The tubular steel chassis is basically the same as Indian’s other big twins, too, but with slightly sharper steering geometry than the Vintage (something to do with load carrying, apparently). Though undoubtedly an imposing, large, heavy bike the Springfield’s saddle is pleasingly low and, with much of its weight carried low it’s well balanced and surprisingly manageable. Footboards mean you can move your feet around while the new ‘Buckhorn’ bars have been canted further back to provide additional touring comfort. In short: it’s a natural, comfortable place to be. Overall, considering its size (whether true or not Indians definitely feel slightly larger and more substantial than their Harley equivalents), the Springfield’s handling composure is impressive. Simply: the engine and chassis ‘just do it’, without disappointing in any way.
Like all of reborn Indian’s ‘big twin’ cruisers, the Springfield is based around the impressive and all-new-in-2013, aircooled, 1811cc ‘Thunderstroke’ V-twin. With its massive peak torque available at just 2600rpm, you easily pull away from barely more than idle. Wind it on and stomp through the six gears (a heel-toe ‘change is available as an option) and it putt-putt-putts effortlessly up to 70+ with barely 4500rpm showing. Eighty-plus is just a twist of the wrist away with more to come if required. And if you still want more, a performance kit comprising hotter cams, free-er breathing air filter and louder cans is available which is claimed to boost performance by 10%.
Quality-wise the Springfield’s a mouth-wateringly gorgeous piece of kit. It’s literally awash with chrome (Indian claim it’s slathered with more than any rival) and generously appointed with stylish art deco touches: those definitively Indian flared mudguards or fenders, for example; or the illuminated Indian ‘headress’ mascot atop the front guard; or the tactile, studded leader saddle even. And while a little early to proclaim on reliability, Indian’s impressive (and industry-leading) five-year warranty should way-lay most fears.
The Springfield has a hefty price tag, whichever way you look at it – being a couple of grand more than its most basic Harley rivals. But then it’s impressively well-equipped and beautifully finished, too all of which goes a long way to justify it. If you want the most lavish, most glorious, best performing American bagger, this is currently it.
As the Springfield is intended very much as a premium, touring machine it’s specced up with cruise control, adjustable pillion footboards, ABS, tyre pressure monitors and even central locking. Otherwise it’s fairly familiar Indian fare with a single big dial with the digital LCD tacho incorporated. Nothing much to write home about or be surprised by, but lacking nothing of note, either.