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Indian Motorcycle takes on Harley-Davidson with new challenge

Indian Motorcycle is putting its money where its mouth is. After debuting the all-new Challenger in October, the OEM is stacking its V-twin powered bike against the current class leader, Harley-Davidson’s Road Glide Special, in a promotional challenge, Indian announced this week.

Launching at Daytona Bike Week on Friday, March 6, the “Challenger Challenge” is a product demo tour that allows consumers to test ride both the Indian Challenger and the Road Glide. The campaign will visit select Indian Motorcycle dealers around the country, as well as motorcycle rallies and events, including the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August. Those who participate in the challenge will receive an exclusive T-shirt, even if they don’t buy a bike.

Both motorcycles are fixed-fairing baggers powered by V-twin engines. The Challenger boasts a PowerPlus engine, Indian’s first liquid-cooled large-displacement motor that packs a best-in-class 122 horsepower and 128 foot-pounds of torque.

In comparison, the Road Glide Special is powered by the Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine, which tops out at 122 foot-pounds of torque.

Looking at the two companies from a sales perspective, Harley’s U.S. sales dropped 3.1% to 20,204 units during the fourth quarter of 2019 compared with the prior-year period. The decline marks the 12th quarter in a row in which the OEM experienced a sales drop. Meanwhile, parent company Polaris does not break down specific figures, but the OEM noted that Indian Motorcycle sales rose in the low-single digit percentage in the fourth quarter.

Additionally, Indian Motorcycle will support the Challenger Challenge with a digital media campaign, highlighted by an episodic video series where the Indian Challenger goes head-to-head against the Road Glide Special in a number of tests that showcase power, torque, braking and handling, as seen in the video below.

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