If you wanted a Harley-Davidson Road Glide that wasn’t a Harley, Indian’s been offering that for a while now in the form of its Roadmaster line of full-dress V-Twin touring bikes. If you want an American V-Twin full dresser that looks the part, but goes like stink, now Indian also offers the Pursuit. The traditional American V-Twin buyer has always been highly skittish prey, easily frightened off by overhead cams and lack of cooling fins. But with its Challenger of two years ago, Indian decided it was time to take the high-performance plunge, developing a revver instead of a chuffer, an oversquare engine instead of an undersquare one. Along with that new engine comes the increased horsepower those changes have brought to the internal combustion engine since, well, for a very long time.
2020 Indian Challenger First Ride Review
The results were laid bare for all to see a couple weeks ago, again, on the Rottweiler Performance dynamometer: 105 horsepower at 5600 rpm. And if you think an old-fashioned pushrod V-Twin is going to out-torque Indian’s PowerPlus V-Twin, you’d be wrong again.
The Indian makes more torque, too – but 600 rpm higher in the rev band than the Harley-Davidson Milwaukee Eight 114-inch engine we compared it to a couple weeks ago; the Indian cranked out 116 pound-feet to the Harley’s 105, at 3500 rpm to the H-D’s 2900 rpm. It’s easy enough to gear the Indian a tad shorter, with a 3.017:1 final-drive ratio in 6th gear to the H-D’s 2.875:1. Pretty much any time you roll on the Pursuit’s ride-by-wire throttle, you’re experiencing a level of acceleration heretofore unseen in motorcycles like these.
Showdown: 2022 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited Vs Indian Pursuit Limited Premium
Lest you think Indian went on a complete modernization program with the Pursuit including weight loss, rest assured: At 933 pounds wet on the MO scales, it actually weighs more than the Roadmaster Limited. Indian specs our Pursuit Limited Premium fully 32 lbs heavier. This is a large motorcycle; ask your doctor if your scrawny legs are strong enough to support it when you stop in the gravel with three bags full and a passenger on back. Also, unlike the more-than-100-lbs-lighter Gold Wing and BMW tourers, there is no reverse, so careful where you park. The H-D Road Glide Limited we tested it against two weeks ago was a scant four pounds lighter.
At least the Indian seat is nice and low, at 26.5 inches, to let even shorter people get their feet solidly down. Most of that considerable weight does feel low in the bike, and excuse me while I deploy this chestnut yet one more time: Most of that weight disappears once you’re rolling.
And how. Twisting the PowerPlus engine’s tail, especially in Sport mode, has the Pursuit moving out in a way that belies its weight. The bike’s stiff hydroformed aluminum frame, upscale suspension components, and modern radial rubber have it responding like the world’s biggest sportbike – just like the Challenger two years ago, but carrying an additional 80 pounds or so out back; that weight takes the form of a strengthened subframe, sumptuous passenger accommodations, and trunk.
The 2022 Indian Pursuits Are Here
You and your lucky passenger and all your shoes can think of all of it simply as road-hugging weight once you’re rolling along at 80 mph and 3100 rpm or so across Nebraska, being entertained and guided by the Infotainment/GPS system.
Rider and passenger seats are both five-star, with individual-adjustable heaters as part of the Premium package. In spite of its low seat, the Pursuit cockpit fits riders over 5’10” or so best, or riders with long arms at least, because its grips make 5’8” me have to lean forward a bit to grab them. It almost doesn’t matter once the cruise control is set and the electric windscreen is set to the desired height. Actually, the screen’s a bit too tall for me even in the lowest setting, but that’s easily fixed. Maybe you don’t want to fix it though, since lowering it seems to increase buffeting for your passenger. You’ll have to work that out, or buy the Challenger and ride by yourself.
Big vents in the fairing lowers let the air flow through to your legs, or shut it out when it’s chilly.
Our Pursuit Limited Premium test unit comes with a new electronically preload adjustable Fox shock out back (also available as an option on other Pursuits), which is a major step in the right direction. Ignoring the rear shock setting has you swishing slightly disconnectedly along on 5.1 inches of front and 4.5 inches of pillowy suspension travel. From there, preparing for battle stations consists of plugging your weight (and your passenger’s if you have one) into the bike’s computer, along with how much luggage you’re carrying. The rear spring gets preloaded accordingly, transferring weight onto the front tire, and sharpening the handling and steering considerably. It all hangs together surprisingly well, given that Indian tells us the front suspension is unchanged from the lighter Challenger, as is the rear shock on the non-Premium Pursuits. They also tell us The Challenger suspension was calibrated with the accessory trunk in mind, and the heavier Pursuit model in the pipeline.
In tight curves, there’s no ignoring this is a big, long motorcycle. But with the shock adjusted properly for the load, the Pursuit is surprisingly sprightly in direction changes and steering accuracy. The faster and more flowing the road, the less you feel the weight. And unlike motorcycles that looked like this 20 years ago, there’s plenty of cornering clearance too. You’re motoring seriously along before the floorboards begin to graze the pavement.
People don’t always know they want it, but they do, says Indian, along with performance and style. In addition to the entertainment and navigation, the Bosch IMU in there makes possible the Pursuit’s Smart Lean Technology, which informs the ABS and traction control to keep your wheels in line in low-traction conditions. Along with the bike’s stout mechanicals, that gives you even more inspiration to throw the 900-pound gorilla into corners with the brakes on, and to twist the throttle bigly at the exits, which is weirdly almost even more exhilarating on a thing this big. I’m reminded of WW2 newsreels of P-47 strafing runs. Probably most buyers of this $33,000 motorcycle won’t ride it that way much, but it’s nice to know you can. On the other hand, plenty of old superbike riders aren’t getting any younger.
In the boring parts, you can play with the Bluetooth stuff and nav system, check your tire pressures, voltage, engine hours, and current ride information (distance, moving time, stop time, altitude, altitude change), change ride modes, et cetera… adaptive cruise control is about the only thing missing.
With its 6-gallon gas tank full of $6 California premium, our bike, ridden pretty aggressively, returned 37 mpg. That’s 222 miles of range, and that’s what this bike is all about, reeling in pavement for hours between stops. After four days up and down California, my brain was tired (only because I was “working”) but my body was fine.
Thirty-five gallons of remote locking storage should be enough, but if you travel with a passenger you know it won’t be.
The trunk holds two helmets, and you can bungee at least a couple stuffed Garfields to the nice chrome rack on top of it. Two glove boxes up front provide small-item storage, the right one with a USB outlet.
There it is. If your father had a big American V-Twin cruiser, this new Pursuit is not it. This is it with about 30% more horsepower than the Milwaukee competition’s latest, and a chassis to match – packed with the latest electronics to ensure you can deploy all 1,385 lbs of it safely and in maximum comfort, complete with passenger and plenty of stuff.
The only things we can complain about are the lack of lightness: 933 lbs is a lot of motorcycle when it’s time to stop (but you do get used to it), and our lack of two or three weeks with nothing to do but ride around North America on the thing with our best friend on back. If you’ve got a handle on those things, and $32,999 for our Black Metallic Pursuit Limited Premium (there’s a Dark Horse for a few dollars more), more power to you. More power and more everything. Enjoy. Drop us a postcard.
Bagger Battle: Harley-Davidson Road Glide Special Vs. Indian Challenger Limited
|2022 Indian Pursuit Limited Premium Specifications|
|Engine Type||Liquid-cooled PowerPlus|
|Displacement||108 ci (1,768 cc)|
|Bore x Stroke||4.251 in. x 3.799 in. (108 mm x 96.5 mm)|
|Clutch||Wet, Multi-Plate, Assist|
|Fuel Injection||Closed loop fuel Injection / 52mm dual bore|
|Exhaust||Split Dual exhaust w/ Resonator|
|Horsepower||104.6 hp at 5600 rpm (measured)|
|Torque||116.2 lb-ft. at 3500 rpm (measured)|
|Frame||Cast aluminum frame|
|Front Suspension||43mm inverted fork with 5.1 inches of travel|
|Rear Suspension||Fox single shock with hydraulic adjustment and 4.5 inches of travel|
|Front Brakes||Dual four-piston radial-mount calipers and 320mm semi-floating discs|
|Rear Brakes||Single two-piston caliper with 298 mm floating disc|
|Front Wheel||Sport Contrast Cut 19 in. x 3.5 in.|
|Rear Wheel||Sport Contrast Cut 16 in. x 5 in.|
|Front Tire||Metzeler Cruisetec 130/60B19 66H|
|Rear Tire||Metzeler Cruisetec 180/60R16 80H|
|Fuel Capacity||6.0 gallons (22.7 L)|
|Fuel Mileage||37 mpg (as tested)|
|Ground Clearance||5.4 in (137 mm)|
|GVWR||1,385 lbs (628 kg)|
|Wheelbase||65.7 in (1,669 mm)|
|Lean Angle||31° (left and right)|
|Overall Height||56.8 in (1,444 mm)|
|Overall Length||102.7 in / 2609 mm|
|Overall Width||39 in (990 mm)|
|Rake/Trail||25° / 5.9 inches (150 mm)|
|Seat Height||26.5 in (672 mm)|
|Weight||933 pounds (as measured)|
|Color/graphics||Black Metallic, Deepwater Metallic, Maroon Metallic/Crimson Metallic|
|Factory Warranty||2 Years, Unlimited Miles|
|Gauges||Fairing-mounted instrument cluster featuring analog speedometer and tachometer with fuel gauge, range, odometer and current gear. 15 LED telltale indicators; cruise control enabled, cruise control set, neutral, high beam, turn signal, ABS, check engine, low tire pressure, battery, low fuel, security system, low engine oil pressure and MPH or km/h unit designation.|
|Lights||LED lighting including Pathfinder LED Headlamp|
|Standard Equipment||7 in touchscreen powered by RIDE COMMAND with Navigation and Apple CarPlay integration; Selectable Ride Modes; Rear Cylinder Deactivation; Cruise Control; Tire Pressure Monitoring; Remote-locking Hard Saddlebags & Trunk; 35.8 gallons of Storage; Highway Bars; Adjustable Passenger Floorboards; Brembo brakes; 18+ Gallons of storage; ABS: Keyless Ignition; Chassis Mounted Fairing; Power Windshield; Adjustable Fairing Air Flow Vents; Heated Grips; 200 Watt Audio System with AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB, Smartphone Compatible Input, and Weatherband; 12V Charging Port|
We are committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using the retail links in our product reviews. Learn more about how this works.
Become a Motorcycle.com insider. Get the latest motorcycle news first by subscribing to our newsletter here.