On March 1st, Indian released their 2018 Chieftain Elite bagger motorcycle. Following its release, some enthusiasts began comparing this motorcycle to Harley-Davidson’s Street Glide CVO. Just how similar are the two touring bikes?

Legendary Motorcycles

Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles are two of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. As America’s first motorcycle company and oldest continually running manufacturer respectively, many riders can identify these brands on sight. Longtime enthusiasts know they can expect solid bikes from both Harley-Davidson and Indian, which is why we’re taking a closer look at how these two new models stack up to each other.

Chieftain Elite Specs

Touring bikes have extensive storage for luggage, making them a great asset for longer trips. The Indian Chieftain Elite has many modern features that riders new and old can appreciate, including:

  • Thunderstroke 111 49 V-twin engine
  • 6-speed transmission
  • Surround sound audio
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Customizable touchscreen split display
  • Pathfinder LED lights

Bagger bikes can be very heavy – the Chieftain Elite is 827 pounds without gas in the tank! Also, weight increases when riders add their belongings to the saddlebags. The extra pounds can make this model more challenging to handle, especially for newbies.

In 2013, Indian released their all new Thunderstroke 111 V-twin engine. This high-quality air-cooled engine is 111 cubic inches (1811 cc) and produces 161 Nm of peak torque. Indian was challenged to combine their classic engine features with modern technology, without disappointing their brand-loyal bikers. Still recognizable as an Indian engine, the Thunderstroke 111 has improved power and better piston durability.

Street Glide CVO

This Harley-Davidson model is a stripped-down custom bike with plenty of power. When sales were down, the company promised they would release bigger and better motorcycles – the Street Glide CVO meets that promise with the following features:

  • Milwaukee-Eight® 117 V-twin engine
  • 6-speed transmission
  • Full-color touchscreen display
  • Voice activation for phone, media and navigation
  • Bluetooth® connectivity
  • Hands-free power locking key fob

The Street Glide CVO is 842 pounds, yet its high-performing front and rear suspension make the bike easy to handle. 

The Street Glide CVO has an all-new Milwaukee-Eight® 117 V-twin engine that is the most powerful ever produced by Harley-Davidson. It is 117 cubic inches (1917 cc) with up to 125 ft. per lb. of torque. The twin-cooled engine features liquid-cooled cylinder heads and radiators for greater power, handling and better fuel-efficiency. According to Harley-Davidson, they wanted the Milwaukee-Eight® 117 V-twin engine to “achieve world-class ‘ride feeling’ through chassis, suspension, and driveline refinement.”

Both engines are reimagined to accommodate the modern rider, but the Street Glide CVO is slightly more expensive than the Chieftain Elite. Harley-Davidson’s starting price is $39,949 whereas the Indian starts at $31,499.
Deciding between two motorcycles often comes down to brand loyalty. You have to be a rider to know what experience feels better for you. In any case, we recommend taking both bikes for a spin to see which new touring model you like best!