Indian is now selling souped-up race cruisers for the ... Closed road?
Whatever they're smoking at Indian Motorcycle, we want some! The company's doing a limited production run of race-spec Challenger R cruisers, complete with carbon fiber saddlebags, celebrating one of the flat-out wackiest races on two wheels.
We laughed our heads off when we first heard about King of the Baggers racing. Giant, open-road touring sofas from Harley and Indian going head to head in a race series starting at Laguna Seca? It sounds as preposterous now as it did then.
But there's a ton of v-twin cruiser riders in the United States – indeed, the Sturgis scene is one of the strongest in all of motorcycling, even if there's a lot of gray beards obscuring the lurid t-shirt slogans these days. Americans sure do love their cruisers, and it seems folk have been more than ready to come out and watch some of the least racy motorcycles in the world performing unnatural feats in the hands of alien-grade asphalt surgeons.
“Originally, the thought of road racing baggers was perplexing to many, and even downright offensive to some road racing purists." says Gary Gray, VP of Racing, Technology and Service for Indian Motorcycle, in a press release. "But in just three short years, King of the Baggers has emerged as the hottest thing in motorcycle racing."
Well, there's nowt as queer as folk, as they used to say before a TV show hijacked a perfectly good phrase, and many a bizarre idea has become a commercial success. Indian has decided if it's in for a penny, it's in for a pound. "We thought it would be awesome to give people the opportunity to own the bike that holds the crown," says Gray, announcing the launch of what has to be the world's weirdest track bike.
The Indian Challenger RR is now on sale for an extraordinary US$92,229 – nearly enough to get you three brand new Ducati Panigale Rs that would be out of sight within three corners. On the other hand, put the Challenger and the Duke next to each other in a pit garage anywhere in the world, and I know which one's going to draw a crowd.
The Challenger race replica keeps its vestigial saddlebags – albeit in carbon fiber, as befits a machine of its standing. It gets 17-inch race rims, sticky Dunlops, race-spec Ohlins forks and shock and a special raised race seat. The crew has been through the S&S catalog and ticked every conceivable box, from a 2-in-1 exhaust, to adjustable triples, a chain drive conversion, adjustable fairing mounts, rearset footpegs, camshafts, intakes, rocker arms, chain tensioners, a race modified swingarm and more.
The front brakes are Brembo M4s on 330-mm rotors. They look like they're on holiday, and are just missing a Hawaiian shirt and a boozy drink in a coconut. There are dataloggers and quickshifters and lots of stickers. The engine's got a 112-ci (1,835-cc) big bore kit fitted, and ported heads, and is presumably tuned up the wazoo, or at least very close to the wazoo.
"This bike is the real deal," says Gray. "Much like when we released the venerable FTR750, the Challenger RR is a true race bike and is not street legal. Put in the right hands, it will reach the podium in MotoAmerica’s Mission® King of the Baggers race series."
Only 29 of these celebrations of silliness will be made, and doubtless they're already spoken for. I can't pretend to understand what's going on here, but I can certainly enjoy it. Check out the Challenger winning its first race in 2020 below, as chaos ensues around it.
Source: Indian Motorcycle