cruiser motorcycles

Indian Chief Standard: Specs, Features, Background, Performance, & More

Indian Chief Standard: Specs, Features, Background, Performance, & More

Indian models are some of the best motorcycles in the world. And while the Indian motorcycle company is renowned for its lightweight Scout motorcycles, the Indian Chief is the most admired lineup due to its rich background, massive engine power, impressive technical specifications, and superior ergonomic design.

The Chiefs are uniquely American and true to Indian’s tagline, they allow the riders to “be legendary.”

The Indian Chief’s Thunder Stroke 111 engine, six-speed transmission, reliable brakes, sturdy suspensions, drag style handlebars, low-slung seat, silky paint job, and Indian emblem attracts riders of all ages and levels of experience.

This customizable bike allows riders to express their innovative creativity. Moreover, it is used extensively for long hauls and freeway rides.

To help you find out whether this  cruiser is the perfect two-wheeler for you, we will discuss the Indian Chief Standard’s specs, features, background, performance, and price in this article.

1. A Brief History of Indian Chief Standard Motorcycle

The Hendee Manufacturing Company gets the credit for introducing the reliable Chief motorcycles to the world. Later, the Indian Motorcycle Company took over the manufacturing of the Chief motorcycles in 1922.

The Indian Chief Standard motorcycles saw both the pre-World War II and the post-World War II era and were manufactured in two time frames; from 1922-1953 and 1999 to the present.

Each time, the newer models came with better technology, comfort level, and design.

The 1922 Chief model was manufactured as an alternative to the Powerplus motorcycle, which was also designated as the Standard and discontinued in 1923.

The 1922 Chief got its styling and design cues from the Scout motorcycle made by Charles B. Franklin. It featured a gearbox attached to the primary drive and engine casing. The engine was small in size with a 79 mm bore, 101 m stroke, and 1000 cc displacement. There was no rear suspension fitted to the 1922 Chief.

These lightweight cruisers were very popular among young riders who enjoyed thrilling solo rides as a form of recreation. The Indian Motorcycle company discontinued the production of Chief in 1928, only to resume production again in 1940.

The 1940 and onward Chief models received a new frame that featured big fenders and a rear suspension for better levels of comfort. Based on this Chief model, a military version was designed during World War II.

After World War II, the Indian Motorcycle company revived its Chief motorcycles, launching a new model meant for civilian youths. The military models had leaf-spring forks with trailing links while the new models had girder forks.

In 1950, telescopic forks were affixed to the bike and the engine was upgraded from a 1000 cc displacement to a 1300 cc displacement. Manufacturing of the Chief motorcycles was discontinued again in 1953.

In 1999, the Indian Motorcycle Company of America (IMCA) brought back the legendary Indian Chiefs. Until 2003, the bikes were powered by engines fitted into the Harley Davidson Evolution engine affixed in the Dyna Wide Glide FXDWG and the Indian Powerplus’s engine.

In 2006, a different company began manufacturing Indian Chiefs and launched updated versions of the 1999 Chiefs motorcycles made by the Indian Motorcycle Company of America (IMCA).

In 2011, Polaric Inc. entered the scene and moved the manufacturing of Chief motorcycles from North Carolina to Spirit Lake, Iowa.

Finally, in 2014, Indian Chief motorcycles received a brand-new engine, the Thunder Stroke 111. The styling was unique to the lineup and not borrowed from other motorcycles.

In 2022, the Indian Motorcycle Company launched an exciting Chief motorcycle with a Thunder Stroke 111 engine to celebrate the August 100th Anniversary.

Over the years, the Indian Chief’s lineup has increased, offering new trims and varieties to riders looking for a performance-oriented V-twin cruiser with tasteful styling, modern technology, and modification options.

Riders can purchase a Chief motorcycle with a Thunder Stroke 111 engine with a 1811 cc displacement or a Thunder Stroke 116 engine with a 1890 cc displacement. New specs, color schemes, and gauges are also introduced to provide maximum value to riders at an affordable price.

Model Year Price Range Color
2022 $14,999
Black Metallic
White Smoke
Ruby Smoke

2. Indian Chief Standard at First Glance

Indian Chief Styling

The Indian Chief has a nostalgic appeal to it since the Indian design team revived the 1922 model in 2022. The bike has a unique stripped-down styling that gives it a modern appeal. The robust steel tube frame, visible rear suspension, low-slung seat, and small wheelbase has a simple yet impactful styling.

The bike is a stunner with its shiny paint job, no chrome accents, stylish bobbed front and rear fenders, bold black branding, mid-mounted lower controls, drag style black handlebars, and black teardrop-shaped mirrors. The risers between the handlebars and front forks are exposed to give the bike an edgy look.

The Indian Chief is covered in black, except for its cooling fins that feature a highly polished finish.

The keyless ignition and LED lights of the Indian Chief add to the modern look. The headlight is the perfect blend of traditional cruiser styling and modern technology with its round vintage-style nacelle and small LED bulbs.

Indian Chief Standard Instruments

The Indian Chief designers upgraded the instrument panel. The bike is equipped with an electronic speedometer and odometer. Moreover, it has a gear position indicator, cruise control, ABS indicator, high beam control, engine warning signals, indicators for riding modes, a reliable fuel gauge, gear position indicator with a neutral light, clock, and a charge port.

Indian Chief Standard Headlight

The Indian Chief features a traditional but appealing headlight with LED bulbs for maximum visibility and a strong road presence.

Indian Chief Standard Tail Light

The bike also comes with prominent turn signals and a stylish LED tail light for enhanced road presence and visibility.

Indian Chief Standard Engine

The Indian Chief possesses an award-winning Thunder Stroke 111 engine, an air-cooled V Twin motor. The engine boasts a large displacement of 1811 ccs. The engine generates low-end torque of 146 Nm at 3200 rpm for an interesting cruising experience.

The air-cooled configuration means there is no need for a radiator, keeping the engine cool that is environmentally clean.

The engine features a closed loop fuel injection system that encourages better combustion and fuel economy.

The engine also features a dual exhaust that encourages a better flow of gases and greater engine output. Moreover, its exhaust kit reduces excess noise produced by the engine.

Indian Chief Standard Chassis & Handling

The Indian Chief is perfect for those who want a step up from the Scout motorcycles, being in favor of riding something bigger and more powerful.The robust steel frame, superb suspensions, and crisp throttle response of the Indian Chief supports different riding styles. The Indian Chief has two riding modes. For a smooth ride, a rider can opt for the standard mode with uninterrupted power delivery. But all the fun and thrill lies in sport mode which offers a choppy ride for more aggressive riders.

If you want to explore scenic rugged roads with sweeping turns and twists, the Indian Chief is the perfect ride due to its superb handling.

Indian Chief Standard Drivetrain

The bike features an efficient wet clutch and six-speed transmission system that supplies engine power to the belt final drive and rear wheel.

According to test riders, the clutch operation can be a bit difficult but the gear transitions are smooth.

Indian Chief Standard Suspension

The first Chief motorcycle lacked rear suspension, but 100 years later, the Chief motorcycle was fitted with an awesome set of suspensions that guarantees an excellent riding experience. The front fork offers excellent damping and levels of comfort when traveling. The rear suspension is exposed, well-damped, and offers excellent riding comfort by absorbing the impacts of any bumpy movements. Hence, the front and rear suspensions greatly improve the overall handling of the bike.

Indian Chief Standard Wheels

The bikes feature Pirelli Night Dragon tires affixed to black cast wheels. The front tire is 130 mm wide and the rear tire is 180 mm wide. The Indian Chief has a commanding profile due to its thick tires. The tires offer great traction which ensures a safer ride.

Indian Chief Standard Brakes

The front and rear brakes are nothing impressive due to their single disc configuration but the suspensions provide much-needed support for the brakes. The 2022 Indian Chief has an optional ABS system that can offer maximum braking power.

Indian Chief Standard Comfort

The Indian Chief features a solo seat that is comfortable but not spacious. The 26-inch seat height inspires confidence as the rider can easily reach the ground when necessary. The low seat height protects the muscles from getting strained and sore. However, hip flexor soreness has been reported by test riders after long highway rides.

The drag style handlebars are familiar and comfortable; they offer nimble steering and a natural sitting stance when combined with the seat and mid-mounted footpegs.

The riding comfort of the Indian Chief makes it a versatile bike. Hardcore riders can fit this tourer with motorcycle luggage and other parts. More about the Indian Chief’s modification options is discussed infra.

3. Indian Chief Standard: A Buyer’s Guide

3.1 What Is the Top Speed of an Indian Chief Motorcycle?

The Indian Chief motorcycle has an estimated top speed of 115 mph.

3.2 How Much Horsepower & Torque Does the Indian Chief Motorcycle Have?

The Indian Chief engine generates a maximum horsepower of 74 hp and a torque of 146 Nm at 3200 rpm

3.3 How Many CCs is the Indian Chief?

The new Thunder Stroke 111 engine has a displacement of 1811 cc.

3.4 How Many Gears Does the 2022 Indian Chief Motorcycle Have?

The Indian Chief Motorcycle features a six-speed transmission and has six gears.

3.5 Does the 2022 Indian Chief Standard Come With Cruise?

Yes. The 2022 Indian Chief motorcycle comes with cruise controls and other upgraded features, including fuel gauge, ride modes, charging port, etc.

3.6 How Much Does the Indian Chief Weigh?

The Indian Chief is a mid-sized cruiser with a large fuel tank that is capable of holding four gallons of fuel. On an empty tank, the bike weighs 647 lbs. On a full tank, the bike weighs 670 lbs.

3.7 Is the Indian Chief Standard a Good Bike?

The Indian Chief is considered one of the most reliable and performance-oriented motorcycles in the world. With their bold styling, powerful Thunder Stroke 111 engine, six-speed transmission, and reliable brakes, the bike is a worthwhile investment. The bike has nimble handling and is a great ride for both beginners and experienced riders.

Due to its extraordinary adaptability, you can easily convert this bike into a comfortable tourer by adding a few aftermarket parts.

4. Detailed Specifications (Indian Chief Standard Specs)

4.1 General

Manufacturer Indian Motorcycle International LLC
(Polaric Inc.)
Production Years 2014 - Present
Model Chief Standard
Category Cruiser
Touring Ability High

4.2 Dimensions

Max. Length 90 in / 2286 mm
Height 49.3 in /1253 mm
Width 36.3 in / 922 m
Max. Weight (Dry) 647 lbs / 294 kg
Max. Weight (Wet) 670 lbs / 304 kg
Max. Seat Height 26 in / 1626 mm
Rake 29°
Lean 28.5°
Wheel Base 64 in / 1626 mm
Trail 5.2 in / 131.5 mm
Ground Clearance 4.9 in / 125 mm
Fuel Capacity 4 gal / 15.1 L
Fuel Economy/Mileage
GVWR 1160 lbs / 522 kg

4.3 Chassis

Frame Type  
Front Suspension & Wheel Travel 46 mm telescopic fork
5.2 in / 132 mm wheel travel
Rear Suspension & Wheel Travel Dual shock
Adjustable spring preload
3.0 in / 75 mm wheel travel
Wheels (Front & Rear) Cast
Front: 19 in / 3.5 in
Rear: 16 x 5
Color: Black
Front Tire Size 130/60 B19 61H
Rear Tire Size 180/65 B16 81H
Tire Brand (Front & Rear) Pirelli Night Dragon
Brake Type (Front & Rear) 300 mm Disc (single)
Floating rotors
Brake Calipers (Front) Four-piston
Brake Calipers (Rear) Two-pistons
Anti-Lock Braking System Optional/Standard

4.4 Engine

Type Thunder Stroke 111
Bore 3.976 in / 101 mm
Stroke 4.449 in / 113 mm
Displacement 1811 cc/ 111 cu in
Engine Details Air-cooled, four-stroke, 42° V-twin
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Fuel System/ Induction Closed Loop Fuel Injection
Bore: 54 mm
Exhaust system Crossed-over; dual exhaust

4.5 Performance

Maximum Power 74 hp
Maximum Torque 146 Nm/ 108 ft/lbs.
(3200 rpm)
Top Speed 115 mph

4.6 DriveTrain

Clutch System Multiplate, Wet clutch
Transmission Six-speed
Primary Drive Gear
Final Drive Belt
1st Gear 9.403:1
2nd Gear 6.411:1
3rd Gear 4.763:1
4th Gear 3.796:1
5th Gear 3.243:1
6th Gear 2.789:1

4.7 Electrical

Gauges Electronic Speedometer + odometer
Ambient air temperature
Dual Tripmeters
Digital Tachometer
Fuel Range
Fuel Economy/Mileage
Battery Voltage
Gear Position Indicator
Vehicle Trouble Code Readout
Low Engine Oil Pressure Warning
Nine LED Indicators
Cruise Control Enabled
Cruise Control Set
High Beam
Turn Signal
Check Engine
ABS Indicator
MPH Unit Designation
Electronic Fuel Gauge w/ Low Fuel Indicator
Starter Electric
Ignition Keyless
Lights Headlight: LED
Tail Light: LED
Brake Lights
Turn Signals:LED
Equipment Standard
Ride Mode
Rear Cylinder Deactivation Option
Charging Port: 12 Volts

4.8 Others

Colors Black Metallic
Ruby Smoke
White Smoke
Base Price $14,999 - $14,999 (non-ABS)
$15,299 - $15,799 (ABS)
Warranty 48 months
Unlimited miles

5. Aftermarket Parts & Modification Options for Indian Chief Standard

We have already established that the Indian Chief is highly adaptable and you can improve its design by adding aftermarket Indian parts. So let’s look at all the modification options you can purchase to customize the Indian Chief.

The Chief has immense custom appeal due to its stripped-off raw look that is enhanced by its fenders and rear suspension, all at a competitive price.

To make the Indian Chief a tourer, install saddlebags, luggage racks, sissy bars, rider and passenger backrests, and new designer seats. With Viking Bags, you can easily fit all these touring essentials in your budget.

These Indian Chief parts will enhance the functionality of your bike required to make adventurous explorations and camping trips successful.

If you plan to use the Chief as an everyday commuter only, having Indian luggage mounted will still come in handy. Available in different sizes, you can install a sissy bar bag, tail bag, handlebar bags, or a tank bag to your motorcycle.

These luggage bags will allow you to carry your belongings around the city with greater ease and comfort.

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