Indian's 2020 Challenger adds some serious performance to American cruising
Indian has built the first bike around its Powerplus engine, and the all-new Challenger looks set to bring serious levels of power, grunt and intelligent handling to the medium-range luxury cruising market.
The Challenger's looks are pretty traditional, and dominated by the meaty 1,770cc, 60-degree Powerplus V-Twin that Indian hopes will set it far apart from Harley-Davidson's best offerings. 122 horsepower and 128 lb-ft (173.5 Nm) are genuinely monstrous figures in the American cruiser world – stop sniggering, sportsbike riders.
To get Harley's new Milwaukee Eight motor up near 120 horses (about a 40 percent improvement over the standard motor), you're looking at a Stage 4 Screamin' Eagle kit replacing cylinder heads, cylinders, injectors, pistons, rings, cams, bearings, clutch springs and a long list of other parts – in the process, neutering much of your low-end grunt. Four and a bit grand worth of bits, plus the attentions of a tuner, on top of an already ludicrously expensive motorcycle – and all this just to keep up with a bone-stock Indian. This motor's a statement, enough said.
The Challenger is built to compete against Harley's Road Glide series, and indeed, it pretty much looks the same to the untrained eye, with its big, boxy, frame-mounted fairing, curvy retro lines, Scout-like sculpted tank, big, comfy seat and shapely rear panniers. It aims to take handling up a notch or two with the use of a decent, hydraulically adjustable Fox shock on the rear, offering more than 4 inches of travel, and high-grade Brembo monoblock front brakes that might actually help stop the thing.
Step up to the Dark Horse or Limited versions, and it also gets some electronic riding aids – rain, standard and sport riding modes, IMU-assisted cornering ABS and lean-angle sensitive traction control, drag torque control and cruise control.
Other goodies include a huge and highly customizable 7-inch touchscreen for infotainment (higher-spec models include navigation with handy weather overlays) that wouldn't look out of place on a car dashboard. There's also keyless ignition, Bluetooth and USB smartphone connectivity, a big ol' stereo, an electronically adjustable windscreen and "over 68 liters" of storage space in the lockable, waterproof panniers that give this "bagger" its name.
The Challenger looks like a super comfy and fun way to chew some miles, whether in a straight line or carving up a few corners. Its retail prices – US$21,999 for the Standard, US$27,499 for the blacked-out Dark Horse and US$27,999 for the chromed-up Limited – strike directly at the Road Glide and Road Glide Special, and if you're in the market for something like this you'd be mad not to put the Challenger on your test ride list.
Source: Indian Motorcycle