I had the privilege of taking an 2017 Indian Springfield home for a week recently. Amidst the recent news that Victory will be gradually closed down and Polaris was directing its motorcycle efforts to Indian. The general impression is the reshuffling seems to be a bad thing, but at the same time Polaris releases show motorcycle sales figures steadily climbing. Perhaps what Polaris is doing is directing its efforts to where the profitability lies. After spending a week with the Indian Springfield, I am highly inclined to believe Indian motorcycles will have a significant presence in the touring cruiser segment.
Right out of the box, the quality of the build couldn’t be more clear than a slap to the face with a frying pan. Americana runs deep. Non of the plastic chrome that comes on lower priced cruisers from anywhere outside of the US of A. Chrome and paintwork is deep. Pride is in the details, complemented with texturing. Paint on the frame is textured while the Indian Chief’s head adorns the sides of the top tubes leading to the steering yoke. Very detailed. The Indian Chief’s head can also be found on the leading edge of the front fender, on what they call the “War Bonnet”, complete with LED lighting.
In fact many of the styling cues are taken off Indian motorcycles decades ago. Google the Springfield or Chief from 1946 and you will see exactly how close the details are, from the cylinder heads to the deep swooping fenders. Indian really played the nostalgia card here, but of course with many modern touches. Removable panels on the valanced front fender make for easy access to the dual brake calipers on the front wheel, tyre pressure valves come with 90 degree elbows for easier access. One look at this machine with or without the side cases and you can see its clear Art-Deco styling.
An oversized headlight nacelle in chrome announces its headstrong presence in the crowd. Like a breath of fresh air mixed with some well-aged class and prestige among all the modern motorcycles you encounter on the road. Sideways glances from drivers and bikers comes as standard. The occasional driver leaned out the window to enquire about the bike.