Corny headings aside, Indian Motorcycles have brought in a winner with The Dark Horse, which has a look and feel like no other. Meticulous, undeniable presence and a heavy family name… They may as well call it Michael Corleone!
I have always believed that Indian as a brand to motorcycles is like single malt to liquor. Both require an evolved taste, a dash of maturity and make for damn fine standalone company. And if that is the case, then Dark Horse is squarely the coveted Laphroaig 32 Years Old. Born to be a classic and owner’s pride and to be taken out to celebrate special moments.
America’s first motorcycle company’s edgiest member of its Indian Chief line-up, The Dark Horse, has all the classic lines that are synonymous with any bike coming out from the company’s stables. What sets it apart though is its nearly encompassing matte-black finish. Other than the trims of the fenders, cylinder fins and exhaust pipes ( which is chrome ), the dull black catches one’s eye from a mile. It’s delicious! What also is striking the warbonnet logo on the front fender, which lights up!
The Horse is long, and heavy! At 2630 mm from tip-to-tip it’s a bloody big bike. Then add 350+ kgs of weight and you have yourself a monster. All the classic curves aside, Dark Horse is laden with sumptuous features. It has keyless ignition… Just keep the fob in your pocket and push-start the engine. The cruiser also has ABS and Cruise Control. The tankmounted instrument panel shows a gamut of useful info including dual tripmeter, digital tachometer, ambient air temperature, gear position display, average fuel economy, etc.
RIDE & HANDLING
Push press the ignition sitting pretty on the fuel tank and press start the beast. The iconic Thunder Stroke 111 engine ( that powers the Indian Chief Family ) beats at the heart of the Horse and belches out 139Nm of torque. Even at idling one can unmistakably hear the dual firing of the V-twin. Push it in the first gear and let the accelerator go a bit. The deep, clear rumble of the engine will make you smile… every time. For its weight and length, the Horse is surprisingly lithe and manoeuvrable ( It is the lightest in the Chief family ). Even the constant clutch handling and gear changing in city traffic was pretty bearable. But, much like any cruiser worth its salt, this beauty also yearns for open asphalt stretches. And it’s a sight to behold!
As comfortable it is at a show-off speed of 20kmph, the Dark Horse is quick off the block when you open the throttle. Gear ratios are well meted and push the engine for maximum torque, while maintaining the rich note. Hitting a bumpy patch? It has that covered too with an elaborate suspension setup that features a 4.7-inch telescopic fork and 1.8-inch cartridge forks with dual rate springs. At the back, Indian used a single shock 3.7-inch mechanical preload to help keep the cruiser balanced and ready to go on all road conditions.
It grows on you, it really does. More than making a statement ( and what a statement it makes! ), the Dark Horse is more for a deep personal fulfilment, which perhaps
cannot be met by Milwaukee cruisers. Not for boys, mind you, it is for the mature man whose affinity for biking refuses to quit. The Horse will take that affinity and turn it into an obsession.
Engine type: Thunder Stroke 111
Fuel System: Closed loop fuel injection
Power: 100-110 bhp
Torque: 3000 rpm/2600 rpm
Gearbox: 6 Speed gears transmission
Length: 103.5 in/2630mm Width: 39.4 in/1000mm
Height: 46.3 in/1176mm
Wheel base: 68.1 in/1730mm
CHASSIS & BODY: Weight: 573 kg Tank size: 20.8 litres