2023 Indian Challenger, Pursuit & Chieftain Series


PowerPlus tourers and V-twin baggers get minor updates and new colors.

If you feel like Indian Motorcycle dropped the very first edition of the Challenger Elite only a few months ago, you’d be right. Check out the debut of the 2022 model here. But since we’re now into the new model year, it seems the honchos at Indian felt confident in announcing “the debut of the Challenger Elite” for 2023.

Ah, well, it’s all good. For one, the 2023 Elite actually does look like a new model, given its sharp new Sapphire Blue Smoke with Black and Titanium Smoke livery. And for 2023, the model retains its exclusive status; only 150 examples will be available globally.

Indian is also bringing the other three Challengers back for 2023, as well as the two PowerPlus-powered Pursuit models and the three Chieftain V-twins; there is no Chieftain Elite this year. The 108ci PowerPlus motor on the 2023 Challenger Elite is unchanged, but it’s still good for a claimed 122 hp. New Sapphire Blue Smoke paint and Precision Cut wheels make the scene for 2023.

Back to the Challenger Elite, which for 2023 retains its premium equipment with the same high-end detailing and other upscale touches that follow the high-quality Elite formula. The Challenger Elite builds on the base bagger, with its 1,768cc liquid-cooled PowerPlus engine and aluminum frame, and piles on a series of refined details, premium amenities, and an exclusive paint job. The bike is mechanically unchanged this year, however, and still comes with three selectable ride modes (Sport, Standard and Rain), Brembo brakes, and an adjustable flare windscreen. It also retains the Indian Smart Lean Technology with IMU to enable lean-sensitive ABS and traction control, as well as an electronically adjustable suspension preload, as we first saw last year.

Other premium bits tucked into the Elite include an adaptive LED headlight, backlit switch cubes on the Ride Command system, heated grips, and of course upgraded audio, with the integrated PowerBand Audio system which adds saddlebag lid speakers. Base-model Challenger goodies carry over as well, including the 7-inch touchscreen display with Indian’s Ride Command, keyless ignition, tire pressure monitoring, and remote-locking saddlebags. New this year are the Precision Cut five-spoke wheels, though they’re still mounted with Metzeler Cruisetecs. Indian says the Challenger Elite will be hitting dealerships in the coming weeks

The other three Challenger models, the base Challenger, Challenger Limited, and Challenger Dark Horse, all carry over for 2023 essentially unchanged except for a few minor refinements. All the Challengers received a redesigned LED headlight to improve illumination spread as well as an improved slipper clutch for better feel. The non-Elite models also see a palette of new colors and new pricing.
Also back for 2023 are both versions of Indian’s Pursuit liquid-cooled tourer, which made its debut last year. The Pursuit uses the existing Challenger bagger as the base, tacking on a full suite of luxury touring features including a cargo trunk with an integrated passenger backrest, heated grips, and a new touring seat. At its core, you’ll still find the Challenger’s aluminum frame and liquid-cooled PowerPlus engine as well as the same chassis-mounted fairing. Minor updates this year include a redesigned LED headlight for a better view of the road and a new clutch to improve feel and reduce lever effort.

The 2023 Pursuit lineup will feature two models with two trims each, with the Pursuit Limited and the Pursuit Dark Horse as the two main entries. Both are also available with an optional bundle of ride-enhancing tech and comfort amenities that Indian cleverly calls “Premium Package” and counts as a trim level. If you order a Pursuit with the Premium Package, you’ll now get the Lower Fairing Storage compartments as standard.

Three Chieftain models, meanwhile, are also coming back for 2023, with the premium Chieftain Elite cutting ditched for this model year. You won’t find any major mechanical changes to the base Chieftain’s Thunderstroke engine, but it does get a new slipper clutch (as do the other Chieftain models) which Indian says reduces lever effort and improves feel. All three models are also equipped with the 7-inch touchscreen display with Ride Command and a 100-watt audio system with AM/FM, Bluetooth, and a USB input.

The more premium Limited and Dark Horse models up the ante both in power and amenities, rolling with the air-cooled Thunder stroke 116 motor with rear cylinder deactivation and three ride modes and also adding Ride Command+, Apple Car Play and GPS navigation. Style-wise, buyers get the same aggressive look across all three models, with a streamlined fairing, slammed hard-edged saddlebags, and blacked-out components, along with a precision-machined 19-inch front wheel to lead the way; that wheel is Contrast Cut on the Limited and Dark Horse however.
  Indian expects to ship new models shortly.

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