2017 Indian Springfield Review

Indian loses the fairing and gains some classic style

Indian Springfield
Indian Springfield in Indian RedIndian Motorcycles

It’s mid-June and I’m riding around my hometown in Southern California. It’s sunny, birds chirping, palm trees—you get it. The sun was directly above me, catching the chrome dash and shining right in my eyes. As I’m being blinded I remember thinking “Alright, I found one. I finally found one thing to complain about on this bike.” The 2017 Indian Springfield is the peppy, quick-responding chassis and engine combo that we’ve been telling you about for years now, but with a lighter front end and a fresh, unfaired look.

Indian's Chieftain was the second bagger I ever had the chance to throw a leg over once I came onto staff here at Cruiser, and I was instantly impressed by how well it carried its weight and how easily it dropped into the turns. Years later, now I have had the chance to ride just about everything you can strap a set of hard bags to and Indian's touring platform is still among the best bikes I get to ride. Taking a strong engine with a steep rake, proper weight distribution, and a stable chassis, then stripping it down for more of a classic style makes the Springfield a necessary addition to an already bulletproof lineup.

Indian Springfield
Gas tank and shiny chrome dash on the Indian SpringfieldMorgan Gales

Walking up to the Springfield, it’s timeless. Black paint shining in the sun and chrome that looks like you could skip a rock off it. The low, wide bars are somewhere perfectly between Long Beach lowrider style and the ‘50s cruisers that inspired it. The whole stance of the bike is low and sweeping, quick looking but still holding the rider in a very standard seating position. The heavy chrome nacelle helps split the wind and round out the weight of the front end so it doesn’t look vacant or too light compared to the rest of the bike. It’s remarkable how much removing the fairing can do for the look of the bike; all of a sudden the polarizing rounded fairing is gone and every Joe Schmo who loves Harley and thought the Indian “looked funny,” is now running up to tell me how much they love this one.

indian springfield
2017 Indian Springfield in Thunder BlackMorgan Gales

I’ll admit, there’s a good amount of a specs section that I tend to look over. Yeah, I don’t really care what your gear ratios are until I get onto the bike and feel them pull. Seeing that the Springfield has a 25-degree neck probably means about as much to most of you as it used to mean to me—bupkis. Rake is the angle at which the forks come off of the frame and very generally speaking, longer is more stable at high speeds and steeper has more responsive handling. Fortunately, with modern tech and some high quality suspension, we can have the best of both worlds—a bike that’s responsive and quick handling, but will also hold steady in a turn when you hit an unexpected bump at 110 mph (not that I know from experience or anything). In the back, a single Fox shock with air adjust goes a long way for smoothing things out, while maintaining solid road feel. The Springfield is stable as a freight train but carries its weight very well. With the lighter front end, the nimble handling that I loved on the Chieftain just got a little better.

Modeled to look like old an Flathead from the early years, the Thunder Stroke 111 has been no stranger to the Cruiser website. The power comes on low and it comes on hard. It has a great sound and a robust personality. Putting out 75.89 horsepower and a claimed 106.49 ft-lbs of torque when we tested it on the Dyno, even with the weight of a big ole bagger, this thing can haul. Weighing in at 862 pounds, that's a lot of power and weight to not even have the option of traction control. Because the action on the clutch is very short on these bikes, the power comes on just as you start to let the lever out, making it difficult to feel the exact catch point if you're not used to it. Translation: while riding aggressively and quick-shifting in the turns, I often found myself slipping the rear tire as I'd let out the clutch. This wasn't a deal breaker for me by any means, it would just be nice to see this safety feature added when you're already paying $21,000 for the bike.

indian springfield
2017 Indian Springfield in Thunder BlackMorgan Gales

When it comes to storage, the rounded shape of the bags makes packing up easy. The two hard bags lock and unlock electronically with a button on the gas tank or the bikes key fob. If you want to pop them off, they detach quickly and easily as well.

The windshield that comes standard on the Springfield is pretty darn large and works very well. At 6 feet 4 inches tall, I was tucked away well and out of the wind. Removing the windshield is as easy as flipping two tabs and pulling it off, which takes about one minute. For me, the windshield doesn’t detract from the look too much and adds a lot in terms of function, so I almost always leave it on.

indian springfield nacelle
Headlight nacelle and auxiliary lightsMorgan Gales

Yes, we've thrown a leg over the Springfield before, but not for nearly the amount of miles we wanted. This was a model we had been begging to see in Indian's lineup. We wanted it, and it does not disappoint. It's exactly the bike we were hoping for and it's awesome. We're lucky enough to have a Springfield as a long term loaner here in the Cruiser garage, so stay tuned for some upcoming projects as we bump up the power and add some custom parts!

Indian Thunder Stroke
Indian Thunder Stroke 111Morgan Gales

Specifications

General
Model 2016 Indian Springfield
Engine Type Thunder Stroke 111
Displacement 111ci
Bore x Stroke 3.976 x 4.449 in.
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
Fuel System Closed-loop fuel injection/54mm bore
Primary drive Gear drive
Drive/Driven Clutch Wet, multi-plate
Final drive 2.2:1
Peak Torque 119.2 lb.-ft. (161.6 N-m)
Peak Torque 3000 rpm
Suspension: Front - Type/Travel Telescopic Fork/4.7 in.
Front Fork Tube Diameter 46mm
Suspension: Rear - Type/Travel Single shock w/ air adjust/4.5 in.
Brakes/Front Dual / 300mm floating rotor/4-piston caliper
Brakes/Rear Single / 300mm floating rotor/2-piston caliper
Tires/Front Dunlop Elite 3 130/90B16 73H
Tires/Rear Dunlop Elite 3 Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80H
Wheels/Front Cast 16 x 3.5 in.
Wheels/Rear Cast 16 x 5 in.
Exhaust system Split dual exhaust w/ cross-over
Wheelbase 67.0 in.
Seat Height 26.0 in.
Ground Clearance 5.6 in.
Overall Width 39.0 in.
Overall Height 56.8 in.
Overall Length 101.7 in.
Rake 25˚
Trail 5.2 in.
Fuel Capacity 5.5 gal.
GVWR 1385 lb.
Weight 818 lb. dry/852 lb. wet
Color/Graphics Thunder Black