The Limited Is The Toppest-Shelfest Challenger In The 2020 Lineup.

No doubt about it, Indian Motorcycle entered a new chapter with its all-new Challenger line and PowerPlus engine, and so far, the toppest-shelfest example of that combination is the 2020 Challenger Limited. It has that custom bagger style that Americans like so much along with a host of electronic goodies that improve safety and comfort over the long haul. Of course, the 120-plus pound-feet of torque it brings to the table doesn’t hurt at all, neither does all the historical Easter eggs the factory scattered about to tie into its own storied history.

  • 2020 Indian Challenger Limited
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    108 cubic inches
  • Top Speed:
    125 mph
  • Price:
    27999
  • Price:

2020 Indian Challenger Limited Design

2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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New for Indian is the frame-mounted “sharknose” fairing, a look straight off Harley-Davidson's Road Glide.

The fixed-fairing look on the Challenger Limited is new for what could be said is America’s oldest bike builder. Longtime domestic foe Harley-Davidson started the trend with its “sharknose” fairing, a look also picked up by Kawasaki for its Vulcan Vaquero, and now it’s Indian’s turn. The Challenger’s fairing houses a cyclops headlight bracketed by DRLs and recessed turn signals – all LED – with a push button adjustable clear windshield that lets you dial in the rider’s bubble to suit.

A pair of vents on the upslope draws incoming air and shunts it behind the glass to ensure that you get plenty of fresh air. By relieving the vacuum behind the glass, it draws less of the heated air up off the engine for warm-weather comfort.

The front fender is full-length with an artistic flair at the trailing edge, but the sides are cut back so as to leave an unimpeded view of the front hoop, and it’s here that we find the first real historical reference in the modified war bonnet fender ornament that ties the Challenger Limited in with the Indian models of antiquity.

A pair of round analog gauges behind the fixed fairing display speed and revs, but the real pièce de résistance is the seven-inch color TFT touchscreen that acts as the interface for the Ride Command infotainment feature. You can field hands-free phone calls and jam to your favorite tunes through the system, as well as reference real-time weather info and tap, swipe, and pinch your way through the navigation options to help find your way over hill and dale.

Stock engine guards protect the bike in a drop and come in chrome for a nice bit of bling against the blackout radiator and engine components. They are matched by a chrome handlebar that is almost apehanger-like in its dimensions, but are pulled back to form a relaxed rider’s triangle and deliver tiller-style steering.

In profile, the six-gallon fuel tank bears a strong teardrop shape that lends the Challenger Limited a custom air that’s not entirely unlike that used by the Victory Motorcycle company that, while defunct, still falls under the same Polaris canopy as does Indian.

A gunfighter-style seat slings the pilot’s butt at a low 26.5 inches off the ground and provides a low-profile pillion perch with fold-up footpegs to complete the passenger’s points of contact. Hard bags provide lockable dry storage and come with a bit of stretch to match the swoop of the tank for even more custom appeal.

2020 Indian Challenger Limited Chassis

2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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The Challenger Limited is far more agile than its bulk would suggest and with 31 degrees of lean to both sides, it handles the twisties with aplomb.

A cast-aluminum frame provides the main structure with a yoke-style swingarm that articulates the rear wheel. While the chassis is thoroughly modern, it maintains that classic double-downtube/double-cradle layout that completely supports the engine rather than using it as a stressed member.

The wheelbase measures out at 65.7 inches long, and the steering head sets a rake angle of 25 degrees with 5.9 inches of trail. This makes the Challenger Limited far more agile than its bulk would suggest and allow it to deliver 31 degrees of lean to both sides.

Inverted 43 mm forks float the front end on 5.1 inches of travel and fixed damping values. I have to gig Indian here, ’cause they could have at least chucked on a set of Dual Bending Valve stems like H-D has done for the ride quality they bring to the table, but instead, here we are. The rear shock has a hydraulic-adjust preload feature to meet the bare minimal expectations with 4.5 inches of travel to deliver a plush ride, if not a particularly adjustable one.

Cast-aluminum rims round out the rolling chassis with a large 19-inch wheel up front and 16-inch rear wheel. The connection to the pavement comes courtesy of Metzeler with its Cruistec hoops in a 130/60 up front and a 180/60 to bring up the rear.

The brakes are serious business with a pair of four-pot calipers that bite dual 320 mm discs on the front wheel to provide around 70-percent of the stopping power and a twin-piston anchor and 298 mm disc to pick up the slack. ABS protection comes with the standard equipment package.

Front Suspension/Travel: 43 mm Inverted Telescopic Fork/ 5.1 in (130 mm)
Rear Suspension/Travel: Single Shock w/Hyd adjust/ 4.5 in (114 mm)
Rake/Trail: 25° / 5.9 in (150 mm)
Lean Angle: 31°
Front Brakes: Dual / 320 mm Semi-Floating Rotor / 4-Piston Radial Caliper
Rear Brakes: Single / 298 mm Floating Rotor / 2-Piston Caliper
Front Wheel: Cast 19 in x 3.5 in
Rear Wheel: Cast 16 in x 5 in
Front Tires: Metzeler Cruisetec 130/60B19 66H
Rear Tires: Metzeler Cruisetec 180/60R16 80H

2020 Indian Challenger Limited Drivetrain

2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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The all-new PowerPlus engine delivers a whopping 122 horsepower and stump-pulling 128 pound-feet of torque.

Like a gem in a setting, the all-new PowerPlus engine delivers the goods with a whopping 122 horsepower that’s backed up by a stump-pulling 128 pound-feet of torque to make it the gruntiest production V-twin in the world at the time of this writing. Slightly oversquare, the mill runs with a pair of 108 mm bores and 96.5 mm strokes for a total displacement of 1,769 cc (108 cubic-inches) and an 11-to-1 compression ratio. That’s right, it’s smaller than the smallest Thunder Stroke engine and more powerful.

Indian abandoned the old-school look of the aforementioned engine and instead opted for liquid cooling with naught but vestigial cooling fins on the heads to suggest the look of traditional V-twins. That’s okay though, ’cause the figures it puts up bring a sexiness all their own. Over-head cams time the four-valve heads and eliminate the old pushrod system of actuation, which naturally reduces the reciprocating mass to make for safer high-rev operation.

Selectable Ride Modes let you dial in the power deliver through a trio of profiles, and now we come to the real magic. The Smart Lean Technology package bundles lean-sensitive ABS, traction control and drag torque (backtorque) control. It reads data on vehicle attitude as recorded by a six-axis Bosch inertial measurement unit and tempers its levels of intervention across the board in a bid to maximize safety, even in the bends.

A wet clutch and gear-type primary drive couples engine power to a six-speed transmission to displace the heavy drive chain between powerplant and gearbox. The tranny is geared to deliver an overdrive ratio in top gear, and at redline you can count on around 125 mph for the top speed.

Engine: PowerPlus
Bore x Stroke: 4.251 in x 3.799 in (108 mm x 96.5 mm)
Displacement: 108 cu in
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Horsepower: 122 hp (90 KW)
Peak Torque: 128 lb-ft @ 3,800 rpm
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate, Assist
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel Injection / 52 mm dual bore
Exhaust: Split Dual exhaust w/ Resonator
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.379:1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Gear Ratio: 1st: 10.169, 2nd: 6.933, 3rd: 5.151, 4th: 4.105, 5th: 3.508, 6th: 3.017

2020 Indian Challenger Limited Pricing

2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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MSRP in the Challenger Limited is $28k for black and $28.8 for color.

The Challenger Limited rolls in Thunder Black Pearl for $27,999. If black-on-black ain’t your thing, you can opt for the Deepwater Metallic (my fave) or Ruby Metallic for $28,749.

Standard Equipment: Ride Command with Navigation; Smart Lean Technology; Selectable Ride Modes: Locking Hard Saddlebags: Brembo brakes: 18+ Gallons of storage: ABS: Keyless Ignition: Chassis Mounted Fairing: Adjustable Fairing Air Flow Vents; Power Windshield: Adjustable Air Vents
Warranty: 2 Years, Unlimited Miles
Color: Thunder Black Pearl, Deepwater Metallic, Ruby Metallic
Price: Thunder Black Smoke: $27,999, Color: $28,749

2020 Indian Challenger Limited Competitors

2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide / Road Glide Special
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2020 Indian Challenger Limited
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The largest victory here for Indian is found in the electronics; while H-D offers its RDRS package that bundles traction control and drag-torque mitigation along with cornering ABS, it's an almost-thousand-dollar option that Indian treats as stock equipment.

There’s no doubt that the Challenger Limited is meant to appeal to the same sort of buyer as the Harley-Davidson Road Glide with the Sharknose fairing that launched this sub-genre. H-D offers its own “Limited” version, but it comes with a topcase that makes it a full dresser. Since that places it in a different category, I decided to grab the MoCo’s Road Glide Special for my head-to-head.

Harley leads off with the original fairing, but with some important differences. The smoked windshield is fixed in height, so what you see is what you get, and the turn signals are almost an afterthought in their external bullet housings rather than being integrated with the fairing.

A high-side fender covers the front wheel sans ornamentation for a somewhat cleaner entry, but around the back of the fairing, Harley has its own infotainment system that matches the Ride Command feature point for point to break exactly even in that respect. Out back, slant-cut bags add to the custom flair and make the Road Glide Special equally suited to touring or some serious grocery-getting.

Showa DBV forks on the Road Glide float the front end with a superior ride to the plain vanilla stems on the Indian, and out back, a set of emulsion shocks take care of business with a remote handwheel for quick and easy adjustments. Overall, H-D gains a slight edge in the stems. It also offers double the number of colors, and as the King of Paint, all six packages are cooler than the other side of the pillow. To be fair, Indian isn’t doing bad in that respect, but they’ve a ways to go yet.

Power comes from the new Milwaukee-Eight 114 that delivers 123 pounds o’ grunt to just barely fall short of the PowerPlus numbers, so it’s safe to say that’s a wash. The largest victory for Indian is found in the electronics; while H-D offers its Reflex Defensive Rider System that bundles traction control and drag-torque mitigation along with cornering ABS, it’s an almost thousand-dollar option that Indian treats as stock equipment. Harley brackets the Challenger Limited’s sticker with a range that depends on color choice and runs from $27,299 up to $29,399 MSRP.

He Said

“Like the McDonald’s commercial says; I’m lovin’ it. I’m seeing an awful lot of crying from certain sectors about how this is a blatant ripoff of H-D’s Road Glide, but I didn’t see all this pearl-clutching and crying into their fedoras when Kawasaki rolled its Vaquero model. Bottom line here I think is that there’s only so many ways to build a fixed fairing, and it’s this or the great honkin’ chunk of plastic that is the Gold Wing style. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what the critics, or even myself, think of it, the proof is in the pudding and that pudding will be the sales numbers as we move through MY2020.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Okay, let’s not ignore the elephant in the room. It’s clearly got the Road Glide in its sights. Is it a rip-off? I can make arguments for and against so let’s just look at what it is. It’s a nice bagger with touring in mind. With a topcase, it would make a dandy dresser. It’s liquid cooled, so there’s no surprise that the power numbers are impressive. The PowerPlus engine isn’t nearly as much eye-candy as the Thunder Stroke engines, but if you’re sitting on it, you’re not looking at it, yeah?”

2020 Indian Challenger Limited Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: PowerPlus
Bore x Stroke: 4.251 in x 3.799 in (108 mm x 96.5 mm)
Displacement: 108 cu in
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Horsepower: 122 hp (90 KW)
Peak Torque: 128 lb-ft @ 3,800 rpm
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate, Assist
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel Injection / 52 mm dual bore
Exhaust: Split Dual exhaust w/ Resonator
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.379:1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Gear Ratio: 1st: 10.169, 2nd: 6.933, 3rd: 5.151, 4th: 4.105, 5th: 3.508, 6th: 3.017
Chassis:
Front Suspension/Travel: 43 mm Inverted Telescopic Fork/ 5.1 in (130 mm)
Rear Suspension/Travel: Single Shock w/Hyd adjust/ 4.5 in (114 mm)
Rake/Trail: 25° / 5.9 in (150 mm)
Lean Angle: 31°
Front Brakes: Dual / 320 mm Semi-Floating Rotor / 4-Piston Radial Caliper
Rear Brakes: Single / 298 mm Floating Rotor / 2-Piston Caliper
Front Wheel: Cast 19 in x 3.5 in
Rear Wheel: Cast 16 in x 5 in
Front Tires: Metzeler Cruisetec 130/60B19 66H
Rear Tires: Metzeler Cruisetec 180/60R16 80H
Dimensions & Capacities:
Fuel Capacity: 6.0 gal (22.7 L)
Ground Clearance: 5.4 in (137.3 mm)
Overall Height: 56.2 in (1,428.5 mm)
Overall Length: 98.5 in (2,500.7 mm)
Overall Width: 39 in (990.2 mm)
Seat Height: 26.5 in (672 mm)
Weight (Empty Tank / Full of Fuel): 796 lb (361 kg)/831 lb (377 kg)
Wheelbase: 65.7 in (1,667.8 mm)
Top Speed: 125 mph
Electric:
Gauges: 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 MHP or km/h unit designation
Infotainment: 7" touchscreen display with real-time clock; ambient air temperature; heading; audio information display; map/navigation with real-time traffic and weather; Bluetooth® status for phone and headset
Lights: LED lighting including Pathfinder LED Headlamp
Details:
Standard Equipment: Ride Command with Navigation; Smart Lean Technology; Selectable Ride Modes: Locking Hard Saddlebags: Brembo brakes: 18+ Gallons of storage: ABS: Keyless Ignition: Chassis Mounted Fairing: Adjustable Fairing Air Flow Vents; Power Windshield: Adjustable Air Vents
Warranty: 2 Years, Unlimited Miles
Color: Thunder Black Pearl, Deepwater Metallic, Ruby Metallic
Price: Thunder Black Smoke: $27,999, Color: $28,749

Further Reading

Harley-Davidson Road Glide/ Road Glide Special

2018 - 2019 Harley-Davidson Road Glide / Road Glide Special
- image 742004

See our review of the Harley-Davidson Road Glide/ Road Glide Special.

Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited

2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited
- image 860087

See our review of the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited.

Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager

2015 - 2019 Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager
- image 716650

See our review of the Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 Vaquero / Vulcan 1700 Voyager.

Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour

2018 - 2019 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour
- image 742336

See our review of the Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour.

Indian Challenger

2020 Indian Challenger
- image 868878

See our review of the Indian Challenger.

Indian Challenger Dark Horse

2020 Indian Challenger Dark Horse
- image 869116

See our review of the Indian Challenger Dark Horse->art186923].

Indian Motorcycle

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
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Read more Indian Motorcycle news.

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 More
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