2023 Indian Sport Chief adds aggression to the cruiser lineup

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Two years ago, Indian celebrated its 100th anniversary by reimagining the heart of the lineup, the Chief cruiser. Now that nothing is what it used to be, cruisers don't need to be laid-back behemoths, they can be this, the 2023 Indian Sport Chief. The Minnesota bike maker calls it "the most aggressive iteration of the Indian Chief," achieved by combining a more aggressive profile and top-shelf components that trickled down from the more expensive Indian Challenger bagger. The conventional element is the Thunderstroke 116 V-twin engine putting out 120 pound-feet of torque. Where "sport" in the motorcycle world usually means stripping elements, the Sport Chief picks up a quarter fairing around a new LED headlight featuring auto high beam detection and "corner gazing." Behind that, new semi-flat, moto-style bars on machined triple clamps and six-inch risers stand over inverted 43-mm KYB forks with five inches of travel. Down in front, semi-floating, four-piston Brembos hug dual discs. There's another semi-floating, two-piston Brembo caliper in back clamping a single disc. Pirelli Night Dragon tires wrap a 16-inch cast front in front, a 19-inch cast rear.

The rider straddles a "solo gunfighter seat" an inch higher than on the Chief, between a four-gallon tank and a bobbed rear fender. The riding position's a little sportier with the higher seat and taller bars. Bike geometry plays its part as well, thanks to revised front fork geometry, mid-mount foot controls, adjustable piggyback FOX shocks that increase rear travel to four-inches, and a slightly extended wheelbase. The new shocks also increase lean angle a degree, to 29.5. From there, the rider will have a heap of tech either a fingertip or voice command away. The Sport Chief comes with Indian's Ride Command system on the four-inch round display, offering two gauge configurations, turn-by-turn navigation, plus weather and traffic. There are keyless ignition, cruise control, ABS, and three ride modes, Sport, Standard, and Tour. Phone calls can be answered and music can be controlled via a wireless helmet communication system.

The Sport Chief weighs 665 pounds, which is 18 pounds more than the Chief. The new ride starts at $18,999 in it stock Black Smoke dress. The Ruby Smoke and Stealth Gray colorways add $500, Spirit Blue Smoke needs an additional $1,000. Indian says the bike will begin arriving in U.S. and Canadian showrooms sometime in March.