A video emerged, and then was quickly deleted, showing the 2020 Indian Challenger, ahead of an expected unveiling later in 2019 - perhaps as soon as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally this coming weekend. MCN managed to capture screenshots of the important details in the 42-second film.
Posted by dealer Indian Motorcycle of Metro Milwaukee, USA, the film shows a bike we previously referred to as Raptor - Indian's internal codename for the project. It shows a water-cooled "Powerplus 108" engine, and if the number refers to displacement, means this is an 1800cc motorcycle. It's also a game of literal one-upmanship over Harley-Davidson, whose well-known Milwaukee-eight displaces 107 cubic inches.
MCN will update this page when more information becomes available, but read on for what we know about the project so far...
Indian's new bagger has bite
First reported April 24, 2019, by Jordan Gibbons
Spyshots have emerged of a new Indian tourer being tested with a water-cooled engine, fixed fairing and performance focused parts – all firsts for the brand’s touring range.
Based on recent IP filings we believe the bike is called the Raptor and will be a brand new model in Indian’s range, effectively picking up where defunct sister brand Victory left off. Up front is a fixed fairing, clearly aimed at the Harley-Davidson Road Glide.
Sitting in the middle of the machine is a brand new water-cooled engine, which we believe will complement rather than replace the existing air-cooled Thunderstroke 111. It’s likely to have a similar displacement (around 1800cc) so that it keeps all that torque but there’s a good chance it will make more power, too.
Given that the Thunderstroke recently got a power boost to 82bhp, despite tighter emissions regulations, we’d expect the new engine to make in excess of 100bhp.
It will likely move the electronics on again (the latest bikes already have power modes) with traction control a distinct possibility as well as cornering ABS and other touring comforts like hill hold braking.
Arguably more important is the front end. Look closely and you’ll notice a pair of hefty looking USD forks and a pair of Brembo monoblocs. While this doesn’t guarantee the final spec, it suggests that Indian want to focus on performance and handling, as well as looks.
Indian Raptor: What we predict
- The engine was likely destined for a Victory model before Polaris decided to focus on Indian
- It’s expected to take on Euro rivals, so the Raptor will likely get an IMU and associated electronics
- The engine patent is for easily removable camshafts, suggesting there may be various ‘Stages’ of power upgrade
- The Raptor will be designed to stop BMW stealing US sales with their new Boxer cruiser
Until recently, Indian have mostly focused on heritage models, leaving the performance machines for Victory, but the FTR1200 heralded a new direction – one in which their usual rivals have traditionally struggled.
This move will be important for Indian as European brands look to muscle in on their turf with high-tech offerings.
There’s no official word from Indian but we expect them to unveil it at the Sturgis motorcycle rally in the US, August 2-11, as a 2020 model.
More from MCN