Spe­cial edi­tion her­alds new dawn

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Fac­tory cus­tom spe­cials have long been the pre­serve of Har­leyDavid­son’s Cus­tom Ve­hi­cle Op­er­a­tions (CVO) de­part­ment, but this is new ter­ri­tory for In­dian. Yes, there have been spe­cials (the two Jack Daniels mod­els spring to mind), but this gar­ish Elite her­alds a new chap­ter in resur­gent In­dian’s mod­ern his­tory.

Iden­ti­cal in al­most ev­ery re­spect to the Chieftain Lim­ited (see left), the new Elite doesn’t boast a very long list of changes to sat­isfy the £5200 in­crease on the price tag, but the qual­ity and value of the items on the list is, at least, be­yond re­proach.

The lion’s share of the hike is thanks to the paintjob. No two will be iden­ti­cal, be­cause ev­ery sin­gle Elite will be hand-painted by In­dian’s Spearfish paintshop in South Dakota – and the qual­ity is jaw-drop­ping. If you paid for a paintjob of this stan­dard sep­a­rately it would eas­ily swal­low the price dif­fer­ence all on its own. The only down­side is that you have Henry Ford myth lev­els of colour choice. You ei­ther take the Elite in this ‘Fire­glow Red Candy with Mar­ble Ac­cents’ – or you don’t have an Elite. And that’s a shame for every­one with an al­lergy to candy red bikes. The de­tail­ing is su­perb, and con­tin­ues through the unique tank con­sole, horn, air­box, pri­mary and cam cov­ers with colour matched pin­stripes.

The other dif­fer­ences over a stock Lim­ited in­clude pan­nier-mounted speak­ers to bol­ster the blast from the bin­na­cle-mounted ones; what In­dian call their ‘Flare’ screen – which isn’t much taller than stock, but is flared wider; bil­let foot­boards for both rider and pil­lion, and LED ‘Pathfinder’ light­ing. This smat­ter­ing of spe­cial­ness adds 6kg to the Elite’s mass, which sounds like a lot, but it’s in­con­se­quen­tial on what was al­ready a 371kg bike.

On the road you cer­tainly feel that bit more spe­cial, and while the ride is iden­ti­cal to the Lim­ited, I did find the foot­boards some­what an­noy­ing. The ex­posed bil­let cen­tres of­fer no grip, and when wet they’re glassy in the ex­treme. But that’s the only ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence in terms of feel. That Flare screen, al­though a tad wider, ac­tu­ally made no tan­gi­ble dif­fer­ence to air­flow for my wide 5ft11in frame, while the LED Pathfinder light­ing is cer­tainly brighter, whiter, and cleaner look­ing.

‘Ev­ery Elite will be hand-painted by In­dian’s Spearfish paintshop’

You can have any colour so long as it’s candy red

Don’t scrape those boards now…

Bil­let boards look good but are a pain

Ex­tra speak­ers in the pan­niers

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