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Indian unveils the new Chief models

These are the first photos of the new Indian Chief Classic cruiser, Chieftain hardbagger and Vintage softbagger unveiled simultaneously at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota and in Sydney today.
The long and low Indian Chief will arrive in Australia later this year costing $28,995 ride-away for the Classic which pitches it squarely at the Harley Fat Boy and $1000 less than the retail price of the Heritage Softail. The Vintage is $31,495 and Chieftain is $35,995 and comes with a powered windscreen, Bluetooth, 100w stereo and tyre pressure monitors.
It is powered by a 111 cubic-inch V-twin “Thunderstroke” engine and comes with the traditional Indian head on the front fender, pullback bars, dual low exhausts, lots of chrome even on the switchblock, cruise control, ABS, dual front brake discs, antique “grandfather clock” style instruments on the tank, engine bars and big, floating floorboards.
But wait, there’s more: remote locking hard bags (Chieftain), centre ignition remote button, internal-wired handlebars, real leather seats, LED indicators and taillight, massive car-size brake pedal, fat-cushioned low seat and it has a very low centre of gravity so it easily lifts off the side stand. It also appears to have good clearance for 48-degree lean angles which are bigger than the Victory bikes.
There is also an extensive accessories catalogue, although these bikes come with a lot of kit and chrome like a Harley CVO.
Indian Motorcycles Australia scored an exclusive simultaneous release with not one, but six Chiefs on display at the official launch function at the Victory/Indian dealership on Parramatta Rd, Sydney.
Spokesman Peter Harvey says Australia is the next biggest heavy cruiser market in the world outside of North America and the next biggest market for Victory bikes.
“It took a lot of work to get these bikes here for this launch, but it’s a real coup for us,” he says.
Parent company Polaris Industries is in good financial condition to forge ahead with the Indian brand.
It maintained positive growth through the second quarter of 2013, with net income of $80.0 million up 15% compared with the same quarter last year and sales of $844.8 million up 12%.
However, sales of Victory and Indian motorcycles were down 6% (49.9 million) in the quarter.
The company attributes the loss to a change in the timing of shipments which has now been addressed.
Polaris expects motorcycle sales to improve in coming months with the official launch of the Indian Chief and new 2014 Victory models.
The Indian brand began in 1901 and went bankrupt in 1953. The brand continued in broken production runs under various owners until 2011 when it was bought by Polaris, the world’s largest manufacturer of snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles and owner of the 15-year-old Victory Motorcycles.
Awareness of the Indian name received a massive boost in 2005 when the Hollywood film, “The World’s fastest Indian”, starring Anthony Hopkins hit the silver screen.
It’s the story of Kiwi Burt Munro and his bid to set the under-1000cc land-speed record in 1967 at Bonneville on his 1920 Indian.
Indian Motorcycles flew in Burt’s son, John, for the official launch.
John brought with him his father’s world record trophy and other memorabilia.
Last night the first 111 customers to pay a $1000 deposit for the bike were on hand to drawn numbers from a barrel with guest host Shane Jacobsen. These numbers will be stamped on the bike in anther coup for the Australian market.
Today’s festivities ware also highlighted by a performance from former Cold Chisel guitarist Ian Moss.
Judging by the expense Indian has gone to for this launch, they are serious abut making long-term inroads into the lucrative and fast-growing cruiser market.