2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse: First Ride Review

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2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse: First Ride Review

Well, a lot. Starting with the design, minimalism is the name of the game here. Gone are the large swooping fenders and headlight bezel, giving way to a smaller naked headlight and chopped fenders. This has not, however, robbed it of its greatness; the all-black theme, thoroughly exposed chassis, shotgun-style dual exhausts and fat tires are sure to turn heads on the road.

Indian Chief Dark Horse Instrument Panel

Where a welcoming change has taken place is in the technology department. The highlight here is the four-inch, round TFT display that holds a surprising amount of data for a modern-retro offering. First, there are two theme options for the main screen: one that shows various parameters in a concise format and the other, cleaner, which only displays the basic stuff.

Indian Chief Dark Horse Instrument Panel

Apart from the odometer and trip meters, you have the option to track information about each trip individually. This ‘Current Ride’ screen shows numbers such as distance traveled, ride time and altitude. The display can also be connected to your smartphone to access music controls, receive call and message notifications, and navigation. I couldn’t test the Bluetooth because the dash isn’t compatible with the latest version of OnePlus phones, I’m told. Damn!

Indian Chief Dark Horse Instrument Panel

Anyway, what’s impressive is that the screen is touch sensitive while also being able to fiddle with via the buttons on the switchgear. And then with things like automatic brightness adjustment, it comes across as an overly modern setup on a retro-styled machine.

Other modern features include full LED lighting, keyless ignition, USB charging port, cruise control and ABS. There are also three riding modes! Choosing one from touring, standard and sport mode essentially changes throttle response without tinkering with power.

Indian Chief Dark Horse front wheel

Now let’s look at a few numbers, as they play an important role in the overall driving experience. The Chief is extremely tall with a wheelbase of 1,626mm, sits low with 125mm of ground clearance and is super heavy at 304kg. How does all this translate to the road? Carry with me.

The bike rides on a combination of 19-16-inch alloy wheels with front suspension by 132mm telescopic forks and 75mm pre-adjustable twin shock absorbers at the rear. Braking power comes from a 300mm disc at both ends.

Indian Chief Dark Horse motorbike from left

As for the powerhouse, the Chief runs on an 1890cc, V-twin, air-cooled engine that Indian calls the Thunderstroke 116. It produces an enormous maximum torque of 162 Nm at just 3,200 rpm. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It is.