Today Indian Motorcycle announced its continued support and sponsorship of the sixth-annual Veterans Charity Ride (VCR) to Sturgis. The VCR offers a ride where combat veterans can participate in the freeing and often therapeutic act of motorcycling, but this year VCR is taking things a step further with its “service before self” initiative. This new initiative hopes to directly support and show appreciation for our nation’s first responders, who have been working the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 Veteran’s Charity Ride will include 15 veterans total; nine new veterans and six returning veterans to serve as mentors.
The VCR is a non-profit organization that uses “motorcycle therapy” as a means of healing combat veterans dealing with PTSD. Dave Frey, U.S. Army Veteran and Veterans Charity Ride Founder, highlighted the significance of the ride by stating, “During these extraordinary times, getting our veterans out of the house and supporting them with the liberating power of motorcycle therapy is more important than ever.
“To be able to combine those efforts and honor our selfless and invaluable first responders during this unprecedented pandemic makes this journey even more gratifying. In light of COVID-19, we will be implementing necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy, as we come together to heal and support one another on our ride to the legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.”
This year’s ride will begin on July 29, 2020 in Moab, Utah, where the group will cruise through scenic mountain roads on the way to Fort Collins, Colorado. From there, the VCR will explore some of the best riding that the nation has to offer before arriving at the legendary Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota on August 7, 2020.
The riders will be aboard Indian motorcycles outfitted with a variety of components to help amputee and paraplegic veterans operate their motorcycles with confidence. Those modifications include ReKluse auto clutch systems and custom built Champion Sidecars. Beyond the ride, the VCR also provides an experience for veterans to bond by giving them an opportunity to participate in team-building exercises and engaging in open dialogs about their service during the two-week motorcycle ride.
For several years, the VCR has supported veterans by building a healing atmosphere through motorcycle riding. However, the organization will also be attempting to engage with more people outside of the combat veteran community, which includes first responders who have bravely continued to help those in need in the face of a global pandemic.
VCR participants will be following strict safety and sanitary guidelines, extending a helping hand by providing much needed personal protection equipment and hosting barbecues at select tour stops.
Our nation’s veterans and healthcare workers are an inspiration, and we’re grateful to be a part of an experience that honors their selflessness and sacrifices for our country,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President of Indian Motorcycle. “We’re honored to continue supporting the Veterans Charity Ride and are humbled by their work and positive impact on our veterans.” The Veterans Charity Ride to Sturgis was conceived and developed by veteran Army Paratrooper Dave Frey and Emmy Award-winning producer and director Robert Manciero, leveraging the therapeutic effects of motorcycle riding to create an adventure of a lifetime for wounded veterans.
Indian Motorcycle has announced its all-new ClimaCommand Classic Seat, designed to offer climate controlled seating for both rider and passenger. We hope to be testing this official accessory product soon in an upcoming issue of Rider Magazine.
From Press Release:
INDIAN MOTORCYCLE’S NEW HEATED & COOLED SEAT FEATURES INDUSTRY-FIRST TECHNOLOGY FOR SUPERIOR COOLING
All-New ClimaCommand Classic Seat Provides Heated Comfort, While Also Addressing the Age-Old Challenges of Warm-Weather Riding with Unprecedented Cooling Technology
MINNEAPOLIS (June 22, 2020) – Indian Motorcycle, America’s First Motorcycle Company, today announced a revolutionary new technology geared to improved rider comfort through a patent-pending system that delivers superior cooling for a more pleasant riding experience in warm weather.
The all-new ClimaCommand Classic Seat delivers both heating and cooling to riders and passengers and raises the bar for cooling thanks to three key elements:
A proprietary thermoelectric module that pumps heat away from the rider
A patent-pending ducting system for cooling the thermoelectric module
Graphene, a highly conductive and flexible material that optimizes the distribution of heating or cooling while maintaining superior comfort
Indian Motorcycle’s thermoelectric technology is much more effective than the automotive market standard of HVAC convection systems. A critical performance benefit of the ClimaCommand technology is that it actually produces a surface that’s cold to the touch, rather than merely pushing cool air through perforations in the surface in the manner that HVAC system offerings operate.
“Despite advancements in heating and cooling for seats, we had yet to see a cooling technology that truly eliminated the discomfort of hot-weather, and with ClimaCommand, our engineering team has finally solved this problem,” said Ross Clifford, Vice President of Parts, Garments, and Accessories at Indian Motorcycle. “Our thermoelectric technology paired with graphene material is truly a game-changer, and another example of Indian Motorcycle bringing difference-making innovation to the market.”
To accomplish conduction heating and cooling, a thermoelectric module located within the seat directly regulates the temperature. Electricity is applied to a thermoelectric module, causing one side of the module to absorb heat and the opposing side to dissipate heat. By reversing electrical flow, the hot and cold temperatures alternate sides. A graphene material, which is a nanomaterial created from 100% carbon atoms, is then used to ensure the heating and cooling is dispersed throughout the entire seat.
The well-cushioned ClimaCommand Classic Seat delivers unprecedented comfort with Thunderstroke models. Independent rider and passenger controls (low, medium, high) allow the rider and passenger to remain in command of their heating and cooling levels. With no perforations, the seat’s vinyl cover is highly-durable and water and UV-resistant. Passengers can add more comfort with Armrest Pads and a Trunk Backrest Pad, both designed and developed to seamlessly pair with the new ClimaCommand Classic Seat.
It’s important to note that the ClimaCommand Classic Seat is not Ride Command-integrated. However, Ride Command-integrated versions of the ClimaCommand Seat will be available for the 2020 Chieftain and Roadmaster later this year.
In addition to the all-new ClimaCommand Classic Seat, Indian Motorcycle is introducing an array of new parts and accessories for Scout and FTR 1200 models. New Semi-Rigid Scout Saddlebags allow Scout riders to pack for the long haul, while FTR 1200 riders can select from high or low mount carbon-fiber Akrapovič exhaust options, several new airbox tank cover options, new billet aluminum Rizoma mirrors, and a carbon fiber nacelle to enhance the high-performance design of the FTR 1200.
Purchasing a motorcycle, parts and accessories from the comfort of home, then having them delivered to your door, is becoming more common, and now Indian has entered the online ordering market with its new Click.Deliver.Ride service. Riders have long had the ability to search for their desired model on Indian’s website and customize it to their preference, but they can now work with their local dealer, either online or via phone, to complete their purchase and have their dream bike delivered right to their doorstep.
In the same way that Click.Deliver.Ride is providing Indian Motorcycle’s customers with convenience, it is adding value to its network of dealers as well. Dealers play a crucial role in their local communities and economies, which is why Indian Motorcycle has dedicated itself to help them navigate through this unprecedented business situation, with Click.Deliver.Ride at the forefront.
“Over the last month, we’ve all had to adjust to a new way of life and have had to alter the ways in which we conduct our business,” said Mike Dougherty, Indian Motorcycle President. “Our hope is that Click.Deliver.Ride. will help bring peace of mind to both our loyal customers and our network of dealers.”
Polaris, which owns and produces Indian motorcycles, has introduced a range of cost-cutting measures including the boss, Scott Wine (above), suspending his own salary for the rest of the year to cope with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Other cost-cutting includes delaying salary rises for staff, two weeks leave without pay for some staff and pay reductions of 20% for other staff including the executive leadership team.
“This is an unprecedented crisis with a sudden and stark impact on our business, but in difficult times Polaris has always responded with agility and proved our resilience,” Wine says.
“While the immediate future is uncertain, what is crystal clear is that Polaris must act judiciously but decisively to win both during this situation and after it is resolved. The measures we are taking today are necessary responses to a dynamic environment that compels us to bolster our liquidity and rapidly adapt to extraordinary circumstances.”
Polaris is also reviewing all operating expenses, postponing non-essential capital expenditures, and suspending share repurchases.
The company will draw down an incremental $US150 million under its current revolving credit facility. As of March 31, Polaris has more than $420 million in cash-on-hand “to help weather the current COVID-19 crisis”.
“The Company will continue to evaluate its operations and make adjustments based on the safety of its employees, demand signals, the health of its supply chain and distribution network, and government mandates and local orders,” the company statement says.
V-twin baggers are as American as baseball and apple pie. Big, stylish and built for our wide-open highways, they embody the self-expression and freedom that make motorcycles objects of obsession rather than just vehicles. America’s two major bagger manufacturers — Harley-Davidson and Indian — are well-known brands from coast to coast, even among folks who’ve never ridden one, and their histories and rivalries stretch back more than a century. Being so steeped in tradition, Harley and Indian take great pains to satisfy their base, building motorcycles that conform to the expectations of loyal cruiser riders.
Modern baggers must strike a delicate balance. On the outside they need to look a certain way — a big V-twin front and center, a long, low profile and muscular styling with bodywork covered in rich paint. But on the inside they need to meet increasingly stringent emissions, sound and safety standards, provide modern levels of comfort and reliability and deliver an engaging riding experience in terms of performance, technology and features.
These two 2020 baggers, Harley-Davidson’s Road Glide Special and Indian’s Challenger Limited, strike that balance remarkably well. Being the latest incarnation of a model family that’s been in Harley’s lineup for 40 years — starting with the 1980 FLT, then known as the Tour Glide — the Road Glide is the seasoned veteran in this comparison, and its signature feature is a frame-mounted sharknose fairing with dual headlights. Powering the Road Glide Special is the air-cooled, 114ci (1,868cc) version of Harley’s Milwaukee-Eight 45-degree V-twin with pushrod-actuated overhead valves. The Challenger is Indian’s newest model platform and the first to be powered by the PowerPlus 108 (1,768cc), a liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-twin with valves actuated by single overhead cams. Like the Road Glide, the Challenger has a frame-mounted fairing, a first for Indian.
As head-to-head competitors, the Road Glide Special and Challenger Limited are similar in many ways. Their fixed fairings have bright LED headlights and large vents that bring fresh air into the cockpit, and both have long floorboards and protective highway bars. Their rumbling V-twins have hydraulic valve adjusters, throttle-by-wire and rear-cylinder deactivation, and both send power to their rear wheels through 6-speed transmissions with assist clutches and belt final drive. Both have cruise control, electronic rider aids (cornering ABS, cornering traction control and drag torque slip control — standard on the Indian, optional on the Harley), keyless ignition and touchscreen infotainment systems with audio, navigation, Bluetooth and USB ports. They have low seat heights, 6-gallon fuel tanks, cast wheels with tire pressure monitoring, top-loading lockable saddlebags and a pair of non-locking fairing pockets. Even their as-tested prices are separated by just $45 and their curb weights differ by a single pound—the Road Glide Special costs $28,794 and weighs 847 pounds; the Challenger Limited costs $28,749 and weighs 848 pounds.
Despite so many similarities, these bikes are anything but clones. Specs and features are one thing, style and personality are quite another. With nearly every component bathed in black, a tinted shorty windscreen, minimal badging and foregoing traditional metal flake and gloss in favor of matte Barracuda Silver Denim paint, the Road Glide Special is dark and brooding. (The FLTRXS is available in five other colors, all with gloss finishes.) The Challenger Limited, on the other hand, grabs your attention with Ruby Metallic paint, plenty of chrome and multiple Indian logos visible from every angle. (It’s also available in two other gloss colors, while the Challenger Dark Horse comes in three matte colors.)
More differences between the Harley and Indian emerged after logging hundreds of miles in their saddles. Cruisers are tuned for low-end torque, helping heavy bikes — especially those loaded two-up with full saddlebags — pull away quickly from stops and make brisk passes. These baggers deliver ample torque, sending more than 100 lb-ft to the rear wheel, but they go about it in different ways. The Road Glide has great engine feel, with crisp throttle response, right-now thrust and a deeply satisfying V-twin pulse. The impressive refinement that went into the Milwaukee-Eight V-twin — more power and torque, less heat, less vibration at idle and smoother operation — is why we selected the entire M8-equipped Touring family as our 2017 Motorcycle of the Year. On Jett Tuning’s dyno, the Harley generated smooth power curves with nary a dip or blip, torque rising to 104.5 lb-ft at 2,900 rpm and dropping off thereafter while horsepower increases linearly to 78.5 at 4,800 rpm. Due to its low rev ceiling (5,100 rpm) and narrow torque spread, short shifting the Harley helps it stay in its meaty midrange.
With its liquid cooling, oversquare bore/stroke and SOHC valve layout, Indian’s PowerPlus generates more output with less displacement and revs higher than the M8. Starting at 2,400 rpm, the Indian’s advantage over the Harley increases steadily, the gap widening to 28 lb-ft of torque and 27 horsepower by the time the Harley’s rev limiter kicks in. The Indian keeps going, hitting a peak of 108 horsepower at 5,600 rpm before finally signing off at 6,300 rpm. With a broader spread of torque — more than 100 lb-ft are on tap from 2,400-5,600 rpm, reaching 113.3 lb-ft at 3,300 rpm — and much higher peak power than the Harley, the Indian likes to be revved. The Challenger has three ride modes that adjust throttle response, with Standard mode being fairly soft (Rain mode is even softer) and Sport mode delivering the goods immediately without abruptness.
These heavy machines can be a handful when pushing them around the garage or negotiating parking lots, but they feel well balanced and easy to maneuver at speed. With much of their weight carried low they roll in and out of curves gracefully, and their generous torque propels them out of corners with authority. About 31 degrees of cornering clearance on either side means they can be heeled way over before anything starts to scrape, especially with some extra preload dialed into the rear suspension. Despite having “race-spec” radial-mount Brembo calipers up front, the Indian’s front brake lever feels vague and requires a firm pull to generate full stopping power. In contrast, the Harley’s front brakes have the perfect amount of initial bite and better response at the lever.
If you’re ready to lay down some serious miles, these baggers have nearly everything you need (except heated grips — a curious omission for premium models costing nearly $29,000). But they’re not created equal when it comes to touring comfort. With a lower laden seat height (25.9 inches vs. 26.5 inches on the Indian), you sit deeper in the Harley’s cockpit, with hips rolled back in the dished seat. Because the seat is U-shaped front to back and has a slick finish, it’s difficult to sit farther back; hit one bump and you slide back down.
And bumps can be a problem on the Harley. Most of the time the Road Glide Special provides a comfortable, compliant ride, but its rear shock, which is firmly damped and allows only 2.1 inches of travel, responds harshly to pavement ripples, cracks and seams. Big bumps and potholes send shock waves right up the spine and can bounce a rider out of the seat. Also, the Harley’s fairing sits much farther forward (it’s a long reach to the infotainment screen), its windscreen offers no adjustment and the two large vents flanking the headlights cannot be closed so a high volume of air always flows into the cockpit. This comparison took place in December, and testers always felt colder and more buffeted by the wind on the Harley than on the Indian.
The Challenger Limited provides a more comfortable and enjoyable riding experience. Its seat is flatter and has more grip and support, its long tank is narrower between the knees and its fairing provides more wind protection. The Indian’s fairing is closer to the rider and its windscreen is electrically adjustable over a 3-inch range — raising the screen all the way up and closing the fairing vents creates a calm, quiet space for the rider. With 5.1 inches of suspension travel in the front and 4.5 inches in the rear — 0.5 inch and 2.4 inches more than the Harley, respectively — and more compliant damping, the Indian is much better at insulating the rider and passenger from rough roads. Even at a sporting pace with riders well over 200 pounds in the saddle, the Indian never bottomed out nor reacted harshly.
The Road Glide Special was clearly Indian’s benchmark for the Challenger Limited. At the press launch last October, Indian provided a side-by-side comparison of their performance and features as well as a Road Glide Special for us to ride. With Indian’s sales being about one-tenth of Harley’s, one way to improve its market share is to offer more bang for the buck on competing models. Indian has done so in terms of performance with an all-new, liquid-cooled engine that makes more power and torque and offers the flexibility of throttle-response modes. It has done so in terms of convenience with a more modern and user-friendly infotainment system with higher audio output (100W vs. 50W on the Harley) as well as extra features like central saddlebag locks and a keyless locking fuel cap. And it has done so in terms of comfort with a more supportive seat, better wind protection and superior ride quality, all in a package that costs and weighs nearly the same.
Healthy competition is good for the industry and good for riders because it provides us with better motorcycles. Since the launch of Project Rushmore for 2014, Harley-Davidson has continuously raised the bar with improvements to its engines, chassis, comfort, convenience and other features. The 2014 model year also happens to be when Indian launched its all-new Thunder Stroke V-twin and Chief lineup, reigniting an old rivalry and spurring a feverish pace of innovation from both companies. The 2020 Road Glide Special is better than ever, but the Challenger Limited surpasses it.
Keep scrolling for more detailed photos after the spec charts….
2020 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special Specs
Base Price: $27,299 Price as Tested: $28,794 (RDRS, color) Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles Website: harley-davidson.com
Type: Air-cooled, transverse 45-degree V-twin Displacement: 1,868cc (114ci) Bore x Stroke: 102.0 x 114.0mm Compression Ratio: 10.5:1 Valve Train: OHV, 4 valves per cyl. Valve Insp. Interval: NA (self-adjusting) Fuel Delivery: Electronic Sequential Port Fuel Injection Lubrication System: Dry sump, 5.2-qt. cap. Transmission: 6-speed, hydraulically actuated wet assist-and-slipper clutch Final Drive: Belt
After announcing two new Scouts in its 2020 lineup back in September, Indian Motorcycle has dropped yet another new model, the 2020 Scout Bobber Sixty. Powered by the same 78 horsepower, 999cc, liquid cooled twin as that used in the Scout Sixty, but with the Scout Bobber’s stripped-down, blacked-out stying, the new Scout Bobber Sixty is a claimed 24 pounds lighter than the regular Scout Bobber and is priced starting at just $8,999.
The Scout Bobber Sixty maintains the stripped-down styling of the Scout Bobber, including chopped fenders and a confident riding position, while adding several cues that give the model a look of its own.
It features a blacked-out engine, a modern tank badge, perch mount mirrors, a stripped down headlight, an all-black seat and all new five-spoke all black wheels. Riders looking to customize their Scout Bobber Sixty can do so by selecting from more than 140 authentic Indian Motorcycle accessories.
Like the rest of the FTR lineup, the Rally is powered by a 1,203cc, liquid-cooled, DOHC V-twin that makes 123 horsepower and 87 lb-ft of torque (claimed) and is held within a lightweight tubular-steel trellis frame. The chassis is equipped with Brembo brakes (including M4.32 monoblock front calipers), a fully adjustable upside down fork, a preload- and rebound-adjustable rear shock and spoked wheels shod with Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tires (19-inch front, 18-inch rear, tubes required).
“We’re excited to offer North American riders a new take on
the FTR 1200 that combines the unmistakable look and stance of the FTR with the
more classic, rugged elements that have made scramblers so beloved to city
riders,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President of Indian Motorcycle. “The FTR 1200
is as much about style and self-expression as it is about street-oriented
performance, and the FTR Rally delivers that combination in a totally unique
The FTR Rally features Titanium Smoke paint with the Indian Motorcycle headdress graphic, a brown aviator seat and a rally flyscreen. It’s also equipped with cruise control, a USB fast charge port and a new ProTaper handlebar that is 2 inches higher than that of the standard FTR 1200. The FTR Rally has a 3.4-gallon fuel tank, a 33.6-inch seat height and a 511-pound dry weight (claimed).
Pricing for the 2020 Indian FTR Rally starts at $13,499, and it’s compatible with the entire range of 40+ accessories specifically developed for the FTR platform.
With a limited production run of just 225 motorcycles, Indian’s
Roadmaster Elite returns for 2020 with a larger Thunder Stroke 116 air-cooled
V-twin, a full list of touring amenities and an all-new custom paint scheme.
Each Roadmaster Elite undergoes a meticulous paint process
that takes more than 30 hours to complete and is finished by hand. The new
Thunder Black Vivid Crystal over Gunmetal Flake paint with off-set red
pinstripes and exclusive red Elite badging with matching push-rod tubes
delivers a new, meaner and sportier look. The 19-inch precision machined wheel
under the valanced front fender adds to this look, while still maintaining a
New for 2020 is an upgraded 600-watt PowerBand Audio Plus
system that is said to deliver exceptional sound and clarity from high-output
fairing, trunk, and saddlebag speakers. The PowerBand Audio Plus system
features an enhanced nine-band dynamic equalizer that auto-adjusts specific
frequencies to the optimal level at different vehicle speeds to compensate for
road, wind and engine noise.
“The Roadmaster itself delivers the ultimate touring
experience, but the Roadmaster Elite takes that experience to an even higher
level, designed specifically for riders who pay attention to each and every
detail,” said Reid Wilson, Vice President for Indian Motorcycle. “Whether
riding around town or across the country, the Roadmaster Elite is a statement
maker – packed with all the modern touring amenities riders would ever need or
want, with an aesthetic that is captivating.”
As Indian Motorcycle’s most powerful air-cooled engine, the
Thunder Stroke 116 features a new high-flow cylinder head that makes a claimed 126
lb-ft of torque. Three selectable ride modes (Tour, Standard and Sport) allow
riders to adjust the bike’s throttle response to fit their riding preferences.
The Roadmaster Elite also features Indian’s Ride Command
system, said to be the largest, fastest, most customizable infotainment system
on two wheels. The seven-inch, glove-compatible touchscreen features
turn-by-turn navigation, customizable rider information screens, Bluetooth
compatibility, and pairs with the Ride Command mobile app for remote
accessibility to key vehicle information. New 2020 connected features include
traffic and weather overlays, so riders can plan their ride to avoid traffic
and poor weather conditions. Riders can also plan a ride route with up to 100
points on the Ride Command website and wirelessly transfer it to the bike via
Premium touring amenities include tank-mounted analog fuel
and volt meters, rear cylinder deactivation and full Pathfinder LED lighting
with driving lights. Comfort is enhanced by a genuine leather two-up touring
seat with individual heating for both the rider and passenger, passenger
armrests, heated handgrips, backlit switchgear and a power-adjustable flare
windscreen. Also standard are ABS, keyless ignition, weatherproof and
remote-locking saddlebags, a spacious trunk that fits two full face helmets and
more than 37 gallons of storage space.
Pricing for the 2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite starts at