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New Indian Chieftain motorcycles stand tall

Bikers in search of a better bagger need look no further than the new 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite. Announced on April 4, the model variants further demonstrate the Minnesota-based manufacturer's commitment to craftsmanship and innovation in order to enhance the ride experience.

One can only wonder how otherworldly these aluminium-frame machines would appear to Indian's original founders, George Hendee and Oscar Hedstrom, compared to their first 1.3kW creation in 1901.

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Both Chieftains roll with a cast aluminium frame that houses the brand's Thunderstroke 111 engine with electronic fuel injection. Differentiating themselves from the standard Chieftain, the latest in the line have a more aggressive and aerodynamic aesthetic, a lower profile, a revised front fender, and new 19-inch (48.3cm) wheel with 10 spokes, paired with a 16-inch (40.6cm) rear wheel.

The power to stop stems from dual 300 mm floating brake rotors in front (with four piston calipers) and a single rotor of the same size at the back (with 2 piston calipers) — all complemented by an anti-lock braking system.

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What really refines the ride, however, are all of the onboard amenities. These include a power-adjustable windscreen, key-less ignition, remote-locking saddlebags, and a 7-inch (17.7cm) touch screen infotainment system that is Bluetooth compatible and displays navigation information, ride metrics, and status on key operational elements. Also helping the kilometres melt away is a 100-watt sound system.

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Aptly named, the Chieftain Elite distances itself from its sibling with a paint job (in Indian's Fireglow Red Candy colour scheme) that is done by hand, a process that takes more than 25 hours. In addition, the Elite is dressed up with a host of extras, such as a Pathfinder LED headlight and a 200-watt stereo.

While the Chieftain Limited will be in regular production, the Chieftain Elite will be kept to only 350 units. The bikes are priced starting at $US24,499 (about $A32,340) and $US31,499 (about $A41,580), respectively. (indianmotorcycle.com)

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