someone’s finally gonna cross Harley-Davidson’s path in India. And it is none other than the “Chief”!
A quick background check, now. Indian Motorcycle is a brand of the United States which has a rich legacy dating back to the pre-World War era. In its heydays, Indian Motorcycle easily outnumbered any other bikemaker in terms of roll-outs from the assembly line. But it went into a tizzy after the Second World War. Quality took a dip, and it finally nosedived in 1953, landing with a thud “in the red”.
Owing to its brand connect, it has been kept tossing and turning in its tomb by various entities trying unsuccessfully for a resurrection. In the past decade, it has changed hands thrice, before it ended up under Polaris’ wings in 2011. Polaris is vying hard to bring back the old glory of Indian, and the “Chief” (motorcycle) is their spearhead. A teaser on their official website is creating all the buzz.
Apart from a ‘Coming Soon‘ teaser against India, Indian Motorcycles is also going to launch it in China, New Zealand, Brazil and a few other countries.
NEW “CHIEF” STYLING
It doesn’t exactly mark a departure from the good old days. The trademark head fender light is still there, and the nostalgic deep red livery is expected to be spray painted too.The headlamps are accompanied by smaller driving lamps, and the chrome handlebar makes a statement. There’s a sleek exhaust pipe on the right side in the image, and the video reveals it has a companion on the right side as well.
Despite the old-school sportster styling, it boasts of a tank-mounted LCD panel accompanying the analog speedo and fuel gauze.
NEW “CHIEF” ENGINE
The “Thunder Stroke 111” is claimed to be an all-new engine, but it exactly isn’t so. It broke cover earlier this year. The V-Twin will churn out an awesome 155 Nm of torque.
Oh yeah, we forgot to mention that the mill is a massive 1819 cc powerhouse!
NEW “CHIEF” PRICING
Now this is where the boffins at Harley start getting twitchy palms! Back in the 1920’s and 30’s, Indian was the bete-noiré of Harley. But the magic shrank, and Harley-Davidson strode past Indian with better quality at lower prices.
The 2014 Chief’s price-tag speaks of $18,999 (~ INR 10.5 Lakh) in America. Though still a tad higher than Harley, it is substantially lower than the earlier Chief’s $26,499 price (~INR 14.5 Lakh). Does Harley have a competitor on the horizon, again?
THE “INDIA”-N ANGLE
Though it doesn’t work as simply as that but after a direct conversion (at current exchange rates), the Chief’s price comes out to be 10.5 lakhs INR. Add to that the CKD or CBU taxes. We will come to know more about this later but it does provide another option for desi-riders in place of the Harley-Davidson.
The Chief is set to be displayed publicly at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August this year. Polaris has been spreading its wings in India, trying to build a good ATV segment. A couple of Off-roading circuits have come up in Bengaluru, and many more are in the pipeline (More Details). There might not be any difficulty for Polaris in bringing over the new 2014 Chief, but will it present a threat to Harley-Davidson in India and more importantly, will you buy it over the Big BAD American low sluggers?