This new Indian / Jack Daniel’s motorcycle is almost one of a kind
The term “custom factory” is a bit of a goof. Your ride is either offline or made to order … how can it be both?
But a few years ago in Sturgis, I had the chance to have fun on a scum-and-cream indian scout stock it was so pretty, people kept asking me where I got the paint job. Then this month, in a much more intentional way, Indian once again showed his talent for putting out bikes that appear one of a kind.
Meet the brand’s sixth annual collaboration with a certain mega-whiskey distillery in Tennessee: the limited-edition Indian Challenger Dark Horse from Jack Daniel’s 2022, which is almost that – one of 107, to be exact.
I have to admit that when I was invited to the big reveal party and walk that took place at the distillery itself, I was skeptical. How could they dress a motorbike with a brand of alcohol and not rather lean… left? But by checking the previous one Indian bikes x JD, I was impressed with the understated style. So I went to Tennessee to see for myself – and while you must surely be a big fan of both brands to shell out $ 36,999 for the last bike, there’s no doubt it’s a beauty.
Created (as always) in partnership with Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, the project takes the Dark Horse version of the brand’s biggest bagger, the 800-pound Challenger, and loads it up with unique whiskey-themed enhancements and flourishes. Although no one (not even the media) was able to ride a bike during the event, I was able to speed up a Challenger (more on this later), and spend some time admiring, examining and kicking a leg over the bike literally stamped 001 of 107. Here’s what jumped out at me …
Technically, one impressive feature is the Pathfinder adaptive LED headlight, through which 15 individual LED lenses sense the bike’s lean angle and tilt accordingly to dynamically illuminate the road ahead. Another is the Fox electronically adjustable rear suspension preload which, when you enter the approximate weight of a passenger, adjusts the tension of the rear shocks for optimum performance. A third that I like is Powerband Audio – upgraded fairing speakers more saddlebag speakers for 50% more volume than the original offer. Oh, and sure enough, you get a 108 cubic inch liquid-cooled PowerPlus engine, delivering best-in-class 122 horsepower and 128 ft-lbs. of couple. Rowrrr.
On the visual side … oh my god, where to start? Each edition of the bike is inspired by a different JD spirit. Last year’s Roadmaster was themed Gentleman Jack, for example – I shudder at what happens when they get to the Tennessee Apple – and this year’s one is no exception. Taking inspiration from the distiller’s bold and peppery Rye Tennessee whiskey, it features sparkling metallic rye paint with gold and green accents, a numbered Jack Daniel’s Montana Silversmiths badge, custom engraved rider and passenger footboards and a genuine leather seat. sewn Jack Daniel’s.
From a distance, you won’t really notice the mark; even up close, it is quite understated, with the logo on the gas tank and the seat being the most visible. There’s a rather cheeky PSA on the rear fender that reads “Drive responsibly: cylinders and gases don’t mix,” but my favorite touch has to be the floor, which features three rods. Stylized silver rye – a subtle nod to the intoxicating moto muse. (Which IMHO is the best spirit the brand sells, but it’s neither here nor there.)
As I mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to get a feel for how it might roll, in the morning after a pretty fascinating tour of the distillery – did you know Jack Daniel was killed by a safe? – and join hundreds of fans of the brand and some very cool Indian ambassadors for the opening night, the concert and the barbecue. Hours after sunrise, limited media at the scene crowded some Standard 2021 Challenger Dark Horses (a related deal for $ 27,999) and “joins” the annual drive from the hotel to Jack Daniel’s for, yes, another barbecue.
I’m using quotes because, for the sake of motorcycle journalism, we went rogue and took a pretty scenic route, turning what could be a 60 mile trip into, oh, a 130 mile ride. We always got to the barbecue on time, but we were also able to really put the bike to the test, cycling through long country roads, sweeping the bends and savoring the first signs of a fall – lonely leaves sticking out. sometimes lift when we zigzag on two winding lanes.
It has been a long time since I rode this big bike. It’s not really my style, but I have to say if it’s yours, this one keeps its promises. What struck me was incredible acceleration (both from a standstill and 60 mph to 80), incredibly smooth ride, and responsive handling – although you have to be prepared to go. wiiiiiiide half-turns. I also dug out the loud speakers; I tapped into a country station (sounded appropriate) and switched to Garth Brooks and Faith Hill at half full, and it still sounded really powerful.
If I have a shot, it’s the one that goes a bit to all big bikes with imposing fairings. Although they obviously offer a very different and more liberating atmosphere than a
cage car, you are always much more protected than on, say, a cafe racer. This makes it terribly easy to ride the Alan Jackson, push the throttle, and get out of the zone, even when your speed is approaching triple digits.
This notion came to my mind when I laughed at a shirtless guy who happily operated heavy farm machinery, only to look up and spot a stop sign marking the T-ing of the road. in front of us. As I braked hard, I felt the ABS kick in – a reminder that with all of these high-end performance features, there are some pretty reliable safeties. Which is handy, because whether you’re riding a standard bagger or a 107 Jack Daniel’s special, you certainly don’t want to spoil its majesty with a scratch.
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