Since 1901 the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company has produced one of the most well-known and loved motorcycle brands in the United States. Of course, the company has had its ups and downs, going bankrupt in 1953, enduring the failure of a handful of other interested parties trying to resurrect its name, and finally reawakening under the care and guidance of Polaris in 2011, a company which purchased Indian Motorcycles, moved operations, and began to manufacture new bikes under the brand that are reminiscent of the style and quality of yesteryear. They have managed to do so successfully, we might add.
For the first year of this new decade Indian has released its new Challenger model, which they did following another of their releases, the new PowerPlus V-twin engine. Technically speaking, the Challenger model actually consists of three versions: the Challenger (base model), the Challenger Dark Horse, and the Challenger Limited. Each version, of course, has its own attributes and setbacks, but we’ll talk more about that below. What’s below, you ask? Um, do you really have to ask?
Below we have compiled, for your enjoyment and for the experience of learning, a very satisfying ’10 Things’ list. You’ll notice that we mention all three of the configurations throughout this article, but we’ll keep the main focus on the standard Challenger, just to keep things as simple as possible. This list, as you may have guessed, will enlighten your gray matter with ten little-to-highly unknown facts about the 2020 Indian Challenger in all its glory, including specs, pros and cons, and pricing. So, if you’re considering one of these brand new babies but need a little more information before you leap, you’ve certainly come to the right place. Prepare yourself for a day of thoroughly satisfying Indian shopping by soaking up the data we’ve provided.
1. The 3 Faces of the Indian Challenger
Well, okay, not so much three faces, but you get our drift. As we said above, the 2020 Challenger comes in three versions: the standard base model, the Dark Horse, and the Limited. Of course, most all of us know what makes the base model the ‘base model’, but what about the other two? Well, according to Ultimate Motorcycling, you can expect a better infotainment system and a Bosch IMU that has more safety features with the Dark Horse. The Limited also comes with saddlebag speakers, a better finish, and highway bars. So, basically the added version-based extras are more ‘wants’, with the real exception being the added safety features in the Dark Horse, which many may feel they need.
2. The Challenger’s Motor
The motor Indian uses to power the 2020 Challenger is something of a claim to fame for the bike. It is the PowerPlus engine, a sixty-degree V-Twin which consists of a single overhead cam 2-cylinder, with four valves per cylinder. The tank holds just a hair under six gallons to feed the engine, and when the motor is coupled with the six-speed transmission with true overdrive, the bike is easily brought up to 100 mph, putting out 122 horsepower and 128 lb.-ft of torque, and it can reach a top speed of 125 mph. Not too shabby, eh?
3. Liquid-Cooling and the Three Ride Modes
The temperature of that great engine is liquid-cooled, and according to Total Motorcycle, it is Indians first large displacement motor that is actually cooled by liquid (water). This is of benefit because liquid cooling systems are not only more effective in their cooling method, but they are also less expensive to maintain than those with air cooling. The PowerPlus also has three different ride modes, which make the 2020 Challenger even more versatile and able: Rain mode, Standard, and Sport mode. As you can imagine, the additional traction control contributes to more effective power and better handling.
4. Ride Command
The 2020 Challenger comes with Ride Command, the bike’s infotainment system. While some say it’s lacking a bit in the GPS department, others feel that it more than does the trick. Included in Ride Command is weather availability, access to the music of your choice, and GPS, and the bike also comes with wireless communication capabilities via Bluetooth. Also, for those of you who are into the personalization aspect when it come to your vehicles, you can also upgrade to ‘plug and play’ sound system options. You can rest assured your ride will be filled with tunes, you’ll be able to choose to ride in whatever weather you desire, and you won’t have to worry about getting lost.
5. Standard Features
Since we’re discussing the standard configuration of the Challenger overall we thought it would be a good idea to list the features that come with that version. Potential new owners can expect their new 2020 Indian Challenger to come equipped with adjustable air vents, the selectable ride modes mentioned above, a power windshield, hard saddlebags with locks, adjustable fairing airflow vents, Brembo brakes, a chassis-mounted fairing, and more than eighteen gallons of storage space in the saddlebags. The infotainment center comes with a 7” touchscreen display which has a real-time clock and shows audio information, heading, and ambient air temperature. Check out these and other features at Top Speed.
6. About Safety…
The new Challenger comes with basic features when it comes to safety, but our extensive research really showed nothing special in regard to safety extras or options. However, according to the NHTSA website, there have been no complaints or recalls of the model to date. Keep in mind that when it comes to motorcycles there aren’t going to be extensive extras in this category as there are with cars, trucks, and the like, but proper operation and awareness of the basic features it does have, as well as a firm knowledge of how to use them, will go a long way.
7. Limited Color Options
If you have pipe dreams about a bike in ‘Grape Pearl’ or ‘Metallic Blood’ you’ve come to the wrong place. The fact of the matter is that while other bikes may have more than one color option, the 2020 Challenger does not…it comes in one shade and one shade only. The color? ‘Titanium Metallic’, a shade of gray that is not altogether unpleasant or uncool, it just doesn’t give any elbow room for personal taste. Unfortunately, this is one of the cons of the bike, but it’s a small one.
8. Are There Any More Cons?
It seems that some find ‘personal’ issues with the liquid cooling system, but that’s just preferential stuff, as is the lack of color options and the like. The fact that there aren’t really any ‘state-of-the-art’ safety options will likely be disturbing to some, but as we’ve stated, the bikes in this line are missing nothing they truly need. So, when it comes down to it, the cons are small potatoes when you take the pros into consideration.
9. Okay, So List Some Pros!
Any true motorcycle lover will be able to do this without our help. It’s comfortable, has a great engine and other cooperating mechanics, the stereo jams, the infotainment screen is more than sufficient, and there’s an abundance of cargo space in the saddlebags. Aside from the few opinion-based flaws listed above, this seems, by most all accounts, to be a bike that one can look forward to riding and owning.
10. Now, How About That Price?
Well, if we were being fair we would have listed the MSRP among the pros. For the base, or standard, model of the 2020 Indian Challenger you can expect to pay a starting price of $21,999. Considering the name you’re getting and all they have done to make this model bike such a sweet ride, we have to call that a heck of a deal, and we’re sure you will, too.
So, there’re the facts, submitted for your approval. Hopefully this information eliminated that wishy-washy feeling you were having about what motorcycle you wanted to buy, or at least cleared things up enough for you to decide to take a test ride. No matter what, this is a bike you can be proud of and have a great time riding, so be sure to check one out when you’re doing your shopping. And don’t forget to always have fun, but to be safe doing it.