2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos

It’s an all-new take on what was already an elegant bike

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First launched in 2017, the Indian Chieftain Elite brings old-school custom features together with the powerful Thunderstroke engine and a host of electronic rider aids as part of the new-for-2022 upgrades. Loaded with Easter eggs from years past, the Chieftain Elite has its pedigree on full display, and the 150-unit production run adds exclusivity.

  • 2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos
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2022 Indian Chieftain Elite Performance and Capability

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos
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In keeping with its classical design, the Chieftain Elite carries the flathead-tastic Thunderstroke 116. It channels the engines of the early to mid-1900s, but puts out modern performance.

What kind of figures are we looking at? The 2022 Chieftain Elite produces 126 pound-feet of torque. It does it fairly early in the rev range with the peak occurring at 2,900 rpm, so you can count on tractable power as soon as you roll on the throttle.

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Bore and stroke mic out at 103.2 mm and 113 mm respectively for a total displacement of 1,890 cc and middling 11-to-1 compression ratio. The valvetrain mimics the days of old with two parallel pairs of external pushrod tubes that actuate the rocker arms and poppets up top. A 54 mm throttle body feeds the beast with closed-loop fuel injection to meter and atomize the fuel.

Faux- flathead rocker-box covers sport ornamental cooling fins for more of that old-school charm. However, it’s the polished cooling fins on the jugs and heads that do the real heat-removal heavy lifting.

Classic custom touches include an oil-rubbed bronze finish on the nosecone/cam cover, pushrod tubes, and intake components. There’s liberal blackout treatment around the rest of the drivetrain including the exhaust pipes.

As for the electronics, Rear Cylinder Deactivation comes stock along with selectable Ride Modes. The ride modes temper power delivery based on the rider’s settings so you can dial in for the prevalent conditions.

A gear-type primary drive carries power from the mill, through the wet clutch and six-speed transmission, with a carbon-reinforced belt-and-pulley final drive. The final drive ratio turns in a Chieftain Elite top speed of 115 mph in top gear.

Engine & Drivetrain
Engine: Air-cooled Thunderstroke 116
Displacement: 116 cu in (1,890 cc)
Bore x Stroke: 4.063 in x 4.449 in (103.2 mm x 113 mm)
Compression Ratio: 11:1
Peak Torque: 126 ft-lbs (171 Nm) @ 2,900 rpm
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate, Assist
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 54 mm bore
Exhaust: Split Dual exhaust w/ Resonator
Gear Ratio: (1st): 9.403, (2nd): 6.411, (3rd): 4.763, (4th): 3.796, (5th); 3.243, (6th): 2.789
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.2:1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch


2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Indian goes out of its way to include plenty of classic custom design points on its premium bagger, Chieftain Elite. The front fender runs with its full length complete with a stylish flair at the trailing end, but with cut-back sides leaving little to the imagination.

A lighted war bonnet fender ornament leads the way for another oldie-but-goodie. The blackout treatment starts out immediately in the rim and darkened fork sliders plus black beercan skirts.

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos
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The cyclops headlight carries LED projectors giving it multiple configurations, including an LED DRL ring that ensures two-way visibility during daylight hours. LED even makes it into the blinkers, so you’ve got complete coverage all around with the addition of a set of saddlebag lights.

Up top, a push button-adjustable windshield lets you dial in the shape at the top of your wind pocket. The fairing is the batwing variety that’s fork mounted, so it provides nearly the same level of rider protection as the frame-mount fairing and it’s more of a classic look.

Vents through the fairing allow you to dial in the desired ventilation. This also relieves the vacuum behind the glass to make a low-turbulence environment up top for effective head-buffet mitigation.

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos
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A pair of analog gauges for the speedo and tach include the usual selection of LED warning lights to complete instrumentation. A seven-inch color TFT screen allows access with RIDE COMMAND to navigation, trip planning, hands-free calls, and the Apple CarPlay app.

Seat height is dead low at only 25.6 inches off the deck, which should be confidence-inspiring for even the shortest inseams. Minimal passenger amenities finish up the seating with a Mustang-ish pillion pad and fold-up footpegs, but no backrest or grabrails on the stock machine. There’s only a radio whip to mar the clean rear end.

Indian Chieftain Elite Specs
Overall Height: 54 in (1,371.6 mm)
Overall Length: 98.7 in (2,506 mm)
Overall Width: 40.3 in (1,023 mm)
Seat Height: 25.6 in (650 mm)
Wheelbase: 65.7 in (1,668 mm)
Ground Clearance: 5.1 in (130 mm)
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gal (20.8 L)
Curb Weight: 829 lbs (376 kg)
GVWR: 1,385 lbs (628 kg)


2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Tubular members on the Chieftain Elite make up the double-downtube/double-cradle frame with a yoke-style swingarm to finish the standing structure. Rake and trail are 25 degrees and 5.9 inches respectively. This makes for a nice balance between cornering behavior and steady tracking in a crosswind, or when negotiating the pressure waves ahead of big trucks.

Lean angle maxes out at 31degrees, though it’s unclear if that’s based on the limits of the tire tread or because that’s the angle at which you start to drag the bags. Honestly, that’s not bad for a big bike and is plenty to make your commute a non-boring affair.

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite - Performance, Price, and Photos
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Cast wheels with machined features round out the rolling chassis in style. Metzeler Cruisetec hoops in a 130/60-19 ahead of a 180/60-16 have the whitewalls on the inside.

A set of 46 mm forks float the front end on 4.7 inches of travel, but with fixed variables. Out back, the monoshock comes with an air-adjust feature and 4.5 inches of travel. These are fairly standard numbers and are sure to be plush enough for the urban jungle.

Dual four-bore calipers bite 300 mm front discs to haul down the front wheel, while a 300 mm disc and twin-pot anchor take care of business out back. ABS comes stock, but it seems to be the vanilla variety with no cornering goodies or even the ability to switch it off. Adequate, but with room for improvement.

Chassis & Suspension
Front Suspension/ Travel: 46 mm Telescopic Fork/ 4.7 in (119 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Single Shock w/ Air adjust/ 4.5 in (114 mm)
Rake/Trail: 25° / 5.9 in (150 mm)
Lean Angle: 31°
Front Wheel: Precision Machined 19 in x 3.5 in
Rear Wheel: Precision Machined 16 in x 5 in
Tires: Metzeler Cruisetec
Front Tire: 130/60B19 61H
Rear Tire: 180/60R16 80H
Front Brakes: Dual 300 mm Floating Rotor, 4 Piston Caliper
Rear Brakes: 300 mm Floating Rotor, 2 Piston Caliper

2022 Indian Chieftain Elite Price

The 2022 Indian Chieftain Elite costs $32,999. It rolls in Heavy Metal Smoke with Polished Bronze accents as the only colorway for this model year. It’s a limited production of 150 worldwide, so if you’re looking for a Chieftain Elite for sale, use the model-finder feature on the Indian customer front end to find the closest ones to your location.

Pricing & Equipment

Standard Equipment

  • Premium Oil-rubbed Bronze Engine Finishes
  • Push button adjustable 13.7" Tinted Flare Windshield
  • Billet Floorboards
  • Highway Bars
  • Rogue Seat
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring
  • Remote-locking Hard Saddlebags
  • Selectable Ride Modes
  • Rear Cylinder Deactivation
  • ABS
  • Cruise Control
  • Keyless Ignition
  • 400 Watt Audio System with AM/FM, Bluetooth®, USB, and Weatherband
  • 12V Charging Port


  • Fairing-mounted instrument cluster featuring analog speedometer and tachometer with fuel gauge, range, odometer, and current gear
  • 15 LED telltale indicators: cruise control enabled, cruise control set, neutral, high beam, turn signal, ABS, check engine, low tire pressure, battery, low fuel, security system, low engine oil pressure, and MPH or km/h unit designation.
Lights: LED lighting including Adaptive LED Headlamp, LED Saddlebag lights
Infotainment: Seven-in touchscreen powered by RIDE COMMAND
Warranty: 2 Years, Unlimited Miles
Color: Heavy Metal Smoke with Polished Bronze Accents
Price: $32,999


2022 Harley-Davidson Street Glide ST
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There’s just no way around it. The Chieftain Elite is going head-to-head against longtime domestic foe Harley-Davidson, and the Street Glide ST looks to be a good match.

Harley-Davidson Street Glide ST

Lookswise, there really isn’t much to choose between the two. Similar origins and evolution of design explain much of that.

A Batwing front end and dead-clean bagger-tastic rear end set the stage with a chopped front fender, fat front end, beercan fork skirts, and plenty of blackout paint. H-D has its own comprehensive infotainment package and vanilla ABS feature, and it offers the RDRS bundle as an optional feature that brings lean-sensitive traction control, drag-torque control, ABS, and Vehicle Hold control to the table.

2022 Harley-Davidson Street Glide ST
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Harley doubles the number of paint packages with gray on black and black on black on the palette, which is honestly a little disappointing from the King Of Paint, but it is what it is. The Street Glide ST carries the Milwaukee-Eight 117 for power with 126 pound-feet of torque on tap to end up with the same grunty performance.

You get a break on price with the H-D’s $29,999 sticker. Since the RDRS will set you back only a grand, the Harley has the potential to be more bike for the buck if you spring for it.

He Said

“No doubt, it’s the quintessential bagger with oodles of street cred based on literally a century of development and evolution. My only peeve is the external radio aerial; they could easily make that go away with no loss of sound performance. Well, maybe the lack of color choice is a sticking point too, but that’s no surprise with such a limited production run.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The Chieftain Elite launched in 2017, but for 2022, we have an all-new take on what already was an elegant bike. Loaded with factory-custom features, the Elites are the Indian version of Harley-Davidson’s CVO line. It’s the best of the best the factory has to offer, with more customization available through the accessories catalog.”

Further Reading

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TJ Hinton
TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read full bio
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