Indian Motorcycle has announced details of the 2023 Indian Sport Chief, a bike the company says is its most aggressive iteration of the legendary Chief.
From a visual standpoint, a new quarter-fairing sets the Sport Chief apart, combined with a new moto-style bar with a machined triple clamp and 6-inch riser. Indian says this new bar, mid-mount foot controls, and a solo gunfighter seat put riders in a “commanding yet comfortable” riding position.
Related: 2023 Indian Motorcycle Lineup | First Look Review
The suspension and brakes of the Sport Chief get a major upgrade over previous Chief iterations. Indian bolted on the same front end as used on the Challenger bagger, including its 43mm KYB inverted fork and pair of Brembo 4-piston calipers biting 320mm rotors, which replace the Chief’s underwhelming single-disc setup.
Indian must’ve been listening when we said the 2022 Chief’s chassis was so solid and stable that it made us wish for more than just 28.5 degrees of lean angle and 3 inches of rear travel, because the new piggyback FOX shocks bump travel by an inch and lean angle by 1 degree.
Ola Stenegärd, director of Industrial Design for Indian Motorcycle, said that with the Sport Chief, the company wanted to maintain “the same care-free attitude and American muscle but elevate it even further with componentry that not only delivers a style and attitude that exudes performance but raises the bar entirely for performance cruisers.”
The Sport Chief features cast wheels (19 inches in the front, 16 in the rear) wrapped in Pirelli Night Dragon tires, a 4-gallon fuel tank, a bobbed rear fender, dual exhausts, LED lighting, keyless ignition, and three selectable ride modes: Sport, Standard, and Tour.
The new Sport Chief will boast the same blacked-out Thunderstroke 116 motor of the Dark Horse versions of the Chief, Chief Bobber, and Super Chief Limited, making a claimed 120 lb-ft of torque. When we tested the various iterations of the Chief in May 2021, the Thunderstroke 111 on the standard models offered ample power, but the 116 on the Dark Horses was even more satisfying.
As with the Dark Horse models, the Sport Chief offers a customizable 4-inch touchscreen powered by Ride Command that can also be accessed via handlebar controls. Riders can cycle through multiple interfaces, including two different gauge configurations, bike and ride information, and turn-by-turn navigation with optional connected features like weather and traffic overlays. Riders can also link up to a smartphone via Bluetooth or USB to access music and phone information, and incoming calls will appear and can be accepted or declined directly through the Ride Command system.
The Sport Chief is available in Black Smoke, Ruby Smoke, Stealth Gray, and Spirit Blue Smoke starting at $18,999. We’ll soon be taking it for a ride, so stay tuned for its road test report.
Read our 2023 Indian Sport Chief First Ride Review
Visit Indian’s website for more information.
Prettiest motor of all the V-twin cruisers. Love the valve covers and side-valve exhaust treatment.
Agreed! The Thunderstroke engine is the most gorgeous of any cruiser motorcycle. Several years ago, I sold my two Harleys to buy a BMW Boxer Roadster. I may need to add an Indian with that blacked-out Thunderstroke 116 motor!
Beautiful new Chief. The Chief line still needs a Vintage model to take on the Harley soft tail
Heritage. Keep up the good work.
Nice but £20,000 ($24,069.00) in the UK. I’ll never be able to afford that.
If this were liquid cooled, I might have some thinking to do. Nothing wrong with air cooled bikes if you like them, it’s just not my thing.
It’s a pro-choice world and Indian is more then happy to oblige with offering a line-up of both liquid cooled and air-cooled.
If they made a water cooled version of the Thunderstroke, they also need it to look the part of the nostalgic, air-cooled engine. Exposed , hi-lighted cooling fins and a radiator that can blend in.
Well done Indian! With the intro of this Sport Chief model Indian has reinvigorated its own Thunderstroke V-Twin over the liquid cooled Scout powerplant. As with anything else there are pros & cons to air-cooled vs. liquid cooled. But given the difference in price points with the new Sport Chief being a good 4 grand more, these two models will actually be more complimentary rather then competing on the authorized dealer showroom floor. It seems to me that it’s targeting a more well heeled rider who will just as likely be adding the Super Chief to his collection.
Perhaps the closest competition is up the block at brand H-D? Or maybe it’s BMW that should be concerned with it’s own “heritage” model, the R-18 uber boxer. Whatever the competition is, for today’s rider we just may be in the golden age of moto-cyledom!
There is only 1 difference between this Indian and the r 18… the Indian is a good looking motorcycle and the Beemer is the ugliest machine ever created, ever !