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2020 Indian Challenger: First Look

2020 Indian Challenger

Heritage is important in the world of motorcycles. And it holds more value for some manufacturers. Indian Motorcycle is one of them.

The American company has recently unveiled its latest bagger, Indian Challenger, powered by its most modern and powerful v-twin at 1,770cc, called PowerPlus. Of course, the company’s Chief lineup is equipped with a 1,811cc v-twin, but the Challenger powertrain has got more tricks up its sleeve.

The all-new 1,770cc v-twin is entirely liquid-cooled, it’s got overhead camshafts as well as 4-valve per cylinder, making it capable of churning out an absolutely impressive 122 PS of power @ 5,500 RPM and an irresistible torque of 173.5 NM @ 3,800 RPM. Those are the best figures out of a v-twin in its class and more or less neck to neck with the flat-six of a Honda Gold Wing.

While everything about the Indian Challenger is new, the heritage lies in the name of the engine. The PowerPlus unit is a nod to one of the original motorcycles made by Indian between 1916 and 1924.

A first in an American bagger

1770cc, liquid cooled, Overhead camshafts, 4-valve/cylinder, 122 PS, 173.5 NM, IMU, ABS, Traction Control, Riding Modes

One thing that truly makes the new Indian Challenger a true modern-day motorcycle is the presence of a Bosch 6-axis IMU. Yes, that's Inertial Measurement Unit, something which is usually found in the latest sportbikes. However, this is present in the more premium variants, Indian Challenger Limited and the Indian Challenger Dark Horse.

The standard equipment, throughout all three variants, includes ABS, traction control, riding modes (Standard, Rain and Sport), radial-mounted Brembo brakes, upside down forks and an aluminium frame. There’s a 7-inch touchscreen display for all kinds of information ranging from something as common as a clock to smartphone connectivity and weather-band.

Popularly, there have been two kinds of v-twin engines. A laid-back motor made popular by Harley Davidson and the other characteristically completely opposite, a Ducati performance L-twin.

Lately, though, the American companies are realizing that while it is important to stay connected to the classic appeal of their big-bore v-twin engines, it is also becoming vital to adopt modern technology for delivering better performance, features and increased longevity. The latest Indian Challenger is that motorcycle in the American company’s lineup.

Harley has also been gradually making this transition towards modern v-twins, especially since the arrival of its Milwaukee-eight v-twin engines.

This transition towards modern baggers by these American companies is a good thing in every sense. Motorcycle enthusiasts who prefer baggers like the Honda Gold Wing and the BMW K1600 GTL, haven’t had any other options for a technologically-sophisticated bagger. And while these two motorcycles are on a different league in terms of performance and gadgetry, the new Indian Challenger appears to be a nice alternative offering a mix of modern technology and performance along with traditional styling.



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