Indian entirely redesigned its 2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse Cruisers with a new design that bears little resemblance to its predecessor. In contrast to the previous model, a redesigned frame houses a bigger engine and is wrapped with minor bodywork. Custom fenders and blackout paint link to the custom culture of the United States, while ride-safety electronics beneath the hood round out the package.
2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse Cruisers – Features and Specs
The departing Chief Dark Horse was called such in 2020 but was renamed the Vintage Dark Horse in anticipation of this massive shift in the Chief category. Unlike the previous model, the new Chief is constructed on an entirely new frame intended to establish the tone while channeling the geometry of the old post-war machines. An open-air steering head gives the impression of a stretched custom frame, and the sheet metal is reduced down to the nth degree with minimum fenders, front, and rear.
The custom chops continue with an excellent blackout treatment that covers almost everything save the fenders, tank, and polished cooling-fin edges on the jugs. However, the cast wheels somewhat detract from the realism. I can’t help but think about whether laced wheels would have been a better option, but the manufacturer didn’t contact me to get my opinion, so here we are.
In profile, the four-gallon fuel tank has a traditional teardrop design that softly stoops to the standard solo seat and slings the rider’s buttocks at a modest 26 inches off the deck. That seat height boosts confidence at stops, especially for riders on the shorter end of the range, and should make it simple to pad about the parking lot.
In line with the historic design, the Chief Dark Horse has a cyclops headlamp and a single instrument housing, both circular and filled with current technology. The headlight uses LED technology to divide the darkness, and the single circular instrument dial has a color TFT display. The TFT interfaces with the Ride Command infotainment function, which provides real-time weather and traffic information and hands-free phone calls through Bluetooth connection.
The Chief Dark Horse’s primary frame portion is made from welded steel tubing in a double-downtube/double-cradle system that supports the engine rather than utilizing the lump as part of the overall structure. As it is in the wheels to restrict unstrung weight at both axles, the cast aluminum rear subframe piece keeps the weight somewhat centered.
Pirelli Night Dragon hoops connect to the asphalt in a 130/60-19 ahead of an enormous 180/65-16 out back. The wheels are sprayed in blackout paint, but the spokes have rock-polished feet as one of the few displays of bling on this bike.
With a wet weight of 670 pounds, it’s shocking to see just a single front disc brake. Sure, it has 300 mm discs on both ends, a four-bore caliper up front, and a twin-piston anchor out back, and it has standard ABS protection, but I believe two front brakes would have been a better choice.
Run’s 46 mm front forks feature blackout sliders and 5.2 inches of travel, but no adjustment, so you get what you get, and that’s it. Dual rear shocks provide 3 inches of travel and are gas-charged to avoid shock fading and its related loss of functionality. The sole ride-quality adjustment is the required spring-preload adjuster in the rear, so you can at least prepare for shifting passenger and cargo loads.
For this new Chief Dark Horse, the Thunder Stroke 111 has been replaced by its 116 cubic-inch big brothers. The Thunder Stroke 116 has the same fauxflathead appearance thanks to the cooling fins on the valve covers and parallel pushrod tubes. However, the latter is rendered relatively inconspicuous by its blackout treatment, which makes them vanish into the black hole beneath the fuel tank.
The single 54 mm throttle body is in charge of induction. Rider demand is routed via the Ride Modes function, which has three power-delivery profiles from which to pick, allowing you to tune in to the power plant’s personality on the fly. What type of authority? This more enormous “TS” mill produces an astounding 120 pound-feet of torque at a shockingly low 2,900 rpm and around 79 horsepower at the high end, but who cares about horsepower? Did I mention the 120-pound grunt?
Bore and stroke mic out at 103.2 mm and 113 mm, respectively, giving the mill a displacement of 1,890 ccs and a medium-hot 11-to-1 compression ratio. A wet clutch transfers power from the engine to the six-speed gearbox and then to the rear wheel through a driveshaft.
2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse Cruisers – Pricing
Price and color are intrinsically related, much like “the other” American motorcycle brand. The satin Black Smoke finish, which makes the basic model a black machine, begins at $16,999. If you want the greenish Alumina Jade Smoke or Stealth Gray package, you’ll have to pay an extra five dollars.
Indian Chief Dark Horse vs. Triumph Bonneville Bobber
The Bobber’s appearance is straight out of history. Its faux-rigid rear end, old-school frame geometry, tapered teardrop fuel tank, and post-style solo seat combine in the typical effort to recreate a vintage aesthetic. But, to give Trumpet credit where credit is due, it disguised its throttle bodies to seem like the classic mechanical-slide carburetors of yesteryear, and you can count me in as a fan. Big.
Even the 1,200 cc engine contributes, with a vertical-twin layout that, at first glance, resembles older engines but uses a 270-degree firing sequence to give it a lope at idle like a V-twin. Triumph claims 76.9 horsepower, comparable to the Indian, but torque suffers greatly owing to the smaller displacement, with just 78.2 pounds of torque available vs. 79/120.
The Bonnie weighs 553 pounds, so the engine doesn’t have to work as hard, and I anticipate it to offset some of the advantage Indian seems to have on paper. You’ll know you’ve got something when you grasp the throttle and twist it.
Naturally, the displacement offset results in a price difference, with the Bonneville Bobber beginning at $13,150, leaving a lot of cheese on the table, so it comes down to how much power you want at your disposal.
2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse Cruisers – Technical Specifications
Engine & Drivetrain
|Bore x Stroke||4.063″ x 4.449″ (103.2mm x113mm)|
|Displacement||116 cu in (1,890 ccs)|
|Drive/Driven Clutch||Wet, Multi-Plate|
|Electronic Fuel Injection System||Closed loop fuel injection / 54 mm bore|
|Engine Type||Thunderstroke 116|
|Exhaust||Dual Exhaust w/ Crossover|
|Gear Ratio (1st)||9.403: 1|
|Gear Ratio (2nd)||6.411: 1|
|Gear Ratio (3rd)||4.763: 1|
|Gear Ratio (4th)||3.796: 1|
|Gear Ratio (5th)||3.243: 1|
|Gear Ratio (6th)||2.789: 1|
|Peak Torque||120 ft-lbs (162 Nm)|
|Peak Torque RPM||2,900 RPM|
|Transmission/Final Drive||2.2: 1|
|Transmission/Primary Drive||Gear Drive Wet Clutch|
|Fuel Capacity||4.0 gal (15.1 L)|
|Ground Clearance||4.9 in (125 mm)|
|GVWR||1,160 lb (522 kg)|
|Overall Height||49.3 in (1,253 cm)|
|Overall Length||90 in (2,286 mm)|
|Overall Width||36.3 in (922 mm)|
|Rake/Trail||29° / 5.2 in (131.5 mm)|
|Seat Height||26 inches (662 mm)|
|Wheelbase||64 in (1,626 mm)|
|Front Brakes||Single / 300mm Semi-Floating Rotor / 4 Piston Caliper|
|Rear Brakes||Single / 300mm Floating Rotor / 2 Piston Caliper|
Tires / Wheels
|Front Tires||Pirelli® Night Dragon 130/60B19 61H|
|Front Wheel||Machine Highlighted Cast Black 19 in x 3.5 in|
|Rear Tires||Pirelli® Night Dragon 180/65 B16 81H|
|Rear Wheel||Machine Highlighted Cast Black 16 in x 5 in|
|Front Fork Tube Diameter||46 mm|
|Front Suspension||Telescopic Fork|
|Front Travel||5.2 in (132 mm)|
|Rear Suspension||Dual Shocks w/adjustable preload|
|Rear Travel||3.0 in (75 mm)|
|Color / Graphics||Alumina Jade Smoke, Black Smoke, Stealth Gray|
|Factory Warranty||2 Years, Unlimited Miles|
|Gauges||Speedometer, Tachometer, Odometer, fuel gauge, compass, ambient temperature, Gear indicator|
|Infotainment||4″ Round Ride Command® Display with connected services such as real-time traffic weather and traffic overlay included for a complimentary 1-year trial for related features from the vehicle sales date (after which fees apply). Touchscreen display includes real-time clock; ambient air temperature; heading; audio information display; map/navigation with real-time traffic and weather; Bluetooth status for phone and headset; vehicle status (voltage, engine hours, oil change); vehicle info (speed, fuel range, RPM, gear position); current ride data (distance, moving time, stop time, altitude, altitude change); trip meters; ride mode selection; screen brightness; and vehicle trouble code readout.|
|Lights||LED Headlight, LED Tail/Brake/Turn Signals|
|Standard Equipment||ABS, Ride Modes, Keyless Ignition, USB charge port, 12V Charge Port, Rear Cylinder Deactivation|