Well, a lot. Starting with the design, minimalism is the name of the game here. Gone are the large swooping fenders and headlamp bezel, making way for a smaller naked headlamp and chopped fenders. However, this hasn't robbed it of its grandeur; the all-black theme, thoroughly exposed chassis, dual shotgun-style exhausts, and chunky tyres turn quite a few heads on the road.
Where a welcoming change has taken place is in the technology department. The highlight here is the four-inch, circular TFT screen that packs in a surprising amount of data for a modern-retro offering. Firstly, there are two theme options for the main screen — one that shows various parameters in a concise format and the other, cleaner one, displaying just the basic stuff.
Apart from the odometer and trip meters, you have the option to monitor information about each ride individually. This 'Current Ride' screen shows figures like distance covered, ride time, and elevation. The screen can also be connected to your smartphone for accessing music control, getting calls and messages notifications, and navigation. I couldn't test the Bluetooth since the dash isn't compatible with the latest iteration of OnePlus phones, I am told. Dang!
Anyway, what's impressive is that the screen is touch-sensitive while it can also be fiddled with through the buttons on the switchgear. And then with bits like auto-brightness adjustment, it comes across as too modern a setup on a retro-styled machine.
Other modern features include a full-LED lighting setup, keyless ignition, USB charging port, cruise control, and ABS. There are three riding modes too! Choosing one amongst touring, standard, and sport mode essentially alters the throttle response without tinkering with the power output.
Now, let's look at a few numbers because they play an important role in the overall riding experience. The Chief is extremely long with a wheelbase of 1,626mm, sits low with a ground clearance of 125mm, and is super heavy at 304kg. How does all of this translate onto the road? Bear with me.
The motorcycle rides on a combination of 19-16-inch alloy wheels that are suspended by 132mm telescopic forks up front and 75mm preload-adjustable dual shocks at the rear. The stopping power comes from a 300mm disc at both ends.
As for the powerhouse, the Chief runs on a 1,890cc, V-twin, air-cooled engine that Indian calls the Thunderstroke 116. It produces a massive 162Nm of peak torque at as low as 3,200rpm. Sounds fun, no? It is.