Author Topic: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review  (Read 867 times)

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Offline sininja

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2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« on: August 12, 2017, 06:05:02 pm »
This is a review for guys like myself who love all motorcycles...  To the tune of I usually keep a bike no longer than six months, just because I like trying different things.  This is my third summer on my c14 now.  I can't understate how big of a deal that is for me.  It is based completely on the fact that with my SISF EVO flash and slip-on no bike that I've ridden in the last couple years has come close to the fricken ridiculous all around/every time I twist the throttle from any rpm power making me giggle like it's my first time on a bike.  To me, the c14 is alllllllll about that motor!  It needs the flash though, Kawi did a terrible job stock.  If it wasn't for SISF, I wouldn't have had this bike more than a year.  Anyways, on to my review.  Most references in my review are in comparison to my c14.  My personal specs(lots of times this helps when reading someone's review) are 37 yrs old, 6'1" tall, 285lbs with a long torso.

Comfort-  Outstanding!  Big deal for me, as I got bad wrists and an achy back.  Obviously you can change bars, seats, floorboards etc. but stock fit me so well!  This really stood out to me, as my c14 I'm only good for about an hour then I'm squirming.  My knees and butt just don't agree with the c14.  The Indian is really really comfy. 

Motor- No contest here, and by far the only disappointment.  Definitely enough torque to haul my wife and I around and cruise on the highway.  Much more smooth and refined than Harleys 103(I haven't got to try the new 107 yet).  There's no getting around the fact that there's probably 50 less HP to the wheel here.   Deal breaker?  Absolutely not, there's enough to be enjoyable.  Just not close to a SISF EVO c14!

Transmission-  Best I've tried in a big bore cruiser.  Pretty simple, it shifts smooth and light.  Surprised me even. 

Chassis-  Best cruiser I've been on.  Harley's Rushmore models were kinda my standard, and Indian in my opinion has outdone them here.  It's stable, rolls over fine for a big girl, and cruises at well over the speed limit with ease.  Compared to my c14???  Obviously it's not that good, but all things considered it was great for the weight and length.  Let's just say I was impressed.  Knee draggers on sportbikes would be disappointed though.

Gauges/Infotainment-  Best I've ever used period.  Even better than vehicles.  I can't say enough how awesome it is and how much I liked it.  GPS, information, gauges, radio, etc. all looked awesome!  Pure winner here, even better than Harley's Boom Audio. 

Convenience features/extras-  Loved everything from the cruise control, powered windshield, central locking bags, to keyless ignition.  The only thing I regret not looking for was the heated grips.  Maybe someone can clue me in on if they have them standard? 

Summary-  I really did enjoy these bikes.  It's been a while since I've hopped on something and been surprised.  I would have no problem having one of these in my garage.  In fact, my wheels are already turning on how to make it happen.  Is it a replacement for my c14???  Heck no...  It is a great motorcycle though.   Like I mentioned earlier, I never keep bikes long.  Too many good ones out there that I want to try!  While the Indian is not even in the ballpark motorwise compared to an EVO Flashed c14, everything else is great.  I had a deal in place to buy a wing last year, and when it fell through it didn't bother me much.  Great bikes too, but no soul in my opinion.  The Indian's have that extra "thing" that's easy to become attached to.  I feel a change a comin'  :beerchug:
« Last Edit: August 12, 2017, 06:10:52 pm by sininja »

Offline Sport Rider

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2017, 09:51:04 pm »
I saw one of these in creme and red that had a matching sidecar and trailer.  it was a work of art.  for the style of bike these are, it's just gorgeous to me.....
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Offline seagiant1

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2017, 11:11:46 pm »
Hi,
      Thanks!

I'll admit it.....

I've never been a real HD Fan?

I was hoping, Indian, was a better built/running bike! ;D
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Offline Sport Rider

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 12:18:16 am »
poor picture, but check this out.
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Offline Ingramite

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 01:20:05 am »
Well.

I'm not here to rain on anyone's parade.
Indians are beautiful motorcycles, no doubt.
They are soooo beautiful that I bought one back in very early '14.

During the years that I owned that bike it spent a total of 3.5 months in the shop.
The heads were replaced twice, the cylinders, pistons, rings, lifters, cam chain and cam chain tensions were all replaced once.
The last time I got the Indian Vintage out of the shop I rode it to Austin and traded it on my Connie.
It had been totally replaced from the engine cases up.

When I got the bike it was the very first year for the new Thunder Stroke 111 C.I. motor.
It came with a 5 year unlimited mileage warranty, thank God.

It is my honest belief that the days of the air cooled V-Twin are over.
They are running so lean that they put off unreal heat.
I also ride in the unblinking heat of Texas summers too.

If you do decide to try one, I can only wish you better luck than I had.

Tom
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Offline sininja

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 12:06:45 pm »
That sucks to hear!  I'll definitely research more before buying so thanks for the feedback, that's the stuff I'll be looking for.  Two working parents with two kids, I don't have time to spare on waiting for repairs!

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2017, 12:22:33 pm »
........

It is my honest belief that the days of the air cooled V-Twin are over.
They are running so lean that they put off unreal heat.
......

while I get what you're saying, I just don't think they are going anywhere anytime soon.  Harley has built a HUGE following for these motors and until they die off, I doubt the market for them will go away.

I'm thinking your problem is that Indian just didn't get it right with their motors.  you don't hear those types of things happening much on other brands of motors.  I do have a friend who's bottom end grenaded, but that wasn't until about 82k miles.  others have problems, but it's not widespread.  then again, those types of bikes, while capable of long mileage, are generally not used that much.  many of them are garage and trailer queens that don't see that type of high mileage.  (I'm generalizing, so don't everyone yell at me for steriotyping...I know some love these bikes and use them for high mileage too).

I do hope Indian gets them sorted out, because they are just such classy designs compared to the current Harley offerings.

Plus I always seem to cheer for the little guy.   :)
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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2017, 04:12:04 pm »
........

It is my honest belief that the days of the air cooled V-Twin are over.
They are running so lean that they put off unreal heat.
......

while I get what you're saying, I just don't think they are going anywhere anytime soon.  Harley has built a HUGE following for these motors and until they die off, I doubt the market for them will go away.

I'm thinking your problem is that Indian just didn't get it right with their motors.  you don't hear those types of things happening much on other brands of motors.  I do have a friend who's bottom end grenaded, but that wasn't until about 82k miles.  others have problems, but it's not widespread.  then again, those types of bikes, while capable of long mileage, are generally not used that much.  many of them are garage and trailer queens that don't see that type of high mileage.  (I'm generalizing, so don't everyone yell at me for steriotyping...I know some love these bikes and use them for high mileage too).

I do hope Indian gets them sorted out, because they are just such classy designs compared to the current Harley offerings.

Plus I always seem to cheer for the little guy.   :)

You make a couple of very valid points.

1. It is unusual to see over 10,000 miles a year accumulate on these V-Twins. A lot of them are garage queens. If anyone doubts it, look at the mileage on used V-Twins.

2. Harley has built a large following. The very first thing "most" new Harley riders do is to put low restriction mufflers to achieve that famous rumble. These mods come around to a high flow air cleaner and when you do all of that? What is a few hundred dollars more for a bootleg ECM box that effectively throws the EPA compliant factory tune out the window? When you enrichen the fuel to air ratio they do run cooler. Take the catalytic converters out of the pipes and you are almost where you need to be for everything that made the V-Twin famous in the first place.....now bump the displacement back down to 80 C.I. and lower the compression ratio down to 8.5:1....That's the Harley that made Harley famous. The most recent editions are nothing but HarleyWeird.

Anyway, I know you can also make an Indian dependable by doing the same mods that I mentioned. My problem was that my Indian was still under warranty. I am eternally grateful that I didn't try to "fix it" with these shade tree mods. I just got it replaced under warranty and moved on to a better bike....my Connie.

It does pain me to say these things because I've spent my last 40 years riding V-Twins...air cooled V-Twins. 
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Offline sininja

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2017, 05:22:39 pm »
All my Harley riding friends need major service by the 30k mile mark and all consider it normal.  Honestly I just never keep anything that long I don't know why I even care  :))

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2017, 12:14:53 am »

You make a couple of very valid points.

1. It is unusual to see over 10,000 miles a year accumulate on these V-Twins. A lot of them are garage queens. If anyone doubts it, look at the mileage on used V-Twins.

2. Harley has built a large following. The very first thing "most" new Harley riders do is to put low restriction mufflers to achieve that famous rumble. These mods come around to a high flow air cleaner and when you do all of that? What is a few hundred dollars more for a bootleg ECM box that effectively throws the EPA compliant factory tune out the window? When you enrichen the fuel to air ratio they do run cooler. Take the catalytic converters out of the pipes and you are almost where you need to be for everything that made the V-Twin famous in the first place.....now bump the displacement back down to 80 C.I. and lower the compression ratio down to 8.5:1....That's the Harley that made Harley famous. The most recent editions are nothing but HarleyWeird.

Anyway, I know you can also make an Indian dependable by doing the same mods that I mentioned. My problem was that my Indian was still under warranty. I am eternally grateful that I didn't try to "fix it" with these shade tree mods. I just got it replaced under warranty and moved on to a better bike....my Connie.

It does pain me to say these things because I've spent my last 40 years riding V-Twins...air cooled V-Twins.

Just to be fair on your first point though, there are TONS of bikes of all types that never see that much mileage.  LOTS of bikes can be found in the 10 to 20k mileage range.  even C10s and 14s fall into that category too.  heck, I just picked up a 94 with less than 15k.  it's in terrific shape considering it's age.  I could go poor buying up bikes of this nature and filling my garage.   >:(
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Offline sininja

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2017, 12:13:01 am »
Well.

I'm not here to rain on anyone's parade.
Indians are beautiful motorcycles, no doubt.

well this stinks...  didn't take much googling to find a ton of complaints and threads on "clacking", an oil pump related problem that seems pretty common.  ugh...  bummer
They are soooo beautiful that I bought one back in very early '14.

During the years that I owned that bike it spent a total of 3.5 months in the shop.
The heads were replaced twice, the cylinders, pistons, rings, lifters, cam chain and cam chain tensions were all replaced once.
The last time I got the Indian Vintage out of the shop I rode it to Austin and traded it on my Connie.
It had been totally replaced from the engine cases up.

When I got the bike it was the very first year for the new Thunder Stroke 111 C.I. motor.
It came with a 5 year unlimited mileage warranty, thank God.

It is my honest belief that the days of the air cooled V-Twin are over.
They are running so lean that they put off unreal heat.
I also ride in the unblinking heat of Texas summers too.

If you do decide to try one, I can only wish you better luck than I had.

Tom

well this stinks...  didn't take much googling to find a ton of complaints and threads on "clacking", an oil pump related problem that seems pretty common.  ugh...  bummer

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2017, 01:50:19 am »
Hey, sininja.

I'm here to tell you with first hand knowledge, these things are exceptions, not the norm. I sell Indians for a living and I'm around them all day/every day. We have seen very few issues with the 111, and almost 0 with the Scout liquid cooled motors. Some of the 111's make a louder than normal clack from the top end. This is really only due to the covers being large, hollow, and basically a resonating chamber for the valve train. Loudest is when the engine is spinning around 2200, off throttle. No big deal in other words. We've done no oil pump replacements since I've been around them, and only two very minor recall issues. In four years production that is pretty low.

You touched on most of what I love about these new bikes, and I have to say that I agree with everything you said. Ride comfort, power delivery, looks, ease of maintenance, features, fit, finish, and sporting ability (for an 800+ lb cruiser), I can actually lean these behemoths over pretty far.. :motonoises: I own a 2015 C14 and can make almost no direct comparisons to the Indians, other than I think for what your spending for either one, their real bargains. If your interests lay in an American made V-twin cruiser, then I would say give them a shot. In my opinion they are the best option in the market. This was a long post (and old ), but it's because I feel really passionate about what these bikes are. Not only because they feed my family, but also because I'm very impressed with what Polaris has done for the brand, and I couldn't be more excited about what the future holds for them. Good luck in your buying, and if you ever get to Detroit come ride one of my bikes.

Brian

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2017, 01:26:33 pm »
During the years that I owned that bike it spent a total of 3.5 months in the shop.
The heads were replaced twice, the cylinders, pistons, rings, lifters, cam chain and cam chain tensions were all replaced once.
The last time I got the Indian Vintage out of the shop I rode it to Austin and traded it on my Connie.
It had been totally replaced from the engine cases up.

Sorry to hear about all the trouble with your Indian, but I think you may be misinformed about what actually went on with that. I can't see the motor needing all that work, without there being some other circumstances involved. Heads replaced twice, why? My hope is that you were not dealing with a dishonest shop.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 06:22:43 pm by GRN14 »

Offline Grant

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Re: 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster Review
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2017, 05:16:05 pm »
If I hadn't of been given a C10 and discovered how much I like The Concourse I probably would have bought an Indian instead of my c14.
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