Who would be bold enough to launch a new motorcycle during the dead of a Chicago winter? The folks at Indian Motorcycle, that’s who.

And the motorcycle unveiled was as equally bold as frigid location. Meet the 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse – the sixth model to arrive out of Medina, Minn., manufacturer since Polaris took over in 2011.

The Dark Horse is an aggressive, blacked-out take on the Chief, powered by the highly-praised Thunder Stroke 111 engine that produces an asphalt-tearing 119 ft/lbs of torque.

What Indian Motorcycle did was take its Chief Classic, strip it of the flashy chrome, swap out the spoked wheels for some stealthy cast wheels, and add some blackened boldness. The Dark Horse is true to its name, arriving with blacked-out wheels, forks, handlebars, engine, and bodywork; Indian even blacked out the infamous warbonnet on the front fender. To further enhance the boldness, Indian also ditched the oil cooler, analogue fuel gauge and driving lights found on the Chief Classic.

The finished product is lightest and fastest model in the Chief family, which features the Chief Classic (cruiser), the Chief Vintage (bagger), the Chieftain (bagger) and the Roadmaster (touring). Add in the Scout that was unveiled at Sturgis last year, and the Indian Motorcycle lineup grows to six unique offerings.

The Dark Horse – arriving with a solo seat – rides on the same agile chassis of the Chief Classic, and arrives with standard features that are almost a must on modern-day cruisers: ABS, keyless ignition and electronic cruise control. A passenger seat and passenger footpegs or floorboards are available from the Genuine Indian Motorcycle Accessory lineup. Indian says 40 additional accessories will be available by early summer, including blacked-out ape hangers, air cleaners, exhaust and fender trim.

And the best part? The 2016 Indian Dark Horse carries an starting MSRP of $16,999 – $2,000 less than the base Chief Classic.

“The Indian Chief Dark Horse is unlike anything else currently available from Indian Motorcycle,” says Ben Lindaman, Indian Motorcycle Sr. Product Manager. “While it shares the best traits with other models in the Chief platform, its signature matte black paint and minimalist profile give it an attitude unlike any other Indian motorcycle. We’re excited to unveil this new bike at an aggressive price point for a full-size cruiser.”

The 2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse will be available for demo rides at Daytona Bike Week March 7-14, and lands in dealers mid-February.

Following are the highlights and specs of Indian’s latest creation, the Dark Horse:

2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse Highlights:

Blacked-Out Styling:
It’s black from end to end, including the wheels, forks, handlebars, engine, bodywork – even the Warbonnet up front.

Thunder Stroke 111:
The proven, powerful Thunder Stroke 111 engine serves up 119 ft/lbs of torque, and is finished primarily in black.

Keyless Ignition:
Enjoy keyless starting that’s secure and convenient. With the Indian Chief Dark Horse key fob in your pocket, climb on the bike, push a button and ride. If you misplace the fob, use the individual security code that you pre-programmed into the ignition.

ABS & Cruise Control:
This advanced, automotive-quality braking lets you ride with confidence and helps you stop under control. Easy to set and adjust, the cruise control enhances your enjoyment during highway cruising.

True Dual Exhaust:
The engine produces a rich exhaust note from the true dual exhaust. The exhaust was acoustically engineered to eliminate high-pitched sounds, so what you really hear is Indian Motorcycle® thunder.

Tank mounted electronic speedometer with odometer and electronic fuel gauge with low fuel LED indicator ; dual tripmeters; digital tachometer; ambient air temperature; fuel range; average fuel economy; battery voltage; gear position display; real-time clock; vehicle trouble code readout; heated grip level (if heated grips installed); low engine oil pressure; and 9 LED telltale indicators: cruise control enabled, cruise control set, neutral, high beam, turn signal, ABS, check engine, and MPH or km/h unit designation

2016 Indian Chief Dark Horse Specs:

  • Engine Type: Thunder Stroke 111 49 ̊ V-Twin
  • Transmission: 6-speed/constant mesh/foot shift
  • Battery: 12 volts / 18 amp/hour, 310 CCA
  • Bore x Stroke: 3.976” x 4.449” (101 mm x 113 mm)
  • Charging System: 42 amp max output
  • Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
  • Compression Ratio: 9.5 : 1
  • Cooling System: Air / Oil
  • Displacement: 111 cu in / 1811 cc
  • Exhaust: Split dual exhaust with crossover
  • Final Drive: Belt drive, 152 tooth
  • Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gal / 20.8 ltr
  • Fuel System: Electronic fuel injection, closed loop/54 mm bore, w/ cruise control
  • Oil Capacity: 5.5 qts / 5.20 ltr
  • Primary Drive: Gear drive wet clutch
  • Torque: 119.2 ft-lbs at 3000rpm / 138.9 N m at 2600 rpm
  • Front Suspension: Telescopic fork, 46 mm diameter, 4.7 in / 119 mm travel
  • Rear Suspension: Single shock 3.7 in / 94 mm travel, adjustable
  • Dry Weight: 751 lbs / 341 kg
  • Ground Clearance: 5.5 in / 140 mm
  • GVWR: 1,260 lbs / 573 kg
  • Length: 103.5 in / 2630 mm
  • Rake/Trail: 29° / 6.1 in / 155 mm
  • Seat Height: 26 in / 660 mm
  • Wheelbase: 68.1 in / 1730 mm
  • Brake System Type: Individual front and rear control with ABS
  • Front Braking System: Dual 300 mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers
  • Rear Braking System: Single 300 mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper
  • Front Tire: Dunlop American Elite 130/90B16 73H
  • Front Wheel: Cast 16” x 3.5”
  • Rear Tire: Dunlop American Elite 180/65B16 81H
  • Rear Wheel: Cast 16” x 5.0”
  • Colors: Thunder Black Smoke
  • MSRP: $16,999 US