Indian Chief Dark Horse. The Edgiest Member Of The Indian® Chief® Line-Up.

cyrilhuze-1cyrilhuze-4cyrilhuze-2My 1st encounter with the recently launched 2016 model-year Indian Chief Dark Horse was during Daytona Bike Week. It is built upon the successful Indian® Chief® platform and features the same Chief’s powerful 111-cubic-inch Thunder Stroke engine, electronic cruise control, keyless ignition, and ABS braking but it loses the oil cooler, analogue fuel gauge and driving lights of the Chief® Classic. The Dark Horse, with its matte black paint all over with very few touches of chrome and a swap to cast wheels, exudes the dark, no frills, pure thrills that many bikers are looking for when choosing a new ride.

cyrilhuze-6cyrilhuze-7The Dark Horse is Indian sixth model, the one conceived to fill a void in the Chief line-up. The Scout being the entry level model, the Dark Horse is the transition to the bigger Chief motorcycles, the only one with an almost all black treatment for a raw attitude, sold at a lower price point than its siblings ($17,000) but still offering customization through 40 aftermarket accessories. Among them, the black ape hangers will probably be the most popular for an even edgier riding attitude,

cyrilhuze-3There is a culture of the raw, stripped down motorcycle. Harley-Davidson nurtures it with its “Dark Series” Logically, Indian wants a share of the dark, gritty, retro style. This type of bikes is not for all, but for many bikers. Both brands know it. With the Dark Horse, Indian now offers a new entry-level motorcycle in the Chief family and a very attractive black classic styling alternative to Harley-Davidson models.

So, were a few spins on the Dark Horse worthwhile? Yes, not because the Chief Dark Horse feels different from the Chief Classic (just a tiny bit quicker because lighter), but simply because riding an all-black bike always makes you feel somewhat special. Just ask those who know…(photography @ Horst. Roesler for Cyril Huze)

22 Responses to “Indian Chief Dark Horse. The Edgiest Member Of The Indian® Chief® Line-Up.”

  1. 1 Ray Mar 27th, 2015 at 8:18 am

    Looking good. The bike and you Cyril.

  2. 2 Sean Mansfield Mar 27th, 2015 at 8:51 am

    It’s true that some will never buy a brand new bike in bright colors. Good move by Indian.

  3. 3 P. Hamilton Mar 27th, 2015 at 8:53 am

    Just needs black pipes. Except this, looking very good on the road.

  4. 4 TJ Martin Mar 27th, 2015 at 8:53 am

    The bike is good looking . The fact that it offers up a Chief at a lower price point is even better .

    But …. does a satin black paint job and a tad bit quicker acceleration suddenly qualify as … ‘ Edgy ‘ ? Good god I hope not . because if it does … Edgy … has lost all of its ‘ Edge ‘ … and succumbed fully to the LowBrow /Revisionist Definitions mentality of the age

    Jeeze .. I remember when having a satin black paint job meant you didn’t have enough money for a real paint job .. DIY’ing with a box of rattle can black primer . e.g. On the cheap .. not ‘ edgy ‘

    PS; Holding up well I see Cyril ! Two thumbs up ! And … we .. [ cause I is one myself }

    Old Guys Rule 😉

  5. 5 Geezer Mar 27th, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Cyril? the youngest of the baby boomers on the road!

  6. 6 Greeko Mar 27th, 2015 at 9:00 am

    T.J. Martin. The headline says “the edgiest member of the Chief lineup”, not the edgiest motorcycle. I agree.

  7. 7 Chris Olson Mar 27th, 2015 at 9:07 am

    Some additional sales stolen from Harley. good job Indian.

  8. 8 BobS Mar 27th, 2015 at 10:05 am

    It’s a good looking bike. I suspect the probable forthcoming Chieftain Darkhorse will be a huge seller.

  9. 9 Zipper Mar 27th, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Down here in Daytona Indian is moving in rapidly. The topic of conversation is when is my new Indian going to be delivered. So nice to have a choice of American brands. The whole HD life style is getting long in tooth. ..Z

  10. 10 Justin Upstart Mar 27th, 2015 at 10:21 am

    The Chief Dark Horse was in Indian’s roster between 2010 and 2013. The name is being brought back for 2016. From 2010 – 13 is was available in flat black, flat red and flat blue. It appears now to only be available in black.

  11. 11 Jim Castro Mar 27th, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Good move Indian, almost. Eliminating the oil cooler is just plain b.s.

    Personally, I like the idea of the blacked out motor and trans if they would offer three or four custom colors for the tins. Just sayin’…….

  12. 12 1550tc Mar 27th, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I wish they would just get the clutter and tupperware off these bikes
    Can the fender guys get some front fenders on the market ASAP!

    engine and paint look good !!!

  13. 13 Brian Mar 27th, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    I can appreciate the all-black aspect of the design, at the very least. Not bad at all.

  14. 14 Blackmax Mar 27th, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Damn fine looking machine
    No Frills, No Extras, No Crap
    Just a modern motorcycle for a modern rider
    Lookin’ GOOD Cyril !!!!

  15. 15 Robert Pandya Mar 27th, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Thanks for the time to ride the bike in Daytona Cyril! And for sneaking my truck into the shoot – very cool. Her name is “Black Betty”. She’s a ’39 Ford Hot Rod Survivor with a ’58 Chevy 283 and Offenhauser adaptor bell to the stock driveline if anybody cares.

    For those worried about the oil cooler, our ongoing research shows that the oil cooler isn’t really needed on bikes that are not intended for heavy hauling and high loads. Fewer parts and fewer exposed oil paths simply allow for a less busy appearance and even more oil tight engine and the minimalist theme of the DH.

    Besides – we pay for our warranty – there was plenty of research done to validate the new Dark Horse configuration Thunder Stroke 111 engine in all conditions. The DH does not need it, so it was eliminated to help bring down the cost.

    We did however keep the ABS system and the electronic cruise control and shifted from an analogue fuel gauge to a digital one in the information cluster. Like powered windows, since all of our vehicles have ABS and Cruise, it would actually cost more to re-validate new systems – thus driving costs up.

    The flat black paint is ideal for re-spraying and already we have heard of dealers stripping bikes for custom colors – and the metal fenders are easy to chop down – I did it myself on my Elnora project bike. And plenty of people hate that look too!

    Ya’ll have a smooth weekend – it’s greening up nicely where I live and this weekend promises to be spectacular riding weather in Texas. I hope you get to ride whatever you choose ride.

    Thanks again Cyril – see you down the road,

    Robert Pandya
    External Relations Manager
    Indian Motorcycle

  16. 16 Roberto Mar 28th, 2015 at 3:26 am

    No bags or windshield……..

  17. 17 Matt W. Mar 28th, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Caught a personal glimpse of one at our new Indian dealer. Very bad ass looking but doesn’t loose the Chief’s overall elegance.

  18. 18 Kirk Perry Mar 28th, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Any motorcycle without an oil-cooler is a friend of mine.

  19. 19 Motorcycle Marc Mar 30th, 2015 at 11:07 am

    Love the look of the new Indian Dark Horse. Darn right cool. Looking forward to a roadtrip in the near future on this bike.

  20. 20 John Mar 30th, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Don’t like all the heavy looking body work and rear fender that extends a foot beyond the tire. Love the engine though. I’d be interested if they put that motor into a bike like the Harley SuperGlide. That’s what I have and like. Completely functional looks, fenders that hug the tire and no stylistic crap.

  21. 21 live2rideaglide Mar 30th, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Love the retro look , especially in satin black. CH that bike is you.

  22. 22 Inasu Chirayath Jul 3rd, 2015 at 6:14 am

    i just bought mine, it’s a great bike. Just added a moustache highway bar and the stage 1 black exhaust!

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Cyril Huze