Indian Motorcycle has added a new big-inch V-twin to its stable, and a motorcycle to go with it—the Challenger (more on that fixed-fairing bagger next week).The Indian PowerPlus is an all-new modern design to complement the traditional Thunder Stroke motor used in its current large-displacement motorcycles. Let’s take a first look at the PowerPlus engine.
1. The PowerPlus motor is a contemporary mate to the Thunder Stroke. The two motors have little in common, other than a V-twin configuration.2. The PowerPlus gets by with less displacement than the Thunder Stroke 116. The PowerPlus motor displaces just less than 108 ci, while the Thunder Stroke 116 is a hair over 115 ci.3. Despite being a smaller motor, the PowerPlus engine puts out more torque than the Thunder Stroke 116. The PowerPlus motor tops out a 128 ft/lbs of torque, compared to 126 ft/lbs on the Thunder Stroke 116. However, to get there, the PowerPlus needs 3800 rpm, compared to 2900 on the Thunder Stroke 116. Indian doesn’t put out a horsepower claim for the Thunder Stroke 116, but we would guess it’s less than the 122 horses the PowerPlus produces at a lofty 5500 rpm. Redline is 6500 rpm.4. The Thunder Stroke 116 is undersquare, while the new PowerPlus is markedly oversquare. That is part of the reason that the engine is more of a high-revving performance powerplant. Contradictorily, the PowerPlus powerplant visually appears to have a much longer stroke than the Thunder Stroke.5. You won’t find pushrods on the PowerPlus—it has an overhead cam on each cylinder. Additionally, the PowerPlus has four-valve heads, compared to the two-valve configuration on the Thunder Stroke engines.6. There’s a radiator on the PowerPlus. Indian went with liquid cooling on the new engine, compared to air-cooling on the Thunder Stroke engines.7. Like the Thunder Stroke motors, the PowerPlus gets a six-speed transmission and unit construction. Indian says the top gear is an authentic overdrive. Additionally, the clutch is assist-style—motor torque helps disengage the power flow.8. The Indian motor uses hydraulics for the valve lash adjusters and camshaft chain tensioners. This increases reliability and reduces maintenance requirements.9. There are three ride modes for the motor. We haven’t seen names yet, but they’ll likely be the predictable sport, touring, and rain.10. The new motor has ca more styling cues from the Victory Freedom 106 motor than the Thunder Stroke line. It’s possible that the PowerPlus started as a next-generation Victory motor before finding a home in Indian models. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. Photos show two finishes for the PowerPlus—predominately black, and chrome highlighted.11. The PowerPlus name is not new. Indian produced a PowerPlus engine from 1916 to 1924.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.