Indian have just announced the 2021 model range and it is a positive step forwards in these weird times.
The big thing is that the Thunderstroke 111 has now been superseded by the 116 incarnation – including in the Chief Vintage and its new-for-2021 blacked-out sibling, the Vintage Dark Horse.
A Vintage Dark Horse, you say? Would that be a blacked out version of the laced wheeled, white-wall tyred, fringed leather saddle-bagged heavyweight? Yes, but with cast wheels, regular tyres and a blacked-out motor with gloss black covers, accents and handlebars contrasting against smoke black everything else. And the panniers and unskirted solo seat only come in black. Okay, so it’s a Chief Dark Horse with fringed leather panniers, which explains why there isn’t a Chief Dark Horse any more.
Like the Springfield Dark Horse, it makes do without the screen of its host, but the Vintage retains the wheel sizes and skirted front mudguard.
Hang on a second … the Chief Vintage itself is only available with tan dual seat and panniers. And it still has the whitewalls and laced wheels, just in case you wondered, and comes in a rich and lovely, complementary Crimson Metallic hue.
The hard-bagged Springfield gets the 116-inch motor as well as a colour change – a pair of two-tone schemes – and is the first to feature a new right hand switch cluster that contains the on-off switch that was previously a big round button on the tank top console, which is now home to a USB charging port. It’s now a switch next to the kill, and in a similar style.
The Springfield Dark Horse already had the 116-inch motor but not the switch, and is otherwise very familiar.
In the Chieftain family, it’s more a matter of what’s missing than what has been added as the Challenger muscles-in on its turf. No base Chieftain, no Chieftain Classic with the original freight train streamliner, just a Chieftain Limited in any colour as long as it’s Thunder Pearl Black and a Dark Horse in a choice of three matt colours: Black, Ruby and Titanium: all of which feature the less skirted front mudguard and the later styling. They too have had their big round on/off switch replaced by a USB socket, which I’m guessing at this point is a higher rated one than the USB connector for the Ride Command, allowing faster charging.
The Challenger is still establishing itself, with a Limited and Dark Horse model, but upgrades are limited to a Metallic Ruby in addition to the Thunder Pearl Black for the Limited, a relocated on/off switch and PowerBand Audio: an amplified QD trunk that adds 50% more volume to the stock audio system and 64 litres of additional storage … and creating the Roadmaster’s inevitable challenger for next year’s touring honours.
The only range that numbers more than two is now the Roadmaster, where the addition of a Limited to bolster the base model – the last resting place of the Streamliner fairing – and the Dark Horse brings the headcount up to three.
The new Limited is Indian’s flagship, including the new ClimaControl seat – more than a heated one, this will cool you too – which it shares with the Roadmaster Limited as standard equipment, controlled through the Ride Command. Trick and retro-fittable to all 2014 Thunderstroke models!!
On top of that, Apple CarPlay has been integrated into the Ride Command – to allow greater customisation in terms of music, maps and mobile information – and a new Pathfinder S LED driving light is on offer as an accessory upgrade.
Not a massive change in many ways, but it’s pretty much all positive.