Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2009 Indian Motorcycles First Look

Monday, May 12, 2008
Indian Motorcycles released images of its first prototype  the 2009 Chief Standard  that will also be available in three other variations - the Deluxe  the Roadmaster and the Vintage.
Indian Motorcycles released images of its first prototype, the 2009 Chief Standard, that will also be available in three other variations - the Deluxe, the Roadmaster and the Vintage.
When Stellican Limited purchased the rights to Indian Motorcycles back in July of 2004, the cruiser and custom crowd held their collective breaths. Would the new owners rush an inferior product to market in the same vein as Gilroy or would the company produce collectible, classicly-styled motorcycles more in the manner of Hendee and Hedstrom?

After our May 2007 interview with Indian Motorcycles' Chairman Stephen Julius, we came away with the impression that it would be the latter, based on Stellican's successful record of restoring iconic heritage brands to visages of their former glory. Julius confided that rushing a product to market wasn't a priority, that production would move slowly and that doing it right the first time was of utmost importance.

While initial prognostications quoted an ambitious release date of late fall 2007, that time frame has come and gone. But still no new Indians. Now we're almost halfway into 2008, and speculation as to what the new line of Indians would look like remained a mystery. Until now.

Indian Motorcycles finally released the first photographs of its 2009 Chief Standard prototype. The model shown stays true to Indian styling, with deeply valanced fenders, a studded leather seat, wide chrome bars, and classic-looking spoke wheels with whitewalls. The lettering for the Indian insignia is the same scroll type that we've come to know and love, and the Chief in his headdress is still perched on the front fender.
While it would have been easy to give S S a call for its new mill  Indian did things the old-fashioned way and produced its own 105 cubic-inch engine for the new line.
While it would have been easy to give S&S a call for its new mill, Indian did things the old-fashioned way and produced its own 105 cubic-inch engine for the new line.

Power for the new platform is provided by Indian's proprietary air cooled Power Plus 105 cubic-inch engine. The pushrod-equipped mill has an undersquare 3.97 x 4.25 inch bore/stroke with a 9:1 compression ratio. The closed loop sequential port fuel injected powerplant is claimed to put out 100 lb-ft of torque, but Indian admits that this initial projection is still arbitrary.

The engine sits in a tubular frame made of high tensile steel and connects to a six-speed tranny and exits out of two-into-one stainless steel exhausts with chromed shields. An inverted 41mm fork smoothes out the ride up front while a hidden monoshock will hold down rear suspension duties. The motorcycle sports a 68.4-inch wheelbase and weighs in at a claimed 738 lbs.

The 2009 Chief's ergos appear to be upright and rider-friendly. The studded leather solo seat sits at 26.7 inches and teams with slightly raised handlebars and good-sized floorboards. An analog speedo sits higher up on the 5.5-gallon tank than Harley-Davidson's tank-mounted console so it should be easily visible.

Brembo brakes could be spotted on the 16-inch front wheel, a 4-piston caliper set with dual floating rotors. Though we couldn't see what it has on the backside, we assume that they are Brembo also, only with a single floating rotor instead of dual and two piston calipers. The tires come in at pretty much standard 130/90-16 dimensions while the back is a modest 150/90-16. Rake has been established at 34-degrees, and in tandem with the skinny tires, we're curious to see how the new Chief handles.
The fuel cell holds a healthy 5.5 gallons and the die-cast console is color matched and sits high on the tank so it should be easy to read.
Image Caption

Thunder Black is the standard color, but riders do have a choice of silver script or silver headdress graphic options. Short fenders come standard, while the large valanced ones that Indian Motorcycles are known for will set you back another $499. The 2009 Chief Standard comes with a MSRP of $30,999, which means that they are placing a lot of faith in the Indian logo's marketability. This is a pretty big chunk of change for an untested product, especially considering you can get a fully dressed Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic with 105th anniversary trim for $23,270.

The 2009 Chief will also come in three other variations. The 2009 Chief Deluxe comes standard with a two-up seat and has a longer list of dual-tone paint options and available aftermarket accessories for a grand more. The 2009 Chief Roadmaster is Indian's touring edition that comes decked out with a quick release windshield, an upgraded luxury touring seat and accompanying pillion/backrest to go along with studded leather saddlebags. It also has sweet dual-tone paint options like midnight blue metallic with winter white and a silver headdress for an extra $899. Overall, the touring package will set you back $33,999 without the spiffy paint job. The 2009 Chief Vintage is the fully-dressed version, with custom touches like an Indian metal tank badge, chrome fender tips, engine guards and chrome grab rails. The valanced fenders that Indian charges more for on other models comes standard, as do the pillion and vintage saddlebags with fringes. You'll also get a tinted quick release windshield and have paint combos that aren't available on the other models, but it's still going to cost an extra $900. The base price for the decked-out Vintage is $34,499, and comes with a two-year warranty, as do all the models.
The 2009 Indian Chief has plenty of the styling cues that we ve grown to know and love from the American manufacturer  but some of those  like the deeply valanced fenders  will cost you extra.
The 2009 Indian Chief has plenty of the styling cues that we've grown to know and love from the American manufacturer, but some of those, like the deeply valanced fenders, will cost you extra.

While there is no definitive date set for the release of Indian's 2009 models, its website states that they will be out in time to make a select few very happy come Christmas time. If an invite to the press launch comes our way, we'll be the first to let you know how they ride. Until then, we can only hope that Indian has done its research and doesn't slip into the quagmire that doomed its last owner. But after our discussion with Mr. Julius, we anticipate that the company's resurrection is nigh.

Let us know what you think about this article in the MCUSA Forum. Click Here

Other Cruiser First Looks
BMW Unveils Concept 101 Bagger in Italy
BMW unveiled its Concept 101 today at the Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este, Italy, the performance bagger built with the help of Roland Sands.
Moto Guzzi Displays 2016 Cruisers at Daytona
Moto Guzzi displayed two updated cruisers planned for the 2016 model year at Daytona Bike Weeek, the El Dorado 1400 and Audace 1400.
2016 Victory Magnum X-1 First Look
Victory introduced its latest big-wheeled bagger at Bike Week, the 2016 Magnum X-1 rollin' 21-inches large up front on Black Billet wheels to go along with a 200-watt, 10 speaker audio system.
Dealer Locator

Login or sign up to comment.

CJ Eddy -Web Editor  January 7, 2010 04:46 PM
I hope, one day, that Indian realizes that true Indian lovers want a bike that looks like the traditional Indian bikes - not a new-looking model.
antonis2009 -2009 Indian motorcycles first look..  October 23, 2009 04:21 AM
I liked to have known more about accessories for new Indian.
Speedo is cream (yellow) and hard on my eyes at night - washes out all number for my eyes. Sorry, sunny, you are wrong..looked up your shop and frame welds coming apart on Gilroy Indians - which made me pause when looking at new ones. Gilroy Indians may destroy new ones in repairs to Gilroy machines.
I'd like a few more options.
Wish Harley1 would take it for a ride and provide feedback.
Once upon a time Indian was tops..innovation..had belt drive over 50 years ago, also had one of first driveshafts (1940s). If they brought back the driveshaft they would clean out the Japanese motocycle market. Most people buy Japanese not for price but for driveshafts which provide peace of mind. I prefer a shaft but have not purchased one. I am still holding out, hoping Indian will bring back their shaft. I like to ride and prefer to ride and not repair or worry about chains or belts. It is extremely hot in Texas..so that brings in the new HD watercooled possibly. Downfall of Indian was that it "stopped" innovation (sorry edpix) and R&D 1940s but HD started and continued their R&D. Owners greed for profits killed # 1 Indian 1953.
Michae Dart -2009 Indian Chief Vintage  September 30, 2009 06:31 PM
Iwas shopping H-D, but once I came across the new Vintage the deal was off with H-D. The Chief is top of the food chain when it comes to motorcycles. I now have a new Vintage in the garage #31 i Arizona Turquoise & Winter White.
dan -saddle bags  September 28, 2009 06:42 AM
i am looking for indian centennial saddle bags. can anyone help?
contact dan at dansgto@hotmail.com tks
JP -That headlight sucks!  August 16, 2009 04:30 PM
The rest of the bike looks really great. Too bad thye destroyed the look with that hideoulsy misshapen headlight! Not that anybody's gonna buy one of these bikes, but it is a cool idea to pretend that they're making a real Indian motorcycle.
Matt -Harley Deluxe dude  July 17, 2009 02:01 PM
That's a 25 cent washing machine you rode. Unlike your dime a dozen Deluxe. Other dude, Upgrading is precisely what you would be doing. You're comparing apples to tacos... Stock Harley's have no power, no chrome side by side there is no comparison. It's just that simple. Yes a HD is less expensive but if you brought a stock HD up to Indian standards. You would break that 30k you're scared of in no time. Chrome and power ain't cheap boys. Not to mention 60 spoke billet hub wheels Baker trannys the list goes on an on...
Joseph -Was interested, but . . .  July 10, 2009 11:01 AM
More than $30 grand for a bike? Come on! You can buy a MINI Cooper convertible for that kind of clang! Aren't we in the middle of a recession? Who's going to buy these? Is the purpose of this exercise just to produce some really collectible bikes for a few years and then shut down again? Seems to me that pricing should have been placed to be directly competitive with H-D at least, to make the pricing seem a bit more reasonable. Whatever. I won't be getting one, that's for sure.
RB -'03 Indian Roadmaster  June 26, 2009 08:24 PM
Test road the Roadmaster back in '03. Almost bought the bike, just something kept nagging at me about it. In the end I bought an '03 FLHTCUI and still have it. The engine problem on the Gilroy bikes was mostly on the Power Plus engined models, others with the S&S motors faired better. At any rate these 2009 Indians are so overpriced only a fool would buy one.
sunny -the new Chiefs  May 26, 2009 08:51 PM
I was interested in seeing the new Chiefs, as i worked at the plant in Gilroy. And tho i know some have had troubles with their bikes from their..it wasn't because we tried hard to build a good bike. From what i can see of the new ones... I am not impressed. Its too bad the Gilroy plany went under..i can tell ya it wasn't because of the way they were built..but was more of what they were built for. I was hoping Indian was coming back...doesn't look like it has.
Joe -Indian Comparison  May 17, 2009 09:04 AM
Test rode an FLHXYZ yesterday. It felt like a wimpy piece of junk. Terrible. I'll stay with my Indian Chief.
Randy -Indian Motorcycles  May 2, 2009 11:02 PM
I've a 2001 Centennial Chief. Bought it with 15,500 miles on it. I'm the 2nd owner. This bike was serviced regularly for the 1st 31/2 or so years of it's life by an Indian dealer and then sometime later in it's life it sat for awhile. I've read alot of negative things about these bikes, but I have to say, I've got a good one. I would suggest you need to know somewhat about bikes, or know a good bike mechanic you can trust, if you want to own one of these, as they are not for novices. If you simply want to push a button and go with little involvement with your bike... buy metric. My wife rides an 800 Vulcan Drifter and loves it. I've owned a lot of bikes over the years, American and metric, and I have to say I enjoy this one,(my Indian) the most. My favorite bikes before this were the old Triumphs I used to ride, (had 6 of 'em),these also were not for novices as you had to turn a wrench once in awhile. Anyway...for you guys with Gilroy Indians...give Vick a call at Leslie Indian in Leslie,Michigan. He's a great guy to deal with and he'll help you out. Also check with Indian of Weston, Ohio, Aardvark Custom Design and Crazyhorse Motorcycles.
KC Cheef -2009 Indian Motorcycle  April 25, 2009 09:53 PM
Hey Harley. I've been riding one for a friend for about 3 months now. I'm inviting you to Kansas City to take it out for as long a ride as you care to go on it. Legitimate offer. Call me at 913-522-8374. You'll have to settle for riding it without the saddle bags -- being sent back to the factory because on a ride yesterday the cheap latches gave way and emptied the contents of the bags all over Interstate 70. They've been sent back to the dealership for replacement. Lets see. So far. 1. Foam in the oil bag from the first time I started it up. I'm not talking bubbles--I'm talking enough foam to pressurize the bag. 2. Porous engine cases replaced by the factory at 485 miles. 3. While it was back in the factory to have the porous cases removed the oil pump was deemed out of tolerance and replaced--damn-no more foam in the bag even though I was told foam was normal. 4. 3800 miles on it now and let me say. THIS IS ONE MISERABLE RIDING machine. Offer is there and sincere--call me and come on to Kansas City and ride it as you like. Only condition is. YOU post your honest opinion on the ride it gives you.
Steve -New Indians  April 23, 2009 08:11 PM
I test rode one today. Felt like I was riding a washing machine on the fast spin cycle. Awful. I'll keep my Harley Deluxe.
Aaron C.Little -Indian  April 22, 2009 12:08 PM
Great what about the 2001-2003 Indian bikes will we be able to get parts from you ???????
Sam Lyford -Price  April 13, 2009 08:14 AM
I have an 02' Scout, I love it and feel it was reasonably priced at around 18,500, I believe the top of the line Chief was running around 23k. These new prices are ridicoulosly expensive! I don't have much faith that Indian will be able to stay around with this overpriced plat form, which is too bad, I was looking forward to upgrading.