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Indian Motorcycle 2021 Buying Guide

Early 2022 releases enhance Indian’s 2021 lineup

Indian Motorcycle expands its footprint in MY2021 with a number of new models along with upgraded variants and complete redesigns within previous model-family platforms. Electronics that were previously hosted on just a few bikes are now more broadly available across the range. The powerful Thunderstroke 116 soups up a number of models for the performance-minded riders, and the ClimaCommand Rogue seat delivers both heating and cooling for the intrepid all-weather riders.

Indian Motorcycle History:

Top Speed's Guide to the 2020 Indian Motorcycle Lineup
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As America’s oldest motorcycle marque, Indian comes with a bona fide pedigree and deep historical roots from which to draw contemporary design development. Originally branded as the Hendee Manufacturing Company after its founder, George M. Hendee, way back in 1897 as a bicycle builder.

The first brick-and-mortar was laid in Springfield, Massachusetts circa 1901 for Hendee’s first factory, at which point engineer Oscar Herdstrom was brought on board to build gasoline-powered bikes. Over the next two decades the brand would continue to grow and back up its sales with wins on both the racetrack and the Salt Flats, and would be re-branded as the Indian Motocycle (sic) Company .

World War I would see American soldiers on Indian machines with almost 50k units en-theatre, but at the expense of civilian sales, which lagged significantly. After another two decades of peacetime production and racing success, the Second World War once again brought Indian into the fray with over 35,000 units in use by the U.S. and other Allied forces by the end.

Indian Motorcycle 2021 Buying Guide
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The post-war market wasn’t kind to Indian as it was forced to shutter its doors in 1953, and this would usher in a period rife with abortive attempts at resurrecting the marque, trying to cash in on its name, or some combination thereof. English businessman J. Brockhouse bought the rights to the company, but would sell it to the AMC where it would fade into the annals of history. Floyd Clymer gave it a shot in 1963, but relied on rebranded Brit-built bikes with Indian Motorcycle badging instead of genuine Indian bikes, so this effort failed and the brand died a second time in ’77. In ’98, a consortium of nine brands bought up the name to found the Indian Motorcycle Company of America, but would itself go under in 2003.

The current era was heralded by Polaris’ acquisition of the Indian name. Not satisfied with rebranded machines, the R&D turned out net-new platforms, albeit with historically recognizable monikers, in 2011. Once again, Indian was building their machines en suite, and in a repeat of history it quickly made a name for itself on the track, specifically the Flat Track Racing circuit. The factory has expanded its market footprint since then with new bikes, electronics, and a style all its own.

Indian Motorcycle Terminology:

2022 Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse
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Ride Command: Indian’s proprietary infotainment system that covers all of the expected bases with navigation, weather, jukebox, and communication all bundled under this banner.

PowerPlus: Originally one of the early Indian models, the liquid-cooled PowerPlus name now applies to Indian’s strongest V-Twin that churns out 122 horsepower with 128 pound-feet of torque on tap.

Scout: One of the early Indian models, the Scout line comes with a choice between a 100-horsepower, 69 cubic-inch lump, and its 61-cube, 78-horsepower little brother. Built as an entry-level bike, the Scout pays homage to its forebears with little design Easter Eggs sprinkled about.

FTR: Short for Flat Track Racer, the FTR began life as strictly a racebike. In order to meet the race requirements, the factory was obliged to produce a limited number of 750 cc FTR bikes for public consumption and was well-received by the masses. The factory has since built the new civilian FTR models with a purpose-built, 1,203 cc, 120-horsepower V-Twin.

ClimaCommand Rogue: Seating that delivers both heating and cooling functions for pilot as well as pillion.

Chief: Like the Scout, the Chief can trace its lineage back to the early days. It’s a recurring name throughout Indian’s history, but has always generally been the Big-Twin offering opposite the smaller Scout models. The current Chiefs carry the Thunderstroke engines that bring so much nostalgia to the table through its flathead-inspired looks that are driven by the parallel pushrod geometry and faux cooling fins on the rocker-boxes.

Rear Cylinder Deactivation: Kills the rear cylinder when idling at a stop to reduce the heat wash felt by the pilot.

Indian Motorcycle Models

Indian Scout Line

2016 - 2021 Indian Motorcycle Scout / Scout Sixty
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2020 - 2021 Indian Scout Bobber Sixty
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The Scout line is an entirely in-house design with a handful of variants that include a choice between a 78-horsepower, 1,000 cc (61 cubic-inch) V-Twin, or a 100-horsepower, 1,133 (69 cubic-inch) V-Twin. At the bottom of the range, the base Scout Sixty and its cousin the Scout Bobber Sixty rocks a new-for-2021 blackout primary-drive cover on its 1,000 cc powerplant. The “big” base-model Scout carries a 1,133 cc V-Twin and now comes in a two-tone package with Maroon Metallic over Crimson Metallic on the menu for MY21. New colors come to the Scout Bobber as well with Alumina Jade Smoke and Maroon Metallic Smoke up for grabs. The Scout Bobber Twenty wraps up the family as an homage piece that hails back to the 1920s for its design inspiration.

Scout $11,999 1,133cc
Scout Sixty $8,999 1,000 cc
Scout Bobber $10,999 1,133 cc
Scout Bobber Sixty $9,499 1,000 cc
Scout Bobber Twenty $11,999 1,133 cc

Indian FTR Line

2022 Indian FTR S
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2022 Indian FTR S
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Unlike the limited-edition FTR750 the factory is obliged to release to the public for FTR-rules compliance, the FTR1200, along with its variants and successors, is built with Joe/Jane Public in mind. Street legal and public-road friendly, the FTR range expanded again in 2021 with MY2022 releases. The line relies on a 1,203 cc (73 cubic-inch) V-Twin lump that delivers 120 ponies and 87 pounds o’ grunt, plus it rocks a robust electronics suite that boasts top-shelf rider aids to help you manage all that power.

The overall look remains the same, so the entirety of the large-displacement FTR range still looks like the big brother to the actual racebike that made Indian Racing a force to be reckoned with once more. A new lower seat height boosts rider confidence across the range. Raw carbon-fiber replaces the sheet metal on the FTR R Carbon model that also boasts top-shelf Öhlins suspension components and the most comfortable saddle of the range. The FTR S falls between the two while the FTR Rally strikes off on its own with stealth knobbies and an offroad-centric overall look.

FTR $12,999 1,203 cc
FTR Rally $13,999 1,203 cc
FTR S $14,999 1,203 cc
FTR R Carbon $16,999 1,203 cc

Indian Cruiser Line

2022 Indian Chief
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2022 Indian Chief Bobber Dark Horse
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The Chief line is a net-new platform and is wholly separate from the previous generation of Chief that still rolls under the “Vintage” banner.

With early-release 2022 models in the 2021 lineup, the Chief line comes looking clean and trim, which makes them something of a blank canvas for customization. Still technically a Chief, the Indian Vintage and Indian Vintage Dark Horse are now spun off into their own sub-family and are marked by copious examples of old-school custom yummygoodness. Power for the Vintage comes from a 1,811 cc mill that cranks out 108 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 rpm to give this range a decidedly grunty throttle response.

The new MY22 Chief line comes built around an all-new dedicated frame with four levels of trim and two engines from which to choose. There’s a 1,811 cc (111 cubic-inch) mill that cranks out 119 pound-feet of torque, and a 1,890 cc (116 cubic-inch) engine with 120 pounds o’ grunt on tap. It’s important to point out that this is a net-new platform and is wholly separate from the previous generation of Chief that still rolls under the “Vintage” banner.

Chief $14,499 1,811 cc
Chief Dark Horse $16,999 1,890 cc
Chief Bobber $15,999 1,811 cc
Chief Bobber Dark Horse $18,999 1,890 cc

Indian Bagger Line

2020 - 2021 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 - 2021 Indian Challenger Dark Horse
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Indian’s Bagger lineup covers a range of models with a choice between fixed-fairings, fork-mount fairings, and old-school custom machines with or without a windshield. Stock saddlebags are a constant across the board, be they hard-sided or soft, to bring some cargo capacity to the table for light touring and/or grocery-getter missions.

Indian bridges the gap between their cruisers and full-blown tourbikes with the Bagger lineup. Choose between a 122-horsepower PowerPlus engine and a Thunderstroke mill that churns out 126 pound-feet of torque; the latter with antique engine details that give it a faux-flathead look to complement the classic sheet metal and overall layout.

The Challenger runs with the PowerPlus engine and a fixed, frame-mount front fairing to present the most modern face for the family. Second from the top is the Chieftain range that runs a Thunderstroke engine and pushes a fork-mount fairing for some rider protection. New this year, the Chieftain dropped the 1,890 cc engine option and stuck with the 1,811 cc powerplant. The Springfield family and Vintage units add even more custom old-school touring to the menu to round out the range.

New for this year, the Super Chief joins the lineup as a 2022 release. Built with rider and passenger comforts in mind, the Super Chief features a quick release windscreen, black saddlebags, touring seat with passenger pad, floorboards and traditional cruiser handlebars. The Thunder Stroke 111 engine powers the Super Chief and Super Chief Limited.

Vintage $20,499 1,811 cc
Vintage Dark Horse $19,499 1,811 cc
Challenger $23,999 1,768 cc
Challenger Dark Horse $27,499 1,768 cc
Challenger Limited $27,999 1,768 cc
Chieftain $21,999 1,811 cc
Chieftain Dark Horse $27,999 1,890 cc
Chieftain Limited $27,999 1,890 cc
Chieftain Elite $34,999 1,890 cc
Springfield $21,999 1,811 cc
Springfield Dark Horse $22,499 1,890 cc
Super Chief $18,499 1,811 cc
Super Chief Limited $20,999 1,890 cc

Indian Touring Line

2020 - 2021 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 - 2022 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
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The Roadmaster family brings full-on tourbike goodness to the Indian lineup here in the Polaris era. A top case is added to the stock bags and fork-mount front fairing to bring the Roadmaster’s cargo capacity up to just over 36 gallons and make it a truly capable long-distance machine.

Powerful, large-displacement Thunderstroke engines drive the line under the enhanced control of the Ride Command system with plush upholstery that boasts stock heating elements along with heated grips for extra pilot comfort in colder climes. Apple CarPlay is standard equipment for MY21 across the range that expanded with the addition of the Roadmaster Limited. The Limited and Dark Horse models also rock the new ClimaCommand seats that delivers both heating and cooling to boost comfort year-round. A general facelift freshens the overall design, and in the interest of performance, the factory tapped its Thunderstroke 116 for power delivery.

Roadmaster $29,999 1,890 cc
Roadmaster Dark Horse $29,999 1,890 cc
Roadmaster Limited $30,749 1,890 cc
Roadmaster Elite $38,999 1,890 cc

Indian Dark Horse Family

2020 - 2022 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
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2020 - 2021 Indian Challenger Dark Horse
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More of a design style than an actual family, the Dark Horse touches on almost every model-family proper with a mostly-monochromatic paint selection, though even the colored models carry plenty of blackout to keep things looking nice and stealthy. Such blackout treatment is a common starting point for customizers, and the factory offers plenty of custom goodies that let you make your own mark on the machine.

Vintage Dark Horse $19,499 1,811 cc
Challenger Dark Horse $27,499 1,768 cc
Chief Dark Horse $16,999 1,890 cc
Springfield Dark Horse $22,499 1,890 cc
Chieftain Dark Horse $27,999 1,890 cc
Roadmaster Dark Horse $29,999 1,890 cc

Indian Elite Range

2020 Indian Chieftain Elite
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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Indian’s Elite range is limited in MY21 to a fortunate few with only the bagger-tastic Chieftain Elite and full-dresser Roadmaster Elite up for grabs. These two bikes carry the best of everything the factory has to offer and carry unique, hand-laid paint schemes to further set them apart from the crowd.

The Chieftain Elite comes clad in Thunder Black Vivid Crystal over Carbon Crystal, while the Roadmaster Elite sports Thunder Black Vivid Crystal over Gunmetal Flake with red trim, carried in the current lineup, but listed as a 2020. Both carry the 126 pound-foot Thunderstroke 116 and rock with premium sound systems and a robust infotainment system. Heated handgrips come stock for both pilot and pillion, and the windshield is push-button adjustable so you can dial it in to suit.

Chieftain Elite $34,999 1,890 cc
Roadmaster Elite $38,999 1,890 cc

Further Reading

Indian Motorcycle

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Allyn Hinton
Allyn Hinton
Writer and Associate Motorcycle Editor -
If it had moving parts, it had Allyn's interest from a very early age. At age 11 when bicycles were too simple to hold her interest any longer, her father found her taking apart the lawn mower. When he asked why she was doing it, she replied, “I need to see how it works.” That curiosity and mechanical drive served her well over the next 40 years as she pursued careers in both the automotive and motorcycle industries. Having shared her love of motorcycles with her now husband, biker TJ Hinton, Allyn brings that love and knowledge to TopSpeed as writer and associate motorcycle editor.  Read full bio
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