The 2020 Indian Motorcycle Challenger Is Here

Indian fires off a liquid-cooled bagger salvo.

The all-new Indian Challenger with the all-new liquid-cooled PowerPlus motor that is purported to crank out 122 hp and 128 pound-feet of torque. Note the radial-mount Brembo brakes and inverted fork.
The all-new Indian Challenger with the all-new liquid-cooled PowerPlus motor that is purported to crank out 122 hp and 128 pound-feet of torque. Note the radial-mount Brembo brakes and inverted fork. The black matte finishes seen here identify this bike as a Dark Horse version.Indian Motorcycle

Indian Motorcycle reveals an all-new liquid-cooled V-twin for its new fixed-fairing bagger, the Challenger, set to debut as a rival for Harley-Davidson's Road Glide. According to Indian, its new PowerPlus is "the highest-performing American V-twin ever developed," pumping out a claimed 122 hp.

While Indian may have overlooked the liquid-cooled engines from Erik Buell Racing(claimed with as much as 185 hp), Indian's new 60-degree V-twin appears to be quite formidable. Displacing 108ci (1,769cc), the four-valve-per-cylinder motor is purported to twist out a class-leading 128 pound-feet of torque at 3,800 rpm. Peak horsepower is delivered at 5,500 rpm, 1,000 revs prior to reaching the engine's maximum speed of 6,500 rpm.

Indian Vs. Harley-Davidson Horsepower Comparison

American motorcycle companies seldom release horsepower claims, but they always state a figure for peak torque. Here's how the latest big-inch American V-twins compare in their factory-provided claims, from highest to lowest.

Indian Challenger 128 lb.-ft. @ 3,800 rpm
Indian Thunder Stroke 116 126 lb.-ft. @ 2,900 rpm
H-D CVO 117 125 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
H-D Milwaukee-Eight 114 118–123 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
Indian Thunder Stroke 111 119 lb.-ft. @ 3,000 rpm
H-D Milwaukee-Eight 107 108–112 lb.-ft.

Indian PowerPlus Engine And Electronics

Here’s a look at the 1,769cc PowerPlus before being installed in a Challenger in Spirit Lake, Iowa. The engines are built in Osceola, Wisconsin.
Here’s a look at the 1,769cc PowerPlus before being installed in a Challenger in Spirit Lake, Iowa. The engines are built in Osceola, Wisconsin.Indian Motorcycle

Other notable features of the PowerPlus (the name an homage to the Indian PowerPlus motorcycle produced from 1916 to 1924) include a ride-by-wire throttle, three ride modes, and an assist clutch to reduce lever effort. Easing maintenance are hydraulic valve-lash adjusters and camshaft-chain tensioners.

"You simply cannot deliver the ultimate bagger without an engine that stands head and shoulders above anything else in its class, and that was the motivation behind the PowerPlus," said John Callahan, Indian Motorcycle vice president, engineering. "The end result is something truly special."

The engine info presented here is just a tease for the rest of the Challenger story. Code named Raptor, the new Indian Challenger is a fixed-fairing bagger that will go head to head with Harley's Road Glide.

2020 Indian Challenger Details

The pictures supplied with the PowerPlus engine announcement reveal an aluminum frame, subframe, and swingarm, an inverted fork, and Brembo brakes. We also expect to see the latest Ride Command infotainment system as seen in other 2020 Indians, along with keyless ignition and cruise control.

The PowerPlus will be built in Osceola, Wisconsin, with final motorcycle assembly taking place in Indian Motorcycle’s production facility in Spirit Lake, Iowa.

Indian Motorcycle PowerPlus Engine Specifications

Engine 60-degree V-twin, liquid-cooled
Displacement 108ci (1,769cc)
Power 122 hp at 5,500 rpm
Torque 128 lb.-ft. at 3,800 rpm
Maximum Engine Speed 6,500 rpm
Crankcase Unit design featuring high-capacity semi-dry-sump oil system
Timing System Overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder
Fuel System 52mm dual-bore throttle bodies
Compression Ratio 11:1
Clutch Assist
Transmission 6-speed constant mesh w/ overdrive
Notice the tight packaging of the PowerPlus within the Challenger’s aluminum frame.
Notice the tight packaging of the PowerPlus within the Challenger’s aluminum frame.Indian Motorcycle
The PowerPlus engine supposedly has run nearly 1 million miles on simulators and more than 250,000 miles of on-road testing. Its roots are reported to stretch back to Polaris’ Victory era before being upgraded and adapted as an Indian.
The PowerPlus engine supposedly has run nearly 1 million miles on simulators and more than 250,000 miles of on-road testing. Its roots are reported to stretch back to Polaris’ Victory era before being upgraded and adapted as an Indian.Indian Motorcycle
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Challenger will be its bulky-looking fairing. It’s attached directly to the bike’s frame, unlike the bar-mounted fairings of Indian’s Chieftain and Harley’s Street Glide.
Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the Challenger will be its bulky-looking fairing. It’s attached directly to the bike’s frame, unlike the bar-mounted fairings of Indian’s Chieftain and Harley’s Street Glide.Indian Motorcycle
Note the brightwork on the bike in this picture, as opposed to the Dark Horse in the lead photo.
Note the brightwork on the bike in this picture, as opposed to the Dark Horse in the lead photo.Indian Motorcycle