Indian Motorcycle’s New Challenger Model Is Its Baddest Bagger Yet

All versions of the new bike platform feature Indian’s new 91kW PowerPlus motor with 173Nm of torque.

By Peter Jackson 04/11/2019

Last week, Indian Motorcycle released details of the new liquid-cooled, 90kW PowerPlus motor with 173Nm of torque. Last week, we get to see the model it will go within, the 2020 Indian Challenger lineup. The Challenger is a big deal for Indian. This is an all-new platform for the Minneapolis manufacturer, and it’s hitting strong with three variants.

What is shared between the $39,595 Challenger Dark Horse and the $39,995 Challenger Limited is that 60-degree V-twin PowerPlus motor, cast aluminium chassis and the suspension, which consists of inverted 43mm front forks and a single, hydraulically adjustable FOX shock absorber at the rear.

The Challenger base model from Indian Motorcycle.
The Challenger. Photo: Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle.

Other shared components are the brakes and bodywork, with Brembo providing its twin M4.32 front callipers, normally something found on sportier machines like the Kawasaki Z H2, and matched to Indian’s ABS system. The fairing is fixed to the chassis and holds in place a three-position adjustable windscreen and adjustable air vents, with a massive LED headlight illuminating the night sky. Also included across the board is electronic cruise control, a long-haul seat, keyless ignition, and weatherproof saddlebags with over 18 gallons of storage space.

Where things get different is when you start optioning up, and Indian has given you plenty of avenues to do so. Starting with the Challenger Dark Horse, you’ll get everything listed above plus Indian’s Smart Lean Technology—which uses a Bosch IMU to aid cornering control (think ABS, dynamic traction control and engine brake control.

The 2020 Challenger Limited from Indian Motorcycle.
The Challenger comes with almost 70 litres of storage space as standard. Photo: Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle.

The Dark Horse’s Ride Command entertainment system comes with navigation, weather and traffic overlays; premium blacked-out finishes like the painted dash and paint-matched centre console; remote-power locking saddlebags; contrast cut wheels with tyre pressure monitoring and the all-important Indian headdress on the front fender lights up.

The 2020 Challenger Dark Horse from Indian Motorcycle.
The 2020 Challenger Dark Horse. Photo: Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle.

The trade up to a Challenger Limited gives you some more chrome, gloss paint, different fenders and highway-style handlebars to give you better long-distance comfort. And if that’s not enough, Indian has also given you two different accessory collections—one for the power-hungry and one for the long haulers.

The Challenger Rogue Collection comes with a black Stage 1 slip-on muffler and black PowerPlus Stage 1 air intake (Indian won’t tell us how much more power you’ll get from these upgrades). The Challenger Tour Collection offers a 16-inch windshield, quick-release passenger bar, passenger backrest and passenger floorboards, an extended reach seat, rider backrest pad, highway footpegs and a heel shifter for the gearbox. Oh, you can also beef up the Challenger’s stereo a whopping 50 per cent with the optional PowerBand Audio Plus pack, just to let everyone know how bad your taste in music is.

The 2020 Challenger Limited from Indian Motorcycle.
The 2020 Challenger Limited. Photo: Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle.

The arrival of the Challenger series bolsters the Indian Motorcycle bagger lineup to five (not including sub-models like the Dark Horse), and this looks to be the toughest one yet. Indian says it’s aiming the Challenger at “the most knowledgeable and discerning riders.” If you’ve ever considered a bagger motorcycle in your life, your decision just got a lot harder.

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