Besides returning to King of the Baggers, for 2022 Indian is updating several of its motorcycles. Among them is the Indian Chief, which enters the 2022 model year with a new look, new frame, and new tech. And to help celebrate the Chief’s update and its 100th anniversary, four bike builders are crafting custom versions. Which, considering the names behind them, promise to be rather special.
The Indian Chief Custom Program brings in and reunites some well-known bike builders
Indian is only making three custom Chiefs as part of its Custom Program, but it’s bringing in four different builders. The reason is that two of them are working together as a team. And once you see who these builders are, that decision starts making sense.
The tag-team bike builders are Keino Sasaki and Paul Cox, both of whom have their own shops in New York City. But if you don’t know Sasaki and Cox, you might be familiar with the man they worked and learned under, Indian Larry.
Before his passing in 2004, Indian Larry earned a worldwide appreciation for his custom motorcycles, the New York Times reports. And his backstory, which includes prison stints and bank robberies, simply must be read to be believed, Mecum reports.
Although Indian Larry’s shop is still going, Sasaki and Cox left soon after his death but stayed in touch. Building this custom 2022 Indian Chief will be the first time they’ve collaborated since 2004, Cruiser reports. But Sasaki and Cox aren’t the only venerable bike builders participating in the Indian Chief Custom Program.
If you’re a fan of well-customized vintage bikes, you’ve likely heard of ‘brat style’ builds. These motorcycles emulate classic bobbers without sacrificing rideability, Iron & Air explains. And the style comes from the name of the shop where it all started—Tokyo’s Brat Style, owned by Go Takamine, RideApart reports.
Takamine has already been collaborating with Indian for several years. He even races vintage Indians, Motorcyclist reports, including a 1939 Chief and a 101 Scout. But this is the first time he’s working on a modern Indian bike, Motorcycle.com reports.
The final bike builder taking part in the Chief Custom Program, though, has a bit more experience with Indian’s modern models.
This isn’t the first time Carey Hart has customized an Indian motorcycle
The fourth Indian Chief Custom Program builder is famous motocross racer, Carey Hart. Although he no longer competes in motocross, Hart hasn’t left the dirt completely. Instead, he races an Indian FTR in the Super Hooligan flat track racing series, Cycle World reports. But he doesn’t just race Indians—he also customizes them.
Hart has built several custom Indians over the years, including a Chieftain Dark Horse and a Challenger. And even before this new Custom Program was unveiled, he also customized a Chief.
Hart’s first customized Indian Chief still has a stock frame and V-twin engine, MCN reports. But it now rides on Fox piggyback rear shocks and extended GP Suspension forks linked to custom wheels from San Diego Customs. It also has upgraded Beringer brake calipers and Galper discs, custom controls, an Arlen Ness fairing, and a custom Fab 28 exhaust. And, of course, there’s the wild custom paint job.
You can customize your own 2022 Indian Chief via the new accessory collections
Hart’s second customized Indian Chief likely won’t look quite like his first build. But we won’t really know for sure until it’s officially unveiled. And the same goes for the Chiefs Takamine, Sasaki, and Cox build.
However, Indian is giving Chief buyers a chance to customize their own bikes, too. The company has released three accessory collections for the 2022 Chief: Rogue, Authentic, and Tour. The first is designed for the Chief and Chief Dark Horse, while the second is for the two Bobber models. And the Tour Collection is for the Super Chief and Super Chief Limited. However, although Indian curated these accessory collections, the individual components can be added to any 2022 Chief model.
The Rogue Collection focuses on “power and minimalism,” Indian says, and features things like performance air intakes, exhausts, and engine kits. Altogether, Indian claims the Rogue Collection gives the Chief Dark Horse’s Thunderstroke 116 engine 17% more horsepower.
Meanwhile, the Authentic Collection delivers a vintage look, with a solo seat, luggage rack, and handlebars inspired by the 1922 Chief. As for the Tour Collection, it offers accessories like heated grips, a passenger backrest, and highway bar closeouts and pegs.
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