I am an ordinary guy who enjoys riding motorcycles. I love riding all makes and models. I love short rides, long rides, and multi-day road trips. I post reviews about motorcycle gear, motorcycles, roads, restaurants, sights, gadgets and more. The Motorcycle Facts,Trivia and History page has a lot of good info. Be safe and enjoy the ride, Oz.

Friday, September 2, 2022

The Switch to an Indian Challenger Pursuit

Cruisers to touring motorcycle to sport tourers and back to a touring motorcycle - here we go!

 Ready to ride off the lot with my new Indian Challenger Pursuit

After 12 years on two different sport tourers, the Yamaha FJR 1300 and the Honda VFR 1200, my wife (we married in 2018) and I discussed getting a motorcycle with more comfort for her so that she could enjoy more miles in a day on a ride and/or a multi-day trip.  She enjoyed the VFR, but longer mileage days were tough on her.

The Honda served me well with 72,453 miles in 8 years (2014-2022), including the 8,969 mile Alaskan trip in 2018.  We both enjoyed the Honda VFR, but as we aged the comfort decreased. However, the opportunity to ride was about to increase with my retirement from 36 years of public educations.  My last day was August 31, 2022.  

Awesome vista from Alaska Highway 1 between Tok and Glennallen - Honda VFR

In early 2022 I began researching possible new touring motorcycles: Yamaha Venture (which I had owned in the past), Kawasaki Voyager, BMW K1600, Harley Road Glide and the Indian Challenger were on my initial list for consideration.  The Yamaha FJR has been my favorite motorcycle, but pillion comfort level wasn't where we wanted it so I did not give it much consideration.  We had ridden a friend's Gold Wing while on our annual summer motorcycle tour in 2019 and decided the Gold Wing was not for us for various reasons.  

Test road my friend's Gold Wing to see what we thought about it

During my years of riding the FJR and VFR I became a big fan of the fixed-fairing motorcycle, but I was going to look at other models anyway.  The process took about 2 months with several test rides and a lot of reading.  While researching the Indian Challenger I learned about the newly release Challenger Pursuit - the touring version of the Challenger.

Indian's announcement of the Pursuit on February 22 was great timing for me

I visited several shops, read a lot of reviews, browsed through manufacturers' websites, talked to friends and listened to salesmen as I gathered information.  I narrowed my list and set out to test ride some of the bikes that made it to my short list.  

***  Side note #1 - Without naming the manufacturer or shop, I had two different salesman at two different shops of the same manufacturer were openly critical of two of the other models I was considering.  Their attitudes were arrogant, presumptuous  and off-putting.  One told me, "You don't want that," and one used an expletive when mentioned my other considerations.  Even if I would have chosen that make, I would not have purchased from either one of those salesmen or dealerships.  Salesmen need to be ready to talk about the strengths of the bike they represent not degrade, make fun of or disregard a potential customer's choices and/or preferences.   OK, enough about that. ***

Indian Challenger - photo from Indianmotorcycle.com

The Indian Challenger Pursuit was not in any dealerships at the time, so I test rode a Challenger realizing the Pursuit would be heavier, have a higher center of gravity and more features.    For the test ride the salesman basically said "here is the bike, enjoy."  After a fun, informative and grin inducing test ride the Challenger made an impression.  A few days later Jennifer and I went back to the Republic of Texas Indian Motorcycles so she could check out the Challenger, sit on it and ask questions.  She and I had a good discussion.  When I told her the Challenger Pursuit was leading in my mind she confessed she liked the styling and looks a lot more than any of the others motorcycles I was investigating.  She also like the comfort of the pillion and was ready for the change.  We placed an order with a small deposit.  I had never ordered a vehicle so that was quite exciting.. 

*** Side note #2 - For the test ride at a different manufacturer's dealership, a shop employee had to lead me on the test ride and it was only 2 miles with 3 right turns!  When I returned the salesman asked me what I thought of the bike.  I replied "I have no idea, there wasn't enough time to get a feel for it."  There was no effort made to extend my test ride or even discuss it.  It was then he asked what other bikes I was considering. ***

At the time of the order, March 12th, the expected delivery date was mid to late April.  On Wednesday March 23rd the bike was delivered to the Republic of Texas Indian Motorcycles in McKinney Texas!  I stopped by the shop and started talking to the GM, Jay.  Jay took me to the shop's warehouse area  and there was my bike - still covered and in the "crate!"  I was pumped!  The bike had arrived early.   Jay let me uncover the "crate" and see the Pursuit!  He also let me take home the tarp covering so I could cut out and keep the Indian logo.

My Pursuit!  My first time seeing a motorcycle in the crate

Excited for the early arrival

I was so excited the Pursuit arrived so much earlier than scheduled.  The shop professionally and diligently prepped the bike and I was able to pick it up two days later and ride off the lot before noon on that Friday.

Ready to head to East Texas on the first ride after getting the Pursuit home

The  Arai Nicky Hayden helmet hides a big grin

My first ride was home to show Jennifer and then I headed to east to Longview, Texas for a Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA) event.  It took me a few miles to get used to some of the differences between sport tourers and cruiser tourers.  Here are a few of the most notable differences:

1) A more relaxed riding position

2) Lower revs before shifting

3) Throttle response lighter than the VFR

4) Weight, especially at lower speeds

The Challenger Pursuit has three ride modes, Standard, Rain and Sport.  Once I switched to Sport mode the throttle response was great.  The other differences began to fade away as I rode more miles.  

Five months later, two weeks of riding in Colorado and 5,000 miles on the bike I am loving the Pursuit!

The Pursuit powered up Rocky Mountain passes without a pause

The bike performed flawlessly in the Colorado Rocky Mountains.  Powering up passes while riding solo and/or 2-up without the slightest concern.  The handling was great on the curvy mountain roads. I rode in the rain, some sleet and even some hail.  Jennifer and I were comfortable and enjoyed ourselves as the miles racked up.

Independence Pass is a great ride

Cottonwood Pass elevation-12,126.  The Pursuit handled the rain, sleet and hail that came down on us

Happy owners

The 7 inch touchscreen infotainment RideCommand system is easy to see, has numerous functions and is very helpful.  Screen displays are customizable with numerous options, which is a nice feature.  It took some time to learn it all, but it works great.  The tour pack and saddlebags are roomy and look good.

I have not monitored fuel usage or tire wear enough to give quality information, but I will provide a more comprehensive review after a lot more miles.  I will also update any mods I may make.

For now I am happy with my purchase and I am looking forward to many more miles of smiles.  If you are in the market for a touring motorcycle I recommend you test ride the Pursuit.

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