After unveiling the new Indian Chief motorcycles in Sturgis, S.D., earlier this month, Polaris Industries Inc. has finally rolled out the highly anticipated bikes to riders in its home state.
To promote the first redesign of the iconic 1901 bike since it acquired the business, Medina-based Polaris over the past few days has been allowing fans and prospective buyers to drive 12 sparkling new bikes at its sole Minnesota dealer, Indian Motorcycle of the Twin Cities, in St. Paul.
“Anyone showing up with a valid motorcycle license can ride,” said Art Welch, co-owner of the dealership. “Over a five-day period we expect 2,000 to come here to ride … and several will buy.”
Even before the event, Welch had taken orders from more than a dozen enthusiasts who plunked down deposits for the cycles, which range in price from $19,000 to $22,000. “They paid a deposit sight-unseen,” he said. “Now they get to ride it.”
On Thursday and Friday, hundreds of riders from around the country hopped on the bikes and zipped from St. Paul to Wisconsin. For some, the demo was part of a bigger trip to the company’s factory in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and its research center in Wyoming, Minn.
This weekend, there are 30-minute demo rides all day today, an “Indian-bike-only” ride tonight and a back-to-school charity ride on Sunday.
As he hopped off a sparkling Indian Chieftain on Friday, Jay Elepano of Minneapolis beamed.
“That was absolutely amazing,” he said after a 30-minute ride. “I already have two bikes, but I would be very surprised if I did not have the Indian in my garage by next season. Man, that thing is butter.”