Indian Challenger (2020) in the driving report

Indian Challenger (2020) in the driving report

First trip with the new excavator

EICMA 2019

Big American V-Twins are stubborn straight strollers? Objection from Indian: Their new excavator, the Challenger, is a nasty 1800s high-end hot rod with a radio and suitcases. Pow-Wow with 122 hp and 178 Newton meters.

B.eef is beef and slang for Zoff: The Indians from Minnesota are now escalating it further by bombing another big US traditional brand, the one from Milwaukee, with a completely redesigned excavator including a brand new “Power-Plus” propellant into the home area. Another excavator? Well, trends come and go, even with the Big American V-Twin. Its well-known serving form, as a classic full dresser with leg shield and top case, is considered old-fashioned. The simple cruiser? Not suitable for touring in America. The trendy shape for mighty V-engines: large front wheel, towering front with frame-fixed shell, silhouette sloping towards the rear, and finally solid suitcases. Excavators are the hot shit, that‘s where the music is playing in the lucrative US market. All right?

Head-on attack on Harley’s Road Glide

“Challenger”, “challenger”, is the name of the newest Indian then a declaration of intent. The heart of the frontal attack on Harley’s Road Glide: the new engine, a water-cooled 60-degree V2. Four-valve technology, one overhead camshaft, compression 11: 1, hydraulic valve lifters and rocker arms, two powerful 52 mm intake manifolds, and finally, good God, even a short-stroke design – modern technology. And yet American, because the boiler measures 1,768 cubic meters.

Indian, Barry Hathaway

The Big American V-Twin is fully up to date. Premium not only in design, but also in technology and driving behavior.

With the salty scent of the Pacific in the nose, the California Highway One between Santa Barbara and San Jose spreads out in front of us as a harmonious backdrop as immensely as the motorcycle itself: 2.50 meters total length, 360 kilos dry weight. We take a seat and register: Extremely comfortable bench, space without end, long-distance cruiser ergonomics, which, however, does not completely slip away towards grandfather’s wing chair; it fits. The 108-cubic-inch motor announces its creative urge with a powerful, sinister hammer, and even when standing still it distances itself from the Lanzbulldog-lyrical gurgling of air-cooled bumper motors. Vibrations? He lives, and above all breathes, but does not shake. Careful tug on the throttle: Hui.

122 hp and 178 Newton meters

Spontaneous, free cranking, and wonderfully dirty, promising snot ‘n’ roll from the chimney pipes. Despite servo assistance, the cable clutch needs a paw, and when it is cold it also engages a bit rough – a fact that will come with the operating temperature. That would have been achieved, the promised 122 hp and 178 Newton meters, which, by the way, should also gallop with more restrictive EU homologation, would like to be checked. Let it stand, from the very bottom to the very top: Even before 1,500 revolutions, the twin runs smoothly, the Challenger takes on momentum. Up to 2,500, there is a pleasantly elastic driving range with sovereign, but not overwhelming power given the vehicle’s weight – this comes from the brand mentioned.

Indian, Barry Hathaway

The Indian Challanger is available in gray, black, red and blue.

Through the mid-rev range, the engine whirls increasingly uninhibited, soon thundering angrily, finally thundering hoarse, only to hammer into a soft limit well beyond the red range at 6,000 revolutions with not really ebbing vigor. New spheres for fat US twins, and violent how this motorcycle tears away the asphalt. Even what a bitter soundscape it spreads out. Will we Europeans also get this pleasure? In any case, the punch is American Muscle, exuding hot rod vibes. “Power Plus” masters strolling, but with its factory-tuned nature, it encourages you to load up.

Indian Challenger with decent lean angles

A pace that the chassis knows how to deal with: A very torsion-resistant aluminum backbone frame, fixed USD fork, relatively long spring travel for an American ship (perfect comfort), double disc and Brembo monoblocks as a noble braking system, very decent lean angle, as the icing on the cake a special Metzeler Cruisetec with a fine grip – this shot putter dances, and if need be, rumba.

Indian, Barry Hathaway

The expansive cladding effectively protects the upper body from wind, the shield can be extended electrically. LED light show. Nice?

Steers in with justifiable effort, which is neutral and surprisingly accurate until the late scrap, dampens correctly, hides its mass quite cleverly and yet offers that kinetic wrecking ball driving experience that only motorcycles in the seven-hundredweight league offer. Crucial: This wrecking ball only swings where you want it to go. The Indians are so sure of their cause that they simply let the competing product go along with the presentation. With reservation: From a purely objective point of view, the Challenger can do everything better than a Road Glide, much better than a lot.

22.7 liters fit in the tank

Also on board are Bosch IMU padded ABS and lean angle-dependent traction control (very good control behavior), three driving modes and, with the "Ride Command", excellent connectivity infotainment, which can even put weather information on the current navigation – a feature that you already have long wished. With 22.7 liters in the tank and of course with the suitcases, which at least offer some space, a Challenger like this is sure to be a great touring motorcycle.

Power plus motor

Indian, Barry Hathaway

The Big American V-Twin was thought completely without nostalgia. The result is good running smoothness and a fierce power output: no swinging shaker, but hot rod ex works.

V2, 60 degrees cylinder angle, one overhead camshaft and four valves, hydraulic valve lifters and rocker arms, 2 x 52 millimeter intake manifold injection, relatively short-stroke 1,768 cubic centimeters: the Big American V-Twin was thought without nostalgia. The result is good running smoothness and a fierce power output: no swinging shaker, but hot rod ex works.


The only points of criticism we cite a stereo system from which we had hoped for more, as well as the fact that the tear-off edge of the electrically adjustable windshield (good protection of the upper body) is annoying in the field of vision. Otherwise, we felt a lot of “California Love” for the new Indian: the Big American V-Twin fully up to date. Premium not only in design, but also in technology and driving behavior. Keyword premium: prices have not yet been finalized, but should be between 30 and 35 million depending on the equipment.

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