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First Pics of Polaris 2012 Indian Chief Released

Tuesday, August 30, 2011
The Spirit Lake production team with the first Indian produced in the Polaris factory. - Courtesy of Indian Motorcycles
The proud members of the Spirit Lake production team who worked on the first Indian Motorcycle to be produced in the Polaris factory pose for a picture with the 2012 Indian Chief.
The first Polaris-Indian will be subjected to extensive testing and evaluation to ensure the quality meets all Polaris quality standards. - Courtesy of Indian Motorcycles
The Indian Motorcycle Company posted pictures of the 2012 Indian Chief on its facebook page today, the first Indian to roll off the Spirit Lake, Iowa, production line since Polaris acquired the company back in April. The Polaris – Indian Bike #1 is shown with proud members of the Spirit Lake production team responsible for its creation.

As mentioned in our “Polaris Comments on Indian Motorcycles Future” article, the 2012 Indian Chief gives no indication of the direction its new owners will take the company. Polaris’ influence will not be seen until the 2013 Indian models roll off the production line. The 2012 Chief’s design is a carryover from the engineering and styling teams from Kings Mountain, North Carolina.
A quick peek reveals its signature traits – deeply valanced fenders, a wide tank with a chrome instrument console, a beefy chrome headlight housing and cruising lights, wide-set cruiser bars, leather trimmed saddle and bags, and the Chief cloissone peaking over the front fender. It continues to source a Power Plus 105 V-Twin, a 45-degree, pushrod-operated, air-cooled V-Twin with closed-loop fuel injection. A shiny two-into-one stainless steel exhaust streaks down its right side. The only noticeable difference we noticed is that Polaris did away with the chromed lower fork tubes. No price has yet been given, but the GM of Indian Motorcycles Charlotte mentioned in his newsletter “pricing structure for new Indians will be the same.”
Polaris-Indian Bike #1
               Polaris-Indian Motorcycle #1!

Here’s what Indian Motorcycles had to say about the first production Indian Motorcycle to roll out of Spirit Lake.

“Friday, August 5th, 2011, marked a new chapter in the long history of the Indian Motorcycle brand - the first Polaris built Indian rolled off the assembly line in Spirit Lake, Iowa. Polaris is honored and proud to have hit this milestone, and continues to gear up for full production it the Spirit Lake plant.

This significant first bike will be subject to considerable testing and evaluation to ensure it meets all quality standards and Indian consumer expectations, and Polaris Motorcycles production. Production for dealer-available units is still scheduled to begin October 2011. Things are off to a great start, and the Indian Motorcycle teams in Spirit Lake, Iowa, Osceola, WI, Wyoming, MN, and at the Polaris Headquarters in Medina, MN, are working hard to deliver the best Indian motorcycle yet.”
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Russ   March 15, 2012 10:19 PM
It is refreshing news that Polaris has acquired the Indian brand, however, I believe that instead of initially going with a warmed over Chief, which has failed a number of times, emphasis on creating a DOHC powered racing bike in the likeness of the late 30s & early 40s Bonneville Sport Scout (Winning Races Sells Motor Vehicles), followed by a reasonably priced sport bike, would have a much greater chance of reestablishing the Great Indian History. The Chief would have a much better chance of success if it is preceded by the publicity generated by entry into the Flat Track Pro Racing Circuit. Being a former Indian (Late 40s Early 50s) flat track rider, I remember the excitement generated by the "Indian Wrecking Crew" of that era.
IDAHOCOWBOY   February 26, 2012 04:19 PM
Well this is my first post. Photofan66 is wright about some things but not on pricing. I have a 2002 cheif. I got it at a great price used. This is my dream bike. I had a Harley befor but could never dream of geting a Cheif at 32,000. You can buy two Harleys at that price. Every one who has put out Indians do the same old thing. They put a price tag on it that is so high the fans of the bike cant aford it. They all say the same thing, "We are going after the people with a ton of chash niche." Then they go under in a big way. There has to be a way to do both. Photofan66 is corect in keeping quality high and retro is why I love my bike. I get looks every were I go. I hope I have not afended. God Bless
photofan66   October 4, 2011 06:20 AM
I have to disagree with Gray22. The reason people will be interested in an Indian motorcycle is because it is "retro". If they go "cutting edge" they could end up with something as hideous as the Victory Vision. Any changes made should go toward power and handling, but leave the style alone.
Others who say the price is too high may be partially correct. A lower price will always increase sales, but don't sacrifice quality for price. I don't see Indian ever becoming a main stream comodity bike. (I think it would be a mistake to try. It hasn't worked yet for Victory with many styling attempts.) I think they need to market to their niche. Any limited production vehicle is naturally going to be higher priced and the people who like them will be willing to pay.
nativepyrope   September 7, 2011 12:36 PM
I was @ 4-corners bike rally in CO. during Labor Day weekend. Crowds were very thin... about 50% from 3 years ago. Gear sellers were stuck with inventory & beer halls were not playful as years before. Keeping that in mind, hope Polaris desides to lower the price AND build new off-shoots of the Chief; direct their efforts towards the upcoming consumers in a brand. Modern, less Weight, & focused.... Too many H-D's, just like an american car; but when you do see a Porsche..... "Wow, now that's an Indian" could be the whispers and next years mantra.... Go get them and save the economy
Gray22   September 1, 2011 10:02 PM
I think Polaris and Indian are really missing an opportunity here if they maintain status quo. Before they went bankrupt, Indian was the engineers motorcycle. They were technically good and they were extremely modern looking for their time with their art deco stream lined fairings. Why not use Indian's past to influence it's future? Rather than make a motorcycle that is unchanged since the fifties, put the talents of American engineers and designers on display and make a modern cutting edge motorcycle and truly pay homage to Indian. And I'm sorry but "retro" styling is just lazy. I read the other posts and it seems there are some like minded people, so hopefully Polaris will see that riders want a modern American made bike.
Piglet2010   August 31, 2011 06:36 PM
Older riders with larger discretionary incomes may well prefer heavy, air-cooled, v-twin cruisers, but they are literally a dying breed. There is a large potential market of younger persons who do *not* ride. Children raised with video games and cell phones are not going to be impressed with styling and technology that was old when their parents were born. Nor do many care to be associated with the thug image (not actual thuggery) and biker culture. H-D risks becoming as irrelevant as the Woolworth's, with the same fate if they only play to the same tired old market. Some food for thought - 9 of the 53 street legal motorcycles (17%) for sale at my local Honda-Kawasaki-Victory-Yamaha dealer are H-D's (presumably trade-ins).
woodco100   August 30, 2011 07:26 PM
Piglet, I do know, Harley sales are up %7 in the 2nd quarter and %5 for the year. They would be wise to try and copy them if they want to succede.

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki are all way down for several years now. Kawasaki has made thier bikes look enough like HD that folks actually buy them. Folks obviously still prefer air cooled V twins or water cooled copies.
Piglet2010   August 30, 2011 04:00 PM
Since I live in Iowa I would like to buy a bike made here, but have no interest in styling that was out of date more than 50 years ago, cruisers, push-rods, air-cooled engines, slow-revving v-twins, etc. For marketing reasons, Polaris should make Indian a better engineered, retro-styled H-D competitor. Either under the Victory marque or a new marque through the existing dealer network, they need to build bikes that would appeal to younger/newer riders such as light and middle-weight sport tourers and middle-weight adventure touring - especially since these markets offer relatively little choice compared to the cruiser and middle-heavy sport bike classes.
edpix   August 30, 2011 01:55 PM
I am anticipating the next generation of Indian motorcycles and can only hope that the range broadens to include sportier and more stylish versions that are creatively engineered and styled like Indian was back in it's prime. Indian had much more diversity back in the day than just the big V longitudal twins, they had the Guzzi style transverse V Twins and a longitudal inline 4. More importantly they made big cruisers and light (relatively) weight sportier bikes too. I still feel this is Indian's best chance to get back for real but the jury's out until we see Polaris's new revision next year or so. Hopefully they will seek out consumer feedback before making a commitment to the new model because this economy is no time for a mistake.