indian chief dark horse motorcycle

Indian Chief Dark Horse and Indian Chief: Are they Different?

The Indian Chief is about as handsome as a motorcycle gets. And it’s not flashy about it, too. Indian Motorcycle calls it “purposeful design” that still turns heads as it cruises through or rounds a corner. The exposed rear shocks and steel welded tube frame catch the eye. But then you get a look at the Indian Chief Dark Horse — the two cruisers look roughly the same, except for that sable finish on the fender.

Indian Chief vs. Indian Chief Dark Horse

indian motorcyle

The Chief motorcycles features six cruisers, so the line doesn’t just have Indian Chief and Indian Chief Dark Horse. It also includes:

  • Chief Bobber
  • Chief Bobber Dark Horse
  • Super Chief
  • Super Chief Limited

Each model looks slightly different from one another. But what is the key difference between the Indian Chief and the Indian Chief Dark Horse?

Indian Chief

  • Engine type is air-cooled Thunderstroke 111 (1,811 cc)
  • Peak torque is 108 ft-lbs
  • 19” front wheel (ABS optional)
  • Analog gauge

Indian Chief Dark Horse

  • Engine type is air-cooled Thunderstroke 116 (1,890 cc)
  • Peak torque is 120 ft-lbs
  • 19” machined cast front wheel with ABS
  • Navigation on 4” touchscreen that looks like an analog gauge
  • USB charging port

At a glance, the Indian Chief Dark Horse is packed with more features that takes this retro ride into the 21st century with ride-enhancing tech. The Chief Dark Horse also has more power than the Indian Chief.

But both motorcycles share some features:

  • They have the same size and ground clearance
  • They each offer three ride modes: Standard, Tour and Sport
  • They’re designed for keyless ignition and with cruise control
  • They’re equipped with Pirelli Night Dragon tires

Since the Dark Horse does come with more tech, it does cost more.

How Much is the Indian Chief Dark Horse?

motorcycle in a garage

The 2022 Indian Chief is the entry point to the Chief motorcycles from the brand. Its starting price is at $14,999. The Indian Chief Dark Horse costs $17,499. The warranty on both models is the same at two years with unlimited miles.

Since these are bobber motorcycles, which means they’re customizable, the price will go up with each personalization. You can go with the usual blackout finish or smokey gray. You can change up the exhaust, include a passenger backrest, a windshield, add a Pathfinder S LED driving lights and leather floorboard trim — and you’d end up with something close to $20,000 for your Indian Chief Dark Horse.

If you’re like most riders, you’ll want to personalize your Indian Motorcycle as much as you can. And it’s not going to be cheap, but the overall look will be worth it. Custom build on the brand’s website is also easier, more convenient because some stores, like Dennis Kirk, may not carry Indian parts and accessories.

Alternatively, you could dig around the internet for used Indian Chief Dark Horse bikes. But many are likely to be custom-built with the previous owners’ preferred accessories. So you’ll see these used Indian motorcycles, on eBay, for example, costing over $20,000.

The cheaper Indian bikes are of the Indian Scout bobber varieties, which are priced under $10,000.

How Fast is the Indian Chief Dark Horse?

man riding an indian motorcyle

The beauty of a bobber motorcycle is that it can go fast. It’s certainly light enough to race through any road (with safety in mind, of course), having been stripped of the unnecessary parts. But how fast does the Indian Chief Dark Horse go?

At its top speed, the 2022 Indian Chief Dark Horse reaches 115 mph, thanks to its Thunderstroke 116 engine ponying up 79 hp and producing 120 ft-lbs of torque. That number may not seem impressive compared to the souped-up throttle of the Triumph bobber, which can hit 170 mph; without nitrous, the world’s fastest bobber is said to gun the road at 150 mph.

But acceleration isn’t the whole point of the Indian Chief Dark Horse. It is a cruiser, meant for relaxing and fun in a posh albeit understated way.

If you want even more horsepower and like riding longer distances, the Indian Chieftain Dark Horse may be more to your liking. It’ll cost more than the Indian Chief Dark Horse with a starting price of $22,499, but you get 92 hp, 119 ft-lbs in torque and 5.5 gallons for fuel storage and 18.2 gallons for storage. But according to Top Speed’s test, expect a top speed of 115 mph.

The Indian Chief Dark Horse is a thing of beauty. It rides like the wind and handles as smoothly as an Indian Motorcycle cruiser should. If you want to get more thrill out of your riding experience, kick it up to Sport mode. And prepare to hang on because this is the Chief, after all.

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