The ride quality is acceptable over small and mid-size bumps but with limited suspension travel it progressively becomes less pleasant over big bumps and is increasingly likely to transmit shocks into the chassis.
Hitting bumps with any sort of lean angle means the bike tends to bump steer out of a turn. The Indian has plenty of overtaking stomp, but needs a prod down the gearbox to get drive without a run-up. Pin it from tickover and it sits up on its springs like a startled rhino then clears off.
The Chieftain’s engine is a 49° American V-twin boasting 1811cc with 118ftlb of torque @ 2500rpm. The Bike revels in the classic short-shift into top gear riding style, and has superb fuelling, free of throttle snatch or hesitation slugging over comfortably at 2500rpm. The motor picks up well, but is not snatchy or jerky.
For 2019, all of the Chieftain models also get three switchable riding modes to choose between - Tour, Standard and Sport – each with its own throttle map. Tour will be the softest, with a slow throttle response designed for cruising and Sport the most immediate for spirited riding.
What's more, much like a lot of Indian's range, these bikes will also get rear cylinder deactivation, whereby the rear cylinder cuts out while the bike is stationary to keep the bike (and therefore the rider) cooler in traffic. The cylinder reactivates as soon as the throttle is applied, so Indian say.
In general, the Chieftain's detailing and build quality is high. The filler cap is daft though, the left side cap is a dummy. The cap also isn’t hinged so will inevitably end up rolling around on the garage forecourt.
The Chieftain is competitively priced with its Harley Davidson counterparts and you get a lot for your money. Service intervals are every 5000 miles with the bike not needing a major service until 30,000 miles. The Bike has a big tank, holding 20.28 litres with a range that will easily top 200 miles. 2015 models come with a five year warranty.
Although there are no confirmed prices for the 2019 machine as of yet, don’t expect much change from £25,000 if you start ticking all the boxes for extras.
The Chieftain comes with a lot of high quality equipment as standard, including ABS, keyless ignition, hard panniers (with central locking), and a power adjustable screen.
The latest 2019 Chieftain series also retains some of the styling features introduced to the 2017 range, including the 10-spoke, 19-inch front wheel and open fender, which first appeared on the Limited and Elite models.
The fairing has been completely restyled with sharper lines and a smaller overall profile, although the height adjustable screen remains. The saddlebags are have harder edges and are slammed tight to the huge silencers.
The new ‘Rogue’ one-piece gunfighter seat furthers the modern look as do the new badges on the tank and saddlebags. Completing the redesign is the iconic illuminated Indian headdress on the front mudguard.
We think the pick of the punch is the contrasting ‘White Smoke’ Chieftain Dark Horse, although if you do prefer the timeless look of the old model, Indian will still produce that as the Chieftain Classic. It’s not just a restyle of course, there’s new tech too.
Although the Chieftain has always enjoyed an audio system, the 2019 bike has been updated to significantly improve sound quality. This has been made effective by an automatically adjusting equaliser, which will alter each frequency to the optimal level to compensate for road, wind and engine noise.
Up to 50% louder than the stock unit, riders can also choose from three audio upgrade kits: PowerBand Audio (which is a fairing speaker upgrade), Audio Plus (which is fairing speaker and saddlebag speakers) and Audio Plus with accessory trunk (which as you guessed includes the top box upgrade).
Alongside the above alterations, the Chieftain Dark Horse lineup will enjoy multiple new colour schemes for 2019, as well as a black ceramic exhaust and gloss black finishes on the features including the valve covers to achieve what Indian are calling a 'blacked-out look.'