The mighty Chieftain

K Shivraj
Saturday, 2 September 2017

Indian Chieftain Dark Horse, which looks big and feels special, sets the mark for what a cruiser motorcycle should deliver

The Indian Chieftain Dark Horse is a gigantic motorcycle much like its long name would suggest. At Rs 32.5 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi, it is expensive, but is Rs 3 lakh cheaper than the Indian Chieftain. 

Featuring every bell and whistle and a distinctive colour scheme, and differing from the Chief in a way that the company used an additional fork offset and a different handlebar to eliminate the risk of the motorcycle being hard to steer with the fairing mounted on the forks, the Chieftain Dark Horse behaves well in corners. 

Contrary to what its dimensions and appearance may suggest, the Chieftain Dark Horse is easy to ride. A crowd-puller with its all-black paint scheme, the Chieftain is made elegant by the minimal use of chrome. The motorcycle flaunts very high standards of quality and finish. A long list of equipment including cruise control and tyre pressure monitoring system add to its features.   

The Indian Thunder Stroke 111 engine makes 140Nm of peak torque and impresses with its smooth power delivery. It feels terrific with a seemingly endless flow of torque. With fuel delivered through a fuel injection system to the engine from a 21-litre tank, the power delivery is utterly smooth and accompanied by a low gravelly roar that is indicative of the speed being built; it never gets loud. 

The shifts are bit clunky, but the abundant supply of torque means a mere twist of the throttle is all that it takes to gain momentum. Capable of crossing the 100kmph mark in a little over six seconds, and despite weighing a good 400kg, the Chieftain Dark Horse is a fast motorcycle. Averaging 15.2kmpl under a mix of city and highway riding, it makes for a relaxed ride even though it feels quick. 

Delivering a subtle ride over a variety of surfaces, the Chieftain Dark Horse sets the mark for what a cruiser motorcycle should deliver. The motorcycle can simply ride over enormous potholes without any discomfort felt by the rider. It does take some getting used to manoeuvring this ‘behemoth’ in the city, but on the highway, the Chieftain Dark Horse mighty impresses with its ability. 

The Chieftain Dark Horse, however, is not sporty. That said, the big machine holds up quite nicely, supporting a ride that is devoid of any discomfort. Brakes exert a strong bite, and have a progressive feel to them. Not only is it built to high standards, and offers an impressive ride, it also feel special. 

Pros: Appearance, comfort, ride, performance, feels special
Cons: Price

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