Featured Test Ride A New Bike?! Ok, Twist My Arm...

Discussion in 'Other Bikes' started by Sandi T, Apr 13, 2021.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #1 Sandi T, Apr 13, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2021
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    I love to test ride new or different bikes even if I've little interest....initially anyway. My good riding buddy, RT, invited me to join him at the Demo Days at Indian Motorcycles Tucson which was held last Friday and Saturday. I initially declined but in the final analysis I'm not one to pass up the opportunity to ride. Even if it's someone else's bike. ;):blush: Maybe especially if it's someone else's bike. :joy: So I hopped on my Speed Triple on Saturday morning and rode off to meet RT at the local Indian dealership which is literally 1.2 miles from my garage.

    The 18-wheeler that brought this years offerings hailed from the Midwest and all of the motorcycles had Minnesota license plates which coincidently (??) is where I grew up.
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    There were about a dozen bikes on the truck available to demo but I was really only interested in the Chief which is a new model that was just released recently. It seems somewhere between the Scout and the larger touring bikes that Indian has in their lineup. It seems squarely aimed to compete with some of the models in Harley Davidson's current Softail lineup including my H-D Low Rider S. Spurgeon Dunbar, a reviewer with Revzilla's "Common Tread", seemed to agree with RT's and my assessment of that comparison. And competition. You can read his excellent review here.

    https://www.revzilla.com/common-tread/2022-indian-chief-dark-horse-road-trip-motorcycle-review

    I'm not in @steve lovatt's league when it comes to reviews, so I'll leave the detailed review to Spurgeon. Overall my feelings and thoughts were nearly identical to Spurgeon's, particularly his comments about the Chief's "Sport Mode". Holy moly! I thought it was me and that I'd forgotten how to ride!! :p:joy: Definitely NOT the mode in which to ride around town.
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    The Chief was the only bike I rode and, although there were three Chief variations offered, I only rode the Chief "Dark Horse" pictured here. I liked the ergonomics of this model the best and the appearance also appealed to me more than that of the others. Also, I like to compare apples to apples so I rode this bike on two of the test ride sessions making one change-- during my first test ride I was in Standard Mode then I rode it again with a switch to Sport Mode.

    I'd done next to no reading about nor research on this model but my buddy, RT, had been interested. So I pretty much went into this test ride with an open mind and a neutral attitude. It does have a lot going for it and I particularly liked the handling and ergonomics. The touch screen is cool, I like the looks, and the engine is (way) more than enough for the 670 (wet) weight. But all in all, after riding several other Indian models in addition to this Chief Dark Horse over the past several years, I've found that I'm just not crazy about the character of the Indian motor. I don't totally dislike it and I can't quite put my finger on it. But it just doesn't "move me". I definitely prefer the H-D Milwaukee 8 which is in both my Low Rider S and my Street Glide Special and the inline triple in my Speed Triple RS. I have to say that it is nice to do a test ride that confirms that you like what you already own. ;)

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    The demo rides were very well organized and consequently they got a bunch of people on a bunch of bikes. If I'd have gone on Friday AND Saturday I'd have made it a point to ride this FTR, a model which I test rode a couple of years ago and has now been updated. But after a couple of sessions on the Chief, RT and I decided to head over to "Triumph World" as we call our local Triumph dealership. IMG_3743.jpeg

    The Indian dealership is on a very heavily trafficked road through central Tucson. The staff did a great job getting us in and out of the dealership parking lot with efficiency and safety in mind. We did see one demo rider drop a beautiful big shiny touring model right on the road while turning right out of the parking lot. Ouch! Amazingly, they helped the rider right the bike and get it back on the road. At the Harley demo rides it's made very clear during the ride briefings that "if you drop it, your day is done".

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    The guy in red ran the show. He was awesome--all business but also personable and helpful. He's the one that asked me what I thought of the Chief after my first ride on it and suggested I ride it again and check in out in Sport mode.

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    Overall I was really glad my friend encouraged me to join him for this year's demo days at our Indian dealership. I always enjoy riding something different and I feel like riding other models helps me be a better rider. And as I mentioned, it's always nice to confirm that you like what's already in the garage. ;)

    BTW, my Speed Triple was the only Triumph in sight and it was amazing how many folks commented on it and asked me questions about it and admired it. It seemed to be quite a hit. :blush:
     
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  2. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    After my friend, RT, and I had each done two rounds of demo rides, we hopped on our bikes and rode over to Arizona KTM--Kawasaki--Triumph which we fondly call "Triumph World". It's a mere 3 1/2 miles from Indian. And the Harley dealership is only six miles from there. All three dealerships make a nice little triangle. At one point RT had one of each--a Triumph Speedmaster, an Indian Scout, and a Heritage Classic (which he still has) so that triangle was especially convenient for him.
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    Compared to how many bikes this dealership has had on the floor in the past six months or so, the pickings were slim on this day, especially among the Kawi offerings. This photo just shows the Triumph area of the dealership. The salesman, Bruce was busily working on selling a used Ducati Scrambler to a woman so we wandered around and checked out what bikes were still available and what was new.
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    And here's what was new. I was excited to see and climb aboard the first Trident that I've seen in person. :) Just from looking it over and sitting on it, my initial impression was positive and I'd sure love to take it for a test ride!
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    This Rocket 3 GT wasn't new but I never tire of looking at this eye candy. AZ--KKT was down to two Rocket 3's--this one and an R. The last time I was there they had five. That model has sold great here.

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    On the other hand, Bruce pointed out the two Thruxton RS's that have been on the floor for what seems like forever and said that Tucsonans seem to have lost interest in that model. I don't get that. I still and always will love Thruxtons and my 2016 Thruxton R is the bike I'd most like to have back in my garage. If I had more money and more garage space I'd buy one of those lonely little Thruxtons and give it a good home. :heart:
     
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  3. crispey

    crispey crispey creme de la creme

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    I hope they didn’t twist it too hard, your other one has just healed! Nice article. Steve Lovatt only copies and pastes so don’t worry there:cool:
     
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  4. Wessa

    Wessa Cruising
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    Nice review again @Sandi T . Looks like you had a good day.
     
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  5. Dougie D

    Dougie D Crème de la Crème

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    The Chief "Dark Horse" and the FTR are by far my favourite looking Indians,i've never ridden any of them, but interesting to hear you say they don't have the same character as the Harley engine, I've yet to ride anything that has the same addictive character, a Ducati comes close though!
     
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  6. Neal H

    Neal H New Member

    Mar 7, 2021
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    There’s something quite appealing about the Indian brand, more so than Harley I think. I’ve never ridden an example of either, so can’t compare how they ride. Not really my type of bike.

    Great review though - thanks.
     
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  7. littleade

    littleade The only sane one here
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    Test rides can be dangerous to the bank balance but you survived:laughing: It is nice to confirm the grass isn't greener on the other side though. I remember seeing their big tourer thing at the NEC in Birmingham pre covid with a few others on here. It was all chrome leather and tassels, a more inappropriate bike for the uk would be hard to find. Anyway...IMO you already have enough bikes;). As a thought how do you find riding 2 very different bikes with such extremes in riding position Sandi? The feet forward pegs on the HD would feel alien to most of us and I'm guessing on the crap pot hole ridden roads here in the uk your back would take quite a pounding?
     
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  8. Dougie D

    Dougie D Crème de la Crème

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  9. Bikerman

    Bikerman Crème de la Crème
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    Well it sounded like you were hating every minute of that :joy:.
    Brilliant write up and pictures too, glad you enjoyed yourself, and the bikes. y115.gif y115.gif
     
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  10. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #10 Sandi T, Apr 14, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
    Yes, I've definitely had some test rides that changed (read depleted) my bank balance but not this time around. It is nice to further refine what one isn't interested in a motorcycle as well as what one is. So you think I have enough bikes, eh? Well, from the perspective of our garage space as well as that bank balance, you are certainly right, @littleade. These days I can't add to the stable but have to replace. And there's nothing I currently own that I'm interested in replacing. Yet. ;):joy:

    Good question on the riding position, Ade. I rode the short distance to the Indian dealership on my Speedy with it's rear positioned pegs so was in that "mode". And when I pulled out of the parking lot on the Chief and went to put my feet up on the pegs, I missed! :joy: But only once because my three bikes each have different foot positions so I find that I'm now used to different setups and when I pull my day's ride choice into the driveway, my brain and body have totally adapted to bike's position. And I like that I have to adapt actually. Keeps me on my toes. :)

    We have some terrible roads in and around Tucson with many potholes lying in wait. In fact, it has made us much less likely to do night riding, particularly on roads with which we're not familiar. I am able to stand or at least unweight myself on all three of my bikes but it's certainly most easily accomplished on my Triumph. For touring and long distance riding, I absolutely love my footboards on my Street Glide Special which are forward but not extremely so. And because they are footboards I can move my feet around some to change up my foot/leg position. I also have highway pegs on my engine guard on that bike which is great for long days. The pegs on my Low Rider S are also sort of "mid-forwards" so not extreme at all.
     
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