In the few short years since its 21st-century reincarnation, legendary American motorcycle maker Indian has once again become a brand to be reckoned with. Now owned by Polaris—renowned maker of snowmobiles, Sea-Doo, and Slingshot—Indian Motorcycle has delivered a line of fantastic American-made bikes that flat-out succeed on every level. Enter the new 2022 Indian Chief muscle cruiser—which features a classic, stripped-down silhouette, a sporty 64-inch wheelbase, and a powerful V-twin powerplant that surely rivals the engine in my Prius.
It looks good, sounds great, and is a kick-in-the-ass to ride. A full century since the original Indian Chief was unveiled in 1922, the 2022 Indian Chief has clearly done its long lineage proud.
A muscle bike for the new millennium, the 2022 Indian Chief has sexy lines and raw, unbridled power. That combination of style and performance gives it an aesthetic appeal that hinges on its purpose-driven design, like the muscle cars of yore.
Nothing here is superfluous. Nothing on this bike doesn’t have a serious job to do. That said, it’s far more than a functional machine. There’s no Sons of Anarchy-style mini-fairing, no neo-retro fender skirts, no corny fringe draping from its handlebars. The lines are pure, smooth, and appealing. Indians are renowned for their nostalgic design, and Polaris leaned hard into that retro aesthetic when it first revived the Indian brand in 2014. But the 2022 Chief eschews those stylistic trappings for a bike that’s made to ride—hard and fast.
Like all Polaris machines, the new Chief takes unapologetic advantage of modern technology despite its purpose-built aesthetic. It sports a host of contemporary perks like keyless ignition, LED lighting, selectable ride modes, standard cruise control, optional ABS, and a bullet-style “speedo” that houses what might be the most user-friendly infotainment system I’ve ever used.