When there’s a big hunk of metal 2.6 metre long, dressed out in all-black matte paint and weighing close to 360 kg, it is tough not get intimidated. Then you realise that the motorcycle in question has 1,800cc worth of raw American V-Twin muscle in its frame and your legs begin to go weak. You are now face-to-face with the Indian Chief Dark Horse and its presence is nothing short of legendary.
The history of the Indian Chief may trace back to the second World War, but make no mistake, it is as modern as machinery can get. The true beauty of this behemoth lies in the design details though — all the way from the lit-up Indian motif on the front fender to the cluster of LEDs in the tail lamp, this is one gorgeous motorcycle. It manages to keep a distinct connect with the original Indian Chief from the 40s and yet comes out looking like a modern stealth fighter. Just as impressive as the Dark Horse is in the beauty contest, it scores high in the engineering exam, too. Swing a leg over the low-slung leather seat and the weight of this burly cruiser vanishes under the veil of a perfectly sorted out riding geometry and low centre of gravity. Engage the two-step start-up procedure as you flick the power switch on the handlebar and depress the ignition button on the fuel tank and the Dark Horse thrums to life, rewarding its rider with a growl that is both reassuring and intimidating. It actually is mighty silent when at idle, which puts the fear of the unknown in the person perched on the saddle. Rev it up and it lunges forward in a smooth flow after which riding the Dark Horse just comes naturally thanks to the superb efforts put in by the engineers that built it.
Is this the big motorcycle for India? If you’re the sort of rider that loves laid back motorcycling and the flair that big American cruisers exude, then yes – it doesn’t get much better than the 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse. While it may seem like it’s built for arrow-straight highways, it doesn’t do a bad job of taking you around bends either. It may seem like it’s built for riders no shorter than 6-feet tall, but the ergonomics are so well figured out that riders falling 6 inches short of the aforementioned holy grail of human heights will feel equally at home on it and never struggle to either flat foot it on traffic signals or reach out to all the controls when on the move. This truly is one cracker of a motorcycle and if I was to ever fall in love with cruisers in my lifetime, the Indian Chief Dark Horse would be the reason I would.
`22.99 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). More motoring experiences
—Muntaser Mirkar @BullSpeech