August 14, 2016 at 12:19 am #15822
What’s in a name…
Springfield, Massachusetts is the spiritual home of Indian Motorcycles; they were based there for over 50 years before the demise of the original company in 1953. So it is a pretty big deal for an Indian motorcycle to carry that name even if they are built elsewhere these days.
I have to say straight away that the mighty 1811cc, 111ci ‘Thunder Stroke’ engine powered machine pulls off this responsibility with some aplomb. I am not rider that generally gravitates to this sort of bike, but I can’t deny that the big Indian captures the so called ‘Bagger’ look skillfully and successfully…from the front wheel running in a chrome embellished, heavily spatted mudguard through to the US Cop bike inspired triple pack of lights, right on to the flowing tank and seat combo, before it all flows seamlessly into the beautifully integrated colour coded, panniers to complete the look. The bike is a nod to the iconic Indians from 1920’s through to the 1950’s and it completely nails it.
The Springfield is an imposing bike, with styling harking back to more halcyon times
I climbed aboard this 500kg behemoth feeling slightly intimidated but itching to get underway and see if the riding experience lived up to those impressive looks. After a bit of struggle, flicked back the substantial chromed side stand, the joys of having little legs! The seat height is very low and while I could flat foot the bike, it was a bit of stretch for a stumpy like me to reach the big foot boards out in front of me. For somebody used to sports bikes its a weird feeling to have your legs splayed out in front of you when riding! Just to complicate matters my good lady wife was joining me on this ride. I thumbed the starter and the whole bike gave a little shimmy as the mighty V twin came to life. It reminded me of a WW2 fighter firing up, something like the huge P-47 Thunderbolt that packed a huge air-cooled radial engine, rather than the lithe P-51 water cooled Mustang.
The 111 cubic inch (1814cc) V twin nods heavily to it’s forebears in layout and looks…heavily finned and prominent pushrod tubes…lots to polish
I headed out, gingerly at first, into the winding country lanes that surround the Worcestershire base of Mid-West Moto, feeling my way into the riding experience. The bike seems to shed weight as you move off and that 111ci engine wafts you along on sea of torque. I barely went above 3,000rpm much of the time! In contrast my own four-cylinder 600 Yamaha red lines at 13,000! My confidence grew and the more confidence I rode it with the more the Springfield rewarded me. For a large bike it tackled the tight, winding A roads surprisingly well. As the miles wracked up I steadily enjoyed it more and more. The wife was really happy on the back, reporting that she just had to sit there and take in the lovely views, whereas on more sporting machine she had to work for her seat!
The wife loved it….
The bike itself rode well, the six speed gearbox had precise, mechanical feel…like a rifle action…Ironically a famous military rifle was also made in Springfield…so there you go; a natural synergy of sorts. The brakes had to be given a firm press, but once I got used to using the rear brake via the pedal things improved greatly. The Springfield could be moved along these winding roads at a decent lick, but you did have to mindful to select your line carefully so as not to use up the ground clearance too early. The Indian is a supremely comfortable bike, one meant for long runs to nowhere in particular just for the hell of it. Worcestershire, wonderful though it is, is just too small for this machine…if you are the market for this type of bike and don’t want to go down the more common HD Road King or Japanese custom clone route, then make sure you take a long hard look at his impressive machine. If you buy one above all, don’t just pose locally on it, stretch its’ legs, seek out those distant horizons…this what this bike was made for.
Thanks to Mark at Mid-West Moto for letting me out on his demonstratorAugust 15, 2016 at 8:50 pm #69251katanaParticipant
Nice review, as always, Radar. Not my kind of thing though.August 16, 2016 at 11:01 pm #69252
Nice review, as always, Radar. Not my kind of thing though.
Cheers Kat. I was trying to look at it from the perspective of somebody who would be looking for this sort of bike and if you did it certainly stands comparison with the comparable Harley Davidson models like the Road King (I think). I prefer the more stripped back look personally like Thumper’s Dyna Harley of the Scout 1200 Indian I also tried recently (reviews of both elsewhere in this section)August 18, 2016 at 10:00 pm #69253elessimoParticipant
More stripped back the better I like ’em, too….
After nearly T-boneing the bank at the top of my drive on that Ultraglide ‘cos I couldn’t turn in time (those running boards don’t agree with 90degree uphill turns!) I now want to try out a minimalist American machine.
The engine was lovely!August 18, 2016 at 10:52 pm #69254
I really enjoyed riding a bike that was a little bit away from the norm for meAugust 18, 2016 at 11:09 pm #69255elessimoParticipant
I really enjoyed riding a bike that was a little bit away from the norm for me
Likewise: that Harley was a blast on gently weaving country A roads (‘though I’m much too young to consider buying one!! ).
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