The Indian big bike market has seen a raft of new launches of late, and the latest entrant is Indian Motorcycle. For those who may not know, Indian Motorcycle is an American motorcycle maker that has been manufacturing bikes since 1901. It has changed ownership several times over the course of its history, but in 2011, Indian Motorcycle was acquired by Polaris Industries, a company best known in India for its range of specialised off-road vehicles. In 2013, Indian Motorcycle launched a new line-up of three cruisers, namely the Chief Classic, Chief Vintage and Chieftain, and these are the models that have been launched in India too.
The three bikes will be brought into India as CBUs or completely built units (and are hence subject to full duty) and are built around Indian’s new Thunder Stroke 111 engine. The ‘111’ here refers to the engine capacity in cubic inches, which equates to 1,811cc. It’s an air-cooled and fuel-injected engine that produces 14.1kgm at 2,600rpm. New engine apart, the new Indians look very much like the Indians of the past. There’s lots of chrome, studded seats and the traditional flowing rear fender. However, the three bikes do differ slightly on styling and equipment.
The Indian Chief Classic that has been priced at Rs 26.5 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) comes with ABS, cruise control and keyless start as standard. The Indian Chief Vintage (Rs 29.5 lakh) sees the addition of leather saddle bags and a quick-release windshield. Priced at Rs 33 lakh, the range-topping Chieftain is identifiable by its curvaceous fairing and hard saddle bags. This model also gets tyre-pressure monitoring and even 100W speakers that can stream music from a smartphone!
Indian will inaugurate its first showroom in Gurgaon shortly, and the second one will come up in Bangalore in the coming months. Apart from the bikes, the showrooms will also stock merchandise and accessories. Motorcycle customisation will also be introduced in India in a phased manner. Indian Motorcycle is not very ambitious about sales in India and unlike its traditional rival Harley-Davidson, the manufacturer has no plans to venture into the smaller segments or local manufacture.