The legendary Chief series from Indian has always leaned towards the full-on cruiser experience but the newest iteration shifts the focus to the sportier side. Dubbed the ‘Sport Chief’, it is the most assertive iteration of the Chief range, arriving with a range of upgrades for a more ‘aggressive’ riding experience. A cursory glance immediately tells it apart from its chrome-laden siblings, courtesy of a new quarter-fairing, new moto-style bar on 6-inch risers along with leaner look. Oh, and it’s also got bit a fair bit of power behind it. Looks like Indian finally listened to the masses.
“Since launching in 2021, the reimagined Indian Chief has garnered incredible feedback from riders all around the world,” Mike Dougherty, president of Indian Motorcycles said. “With the introduction of Sport Chief, the 2023 Indian Chief line-up is more diverse than ever– offering a wide range of performance and styling options to meet each rider’s unique personality and riding preferences.”
Just like on the Indian Challenger models, the Sport Chief gets KYB inverted front forks plus dual-disc, four-piston, semi-floating calliper, and radial-mounted Brembo brakes. A sharper riding position is explained by an enhanced lean angle to 29.5 degrees, compared to other Indian Chief models while piggyback rear FOX shocks increase travel to four-inches. Elsewhere, there are mid-mount foot controls and a solo gunfighter seat plus there are sport cast wheels wrapped in Pirelli Night Dragon tires, a four-gallon fuel tank, bobbed rear fender, dual exhaust, LED lighting, keyless ignition, and three selectable ride modes, including Sport, Standard and Tour.
Needless to say, there is a boatload of extra tech and hardware on this new motorcycle, and it hasn’t come easy. Ola Stenegärd, director, industrial design for Indian Motorcycle, revealed that the task of creating a new bike that had the same level of American ingenuity fans had come to love, coupled with a refreshed approach to riding was not lost on him.
“In 2021, we celebrated the 100-year anniversary of Indian Chief with a line-up that pays homage to the glory days of American motorcycling,” Stenegärd said. “With Sport Chief, we wanted to maintain the same care-free attitude and American muscle but elevate it even further with componentry that not only delivers a style and attitude that exudes performance but raises the bar entirely for performance cruisers.”
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Things stay largely the same when it comes to the powertrain with a blacked-out Thunderstroke 116 motor which delivers 120 ft-lbs of torque. The ‘Ride Command’ system from India makes its way here too with a 4-inch touchscreen where riders can cycle through multiple interfaces, including two different gauge configurations, bike and ride information, and turn-by-turn navigation with connected features like weather and traffic overlays.
Available in Black Smoke, Ruby Smoke, Stealth Gray, and Spirit Blue Smoke, the Sport Chief is a welcome addition to the Indian Chief range and expands its brand reach towards a more aggressive riding style. We certainly dig this.
2023 Indian Sport Chief Specs
Bore x Stroke: 4.063 in x 4.449 in (103.2 mm x 113 mm)
Compression Ratio: 11:1
Displacement: 116 cu in (1,890 cc)
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 54 mm bore
Engine Type: Air-cooled Thunderstroke 116
Exhaust: Dual Exhaust w/ Crossover
Fuel Capacity: 4.0 gal (15.1 L)
Ground Clearance: 5.9 in (149 mm)
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