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Indian Challenger and Chieftain Elite models: First look at ultra-exclusive motorcycles on the way to Ireland

Indian Challenger and Chieftain Elite models

Indian Challenger and Chieftain Elite models

Indian Challenger and Chieftain Elite models - the floorboards of the limited-production machines are Elite branded

Indian Challenger and Chieftain Elite models - the floorboards of the limited-production machines are Elite branded

Of only 200 of the exclusive models, 25 are coming to Europe and just one of each are coming to Ireland

Of only 200 of the exclusive models, 25 are coming to Europe and just one of each are coming to Ireland

Paul Browne

The Bagger, which occupies somewhat of a niche in motorcycling here in Ireland, has got a lot more attention recently with a whole new American race series where full touring spec Harleys and Indians are pitched against each other, each with a pair of panniers attached.

Now that our very own Jeremy McWilliams has not only taken part in, but won a race on his Indian, we’re all becoming quite aware of this sub-section of the big bike market.

Indian Motorcycle has now released a new and very exclusive pair of touring bikes, with both the well-established Challenger and the Chieftain models getting the ‘Elite’ treatment. Both have been built to offer the ultimate in touring machinery. They’re also very exclusive, with only 200 units being made for the global market, of which only 25 are coming to Europe.

In terms of specification, they quite simply have everything you could imagine on a bike, starting with the stealth grey and black paint scheme which is finished with some red detailing.

And the paint is just where it starts. There’s a 400-watt PowerBand sound system, featuring four-speaker surround sound with two speakers in the fairing and two in the panniers. The quality of the sound is unbelievably good, even when travelling at motorway speeds and above.

The stereo is controlled via a 200mm touchscreen display. The ride command system in the background not only has a GPS system but it even supports Apple CarPlay.

Of only 200 of the exclusive models, 25 are coming to Europe and just one of each are coming to Ireland

Of only 200 of the exclusive models, 25 are coming to Europe and just one of each are coming to Ireland

All of the switchgear is back lit. This allows the rider to clearly see the bike’s controls at night. Other bits on the Challenger Elite include a staggering 68 litres of storage space, more than a lot of cars. The electronically adjustable suspension can be used to dial in the height desired to accommodate for a full luggage set as well as a pillion.

The bikes do, of course, have ABS as standard. There’s also keyless ignition and tyre pressure monitoring.

Indian Challenger and Chieftain Elite models - the floorboards of the limited-production machines are Elite branded

Indian Challenger and Chieftain Elite models - the floorboards of the limited-production machines are Elite branded

Heated grips allow the rider to enjoy even the coldest of days. The floorboards are Elite branded and the windscreen is height adjustable. The adaptive LED headlight cleverly adjusts its spread depending on the bike’s angle of lean.

Rideability of the 377-kilo machines is made easier with the application of Smart Lean Technology. In simple terms, this allows the rider to confidently use all 30 degrees of the bike’s available lean.

The Challenger is powered by a liquid-cooled, 1,768cc engine and the Chieftain by a 1,811cc unit. Both are V-twin blocks making over 120bhp in addition to a minimum 178Nm of torque. The rider can manage the power delivery via the usual three different riding modes – Sport (fast), Standard, (running out of fuel) and rain (for riders who are a little afraid of what they are riding). All of them facilitate the bike’s traction control system.

One each of both the Challenger Elite and Chieftain Elite are coming to Ireland. If you are in the market, give Keith a call on 01-5385005.


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