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Indian goes after Harley’s sweet spot with its PowerPlus-engined Challenger bagger

By Mitch Boehm   Photos courtesy of Indian Motorcycle

It’s no secret that V-Twin-powered baggers are the fattest, juiciest part of the American V-Twin market. And it’s no surprise that Harley-Davidson, with nine saddlebag-equipped models in its lineup, owns a pretty decent chunk of the category.

But if Indian’s all-new, 122-horsepower Challenger is any indication, the men and women from Minnesota are deadly serious about contending more forcefully in this buyer- and brand-rich environment.

Described by Indian as the “Ultimate American Bagger,” the totally new Challenger features the company’s most advanced and most powerful V-Twin ever – the 122-horse PowerPlus engine. Pumping out a claimed 128 foot-pounds of torque at just 3800 revs, the 60-degree PowerPlus features 108 cubic inches of displacement (or 1769cc), overhead cams, four valves per cylinder, fuel-injection with mammoth 52mm throttle bodies, a six-speed tranny with overdrive, hydraulic valve-lash adjusters and liquid cooling (it’s the company’s first big-bore liquid-cooled powerplant) – and gets its name from Indian’s Power Plus model built from 1916 to 1924.

“You simply cannot deliver the ultimate bagger without an engine that stands head and shoulders above anything else in its class,” said John Callahan, Indian Motorcycle Vice President, Engineering, “and that was the motivation behind the PowerPlus. We developed the most sophisticated V-twin powerplant in the industry, and then we spent month after month, hour upon hour, putting it through the most intense paces to ensure it could take whatever we threw at it. The end result is something truly special.”

From the looks of it, there’s a pretty special chassis and body surrounding that engine, as well. Features include a cast-alloy frame, inverted fork, hydraulically adjustable Fox rear shock, attractive frame-mounted fairing, the ‘largest and most customizable touchscreen infotainment system on two wheels,’ optional traction control, ABS, three ride modes, keyless ignition, weatherproof saddlebags, a range of accessories and a whole lot more.

This one very definitely deserves a look, and you can see it for yourself at local Indian Motorcycle dealers starting this coming spring, with pricing yet to be announced.


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