Absent any other feature, the one item that defines a bagger is, well, saddlebags. Second in line is a fairing, topped by a cut-down windshield. These two design elements distinguish the Indian Chieftain. Its large 19-inch front wheel and prodigious fairing create a strong visual impact up front, while the shorty power windscreen provides a racy look akin to 1950–’60s-era Grand Prix bikes. With its deep bucket seat, the Chieftain is set up for solo travel, one of just eight Indians so configured.
The Chieftain is the least expensive way to get Indian’s Ride Command system. Integrated into the fairing and facing the rider, Ride Command has a 7-inch touchscreen that provides information and serves as a control center for navigation, audio, engine operating and service info, trip info, and more. Such systems are common in cars, but the difference here is a touchscreen that responds to a gloved touch. The touchscreen also incorporates a “pinch to zoom” feature. Indian says the Chieftain has “menacing style,” but in reality, Ride Command makes it highly welcoming.
Likes: We're data geeks, and Ride Command provides lots of it.
Dislikes: Too bad it takes car money to get Ride Command on a motorcycle.
Verdict: A big, complex motorcycle, but certain riders will find it highly rewarding.