‘No Amer­i­can mo­tor­cy­cle makes more of a state­ment’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Phil West MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR

ol­low­ing the huge suc­cess of its all-new, Har­ley-ri­valling Chief fam­ily of big V-twin cruis­ers launched in 2013, comes In­dian’s lat­est new­comer – the Spring­field. And on the ev­i­dence of MCN’S world first ride in Florida it could well prove to be the Amer­i­can up­start’s best big bike yet.

The Spring­field is ef­fec­tively a blend of two of In­dian’s ex­ist­ing big twin cruis­ers, which are all based around the same air-cooled, 1811cc ‘Thun­der­stroke’ en­gine. In­dian’s cur­rent Chief Vin­tage is a clas­sic tourer dis­tin­guished by its Har­ley Road Kingstyle Plex­i­glas screen along with soft, leather pan­niers. Sim­i­larly, the con­tin­u­ing Chief­tain is a proper ‘bag­ger’ de­fined by its larger han­dle­bar-mounted fair­ing and twin hard pan­niers.

There’s ac­tu­ally a lot more to the Spring­field than just a Plex­i­glas screen

Fand hard pan­niers, though. First, both fea­tures have been de­signed to be eas­ily de­tach­able, al­low­ing the Spring­field a much cleaner, cooler look when not bur­dened with prac­ti­cal niceties.

In ad­di­tion, the Spring­field’s steer­ing ge­om­e­try is sharper than the Vin­tage while it also dis­penses with that bike’s wire wheels and white­walls in favour of sim­i­larly more sturdy al­loys.

Fi­nally, as the Spring­field is in­tended very much as a pre­mium tour­ing ma­chine, it’s specced up with cruise con­trol, ad­justable pil­lion foot­boards, ABS, tyre pres­sure mon­i­tors and even cen­tral lock­ing, all of which goes some way to jus­tify the £19,599 price.

In the metal, the Spring­field’s a gor­geous piece of kit, too. Big, bold and hand­some, it’s gen­er­ously ap­pointed with stylish touches. No Amer­i­can mo­tor­cy­cle makes more of a state­ment at a stand­still.

Bet­ter still, it lives up to that bold im­age on the move, too. Though un­doubt­edly an im­pos­ing and heavy bike the Spring­field’s sad­dle is pleas­ingly low, mean­ing it’s sur­pris­ingly man­age­able. Foot­boards mean you can move your feet around, while the new ‘Buck­horn’ bars have been canted fur­ther back to pro­vide ad­di­tional tour­ing com­fort. It’s a nat­u­ral, com­fort­able place to be.

Nor is it a hand­ful. Light, pre­cise enough clutch and throt­tle give you com­plete con­trol over the mo­tor’s de­liv­ery and, with its mas­sive peak torque avail­able at just 2600rpm, you eas­ily pull away from barely more than idle. Wind it on and stomp through the six gears and it putt-putt-putts ef­fort­lessly up to 70mph+ with barely 4500rpm show­ing on the dig­i­tal LCD tacho in­cor­po­rated into the ana­logue speedo dial atop the tank. Eighty-plus is just a twist of the wrist away with more to come if re­quired. But even though the screen hap­pily bashes the wind away and the Spring­field re­mains com­fort­able at far faster speeds, that’s sort of miss­ing the point. In­stead, you’re bet­ter off stick­ing it at 70, prod­ding in the easy-to-use stan­dard cruise con­trol and bask­ing in all that re­flec­tive chrome. It’s what the Spring­field is all about.

What im­presses most, though, is sim­ply how well it just works: in­tu­itively, suf­fi­ciently, ef­fec­tively. Screen and pan­niers de­tach quickly and eas­ily; per­for­mance and han­dling are with­out com­plaint; switchgear, cruise con­trol and cen­tral lock­ing are slick and easy.

The only things I could find to re­motely crit­i­cise are the lack of a heel­toe shift as stan­dard and the lack of han­dles on the de­tach­able pan­niers. Ev­ery­thing else was per­fect – es­pe­cially in Florida.

‘Big, bold and hand­some. It’s ap­pointed with stylish touches’

In­dian Spring­field is lux­ury tour­ing Amer­i­can style Art Deco styling is dis­tinctly In­dian Sweet and low, seat is perch per­fec­tion Hard pan­niers de­tach quickly and eas­ily

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