The word “vintage” gets tossed around a lot, but when a company with a history as long as Indian Motorcycles uses it, you can believe they mean it. Though the company has changed hands many times, the Chief model family, in one form or another, has usually been part of the Indian lineup since its inception in 1922. Indian Motorcycles, under Polaris Industries Inc., keeps that tradition alive with its 2017 Chief Vintage. The designers build upon 95 years of Chief tradition with this ride, and while all Indians show their historical roots in varying degrees, none is quite as overt as the aptly named Vintage. Join me while I look at Indian’s latest effort to bring “old-school” to the 21st century.
At a glance, the Vintage looks like it was torn from a page in history. The full front fender, with its traditional figurehead, takes us all the way back to 1940 when Indian first started using their now-iconic, skirted fenders. Cast your eye down the top lines. Follow them down the fat fuel tank and across the saddle, and you will come away with the impression that there really could be a rigid rear end under all that sheet metal. It’s an illusion of course, but it adds to the suggestion of antiquity.
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