Indians curry favour with comfort
Indian Motorcycle has been moving forwards at quite a fast rate, considering that only a couple of years ago they (under different management) were hardly to be seen.
Brand new engines and platforms have been created and the latest result to be released is the stunning Springfield, named after the location of the original Indian factory (not after the one that’s home to The Simpsons, I think).
Stunning? Well, you might think it looks just like any of the other Indian Chief motorcycles, but you’d be wrong. This bike is definitely special.
It’s in the fine detail that you find the things that set the Springfield apart from the rest of the range. It also makes it, in my more or less humble opinion, the best tourer of the Indian range.
And that is exactly what we got to do on the recent launch of the Springfield — tour.
Indian Motorcycle Australia brought along the entire tribe of 2016 Indians so we could ride them all back to back. I also got to ride the Scout and new Scout Sixty back to back, but that’s in a separate story. Another good one, too!
Aimed squarely at Harley’s Road King, the Springfield has been sharpened up in the chassis with less trail, a shorter wheelbase and higher tyre pressures when compared to the similar Chief Vintage.
This gives you faster turn in and a more agile motorcycle — something we got to try out hitting the Putty Road with its hundreds of twists and turns.
The Putty also showed up another thing I love about this bike — the excellent ground clearance.
Cruisers aren’t renowned for their massive lean angles, but you can crank the Springfield over quite a way before touching down the long footboards.
To put this into perspective, I only touched the footboards down three times through the tight Sixteen Kay Bends and I wasn’t mucking around.
As a touring platform, the Springfield comes standard with a bespoke quick-release windshield, remote locking hard bags, adjustable passenger floorboards, real leather seating, high-resolution anti-lock brakes, tyre pressure monitoring, electronic cruise control, a powerful headlight and dual driving lights, and front and rear highway bars, which allow mounting of accessories and offer valuable protection from tip-overs, as one poor soul (not me) found out during the launch.
Powered by the highly regarded Thunder Stroke 111 engine, the Indian Springfield offers more than 161Nm of torque.
We have ridden the other models in the Indian range fitted with this engine, but not ones equipped with the accessory performance mufflers and high-flow air intake, and boy what a difference this makes.
Rather than feeling choked, the Thunder Stroke 111 feels strong and performs as you can reasonably expect from such an imposing powerplant.
But for me, the stand-out feature of the Springfield is the comfort.
Whenever you’re thinking of buying a touring motorcycle, comfort is definitely one of the, and probably the, most important things.
It features on any potential owner’s list and the Springfield has all-day, and I mean all-day, comfort. The plush seat (and pillion seat), along with the Buck Horn handlebar and long footboards (adjustable for the pillion) put you in a position that is one of the most comfortable on the market.
I found the removable windscreen (5cm shorter than the one on the Vintage) to be quite good, but a number of participants on the launch preferred to have it removed.
They were, how can I put this, er, short people.
The range of accessories from Indian is long and tasty. A number of the bikes on the launch had some of the more popular ones fitted.
The exhaust and air intake I’ve already mentioned, but one of the other Springfields had a passenger backrest which I think would be quite high on many owners’ lists of must-haves!
Some say that spring is the season of new life and feeling fresh, and this is kind of what you’ll feel riding the Indian Springfield. It makes you feel good and that can only bring about the feeling of being younger at heart — what more could you want from a motorcycle?
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