Motorcycles

Indian's 2020 Challenger adds some serious performance to American cruising

Indian's 2020 Challenger adds ...
Hydraulically adjustable Fox rear shock shows that Indian is taking handling seriously
Hydraulically adjustable Fox rear shock shows that Indian is taking handling seriously
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The Challenger is a show across the bows of Harley's Road Glide series
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The Challenger is a show across the bows of Harley's Road Glide series
Styling is conservative, retro and dominated by that Powerplus engine
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Styling is conservative, retro and dominated by that Powerplus engine
Fuel tank design reminds us of the Scout tank
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Fuel tank design reminds us of the Scout tank
Comfort seat is built for long days in the saddle
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Comfort seat is built for long days in the saddle
LED lighting system
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LED lighting system
Massive 7-inch infotainment touchscreen and built-in stereo
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Massive 7-inch infotainment touchscreen and built-in stereo
Offers vastly more power, and a little more torque, than Harley's Milwaukee Eight bikes
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Offers vastly more power, and a little more torque, than Harley's Milwaukee Eight bikes
Brembo monoblock brakes and inverted forks show a serious approach to cornering and stopping
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Brembo monoblock brakes and inverted forks show a serious approach to cornering and stopping
Blacked-out Dark Horse version gets more electronic goodies
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Blacked-out Dark Horse version gets more electronic goodies
Over 18 gallons of lockable, waterproof storage
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Over 18 gallons of lockable, waterproof storage
Indian's Challenger Dark Horse and Standard
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Indian's Challenger Dark Horse and Standard
There's no extra power for the Dark Horse version, but there are extra smarts, including lean angle sensitive ABS and traction control
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There's no extra power for the Dark Horse version, but there are extra smarts, including lean angle sensitive ABS and traction control
A high-powered American mile muncher
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A high-powered American mile muncher
Indian's Challenger offers standard cruise control
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Indian's Challenger offers standard cruise control
Hydraulically adjustable Fox rear shock shows that Indian is taking handling seriously
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Hydraulically adjustable Fox rear shock shows that Indian is taking handling seriously
Plenty of luggage space, but the Challenger doesn't have the intercontinental touring aspirations of the megatourer bikes
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Plenty of luggage space, but the Challenger doesn't have the intercontinental touring aspirations of the megatourer bikes
Dark Horse and Limited editions get built-in navigation with handy weather overlays
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Dark Horse and Limited editions get built-in navigation with handy weather overlays

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.

Styling is conservative, retro and dominated by that Powerplus engine
Styling is conservative, retro and dominated by that Powerplus engine

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.

Dark Horse and Limited editions get built-in navigation with handy weather overlays
Dark Horse and Limited editions get built-in navigation with handy weather overlays

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.

Indian Challenger Features & Benefits - Indian Motorcycle

Source: Indian Motorcycle

3 comments
guzmanchinky
Well, if you're into load bikes that don't handle very well with questionable reliability this is your bike. I'll take a Goldwing.
Worzel
Question; Why do you need all that weight(?) and power to carry just one man? Given the USA's pathetic speed limits, an old Brit 60's 500 cc would do as well, probably use a fraction of the fuel, and the rider could pick it up with ease should it fall over. This one would probably need a breakdown truck with a crane! Some years ago, when planning a trip around the USA, I researched used bikes, and found that there were many 10 year old bikes for sale, with just 10,000 miles on the clock. (That's 1000 miles a year, or two 250 mile return trips a year.) I did more than that in a couple of months, and double that in four months. Maybe it's more about massaging the owners ego, than actually travelling anywhere, or so it would seem.
T N Args
Just like the first two comments, I would like the author to take a slightly more critical stance on this genre of bike, and remind readers that there are much more enjoyable bikes for much less, that the author endorses. This isn't a cruiser magazine.