Type to search

Blacked-Out & Bad to the Bone – Indian Chieftain Dark Horse First Look

Feature News Indian News

Blacked-Out & Bad to the Bone – Indian Chieftain Dark Horse First Look

Introducing the 2017 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse.
Introducing the 2017 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse.

Introducing the 2016 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse.

Indian Motorcycle Company has been shaking up the status quo of the American cruiser motorcycle segment since it landed in the hands of Polaris, Inc. Tapping into the brand’s heritage and injecting it with modern performance and technology, the company’s combination of solidly built bikes and aggressive marketing strategies has steadily cut into Harley-Davidson’s market share.

The motorcycle that created the biggest stir when Polaris relaunched the brand was the Chieftain. Never before had Indian released a hard bagger, especially one with a regal disposition and a stomping powerplant like the Thunder Stroke 111. At the Sturgis debut of the initial Indian lineup, the Chieftain was the star and has been a solid competitor to Harley’s hugely popular Road Glide and Street Glide baggers since its release.

The plot thickens as Indian is now offering a blacked-out version of its hot-selling bagger. There’s something about splashing a bike in matte black that gives it a raw, edgy attitude. The 2016 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse has the blacked-out treatment from fender-to-fender, including the engine.

And while a darker, more menacing version of the Chieftain is a welcome sight, what piques our interest even more are the performance upgrades Indian is offering for the Thunder Stroke 111. The package includes Stage 2 Performance Cams, a Thunder Stroke High Flow Air Cleaner, and Stage 1 Exhaust. The combination reportedly provides snappier throttle response and a bigger punch.

We’ll test those claims tomorrow as American Iron Magazine is headed to Los Angeles to ride one. After putting in some city miles, we’re headed up the California coast to the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, then continuing north to Oregon in order to give the 2016 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse a proper shakedown. Keep an eye out for a full ride review in an upcoming edition of American Iron Magazine.

2017 Indian Chieftain Dark Horse engine

One of the most exciting things about the new Indian Chieftain Dark Horse is the performance package it’s offering for the Thunder Stroke 111. The package includes Stage 2 Performance Cams, a Thunder Stroke High Flow Air Cleaner, and Stage 1 Exhaust.

Here’s the official press release on the latest Indian Motorcycle along with a spec sheet.

Indian Motorcycle, America’s first motorcycle company, has launched the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse, a blacked-out hard bagger that allows riders to easily customize their ride and hit the highway in head-turning style.

A bagger with undeniable presence, the Chieftain Dark Horse offers a ton of matte black, a flicker of chrome, and a wealth of features to roll as one of the most bad-ass American-made V-Twin bikes on the market. The Chieftain Dark Horse conveys an aggressive attitude that demands attention for all the right reasons.

Powered by a blacked-out version of the celebrated Thunder Stroke 111 engine and built upon the same highly lauded chassis and suspension as the Indian Chieftain, the new Chieftain Dark Horse comes from the factory outfitted with a solo seat and short, tinted power windscreen, yet maintains its spacious power-locking hard bags, ABS, electronic cruise control, tire pressure monitoring system, premium stereo with AM/FM Bluetooth and smartphone compatible input, and remote key fob with keyless ignition.

To amplify the Dark Horse family attributes, not only are the fenders, fairing, fuel tank and bags blacked out, the iconic Indian Motorcycle headdress, forks, mirrors, handlebars and switch cubes, turn signals, tank console, engine and airbox cover, lower controls, floorboards and taillight housing are also blacked out.

Of course, Indian Motorcycle also offers a large selection of authentic factory accessories to further individualize your already stealthy ride, including new Blackout series accessory air cleaners, performance cams and slip-on exhausts, as well as pumping up the stereo with 100-watt saddlebag lid speakers.

“The Indian Chieftain Dark Horse’s blacked-out styling and powerful Thunder Stroke 111 engine will elevate our rider to the top of the pack,” says Indian Motorcycle Marketing Director Reid Wilson. “Starting with the award-winning Chieftain platform, the Dark Horse series signature matte black paint and raw attitude is an open canvas for customization that makes it the perfect bike for riders who are ready to ‘Be Legendary’.”

The Indian Chieftain Dark Horse comes with a two-year unlimited mileage factory warranty and is available in dealerships now starting at just $ 21,999. For more information, visit www.IndianMotorcycle.com.

Indian Chieftain Dark Horse

Indian gave its hard bagger the blacked-out treatment, the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse looking more menacing than ever as a result.

BLACKED-OUT STYLING: It’s black from top to bottom, including the wheels, forks, handlebars, engine, bodywork – even the iconic headdress up front.

THUNDER STROKE 111: The proven, powerful Thunder Stroke 111 engine serves up 119 ft-lbs of torque, and is finished primarily in black.

TOURING AMENITIES: With a commanding power-windscreen equipped fairing and lockable hard bags out back, you’re ready to rack up miles in style and comfort.

PREMIUM AUDIO: The Indian Chieftain Dark Horse features a premium audio system with an AM/FM stereo, Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone compatible input. 100-watt premium audio from dual high-output speakers in the fairing deliver quality sound, and you can further boost the volume of your tunes with accessory 100- watt saddlebag lid audio.

KEYLESS IGNITION: Keyless starting is secure and convenient. With the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse key fob in your pocket, climb on the bike, push a button and ride. If you misplace the fob, use the individual security code you pre-program into the ignition.


PERFORMANCE: Rev up enhanced performance with these blacked-out performance accessories that unleash more power, improved throttle response, and add a rich and throaty exhaust note with Stage 1 Exhaust, a Thunder Stroke High Flow Air Cleaner, and Stage 2 Performance Cams. Install this performance package and you’ll feel like you’re riding a new bike. For ultimate style, add Fish Tail or Six Shooter exhaust tips.

APE HANGER HANDLEBARS: Add custom style, a comfortable reach to the controls, and a load of attitude with the black Ape Hanger Handlebar Kit. You’ll enjoy the riding position, and on every ride you’ll cop an attitude like you own the road.

PREMIUM AUDIO WITH COLOR MATCHED SADDLEBAG LIDS: Treat yourself to powerful audio by installing Premium Saddlebag Audio. Combined with the Matte Black Saddlebag Audio Lids (required & sold separately), the audio in the color-matched saddlebag lids ensures you’ll hear your road trip playlists loud and clear.

BLACKED-OUT STYLE: Go full throttle with your blacked-out custom style. Switch to all-black Floorboards, and install black Fender Trim and Saddlebag Trim that replace stock chrome pieces. The black Front Highway Bar adds black custom style, tip-over protection, and a comfortable perch for your feet when cruising.


Engine Type – 49˚ V-Twin
Transmission – 6-speed/constant mesh/foot shift
Battery – 12 volts / 18 amp/hour, 310 CCA
Bore x Stroke – 3.976” x 4.449” (101 mm x 113 mm)
Clutch – Wet, multi-plate
Compression Ratio – 9.5 : 1
Cooling System – Air / Oil
Displacement – 111 cu in / 1811 cc
Exhaust – Split dual exhaust with crossover
Final Drive – Belt drive, 152 tooth
Fuel Capacity – 5.5 gal / 20.8 ltr
Fuel System – Electronic fuel injection, closed loop/54 mm bore
Oil Capacity – 5.5 qts / 5.20 ltr
Primary Drive – Gear drive wet clutch
Torque -119.2 ft-lbs at 3000 rpm

Front Suspension – Telescopic fork, 46 mm diameter, 4.7 in / 119 mm travel
Rear Suspension – Single shock 4.5 in / 114 mm travel, air adjustable

Dry Weight – 803 lbs / 364 kg
Ground Clearance – 5.6 in / 142 mm
GVWR – 1,385 lbs / 630 kg
Length – 101.2 in / 2571 mm
Rake/Trail – 25° / 5.9 in / 150 mm
Seat Height – 26 in / 660 mm
Wheelbase – 65.7 in / 1668 mm

Brake System Type – Individual front and rear control with ABS
Front Braking System – Dual 300 mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers
Rear Braking System – Single 300 mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper

Front Tire – Dunlop Elite 3, 130/90B16 73H
Front Wheel – Cast 16” x 3.5”
Rear Tire – Dunlop Elite 3 180/60R16 80H
Rear Wheel – Cast 16” x 5.0”
COLOR & MSRP Thunder Black Smoke $ 21,999