Indian Motorcycle, now in its ninth model year since being relaunched under Polaris ownership, continues to expand its range of American-made V-Twins. Less beholden to tradition than Harley-Davidson, Indian has embraced liquid-cooled engines since the introduction of the Scout for 2015. The air-cooled Thunderstroke V-Twin is still available on Indian’s Chief, Springfield, and Roadmaster models, but radiators are found across the Scout cruiser and FTR street-tracker lineups, and the liquid-cooled PowerPlus 108 powers the Challenger bagger that was introduced for 2020.
Joining the Challenger for 2022 is the new Pursuit, a full-dress tourer that adds a top trunk with an integrated passenger backrest, vented fairing lowers, a Touring Comfort seat, and heated grips. The Pursuit is available in two versions: the Limited with chrome finishes (starting at $29,999) and the Dark Horse with blacked-out finishes (starting at $30,999).
Both versions of the Pursuit are available with a Premium Package ($3,000) that adds electronically adjustable rear suspension preload, Smart Lean Technology, integrated driving lights, and heated seats for both the rider and passenger.
After the Pursuit was unveiled in February and first shown to the public at Daytona Bike Week, Rider got early access to a Premium-equipped Pursuit Limited for a full test.
Power to the People
All of Indian’s liquid-cooled V-Twins share some common elements. They have a 60-degree spread between their cylinders, four valves per cylinder, and high compression ratios. Unlike the DOHC valvetrain on the Scouts and FTRs, however, the PowerPlus 108 in the Challenger and Pursuit models uses SOHC with hydraulic cam-chain tensioners and hydraulic valve lash adjusters.
Indian went all-in with full conventional liquid cooling on the PowerPlus rather than the partial liquid cooling used on Harley-Davidson’s Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight. The frame downtubes on the Challenger and Pursuit wrap around a large black radiator to downplay its presence. Full liquid cooling improves an engine’s thermal efficiency, more effectively manages temperature in a wide range of conditions, and more easily satisfies increasingly stringent emissions regulations. Liquid cooling also improves performance, fuel efficiency, and comfort for the rider and passenger. Heat radiating from the engine was not a problem during our test of the Pursuit. Like other Indian tourers, it has rear-cylinder deactivation that kicks in when the bike is idling at a stop.
Displacing 108 cubic inches (1,768cc), the PowerPlus churns out a claimed 128 lb-ft of torque and 122 hp at the crank. After working its way through the clutch, gearbox, and belt final drive, engine output was 113 lb-ft of torque at 3,500 rpm and 108 hp at 5,600 rpm at the rear wheel on Jett Tuning’s dyno. Even though a pair of big 4.25-inch pistons work through a 3.8-inch stroke, the PowerPlus revs eagerly from idle all the way to its 6,500-rpm redline.
The Pursuit Limited with the Premium Package weighs a hefty 925 lbs, but it pulls away from stops authoritatively and lunges forward with quick twists of the throttle. Three ride modes – Standard, Sport, and Rain – adjust the throttle-response map to suit conditions or preferences. When it’s time to just cruise, shifting into the overdriven top gear of the 6-speed constant-mesh transmission turns the engine at a relaxed 2,500 rpm at 60 mph, and cruise control is standard.
We’re In This Together
A big part of what distinguishes the Challenger from the Pursuit is the latter’s top trunk with integrated passenger backrest. A two-up test ride with my wife, Carrie, earned high marks for the passenger accommodations. The wrap-around backrest provides both comfort and security, and we both appreciate the firm-yet-supportive Touring Comfort seat. There are separate seat heating controls for the rider and passenger, with individual buttons on the left side of the seat. The Ride Command+ touchscreen can also be used to activate seat heaters as well as the heated grips.
Carrie also liked the passenger footboards and speakers integrated into the backrest, which allowed her to hear and feel the music when we cranked up the tunes on the 100-watt audio system. What she was less enamored with, however, was the amount of bobblehead helmet buffeting she experienced when the electric windscreen was in the lowest position. That’s my favored position for the windscreen because it allows me to see over the top of the screen while providing wind protection for my upper torso.
Raising the windscreen to its highest position did a fantastic job of reducing turbulence and noise for both of us, though it forced me to look through the screen. With the screen all the way up, there’s an almost eerily quiet bubble within the cockpit, isolating the rider and passenger and allowing the thrum of the engine to be the primary soundtrack. In all, the windscreen has 3 inches of height range, so riders and passengers of different heights and preferences should be able to find a happy medium. On warmer days, opening the vents on the lowers and inner fairing boosts airflow through the cockpit.
The electronically adjustable preload on the Fox rear shock is a convenient, useful feature. On the Ride Command+ touchscreen, the rider can make various selections: Solo or Passenger; No Luggage, Light Luggage, or Heavy Luggage; and Trunk or No Trunk. The rider’s weight can also be set, and preload can be fine-tuned up or down in two increments. The system is user-friendly and makes a significant difference in how the Pursuit handles under different load conditions. (It’s available as a $999.99 accessory upgrade on all 2022 Challenger and Pursuit models.)
Like the Challenger, the Pursuit delivers a comfortable ride and responds predictably and confidently to steering inputs when pushed hard through a series of corners. With 31 degrees of cornering clearance, the footboards rarely scrape the pavement. The frame-mounted fairing takes weight off the handlebar, giving the big tourer a neutral, low-effort steering feel when applying pressure to the grips.
Part of what gives the Pursuit such poise is its modular aluminum backbone frame, which is shared with the Challenger and similar to the one used on the Chieftain. The frame is rock-solid, and despite having hundreds of pounds of engine, motorcycle, humans, and gear trying to twist it out of shape, it remains as unmovable as a mountain. This is the same frame that, by regulation, must be kept in stock form for the MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers series, where Indian’s factory team regularly wins races on Challengers.
Thanks to a stout modular aluminum backbone frame, the Pursuit feels solid and responsive at speed and in corners. The suspension is tuned more for comfort than performance, but it holds its own with the rear preload set properly.
A pair of 4-piston Brembo front calipers clamping down on big 320mm rotors and a 2-piston Brembo rear caliper squeezing a 298mm rotor provide prodigious stopping power. The front brake lever is adjustable for reach, but the clutch lever is not. ABS and TC are standard on the Pursuit, and the Premium Package goes a step further by adding an IMU that enables lean-angle-adaptive ABS and TC as well as drag-torque control.
Take It with You
The Pursuit’s top trunk is the same one used on Roadmaster models, and it’s a cavernous cavity that holds two full-face helmets. It’s also lined with durable gray fabric and has a 12-volt power socket. If the Pursuit’s 35 gallons (132 liters) of storage aren’t enough, the trunk has a chrome luggage rack on top for lashing down your kitchen sink. The keyless fob has buttons to lock and unlock the luggage remotely. There are also two small, non-locking storage cubbies in the fairing, and the one on the right has a USB port for connecting/charging a smartphone or thumb drive. Under a flip cover on the dash is another 12-volt outlet, so none of your devices should feel neglected.
Indian’s Ride Command+ is one of the most feature-rich and flexible infotainment systems available. Mission control is the 7-inch touchscreen, which has multiple screens for vehicle info, settings, navigation, music, and more. A button on the left switchgear allows riders to quickly toggle through the screens, and there are five prominent buttons below the screen to directly access specific functions. Vehicle/trip info screens can be customized by moving or swapping out different widgets, so you always have your favorite stats in one place.
Ride Command+ includes tire-pressure monitoring, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay integration (which requires an iPhone and a Bluetooth headset), GPS navigation with turn-by-turn directions and built-in points of interest, and a customizable route builder that allows riders to add up to 100 waypoints. Pursuit owners get a free year of Ride Command+ connected features, which include live traffic and weather overlays, as well as a new vehicle locator feature that works through Indian’s Ride Command mobile app or website (after the first year, a Ride Command+ subscription costs $99.99/year).
Baggers and tourers are big motorcycles that can pack in a lot of performance, technology, and amenities. But without style they’d be like the shy, pimply-faced teenager at the school dance, staring at his shoes with no one to dance with. Going down the road in a big American V-Twin needs to make a visual statement.
Leading the charge is a trim fender topped with an illuminated Indian headdress ornament. The fender hugs a 19-inch Sport Contrast Cut cast-aluminum front wheel, which is paired with a 16-incher out back, and both are shod with Metzeler Cruisetec tires. The Pursuit’s massive, wide-mouth, frame-mounted fairing has a large central LED headlight flanked by LED running lights/turnsignals.
Outboard of the frame downtubes are highway bars and large fairing lowers that provide leg protection and house driving lights (on Premium-equipped models). Toward the rear are tip-over bars just ahead of the saddlebags, and the bags have black-plastic panels that protect their leading edges and lower sides from rock chips and other road debris.
Our Pursuit Limited test bike is painted a lustrous Deepwater Metallic blue (it’s also available in Black Metallic and Maroon Metallic over Crimson Metallic; the Pursuit Dark Horse is available in four other colorways), and it has just the right amount of chrome and Indian badging. The Pursuit’s trunk gives it more visual weight at the rear to balance out the large fairing. Overall, it’s a handsome machine that will make owners feel a sense of pride and confidence when going down the road or parking it on bike night.
Total storage capacity on the Pursuit is 35 gallons (132 liters), including the top trunk, saddlebags, and storage cubbies in the front fairing. There’s also a luggage rack on the trunk, and accessory storage compartments can be added to the fairing lowers.
It’s About the Ride
With my feet up on the floorboards and my fundament down in the diamond-stitched seat, taking a long ride on the Pursuit reminded me of why we picked the Challenger as our 2020 Motorcycle of the Year. As we wrote in our September 2020 issue:
“The PowerPlus 108 … offers the performance, comfort, and lower emissions that only liquid cooling can provide, and delivers impressive grunt and smoothness with the rumbling character that makes V-Twins so popular. That plus muscular, modern style, an excellent chassis, a full range of available technology, generous wind protection and luggage capacity, and plenty of long-haul comfort make the Challenger a really great bagger.”
The Pursuit advances to the Challenger platform with greater touring capability, improving comfort, convenience, weather protection, and cargo capacity. Equipped with the Premium Package, the Pursuit Limited and Pursuit Dark Horse are fully featured and leave nothing on the table. Still, motorcyclists love to customize their machines. Indian’s accessories include performance upgrades, speakers for the fairing lowers and saddlebag lids, a Pathfinder Adaptive LED headlight, and more.
Passionate V-Twin fans love to debate the merits of air versus liquid cooling, loud versus quiet exhausts, different vee angles, and much else, but the bottom line is that cruising down the road on a big V-Twin touring bike is deeply satisfying. The pulse and relaxed cadence of the engine, the solidity and security of a heavyweight machine, and the go-all-day comfort always feels good and never gets old. Whether it’s a short ride to blow out the cobwebs or a weeklong journey to escape and explore, the enjoyment is a renewable resource, the gift that keeps on giving. Life, liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness.
2022 Indian Pursuit Limited Specs
Base Price: $29,999
Price as Tested: $33,749 (Premium Package, Deepwater Metallic color)
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse 60-degree V-Twin, SOHC, 4 valves per cyl.
Displacement: 1,768cc (108ci)
Bore x Stroke: 108.0 x 96.5mm
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Valve Insp. Interval: N/A (self-adjusting)
Fuel Delivery: EFI, 52mm dual-bore throttle body x 2
Lubrication System: Semi-wet sump, 5-qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, cable-actuated assist wet clutch
Final Drive: Belt
Frame: Modular cast aluminum w/ engine as stressed member & cast aluminum swingarm
Wheelbase: 65.7 in.
Rake/Trail: 25 degrees/5.9 in.
Seat Height: 26.5 in.
Suspension, Front: 43mm inverted fork, no adj., 5.1 in. travel
Rear: Single shock, electronically adj. for spring preload (as tested), 4.5 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 320mm floating discs w/ 4-piston radial calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 298mm floating disc w/ 2-piston caliper & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast, 3.50 x 19 in.
Rear: Cast, 5.00 x 16 in.
Tires, Front: 130/60-B19
Wet Weight: 925 lbs
Load Capacity: 460 lbs
GVWR: 1,385 lbs
Horsepower: 108 hp @ 5,600 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Torque: 113 @ 3,500 rpm (rear-wheel dyno)
Fuel Capacity: 6.0 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 34 mpg
Estimated Range: 204 miles