2012 Indian Chief Dark Horse Killer Classic Cycles
I spent the Labor Day weekend with an Indian Chief Dark Horse motorcycle. I picked it up on Friday and kept it until Tuesday. I rode the heck out of it and put on over 500 miles during which time I had fun putting it through its paces. The 2012 Indian Dark Horse . rigid mounted fuel-injected 105 Cubic Inch Power-Plus V-Twin engine, 6-speed Trans, and Brembo disc brakes.
It was all stock except for the fringe on the seat it was the only added option. List base price (from the website): $27,999.00 plus set-up and taxes. At one place I stopped, there was a little girl about 8 years old. She said that she liked the bike. I asked her why and she said that the seat looked like a cowboy’s jacket.
She didn’t know the name of it but she liked the fringe anyway. I would imagine that she would have liked it even more if it had a set of fringed leather bags. All during my ride, I looked at the on-coming bikes as I waved looking for that signature teardrop headlight of the Indian. I didn’t see any not one!
While sitting on the seat at a stoplight, I have both feet on the ground with my legs slightly bent. The low seat height (27.25) is a perfect fit.
The Indian Chief Dark Horse Power-Plus engine is the heart of the motorcycle. It has more torque and power than most people will ever use. It is also very quick and the fuel-injection makes it very responsive.
I was very impressed by the lack of engine noise. Many of the other V-Twins sound like thrashing machines but the Indian’s engine sounds like it was made well and is very quiet. The sound of the exhaust is not harsh or loud but sounds healthy especially when under acceleration.
Many would say that it is too quiet. It is a two into one configuration with a catalytic converter so it’s a green motorcycle with fewer emissions. During my ride, the bike got just over 40 mpg on hi-test (it requires a 91 octane minimum).
The Indian Chief Dark Horse dual 4-piston Brembo front brakes with floating rotors will
bring the 750 lb motorcycle to a quick and smooth stop with little effort on the lever. The adjustable brake lever will make it a perfect fit in your hand. The dual piston rear Brembo brake with floating rotor will lock the rear wheel under hard braking. Threshold braking should be practiced on the rear brake pedal so the bike doesn’t go into a skid.
There are no ABS or linked brake systems available.
The Indian Chief Dark Horse transmission 6-speed trans is perfectly suited to the engine. The gear ratio puts the engine at about 2100 RPM at 60 MPH which is very smooth. The hydraulic clutch has minimal pull and with the adjustable lever, the left hand doesn’t get sore – not even in stop and go traffic.
The Heel-toe shifter worked well but I never used the heel part of it and would easily remove it to get more movement of my left foot. The heel part of the shifter kept my foot from moving back during the ride. The final drive is a belt which adds to the smooth and quiet operation.
The Indian Chief Dark Horse Suspension front has 41mm hydraulic telescoping forks with 4.25 travel. The rear is a mono-shock design (under the seat) with preload adjustments and just less than 3 travel. It smoothed out the bumps in the road but not so much that you couldn’t feel them.
The suspension didn’t dive in the turns and kept the floorboards from dragging. It has the appearance of a big heavy bike but it’s very agile.
The Indian Chief Dark Horse Handling Once on the road, the Dark Horse handles very well. It is very agile despite its 750 lbs. The problem is doing Parking Lot maneuvers.
The turning radius is wide and there were times that I had to back up to get a better angle to make that sharp turn. It wasn’t a problem moving the bike. I easily straddle walked it forward and backward.
The new 2012 Indian Chief Dark Horse Styling is where they really hit the mark. Everyone who I talked with loved the overall look of the bike. Terms like Bad-Ass, Killer and Kick-Ass were commonly used to describe their feelings. The matte black makes it look sinister and the long fenders make it look old school.
The colored Indian Headdress on the sides of the tank added just enough color. The small amount of chrome on the blacked-out engine stood out to enhance the visual appeal of the big V-Twin. One man said that it was something old with the newer reliable electronics. He wouldn’t stop talking about the looks and how much he liked the bike.
Maybe he’ll stop in the showroom and buy one.
The new 2012 Indian Chief Dark Fit and Finish I was very impressed by the level of fit and finish on this motorcycle. It had the appearance of a custom motorcycle with the chrome pieces in Show Chrome not just normal chrome plating used on other V-Twins. Accessories Indian has a full line of accessories available with some specifically geared for the Dark Horse like: Passenger seat, Black over-the-fender luggage rack, passenger backrest (black frame), black engine guards, black frame windshield, hard and soft saddle bags and a other items.
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