Does Indian Motorcycle’s New 2022 Chief Hold Up?

by Gabrielle DeSantis

Fans of the Indian Chief are delighted to learn that its 100th anniversary is here. Very few vehicles have made it this far, and Indian is celebrating by releasing the 2022 Indian Chief. Does this latest edition hold up to the previous iterations that have helped it survive for 100 years? You better believe it.

100 years of greatness

Indian Motorcycle, maker of the 2022 Indian Chief | Getty Images

The original Indian Chief made its debut in 1921. Indian Motorcycles states, “Designed by the legendary Charles Franklin, the dirt track racer and engineer who also dreamed up the Scout, the Chief had a 61-cubic-inch V-twin, dual cams, a low seat, and graceful lines. Riders loved its reliable power, formidable torque, and agile frame, and the bike quickly gained fans around the world.”

The Chief would later play a huge role in helping boost post-war bike racing after WWII. It was known as one of the most fun bikes to customize, which helped fuel the appeal for the Chief.  

The 2022 Indian Chief is better than ever

When many manufacturers do a redesign, they try to keep a few hints of the old while making the vehicle look new. It’s more like a nod to the past while emphasizing where it’s at right now.

Indian didn’t go that route with the 2022 Indian Chief. There are still enough elements from the original bike to know that you’re looking at an Indian Chief at a glance. The steel frame isn’t fancy or frilly, the stance is still compact, and the 64-inch wheelbase is the same. 

The exhaust pipes and seats are larger and give the Chief a tough look and make it more comfortable than its predecessors, which is perfect for this timeless bike. Other modern features include full LED lights, keyless ignition, cruise control, and super-stick Pirelli Night Dragon tires, which look just as cool as they sound. All the modern tweaks are carefully hidden, so the Chief doesn’t look like a completely different bike.

Most Indian Chief lovers will appreciate that this is a bike designed for customization. While some manufacturers cringe at the idea of their vehicles being tweaked, Indian urges its riders to do so. For those who want their bike to be an extension of themselves, you can’t go wrong with a 2022 Indian Chief.

What do the critics have to say?

When you want the real story on how well a new bike will do, you don’t listen to the automaker; you go to the critics. They’re the ones who have nothing to lose by being upfront, while the manufacturer has to put the best spin on things. From looking at the reviews on the Chief, however, one thing is clear: Indian didn’t brag enough. couldn’t stop complimenting the new Chief. One point of the review that was extremely impressive was the departure from the aluminum frame and the way Chief embraced the original steel frame. 

Another factor that Motorcycle liked was the wide range of choices. There’s the base trim called the Chief, which starts at $14,999. The next trim level is the Chief Bobber which at $15,999. The highest trim level is the Chief Dark Horse at $16,999.

Each has a wide range of accessories offered by Indian, making customization easier than ever. While the Chief is designed to be a solo rider, you can opt for 2-up accessory options on each trim.

No matter which trim you decide to go with, you’re sure to be in for a fun ride. The 2022 Chief continues to deliver on all the fun features the original Chief stood for and will doubtlessly continue to for many years to come. 

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