AutoTrader Awards 2019 – Chieftain Darkhorse Best Cruiser

21/08/2019

 

American upstart Harley rivals Indian up the game yet again its restyled, updated ‘bagger’ rival to H-D’s hugely popular (in the US) Street Glide. The Chieftain was always potent and useful, now it’s better than ever.

The old Chieftain bagger was already a great, handsome bike, but a little held back, if anything, by its classic Indian, 1930s art deco styling. With this new version it’s been given a more mainstream makeover with new fairing, mudguards and more (though it keeps the iconic Indian ‘war bonnet’ fender emblem) that have shades of its great Harley rival. While in this special ‘Dark Horse’ spec it comes in one of three moody satin paint finishes complete with blacked-out engine and exhaust. Striking it is.

This is more like it. While US-style ‘baggers’ may not be renown for their performance or economy, when it comes to luxuries and equipment these behemoth tourers are usually second only to full-dress tourers in terms of the numbers of toys that come with them. This new Chieftain is a classic example, boasting not only new rider modes, plus the usual screen and panniers, cruise control, heated grips and so on but also an all-new ‘Ride Command Infotainment’ system which, via a large, full-color, TFT touchscreen, boasts satnav, stereo, Bluetooth and more.