To the casual observer, perhaps all five Chieftains in the 2018 Indian lineup appear similar. And, to a point, they are: fully dressed baggers loaded with premium features, including Ride Command—the comprehensive electronics package containing a premium audio system (100 watts in this case), Bluetooth wireless connectivity, a touchscreen navigation system, a trip computer, and maintenance minder. Representing the midpoint of the Chieftain product line, the Classic distinguishes itself as the only Chieftain with 16-inch front and rear wheels, 1940s-style fully valanced fenders, and, importantly, the classic illuminated Indian headdress.
Like all of the big Indians, the Chieftain Classic gets its motivation from an air-cooled Thunder Stroke 111ci V-twin that generates maximum torque at a lazy 3,000 rpm—a lower speed than where most cars develop peak torque. Translation: With a big displacement of more than 900cc per cylinder and a six-speed gearbox, the Chieftain Classic is well-equipped to devour highway miles, whether than means across the state or across the continent. Altogether, it’s a marriage of high tech, old soul, and touring.
Likes: Indian is passionate about its heritage—and it shines brightly here.
Dislikes: We get the cutoff windshield bagger shtick, but full-height windshields work way better.
Verdict: Equal parts bagger and tourer.