After the launch of the Challenger, it was predictable that Indian would use the mechanical base for something (even) more adapted to long trips. The answer came with the name Pursuit, but despite its “big” dimensions, the American brand wanted to show that the model doesn’t get in the way of the winding roads of the Alps, so we met in Chamonix!
Gone are the days when American brands thought almost solely of the domestic market, and when the biggest models were kings. Nowadays the ranges are much more diversified, and although the tourers are still big and heavy bikes, of course, the care taken to make them successful in all markets is evident. Indian, for example, sent a top manager of the brand to Europe in 2015, in order to get to know the needs of European riders. Seven years later, we did exactly the same route as that person in charge through the Alps, starting in Chamonix, having lunch in Annecy by the fantastic lake of the same name and returning to the same city. Many curves along 200 km, because this travelling doesn’t have to be only straight!
ACTUALITY AND ENGINE
Indian has factories in the United States, Poland and Vietnam, with more than 350 dealers all over the world. Large member gatherings are increasingly commonplace – as its great rival has also always organised – and at the moment the range is divided between the FTR, Scout, Chief, Bagger and Touring models. Talking about the touring Challenger and Pursuit, they are motorbikes in which the fairings are mounted in the chassis and not in the handlebar (a growing trend), improving the dynamics, the comfort and even the style itself, besides having light and modern aluminium frames. As for the Powerplus engine, shared by Challenger and Pursuit, it’s a liquid cooled V-twin with 1.769 cc and that debts 122 cv of power at 5.500 rpm, for a maximum torque of 174 Nm at 3.800 rpm. A modern engine, able to comply more easily with the Euro 5 standards, with 4 valves per cylinder and in which these are mounted at 60º. The gearbox is 6-speed, with a slipper clutch. An engine already proven in the King of the Baggers category of the American championship – which has been a success, with spectators all over the world – and which has helped Challenger win many international awards due to its overall qualities.
Pursuit is born out of the desire of many customers (and brand engineers) to have a more modern Roadmaster and/or to put more touring attributes on the Challenger. Performance, comfort, cargo capacity and technology were the main topics to develop, and about the engine we already spoke, the seats are huge for driver and passenger (this one with a valuable backrest), with heating for the driver and possibility of cooling through an optional fan system. The side bags and the top-case have a huge capacity (more than 133 l in total) and in terms of equipment, we can still highlight the adjustable screen, LED lights, heated handles, air intakes in the front fairings near the legs and electronic adjustment of the rear suspension pre-load, that the Challenger doesn’t contemplate. As for the instrumentation, it is composed by a 7” TFT touchscreen Ride Command, with Apple CarPlay system (it doesn’t have it for Android), GPS with turn-by-turn navigation and numerous information. In cycling, we point out the choice of Metzeler Cruise tec tyres (19” wheels at the front 16” at the rear) and Brembo calipers of radial assembly in the braking chapter, besides having Smart Lean technology that is basically an IMU from Bosch that manages the inclination in curves, the traction control and the ABS. A motorbike that according to the brand, comes to rival not only with Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited but also with very different proposals but that end up matching in some points, cases of Honda Gold Wing Tour and BMW K1600 GTL. To say also that the Indian Pursuit is available in Limited and Dark Horse versions, at prices that are also top of the range! As for the range of accessories, it is naturally enormous, and contemplates the audio items, load capacity, comfort and lighting (adaptive LED). In terms of music, it’s possible to set up a customisable equaliser and place numerous speakers throughout the model, for an even more special driving experience, even if we already have 200 watts of sound as standard via the speakers mounted in the front fairing and rear boot. In terms of more optional space, there are several bags – of varying sizes – that can further increase the load capacity. As for occupant comfort, you can choose between several screens, shorter or larger (to benefit aesthetics or improve aerodynamic protection), put additional footrests, armrests for the passenger and even choose that cooled seat, which might come in handy in the hottest summer days.
ON THE ROAD
After the quick explanation of how to operate all the buttons and instrumentation, we were left with some doubts as to whether we had understood everything. There really is a lot to ‘study’ in this model, something that a future owner will have no problem with, unlike the journalist who has to learn everything very quickly. The TFT for instance, is great, but it requires some habit, and some of the functions we understood while driving, while we were looking at incredible landscapes. We drove mostly on medium / low speed roads but at a normally brisk pace, and from the start we appreciated the correct driving position and comfort, with nothing to complain about. Shorter legged people may find that these follow somewhat stretched, but the foot platforms are large and allow for adjustment of these. Otherwise, good seat (and low), correct arms position and a very good aerodynamic protection even with the screen in the lowest position (and good vision because we always look over it), so we kept its low position even in motorway. The engine is alive and funny enough to move a set of 416 kg (…), with more than acceptable torque and a correct gearbox where the traditional “clonk” is not missing, but it is a pity there is no double selector (it is optional), and also we don’t have reverse gear, certainly for a question of costs, so we always have to think well where we park.We were appreciating more and more the ins-trumentation and we also liked very much the luggage space, although we had very little things to store… And when we got very hot during the afternoon, the air intakes in the lower fairings were very useful to cool our legs.
(WELL) ACCEPTABLE DYNAMICS
In dynamic terms, we can’t complain anything about the Pursuit, because we must never forget that we are dealing with a set of more than 4 hundred kg, sometimes riding in very tight roads and with slow curves. However, and it must be said, whenever we take the Challenger during the day we have a lot more fun! It’s almost 40 kg less but, above all, it’s the way the weight is distributed that makes the Challenger more agile, quicker to answer the accelerator and, basically, more playful. The comfort is also very good, and only if we had a passenger and a lot of luggage we would miss the Pursuit. In both of them, the braking capacity is enough – as long as you use the brakes of both axles at the same time – and the suspensions also comply without difficulties, with the advantage of the electronic pre-charge adjustment in the bigger version. At the end of the day, we obtained an average consumption around 6,7 l/100 km in the Pursuit and 6,2 l/100 km in the Challenger, with most of the kilometres made in Touring mode (we didn’t use the Rain), while the Sport mode response is quite pleasant in open roads, but sometimes a bit aggressive in winding areas. The Challenger also touched the ground more often in curves, but the ground clearance is enough in both models; well equipped motorbikes that do what they’re intended for. They are not models for all tastes neither for all pockets, but they allow you to travel – specially far away – with a lot of comfort and style. But if you’re not carrying a passenger or a lot of luggage you’ll be better off with the Challenger!
|ENGINE||PowerPlus liquid-cooled, V-shaped twin-cylinder|
|POWER||121 PS @ 5,500 rpm|
|TORQUE||178 Nm @ 3,800 rpm|
|FRAME||steel tube-type chassis|
|FORWARD SUSPENSION||43 mm inverted telescopic fork, 130 mm stroke|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Fox monoshock, electronically adjustable spring preload,114 mm stroke|
|FRONT BRAKE||2 320 mm discs, 4-piston radial callipers|
|REAR BRAKE||298 mm disc, 2 piston callipers|
|FRONT TYRE||130/60 B19|
|REAR TYRE||180/60 R16|
|HEIGHT OF SEAT||672 mm|