American Motorcycle and Harley-Davidson Reviews

Indian Ups its Bagger Game: 2017 Chieftain Limited & 2017 Chieftain Elite First Look

2017 Indian Chieftain Elite and 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited

2017 Indian Chieftain Elite and 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited

Ten-Spoke 19” Front Wheel, Open Front Fender and a Host of New Design Accents Offer Riders A More Attention-Grabbing Look Than Ever Before

The new standard in bagger design and style is here. That’s what Indian Motorcycle accomplished with the new custom-inspired 2017 Chieftain Limited and 2017 Chieftain Elite. For these bold new Chieftains, Indian Motorcycle’s designers added tons of style with a variety of features that provide a more sleek, meaner look than ever before. The new offerings represent a bold evolution of the Chieftain line and pave the way for nothing less than legendary riding experiences.

“Our goal was to evolve the award-winning Chieftain platform with new models that elevated the overall style of this bike significantly, while still staying true to the signature design qualities that Indian Motorcycle is known for,” said Reid Wilson, Director of Marketing for Indian Motorcycle. “There’s no doubt these bikes have a more commanding presence combined perfectly with the flowing lines and signature details that make them 100% Indian.”

Every detail of these two bikes demands attention. A new lower-profile, sawed-off open front fender showcases Indian Motorcycle’s new front wheel – a ten-spoke 19” contrast-cut behemoth, paired with a matching 16” rear wheel that perfectly complements the powerful dual 300mm floating front rotors with 4 piston calibers. The calipers feature the Indian Motorcycle script logo for a unique custom touch. A color-matched headlight bezel and streamlined leather saddle complete the more sleek, aggressive look.

For those who demand the best of the best, the Chieftain Elite steps to the plate as a limited-edition bike that’s as close to “custom” as possible. It features custom Fireglow Red Candy with Marble Accents paint, all completed entirely by hand at Indian Motorcycle’s custom paint facility located in Spearfish, South Dakota. It takes a small, specialized team over 25 hours to hand paint each bike and since no machines are used, no two Chieftain Elites look exactly the same. The Elite also comes with a wealth of premium accessories, including Pathfinder LED headlight and driving lights, a flare windshield, billet driver and passenger floorboards, and a 200-watt premium audio system. Only 350 will be made available for sale globally.

Both bikes come stacked with all the features that make the Chieftain line the most respected bagger on the road. Along with the industry leading Ride Command seven-inch infotainment system and powerful Thunderstroke 111 engine with 119 ft-lbs of torque, the Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite have a wealth of features including key-less ignition, remote locking saddlebags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), chrome front highway bars, power adjustable windshields, and just enough chrome to highlight all the attitude these bikes have to offer.

Indian Motorcycle upped the ante on style with the Chieftain Limited and set a new standard with the Chieftain Elite. Both are designed and engineered to lead any pack. What follows in their wake will be legendary.

Learn more about Indian Motorcycle and the 2017 Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite by visiting IndianMotorcycle.com and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media channels.

Kuryakyn, Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s Rock, Rumble & Rebellion Bagger a Smash at Donnie Smith

Rock, Rumble & Rebellion Street Glide

Kuryakyn and the Sturgis Buffalo Chip kicked off the Midwest’s biggest bike show with a bang, debuting the 2017 Rock, Rumble & Rebellion signature build in front of a packed house at the 30th annual Donnie Smith Bike & Car Show.

Representing seven days of electrifying racing in August at the Buffalo Chip Moto Stampede, the sleek, industrial appearance of the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Glide strikes a balance of refinement and straight-up rawness.

“As an aftermarket company, we were honored to take on the challenge of representing the Buffalo Chip’s 35th anniversary last year with a bike build,” said Holger Mohr, Kuryakyn President. “As enthusiasts first and foremost, this year’s focus of bringing racing back to the Chip is equally exciting for us. The Kuryakyn design team came up with an authentic race theme that truly embodies the ‘rumble’ in Rock, Rumble and Rebellion. There’s no better way to introduce our newest products to core Kuryakyn customers, and we’re proud to do it alongside the Buffalo Chip on the biggest stage in the motorcycle industry.”

One of the main focal points on the purpose-built bagger is the freshly reimagined Hypercharger ES air cleaner. Symbolizing the evolution of one of Kuryakyn’s most iconic products, the Hypercharger ES features a radical new design with state-of-the-art electronic throttle response butterfly engagement. The integrated servomotor actuates the butterflies with every twist of the throttle, creating an interactive experience with the motorcycle that’s unlike anything available.

Additionally, more than 35 Kuryakyn accessories are featured on the build including select pieces from the new Mesh and Riot collections, as well as the soon-to-be-released Precision line of engine chrome for the Milwaukee-Eight. Renowned custom shop Gilby’s Street Dept. of River Falls, Wis., laid down a monochromatic race-inspired paint theme that marries everything together to create a cohesive push-pull of mechanical grit and class.

”The 2017 Rock, Rumble & Rebellion bike created by Kuryakyn truly captures the free spirit the biker community brings to the Chip every year,” said Rod Woodruff, Sturgis Buffalo Chip President. “The exhilaration of racing, the intensity of the concerts and the pure joy of the ride are represented in the power and beauty of this custom. Kuryakyn really hit it out of the park again.”

The build sheet also includes a host of familiar names including Jim Nasi Customs (Kuryakyn Signature Series Dash Console), a handmade custom-designed Mustang Seat, “Formula” wheels (21” front, 18” rear) and rotors from Performance Machine, “Razorback” Drag Bars from FMB Choppers, and “Milano” inverted front suspension from Italian-based manufacturer ODC.

The Rock, Rumble & Rebellion bagger will be featured in Issue #352 of American Iron Magazine!

The Rock, Rumble & Rebellion bagger will be featured in Issue #352 of American Iron Magazine!

The Rock, Rumble & Rebellion bike will be hitting the road and participating in various rides and events scheduled on Kuryakyn’s 2017 rally tour. Official media partner American Iron Magazine will also feature the custom Street Glide in issue #352, which hits newsstands on July 18.

Following the Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s 36th year of music, motorcycles and revelry held Aug. 4-12, the Rock, Rumble & Rebellion Street Glide will be offered for private sale. Anyone interested in purchasing the bike may call the Sturgis Buffalo Chip at 605-347-9000.

2017 FLTRXS Road Glide Special Review

by Dain Gingerellli

I was highballing north on US 395 along california’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Harley’s cruise control doing most of the work, when the slow-moving tractor-trailer up ahead forced me to reduce speed. I should point out, too, that this was no ordinary Harley-Davidson. I was riding a 2017 FLTRXS Road Glide Special, and its electronic odometer revealed that the Milwaukee-Eight engine had only recently been broken in by the crew at Harley’s West Coast fleet center. The big 107″ V-twin was loafing along at about 85 mph, the bike’s standard cruise control feature subbing for me while I relaxed and rested behind the RUSHMORE-inspired fairing. Life was good—until the big rig impeded our headway.

I gently applied the Reflex Linked brakes to cancel the cruise control command, hauling the speed down to about 60. A few cars approaching from the opposite direction prevented me from overtaking the slow-moving rig right away. Moments later an opening in the traffic set me free, so I purposely twisted the right grip, feeding raw gasoline and fresh air into the eight-valve engine’s thirsty combustion chambers. The single-cam engine liked that, and our speed increased proportionally until the Road Glide Special quickly found its new place on earth ahead of the lumbering big rig. Life was, once again, good for me.
Let me be clear about another point: I didn’t downshift to fifth gear while overtaking the truck. This new engine has torque (I almost feel guilty about not spelling that with a capital T!) in spades, making downshifting optional under most riding conditions. Harley claims 111.4 ft-lbs. at 3250 rpm, a figure that’s actually only a few ft-lbs. more than what the Twin Cam 103″ generated. What the 2017 figures fail to reveal is that the new Milwaukee-Eight’s torque curve is much broader than the 103″ engine’s. And I like the new torque curve. A lot.

AIM’s editor, Steve Lita, pointed out the technological highlights of Harley’s new engine in issue 341, and in issue 342 he gave a glimpse of what the new baggers that cradle the engine in their RUSHMORE frames are like. Now I’m going to tell you about what I consider to be the best bargain among those baggers: the Road Glide Special.

This bike has it all, and the marketing folks at Harley pretty much pegged it with the FLTRXS’s mission statement: “Long on features, comfort, and attitude.” Indeed, and beyond the standard RUSHMORE and new Milwaukee-Eight features, the Special sports Harley’s big Boom! Box 6.5GT touch-sensitive screen that’s positioned between the inner fairing’s two large speakers and right beneath the easy-to-read analog instruments.

Truth be told, though, I rarely use the infotainment feature. Oh, I’ll dabble with the navigation option now and then to save myself from being totally lost during an adventure, but otherwise I prefer to enjoy the drone of the engine’s exhaust note while racking up the miles. And what a sound the 2017 Road Glide Special’s new mufflers produce, a deep, rich, mellow tone, one that bikers have enjoyed for years. Harley engineers were able to attain this new, throatier sound by exorcising some of the mechanical-noise demons from the engine, primary drive, clutch, and transmission. Less clanging noise there creates a vacuum of sorts that can be filled with more decibels from the exhaust system, the end result a motorcycle with a noise factor that, in addition to complying with federal decibel regulations, sounds genuinely cool. Welcome to the 21st century of motorcycle engineering and marketing; the Road Glide Special clearly stands at the forefront of this new philosophy.

Enough about the features, let’s talk about the Road Glide Special’s comfort. I’m on record in past bike reviews stating that I love touring aboard Electra Glides. I still like those batwing fairing bikes but, in truth, when it comes to absolute comfort, this RG Special fits me like the proverbial glove. My 5′ 8″ frame and 30″ inseam are well-matched to the bike’s ergonomics. I can flat foot stops at traffic lights thanks to a claimed seat height of 25.9″ (laden), and the reach to the handgrips is relaxed and natural. The seat’s bucket shape is form-fit to my derriere, and the tinted stub windshield mixed with the fairing’s RUSHMORE ducting allows just the right amount of wind blast to entertain me without pounding me. The small winglets at the base of the aerodynamically shaped shark-nose fairing help with that, and because the High Output engine doesn’t have the Twin Cooled liquid-cooling option, there are no fairing lowers to further isolate me from the elements so I don’t feel like I’m wrapped fully in a cocoon. I’m on a motorcycle.

Now let’s discuss the Special’s attitude. There are two key elements to a bagger: it must be capable of toting a reasonable amount of gear for extended rides, and it must look cool in carrying out its mission. The RG Special’s two lockable saddlebags boast a claimed 2.3 cubic feet of storage capacity, and while I can’t exactly describe just what that equates to in real-world gear, I can say that I was able to pack three days worth of personal inventory plus my camera gear for the blast up US 395.
And the FLTRXS looked cool—you know, attitude— while making the run up 395. Start with the paint. Vivid Black remains the standard color for the base model, which places MSRP at a rather cool $23,999. Our test bike sported the Hard Candy Custom paint option (three new color choices are on tap for 2017, two of which are Hard Candy Custom colors), which boosts price to $26,999. Yeah, it ain’t cheap, so determine just how much attitude you want, and then set your budget.

No matter the color option, though, all Road Glide Specials ride with the same cool chassis features, giving each bike a stance that shouts Attitude! The parts mix includes the 19″ (front) and 16″ (rear) Enforcer cast aluminum wheels with Brembo calipers and Dunlop Harley-Davidson Series tires. The bike’s stance is further set by a lowered suspension that features Harley’s updated specs. Claimed front suspension travel is 4.6″ front, 2.1″ rear.

New for 2017, the 49mm fork legs are filled with Showa Dual Bending Valve (SBDV) technology to smooth the ride up front. Out back you’ll find a pair of coil-over spring shocks with hand adjustability to set preload. As a unit, plus the low-profile tires (130/60-19″ front, 180/65-16″ rear), the suspension sets the Special nice and low, the way a bagger should be. There’s a small price to pay, however, as shortened suspension means there’s less up-and-down travel to absorb some of the bumps in the road. To be sure, the new suspension technology works well over smaller road holes and frost heaves, but a series of repetitious bumps challenges the damping rates; expect some chatter or jack hammering at times.
For the most part, though, the ride remains controlled and rather refined. Moreover, after spending all day in the saddle, I never felt fatigued or beaten. I always looked forward to the next day’s ride. And for me, that and the attention to detail and attitude are what make the FLTRXS so special for me as a bagger enthusiast. AIM

Indian Motorcycle’s Gary Gray Talks Flat Track & Early Success of the FTR750

Jared Mees Daytona TT 2017

Jared Mees on his way to the first victory for the new Indian Motorcycle Racing team at the Daytona TT.

To say Indian Motorcycle Racing has exceeded expectations so far in the 2017 American Flat Track season is an understatement. Two races, two wins. Five out six podium positions. Be it TT or short track, the FTR750 has been a dominant force so far regardless of what type of track it’s competing on.

As the season begins its first swing to the longer half-mile and mile-long tracks, we caught up with Indian Motorcycle Co.’s Product Director Gary Gray to talk about the team’s early success and the keys to that success.

AIM: Based on what you’ve seen in the first two races, why do you think the FTR750 has done so well?

Gary Gray: I think our riders. Luckily we’ve got Bryan, Brad and Jared who when they found out we were working on the new bike they came to us and said hey, we want to help, we want to do something new and exciting for the sport and bring some energy to the sport and we were more than excited to get those guys.

Yeah, I think they’re a big part of it and I think the development that we’ve put in, the time that’s being put in to not just build a bike but go out and test it and make it better. We’ve tested at Atlanta, we’ve tested at Charlotte where we’re going to be next week. Obviously we couldn’t test at the TT track (Daytona TT was still being smoothed out day of the race) but we did TT testing before Daytona. So Ricky Howerton and Kenny Tolbert, they’re the best in the business. Kenny’s won year after year and Ricky, in my opinion, is the only guy that’s taken a non-Harley engine and done great things with it. There’s a lot of people trying with other motors and it’s tough but Ricky figured it out with the Kawi and he’s helping us out with the Indian. So it’s good, and the bike’s pretty good. We built the bike but it had to beat an XR on the short track and a Ninja on a mile, so we’ll see what happens on the half-miles and miles.

AIM: In your wildest dreams did you expect you’d win 5 out of 6 podium positions right out of the gate?

Gray: No. No way. I mean, everybody here, the goal is to win a championship at some point. I didn’t think it would be possible in the first year. I set my expectations, my realistic expectations were that we would get on the podium this year. I mean, there’s 18 races, so some time in those 18 races we would get on the podium. And we’d place top five in points somewhere. You look at Bryan last year who won the championship, he only won four races all last year. Flat track is not like pro sports where the New England Patriots win 75-80% of their games. There’s 40 guys that want to beat you. You don’t podium every week, but you’ve got to get points almost every week and that leads to championships. My honest opinion was maybe sometime this year we would podium and we would do well in points because we’d have three really reliable bikes and three really great riders. Top three, top five in points by the end of the year but no, not what’s going on right now. It’s crazy.

Jared Mees takes a victory lap at Atlanta Short Track.

AIM: Especially considering the bike itself is what, a little over a year old?

Gray: Yeah, it’s a year-and-a-half that we started and the bike started running less than a year ago.

AIM: When did the wheels start churning as far as Indian contemplating returning to flat track?

Gray: It would have been two Septembers ago we started talking about it. In October of 2015, we kicked the program off and serious design on the engine started in December of 2015. And then spring of last year we were still designing the chassis and had running bikes by June of last year.

AIM: Did American Flat Tracks decision to run the Twins on all the tracks factor in to the decision to return?

Gray: Yeah, it was critical. Michael Lock at American Flat Track is doing a great job of improving the sport and making it make sense for the manufacturers and making it make sense for customers. It was kind of weird honestly before when one race Brad Baker’s riding a Twin from one brand and the next race he’s riding a Single from another brand. It’s like, what is going on? People still want to follow Brad but there’s some people that want to follow a team and a bike, like NASCAR, Chevy vs Ford vs Toyota or whatever. It’d be kind of weird if they were jumping from brand to brand and type of car. He straightened that out and had it make sense to the fans and it’s showing. Attendance is up and people are excited. We were pretty adamant that if we’re coming back, that’s gotta be the way it is and Michael got it done.

We wanted to give something back to the sport. We bought the brand, Indian Motorcycle, in April of 2011 and came out with bikes in 2013 and have a decent lineup of bikes and things are going well and we’re growing year-over-year. And we said, we’ve got our feet on the ground, let’s give something back to the sport. What better place to do that when our heritage is based on racing with Hendee and Hedstrom actually meeting at a racetrack. They were racers and founded America’s first motorcycle company and so what better way to give back to the sport than do something that would make our founders proud and come back and race. And flat track is a big part of our history and we hope what we’re doing gets people excited and gets people back in the stands and gets them excited about racing and gets people excited about motorcycles.

Indian Motorcycle Co.'s Product Director Gary Gray

Indian Motorcycle Co.’s Product Director Gary Gray has played a vital role in the company’s return to racing. 

AIM: The big three. Did you ever think that you’d land all three considering their past successes with different brands?

Gray: No. Jared, when we started working on the bike, Jared found out and called Michael Lock who put him through to us. He talked to us about his history, which we’re pretty familiar with before us (big laughs) and yeah, we signed him up to test and then signed him for this year. A few years his contract is. And then Ricky, Ricky Howerton, Michael Lock also sent his contact information. Ricky was calling Michael about what we were up to. He was curious so I called Ricky and we started talking and like I said, there’s a lot of great people out there, but he’s the one guy who took something non-Harley and made it work. I think well, we probably need someone like that to balance out Jared and Kenny and so he came on and brought Bryan, which was amazing. It was also amazing that we wouldn’t have to race those guys as well. Or Jared.

We never, never in a million years, we wanted Brad of course, but didn’t even call him because we’re like, who would leave the factory job, the number one ride at the time, nobody’s going to leave that job. There’s no way. And Ricky said, hey have you ever thought about Brad? Well, yeah, but he’s not going to leave. He’s like, well let me talk to him. And he was going to talk to him on Saturday and that Wednesday, Brad called us and said hey, you know what, I heard what you guys are doing and I’m interested. So honestly, all three called us. We wrote out a list of who we would want but were like well we’re not getting these guys, and then all three of them called us and we’re like hell yeah, we would love for you to be a part of it. They just wanted to be a part of it. They said we’re great at what we do, obviously, and we can help you and we’re like we need all the help we can get trying to bring a bike from zero to something. Yeah, it’s awesome. All three of those guys are amazing, their crew chiefs are amazing. Just like the 1-2-3 finish, we wrote it down on paper and thought this will never happen, but it happened.

Indian Motorcycle Racing swept the podium at the Atlanta Short Track.

Indian’s formidable Motorcycle Racing team swept the podium at the Atlanta Short Track. (L-R) Brad Baker, Jared Mees, Bryan Smith 

AIM: So I saw you up there on the podium with Mees and Smith at the Daytona TT? How were you feeling at that moment?

Gray: Probably one of the top three happiest moments of my life. It’s kind of funny. I’m a pretty calm guy, I’m pretty mellow. I don’t jump around and yell and scream and my team knows me as that. Well, I guess there’s some things that can get me jumping around and that was one of them. It was unbelievable. Half-way through that race, I mean three-quarters of the way when Vanderkoi popped I literally just put my face in hands and said I can’t believe this is happening, I can’t believe this is happening. 1-2, this is unbelievable. And then watching Atlanta, this is crazy. When Sammy went down, did that just really happen? Come on guys, you gotta get a good race start, and they did, they got a good race start. Bryan fended off the number four guy and history was made.

Indian Motorcycle Racing Team Celebrates at the Daytona TT

The Indian Motorcycle Racing team celebrates after going 1-2 in its first official race at the 2017 Daytona TT.

AIM: How do you think the FTR750 is going to fare on the bigger tracks seeing how we’re headed to the Charlotte Half-Mile followed by the Arizona Mile?

Gray: I think OK. Half-mile, for sure, it should be really, really strong. Last year at Santa Rosa on the mile, couldn’t be happier. I mean, Joe Kopp was wheelieing down the back stretch in the lead in the main, so that looked pretty good. So, I don’t know, the competitors make a lot of horsepower so I guess you never know. I’m nervous, but honestly I was more nervous about the TT and the short track. I wasn’t sure whether we’d do really well in those races and we did really well. So who knows. Knock on wood, I might have the opposite problem when we get to the half-mile and mile. I hope all goes well.

Our competitors aren’t going to lay down and if you sit still between two races you’re going to go slower. A lot can happen but I feel better about those than the short stuff and the short stuff worked out well so we’ll keep knocking on wood and hope it keeps going well.

And the Winner of Indian Motorcycle’s “Project Chieftain” Is…

Show-Stopping Indian Chieftain Customs From Hollister Powersports, Coastal Indian Motorcycle of Murrels Inlet & Indian Motorcycle of Central Massachusetts Claim Top Honors

Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, proudly announced the three winners of its Project Chieftain custom motorcycle contest during Bike Week in Daytona Beach. Hollister Powersports’ (Hollister, CA) “Tequila Sunset” claimed top honors, with “America Proud” from Coastal Indian Motorcycle (Murrels Inlet, S.C.) and “Barnstorm” from Indian Motorcycle of Central Massachusetts (Worcester, MA) taking 2nd and 3rd place honors respectively.

Hollister Powersports Tequila Sunset Indian Chieftain

Hollister Powersports “Tequila Sunset” won top honors in Indian Motorcycles’ “Project Chieftain” contest. 

Following the success of the 2016 ‘Project Scout’ build contest, Indian renewed the competition for 2017, this time focusing on its popular hard bagger, the Indian Chieftain. The three-month contest invited Indian Motorcycle dealers to build a custom Indian Chieftain or Chieftain Dark Horse model using any theme, style or budget, as long as it incorporated at least three authentic Indian Motorcycle accessories.

“The collection of unbelievable customs that were produced for ‘Project Chieftain’ are a powerful testament to the significant customization capabilities of the Chieftain platform,” said Gary Gray, Indian Motorcycle Product Director. “It’s always such a pleasure to see the creativity and craftsmanship of our dealers, while showcasing for the rider how far one can go to make our bikes more personal to them.”

‘Project Chieftain’ kicked off on October 10, 2016, with the entry period closing on January 13, 2017. Fans voted online for eleven finalists during a two-week period from February 1-15, and the three winning bikes were on display during Daytona Bike Week. The dealers took home cash prizes of $20,000 for first place, $10,000 for second place and $5,000 for third place.

Tequila Sunset, the winning motorcycle designed by Hollister Powersports of Hollister, Calif., features the following modifications: a 23” custom front wheel, stretched front fender, raked triple trees, custom gold metallic paint, custom made side covers, custom made air cleaners, and frenched in turn signals in the saddle bags.

“America Proud” from Coastal Indian Motorcycle

“American Proud” by Coastal Indian Motorcycle, took second place in “Project Chieftain.”

American Proud, the second place winner designed by Coastal Indian Motorcycle of Murrells Inlet, S.C., honors the American men and women that created Indian in 1901 and recognizes the team that resurrected the brand. It also pays homage to the service men and women that protect our freedoms.

Barnstorm, the third place winner designed by Indian Motorcycle of Central Mass., was modified to elevate the aspects of Chieftain performance. Power output was increased with Indian Motorcycle performance cams, intake and a handmade stainless exhaust. Those modifications, paired with aggressive styling and stunt-inspired bars and controls bring the bike to an unprecedented level of power, agility and aesthetics.

“Barnstorm” from Indian Motorcycle of Central Massachusetts

“Barnstorm” by Indian Motorcycle of Central Massachusetts rounds out the top three in the “Project Chieftain” contest. 

Baggers with an undeniable presence, the 2017 Indian Chieftain and Chieftain Dark Horse are powered by the Thunder Stroke 111 engine and feature a 100 Watt premium audio system, TPMS, ABS, fairing with integrated driving lights and power windshield, cruise control, remote locking hard bags, keyless ignition, and much more. Plus, with more than 300 Authentic Indian Motorcycle Accessoriesavailable, they are easy to make your own.

Available in Thunder Black Pearl, White Smoke, Silver Smoke and a pair of two-tone palettes, the Indian Chieftain starts at $23,999 and comes standard with the highly lauded all-new 7” Ride Command infotainment system. The Chieftain Dark Horse, starting at $21,999, sports a premium 100W audio system and an ominous nose-to-tail matte black finish with minimal chrome for a menacing presence.

Learn more about Indian Motorcycle by visiting IndianMotorcycle.com and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram social media channels

Limited Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain Sells Out in 10 Minutes

Limited Edition Jack Daniel's Indian Chieftain

Iconic Brand Collaboration Drives Record-Setting Demand for Show-Stopping, Custom-Inspired Bagger, Designed by Brian Klock

Last Monday at Noon Eastern, Indian Motorcycle dealers began accepting pre-order deposits for the company’s recently unveiled Limited-Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain. By 12:10 p.m. Eastern, pre-order capacity of 100 units was filled.

The new limited-edition offering is the latest collaboration between America’s first motorcycle company and the iconic Tennessee whiskey distillery. In 2016, the collaboration produced a Limited-Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Springfield and Indian Chief Vintage with pre-order capacity of 150 units filled in merely 8 hours. This year it only took 10 minutes.

“This overwhelming level of demand is an incredible testament to the power of these two iconic American brands,” said Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries. “Without a doubt, this brand collaboration and motorcycle are tapping directly into a deep sense of patriotism and American pride. We couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.”

The custom-inspired Chieftain marks the second year the two iconic American trailblazers have collaborated to design and manufacture what is ultimately a unique V-twin-powered celebration of American craftsmanship. Both brands have long shared a mutual commitment to independence, originality, and ingenuity. Ultimately, that’s what the resulting limited-edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain represents. Based on the consumer response, it’s clear that these brands, and the principles they stand for, deeply resonate with American motorcyclists.

“Last year, we were blown away when we filled order capacity in eight hours. Clearly, we have tapped into something truly special, but to fill pre-order to capacity in 10 minutes is nothing short of incredible,” said Dave Stang, Director of Events and Sponsorships for Jack Daniel’s. “Ultimately, it’s critical to us that our partnered responsibility message of “Bottles & Throttles Don’t Mix” is heard as loud and clear as the roar of the 111” V-Twin motor that powers these Indian Chieftains. These incredible bikes are an important platform in carrying that message to consumers.”

The individually numbered motorcycles offer a wide array of custom details, highlighted by a one-of-a-kind white and black crystal paint job with charcoal colored accents inspired by Jack Daniel’s unique charcoal-mellowing process. A host of Jack Daniel’s “Old No. 7” logos and custom badging are interspersed throughout the bike, including logoed billet driver and passenger floorboards, leather tank pouch, aluminum tank console with motorcycle number, and unique cam, primary and air intake covers. The crowning detail is a handmade, pure silver Jack Daniel’s horn cover badge, hand-crafted by the team at Montana Silversmith, exclusively developed and produced only for this motorcycle. The bike also carries an inscription of Jack Daniel’s “Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix” mantra to remind riders that drinking and riding are meant to be enjoyed separately.

In addition to the bike’s unique custom-branded accents, the Limited-Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain also features a 19-inch, contrast cut front wheel with an open fender and a host of premium touring amenities including LED headlight and driving lights, power adjustable flare windshield, gloss black front and rear highway bar, 200-watt premium audio system with fairing and saddlebag speakers, and Indian Motorcycle’s proprietary Ride Command infotainment system.

Only 100 of these show-stopping Limited Edition Indian Chieftain’s were available globally, each coming with a commemorative American flag handmade from Jack Daniel’s barrel wood. Each flag is customized to include the owner’s name, motorcycle number and VIN. The individually numbered bikes carry an MSRP of $34,999 (California models add $250 for California emissions) and a Canada MSRP of $42,499. Each comes with a two-year unlimited mileage factory warranty and free membership in the Indian Motorcycle Riders Group for one year.

Sons of Speed From A Racer’s View

Professionally I am a motojournalist. For fun I am a vintage motorcycle enthusiast. And I was able to combine the two this past week at the first ever Sons of Speed race at the tail end of Daytona Bike Week. As the only journalist crazy enough to get out on a high banked race track on a 100-year-old motorcycle with no brakes, suspension, transmission or clutch, I wanted to share some of my experiences and observations here. Most journalists hang around the pits or track looking for a good story, I wanted to experience racing Sons of Speed for myself.

Buzz Kanter being interviewed with his 1915 Harley racer at the first ever Sons of Speed races at New Smyrna Speedway

I will be going into a lot more detail about the behind the scenes and actual Sons of Speed races in the pages of American Iron Magazine, but I wanted to share a bit of the story here and now.

These motorcycles are all direct drive, meaning if the engine is running, the rear wheel is spinning. So we could not practice anywhere but literally on the track. The first day of practice we all were trying to figure out how to ride the bikes and the fastest way around the track. We’d push the bike up on the high banking – often with the spearkplugs out to make pushing easier. Then we roll down the banking to spin the engine enough to start. The starting was brutal on the bike and rider as you are trying to balance the bike and get it to fire as you lift up your feet and get them on the pegs.

Rhett Rotten sliding out at the Sons of Speed practice. He broke 2 ribs and was back racing the next day

To our surprise there was only one accident on the track. And that was when Rhett Rotten, a Wall of Death rider, suffered a rear tire blow out. He and the bike slid, jumped and bounced down the track at close to 60+ mph. He broke two ribs and after a visit to the local hospital was back on the track for the races.

All the Sons of Speed racers on race day. Notice the crowded stands.

When we finally got out to race Saturday, they had us in four heat races. The plan was the winners of the four move to the finals. And the 2nd place racers in each heat raced for a spot in the main.

I am not going to go blow by blow here, but in the first heat Billy Lane jumped out at the start and took the lead with me following and two others behind me.

Buzz Kanter (white leathers) and Billy Lane (black leathers) at the Sons of Speed races.

I was able to stay within 10 bike lengths or so of Billy until the last lap when I was able to slide past him and hold the lead for the win.

Made it to the main where I was able to hold on to 4th place with Brittney Olsen taking the win with her fast bike and smooth riding. Full report with lots more photos in an upcoming issue of American Iron Magazine. If you don’t currently subscribe, do it now to make sure you get the issue with the race coverage AND save money too. SUBSCRIBE & SAVE

Indian Motorcycle Unveils Limited Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain

Limited Edition Jack Daniel's Indian Chieftain

Second-Year Partnership Between Iconic American Brands Delivers Another Show-Stopping, Custom-Inspired Bagger, Designed by Brian Klock

Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, and the Jack Daniel Distillery, America’s first registered distillery, today announced the availability of a Limited Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain. The new custom-inspired Chieftain marks the second year the two iconic American trailblazers have joined forces to build a unique V-twin-powered celebration of American craftsmanship. The motorcycle brings together two brands that share a mutual commitment to independence, originality, and ingenuity.

Designed in conjunction with Klock Werks Kustom Cycles of Mitchell, S.D., the Limited Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain conveys an intimidating presence while maintaining an ultra-premium look. Designed with a sleek, aggressive style, this extremely limited edition motorcycle is sure to turn heads.

The individually numbered motorcycles offer a wide array of custom details, highlighted by a one-of-a-kind white and black crystal paint job with charcoal colored accents inspired by Jack Daniel’s unique charcoal-mellowing process. A host of Jack Daniel’s “Old No. 7” logos and custom badging are interspersed throughout the bike, including logoed billet driver and passenger floorboards, leather tank pouch, aluminum tank console with motorcycle number, and unique cam, primary and air intake covers. The crowning detail is a handmade, pure silver Jack Daniel’s horn cover badge, hand-crafted by the team at Montana Silversmith, exclusively developed and produced only for this motorcycle. The bike also carries an inscription of Jack Daniel’s “Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix” mantra to remind riders that drinking and riding are meant to be enjoyed separately.

In addition to the bike’s unique custom-branded accents, the Limited Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain also features a 19-inch, contrast cut front wheel with an open fender and a host of premium touring amenities including LED headlight and driving lights, power adjustable flare windshield, gloss black front and rear highway bar, 200-watt premium audio system with fairing and saddlebag speakers, and Indian Motorcycle’s proprietary Ride Command infotainment system.

Only 100 of these show-stopping Limited Edition Chieftain’s are available globally, and each comes with a commemorative American flag handmade from Jack Daniel’s barrel wood. Each flag will be customized to include the owner’s name, motorcycle number and VIN. The individually numbered bikes carry an MSRP of $34,999 (California models add $250 for California emissions) and a Canada MSRP of $42,499. Each comes with a two-year unlimited mileage factory warranty and free membership in the Indian Motorcycle Riders Group™ for one year.

To order one of these highly sought after limited edition motorcycles, please visit or call your local Indian Motorcycle dealership starting at Noon Eastern on March 14th. Only 100 motorcycles will be produced and will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Specific motorcycle numbers may not be reserved. Each of these motorcycles will be hand-painted and built, with delivery occurring no later than August 2017.

“You won’t find two brands that better represent the American dream and the power of American ingenuity more than Indian Motorcycle and Jack Daniel’s,” said Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries. “Once again, Brian Klock and his team at Klock Werks Kustoms exceeded our expectations with a totally unique Indian Chieftain that combines a sense of exclusivity with a tough, aggressive edge. We couldn’t be happier with it.”

The collaboration began in 2016 when the two iconic brands came together to create the Limited Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Springfield and Indian Chief Vintage in celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Jack Daniel Distillery. All 150 available motorcycles sold out in only eight hours.

“The response to last year’s collaboration was nothing short of spectacular, and we’re extremely proud to carry this partnership forward in 2017 to further reinforce our ‘Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix’ campaign,” said Dave Stang, Director of Events and Sponsorships for Jack Daniel’s. “Both Jack Daniel’s and Indian Motorcycle were born from a singular vision, powered by a relentless sense of ambition to bring a dream to life, and that’s ultimately what this Limited Edition Jack Daniel’s Indian Chieftain represents.”

Harley Expands Street Line, Launches 2017 Street Rod

Inverted 43mm fork, a new speed cowl, 17″ wheels, and a new seat spruce up the Street line.

Ah, so here we are again. Harley-Davidson, with its century-old heritage and wisdom, needs to sink its hooks into another generation of  young riders, thus bolstering the future of the brand by banking on customer loyalty, the bravado of the Bar and Shield, the familial feeling among Harley riders, and remaining the perennial cool kid on the block.  Alas, the question plaguing many big corporations trying to tap into the youth remains–how?

When Harley announced the new Street lineup in 2013, subsequently introducing it in 2014, this represented a shift in thinking. The Street 500 and 750 were the first lightweight models to roll out of the minds in Milwaukee since the Sprints of the ’70s. (The Kansas City factory handles North American production and shipping, and the factory in Bawal, India, handles production for overseas markets. H-D outsourced production of the smaller-displacement models there as early as 2011.) The models featured the Revolution X motor, which, like the V-Rod’s Revolution, is liquid-cooled and employs a single overhead cam; the differences, however, span beyond displacement, including a single internal counterbalancer, vertically split crankcases, and screw and locknut valve adjustment. In a two-pronged strategy, H-D set its sights on two major demographics with distant but similar tastes, both of which demanded a larger chunk of The Motor Company’s attention: Millennials (specifically new riders) and the Southeastern Asia market.

And while the new Street family received more of a distant cousin’s welcoming party in North America, the overwhelming reaction from Asia remained positive. In a land where lightweight, maneuverable, cost-effective, 500cc-and-less motorcycles are the main mode of transportation and commuting, Harley seemed to have finally and successfully embraced the market overseas. And if those specific tastes sound like a lot of the scoots (hmm…cafes and scramblers) you see in your city, well Harley smells what’s cooking.

There she blows, a new entry-level bike ready to hop from borough to borough.

Welcome to the fray the 2017 Harley-Davidson Street Rod, this designation repurposed from the V-Rod’s discontinued model. That’s where the comparisons end, however, as this Street Rod is the third member in the Street family and the first to feature a new, updated motor, the High Output Revolution X 750. That’s right, another new Harley motor. Only this time around, the design team merely revamped the liquid-cooled Revolution X with a larger air box, dual-throttle body, revised four-valve cylinder heads and high-lift camshafts, and a more voluminous muffler. Plus, the compression ratio bounds up to 12:1. With the target market ostensibly 18-34 year-old city dwellers, the brand-new Street Rod, equipped with the new High Output Revolution X 750, should be capable in the midrange, bopping through the accordion of stop-and-go traffic and offering the necessary giddyup.

The Street Rod’s air intake is inspired by superchargers, drawing attention to the new motor and helping with the power gains.

Rolling stock is new, too, with two fresh 17″ Split 7-Spoke black cast wheels, front and rear, wrapped in new Michelin Scorcher 21 radials. Up front, a 43mm inverted fork handles bumps, and coil-over rear shocks have an external reservoir to increase fluid capacity and improve control; rear travel increases to 4.6″. The seat was specifically designed for the Street Rod, a sporty piece that might call to mind something on, say, an XR1200. It’ll help achieve the leaned-over, aggressive riding style which many young guns employ carving through the city on brief jaunts. Couple that with a 29.4″ seat, 3.7″ higher, more gracious lean angle, and a drag bar, and you have yourself a sportier design capable of handling all the city terrors.

The drag handlebar moves the rider forward, and the bar-ends are a nice touch in cleaning up the front end.

 

Coil-over suspension with an external reservoir helps with control and adjustments.

Harley has good reason to expand the Street lineup. This is an entry-level motorcycle, one that allows a new rider to flaunt the Bar and Shield and break into the sport with style. As a bonus, Harley can start to cultivate its next crop of riders who may eventually upgrade to cruisers and, later, Touring models. Funnel the young through the ranks, and start that process early. Figures actually back up Harley’s augmentation; as maligned as the Street 500 and 750 might have seemed, sales of  Sportster and Street models increased from 23,396 in the first quarter of 2014 to 29,149 in the first quarter of 2015.

Consider this. CivicScience conducted a survey over the course of a year that compared adults ages 18 and up, regardless of gender, to adults ages 18-34 (Millennials, yo).  A simple question: Do you currently own a motorcycle? Of those aged 18 and up, 11% answered either, “Yes, but I need a new one,” or, “No, but I plan to buy one soon.” Of the Millennial demo, 14% are in the market for either their first bike or a new one.

Can Harley finesse its way into the tight pockets of new riders?  Offering a liquid-cooled, small-displacement package at a fair price point, one that represents enduring tradition, shows that Harley-Davidson is paying attention to all its markets and is starting to break from the norm while retaining standards that loyalists desire. Build from within, out. And tapping in to the Millennial market ain’t a bad way to expand your business model.

 

Indian Motorcycle Ready to Storm Daytona Beach Bike Week

Indian Motorcycle logo

Indian’s 2017 Model Lineup & Carey Hart’s Custom Chieftain Headline the Iconic Brand’s Presence in Daytona During Bike Week

Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, today announced a comprehensive Daytona Bike Week experience that includes a custom bagger showcase, demo rides for all new 2017 models, and a 2017 Chieftain sweepstakes. From Carey Hart’s custom Chieftain bagger on Main Street to the all-new Roadmaster Classic at the Speedway, Indian Motorcycle will have a presence throughout Daytona for all Bike Week-goers to enjoy.

In addition, Indian’s new “Wrecking Crew,” backed by Allstate Motorcycle Insurance and featuring one of the most stacked lineups in flat track racing history, will make its debut at the American Flat Track season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday, March 16. The team includes 2016 Champion Bryan Smith, along with two of the sports most decorated riders, Brad Baker and Jared Mees. The team will be armed with Indian’s Scout FTR750 for what is certain to be an unforgettable season.

“This year, Bike Week is extra special for us, in large part to the season opening race at Daytona Speedway where Indian makes its return to the American Flat Track series with our incredible new ‘Wrecking Crew,’” said Reid Wilson. “In addition, we’re thrilled to give fans in Daytona a chance to experience a lineup of one-of-a-kind custom Chieftains, and test ride some of our new models, including the new Roadmaster Classic.”

Below are highlights of the Daytona Bike Week action Indian Motorcycle has planned.

Display at Main Street (Main St. & N. Wild Olive Ave.)
See what’s new from Indian Motorcycle at the Main Street display and enter to win a 2017 Chieftain. The two Indian dealers who recorded the most votes for their custom Chieftain bagger during a two-week ‘Project Chieftain’ voting period will be proudly displayed on Main Street during Bike Week alongside Carey Hart’s custom Chieftain build.

Displays and Demo Rides at Daytona International Speedway (International Speedway Blvd.)
9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Daily Saturday 3/11 – Saturday 3/18; Last Ride Leaves at 4:30 p.m.
Among the various activations taking place throughout Daytona Bike Week, Indian Motorcycle will have a significant presence at Daytona International Speedway where attendees can view a variety of displays, including:

• Entire 2017 Indian Motorcycle lineup, accessories and apparel
• Custom Chieftain baggers from Indian dealers who participated in the ‘Project Chieftain’ contest
• Carey Hart’s Scout Hooligan race bike
• Indian Motorcycle’s premier flat track race bike, the Scout FTR750 – which will offer a flat track display for photo opportunities for fans

Additionally, Bike Week attendees will have the chance to ride the entire 2017 line-up of Indian motorcycles, including the Indian Scout, Indian Chieftain, Indian Roadmaster Classic, among others. Ride multiple bikes, compare, and decide which Indian Motorcycle models best suit your riding style. Demo rides are free and available to those with a valid motorcycle endorsement and proper attire.

Indian Motorcycle Racing returns to the flat track.

Flat Track Opening Ceremony (Main St. & N. Wild Olive Ave.)
Flat Track Opening Ceremony festivities commence at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, celebrating Indian Motorcycle’s return to Flat Track for the 2017 AMA Season.

Daytona TT AMA Flat Track Race (Daytona International Speedway)
Celebrate Indian Motorcycle’s return to AMA Flat Track at the inaugural race of the 2017 season and root for the all-new Indian Wrecking Crew race team, comprised of three of the most successful and decorated flat track riders in the sport, including 2016 Grand National Champion Bryan Smith, 2013 Grand National Champion Brad Baker, and three-time Grand National Champion Jared Mees. The inaugural race of the season takes place Saturday, March 16 at 6 p.m.

Indian Motorcycle of Daytona Beach (290 North Beach Street)
Open daily, visit the dealership in the heart of Daytona Beach to check out Indian’s full 2017 line-up. At this exclusive location, Indian owners can retrieve a limited edition Indian Motorcycle race-inspired patch to commemorate their 2017 Bike Week experience.

Mobile Demos (Daytona Beach)
Indian wrapped trailers will be traveling to highly populated locations throughout Daytona and offering demo rides for select models from the 2017 lineup throughout the duration of Bike Week.

Daytona Taproom Takeover (310 Seabreeze Blvd)
In partnership with Daytona Taproom, Indian Motorcycle will be “taking over” and serving-up cold beer and three Indian Motorcycle-inspired specialty burgers.

Destination Daytona at Klock Werkz Kustom Cycles
Alongside Brian Klock and Klock Werkz Kustom Cycles, Indian Motorcycle will display various Chieftain models throughout the duration of Bike Week.

Indian Motorcycle Owners Event (Daytona International Speedway)
Join us Thursday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Daytona International Speedway including the track, pits and paddock. After that, you’ll have a private meet and greet with the 2017 Indian Wrecking Crew Race Team – “Flyin” Bryan Smith, Brad “The Bullet” Baker and Jared “Jammer” Mees. Then, you’ll get a close look at the all-new Indian FTR750 race bike the Wrecking Crew will compete on. Visit the Events section on www.IndianMotorcycle.com for registration details.