Indian Motorcycle has announced details of the 2023 Indian Sport Chief, a bike the company says is its most aggressive iteration of the legendary Chief.
From a visual standpoint, a new quarter-fairing sets the Sport Chief apart, combined with a new moto-style bar with a machined triple clamp and 6-inch riser. Indian says this new bar, mid-mount foot controls, and a solo gunfighter seat put riders in a “commanding yet comfortable” riding position.
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The suspension and brakes of the Sport Chief get a major upgrade over previous Chief iterations. Indian bolted on the same front end as used on the Challenger bagger, including its 43mm KYB inverted fork and pair of Brembo 4-piston calipers biting 320mm rotors, which replace the Chief’s underwhelming single-disc setup.
Indian must’ve been listening when we said the 2022 Chief’s chassis was so solid and stable that it made us wish for more than just 28.5 degrees of lean angle and 3 inches of rear travel, because the new piggyback FOX shocks bump travel by an inch and lean angle by 1 degree.
Ola Stenegärd, director of Industrial Design for Indian Motorcycle, said that with the Sport Chief, the company wanted to maintain “the same care-free attitude and American muscle but elevate it even further with componentry that not only delivers a style and attitude that exudes performance but raises the bar entirely for performance cruisers.”
The Sport Chief features cast wheels (19 inches in the front, 16 in the rear) wrapped in Pirelli Night Dragon tires, a 4-gallon fuel tank, a bobbed rear fender, dual exhausts, LED lighting, keyless ignition, and three selectable ride modes: Sport, Standard, and Tour.
The new Sport Chief will boast the same blacked-out Thunderstroke 116 motor of the Dark Horse versions of the Chief, Chief Bobber, and Super Chief Limited, making a claimed 120 lb-ft of torque. When we tested the various iterations of the Chief in May 2021, the Thunderstroke 111 on the standard models offered ample power, but the 116 on the Dark Horses was even more satisfying.
As with the Dark Horse models, the Sport Chief offers a customizable 4-inch touchscreen powered by Ride Command that can also be accessed via handlebar controls. Riders can cycle through multiple interfaces, including two different gauge configurations, bike and ride information, and turn-by-turn navigation with optional connected features like weather and traffic overlays. Riders can also link up to a smartphone via Bluetooth or USB to access music and phone information, and incoming calls will appear and can be accepted or declined directly through the Ride Command system.
The Sport Chief is available in Black Smoke, Ruby Smoke, Stealth Gray, and Spirit Blue Smoke starting at $18,999. We’ll soon be taking it for a ride, so stay tuned for its road test report in our April issue.
Visit Indian’s website for more information.