“Evil” is a complex thing. Sometimes evil is justified, and this is one of those times where Evil is all you want to be riding on a personified saga on a veil.

Indian Motorcycles is lifting itself to the pinnacle for 2018 and for its second instalment (the first being the Roadmaster Elite), the Polaris owned manufacturer has launched the 2018 Indian Springfield Dark Horse. It a solo saddle amalgamation of the mechanicals and stature of an Indian Springfield and the blacked out theme carried from the Indian Chief Darkhorse. This will be the third model in the American line-up to get the Dark Horse treatment.

It gets updated with subtle yet dark cosmetic changes to give it a stealth outlook while blacking out just about everything apart from the exhaust. It carried around the same panache and poise of the epoch Springfield, a motorcycle that leaves no question of having a prominent place in the lineup of this historic brand that knows retro indulgence.


STYLING

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As aforementioned, the Indian Springfield Dark Horse is a heavily kitted version of its stable mate, the Chief Dark Horse. That means, except for a long list of equipment, the Springfield is essentially the same motorcycle as the Chief Dark Horse. But those features are substantial enough to make you feel that this Springfield is a completely different motorcycle from the Chief.

It still carries the Hiawatha headlamp and nacelle born in the 1960’s, a time when chrome ruled the streets. Except there isn’t any chrome there now. What you get is a dark themed matte finish that goes on all sides to put things blatantly into perspective. Flanked by this are the black fog lamps to match the humongous Hiawatha. Surrounding the cluster is the tough and durable detachable windshield that has a clean envelope of air over the long haul. With this one can choose to go touring or to cruise in just a heartbeat.

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The dark, menacing paint job includes on the teal drop fuel tank, fenders, headdress forks, rear view mirrors, handlebars and switches, turn signals, tank console, engine and air box cover, lower controls, front and rear highway bars and taillight housing are completely finished in black. There are however a few chrome bits to keep the appeal of this bike – the two into one exhaust, saddle bag locks and a couple of other small bits like the single pinstripe on the fenders compliment the dark cruiser really well.

It holds true to its pedigree with its design and makes it its purpose to let you ride in style. It offers a wealth of features to roll as one of the most badass V-twin on the market. The dash includes a main analogue digital unit along with a smaller analogue fuel meter. The instrumentation also gets a black treatment along with the fuel cap. The saddlebags themselves will carry 10 kg each and can be unmounted with a quick-release lever.

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Talking of comfort, you can even lock and unlock the bags with a remote which also acts as a keyless ignition. An automatic trunk release for you and a start stop button. Fancy stuff. At the front, the fenders expose the 19” blacked out wheels which offer a nod to the Indian’s open fenders of the 20s’ and 30s’ era.

Overall Dimension

Make Model2018 Indian Springfield Dark HorseHarley Davidson Road King
Length2583 mm2420 mm
Width990 mm968 mm
Height1442 mm1438 mm
Wheelbase1701 mm1625 mm
Seat height660 mm715 mm
Wet weight630 kg379 Kg
Fuel capacity20.8 liters22.7 litres

POWERTRAIN

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Indian has kept the old school charm for this engine layout with its valvetrain geometry, head construction and valve-cover design. But don’t get fooled because the inside story is a whole new world.

Designed from the ground up, the Thunder Stroke 111 engine used in the Chieftain makes way here too with its 1811cc 490 V-Twin capable of belting out 73bhp of power and 139 Nm of torque. Enough torque to tear apart the tarmac and accelerate without breaking a sweat in every situation. It is both oil and air cooled and operates pretty smooth compared to the heavy throbbers around.

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The engine breathes through a 54 mm throttle body and transmits power to a 6-speed gearbox through cable-actuated clutch having a relatively light pull. Power, like in all Indians, is always on tap and is delivered to the rear wheel via a belt-driven system. The forward foot controls are available on floorboard operations like the Springfield.

The transmission is set on the right-hand side of right cam cover and multi-directional finned valve covers. You can even notice the downward firing exhaust outlets of the Six-Shooter that makes the Dark Horse roar like the God of Thunder.

Engine Specification

Make Model2018 Indian Springfield Dark HorseHarley Davidson Road King
Capacity cc18111202
Bore/ Stroke mm101/113100/111
Output73 bhp78 bhp
Torque139 Nm @ 3000 rpm150 Nm @ 3250 rpm
TypeThunder Stroke 111Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 107
Clutch typeWet- MultiplateWet- Multiplate
Transmission6-speed6-speed

RIDE AND HANDLING

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Known for cruising comforts, the Springfield gets a well-supported solo saddle which will give you enough cushioning to ride on forever and not break your back. The seat is also positioned lower than many cruisers to accommodate shorter riders and make them feel like stars. Handlebar position is quite upright, and the floorboard will provide you with enough room to rest your feet the way you like to. The low slung stance can call for scraping the underbelly every time though.

The Dark Horse just falls into easy turns, but hairpins and u-turns can be quite tricky for those not used to the bike’s size or weight. 630 kg of meat this one. The steering geometry is engineered in such a way to deliver responsive handling in any situation. The cast aluminium frame is lightweight yet exceptionally strong and provides the rider excellent low-speed handling and confidence inspiring stability on the highways.

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Suspension leverages are carried out by large 46 mm forks float the front end having 119 mm of travel, and the single rear pneumatic shock can be adjusted for load or preference with 114 mm of travel. To halt this 630 kg monster, you need heavy performers, and hence dual four-pot callipers bind the front 300mm brake discs, and a twin-pot calliper binds the rear 300mm disc. ABS will come as standard, knowing which you can brake under control in any situation.

19-inch cast wheels running on 130/60B19 61H at the front and 16” 180/60R16 80H at the rear will give you precise feedback or rather no feedback. You will glide on these. Cruise control comes as a standard feature too

Chassis Specifications

Make Model2018 Indian Springfield Dark HorseHarley Davidson Road King
Suspension / FrontTelescopic Fork / 4.7? (119 mm) – Cartridge Type Suspension49 mm dual bending valve fork technology
Suspension / RearSingle Shock w/Air adjust / 4.5 in (114 mm)Emulsion shocks with hand adjustable pre-load
Brakes / FrontDual / 300mm Floating Rotor / 4 Piston CaliperReflex Linked Brembo Dual 320 mm disc. Calliper: 32 mm, 4-piston fixed
Brakes / RearSingle / 300mm Floating Rotor / 2 Piston Caliper / 1 Piston CalliperReflex Linked Brembo Dual 320 mm disc. Calliper: 32 mm, 4-piston fixed
Tyres / FrontDunlop Elite 3 130/90B16 61HBW 130/80B17 65H
Tyres / RearDunlop Elite 3 Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80HBW 180/65B16 81H

PRICE

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This 2018 Indian Springfield Dark Horse comes with a price tag of ? 31 lakh. That is exactly the same as the standard Springfield is.

You can only get the Thunder Black Smoke Trim for the Dark Horse, which is also the case with the other two Dark Horse models, the Chief and the Chieftain. Of course, Indian will give you a plethora of accessories to make it your own deal, and the list includes 300 different fitments to your Springfield Dark Horse.

Make Model2018 Indian Springfield Dark HorseHarley Davidson Road King
Ex-showroom? 31 Lakh? 27 Lakh

COMPETITION

Coming from the same country once habited by the Red Indians is another touring brand, Harley Davidson. Synonymous to the Classic is the Road King. It is the ultimate retro-vintage bagger, turning heads with its classic styling and iconic panache. Whitewalls, spoked wheels, train-ish headlights and leather bound saddlebag inserts. This is not a new meaning for ‘retro’, but it is very much the retro.

Harley-Davidson Road King Classic
1.

This Harley has got the design language that is responsible for taking you to the 60s’ where motorcycles used to feature some of the biggest headlamps and spoked tyres with white wall. It’s reminiscent of that era where chrome spoke of ecstasy and class. There are many retro styled motorcycles around, but nothing gets more ‘old’ than this Road King. Longtime fans of the brand will recognize the influence of the old Duo-Glide circa 1958 and the FLH models that came after. It’s the front end that sets the tone with massive, 49 mm forks made to look even fatter with chrome, “beer can” fork skirt and “Hiawatha” headlamp nacelle. Whisker-bar mounted passing lamps, and turn signals finish the forward lighting, and a large, “Detachable” windshield crowns the whole assembly.

The engine boasts of 94 bhp @ 5000 rpm of peak power and 150 Nm of torque at 3,250 rpm of torque enough to get you to a 60 mph faster than ever before. High flow airbox with 55mm throttle body lets the engine breathe better for making use of every ounce of power. Redesigned heat management system will improve rider and pillion comfort and keep your inner thighs cooler. The 107 gets retuned ride-by-wire system and more sensitive knock sensors for gaining all the torque on offer.

To get the maximum comfort, the blokes at Harley have given the King a wide set pullback handlebar that gives you a commanding position and making sure your muscles stay relaxed even after hours of riding at a stretch. You also get ergonomically designed hand controls that let your eyes concentrate on the job at hand or at the scenery around, whichever comes first. You will obviously get the two-up Road King seat which boasts of contemporary looks and performance—without sacrificing an ounce of nostalgic style. It is sculpted with a deep bucket and a narrow neck for that ultimate ride comfort which you always want to be seated on.

With the launch of the new Milwaukee Eight, a totally new re-engineered dual bending valve with beefy Showa Dual Bending Valve front forks front and rear suspension with easily-adjustable emulsion shocks also donned the 2017 line-up. The rear abandons the air-adjustment shocks for the conventional spring loaded which can be adjusted with just a turn of a knob and bigger pins will give improved damping performance. Braking duties are given to Reflex linked brakes with ABS that turns a locked up front wheel or a rear wheel skid into a relic from riding’s history.

The Road King was sold in India at ?26.5 lacs. You may have to cough up another couple for the Classic. The Road King Classic will be available in four colour schemes: Billet Silver/Vivid Black, Mysterious Red Sunglo/Velocity Red Sunglo, Crushed Ice Pearl and Vivid Black.

VERDICT

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In a world where the likes of the Harley brand has domination of the custom bagger arena, this Springfield Dark Horse exudes quality, and as a result poses the most serious threat and comes out as a winner of a battle. Polaris has once again got a pat on its back with an excellent job on this Indian. If you don’t wish to have a stellar black machine and want some colour on it, you might as well go for the classic Springfield. And no one will judge you for that.

I am not trying to be a racist, sexist or any of those “ist”. But this black swagger machine is for Dark Horsemen who ride solo without any inhibitions. The motorcycle, although designed to be a reminder of a compelling spiritual presence of a vintage era, takes on the vile of hell and gets high on it.

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It is an epitome of luxury with everything on the face of the planet packed between two wheels. The decidedly retro looks will seamlessly fit into the lookout of a niche clientele wanting to splurge on something of a personified saga. A saga that is meant to get deep into the dark world. Very deep indeed.

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