African Chief Vintage Review – Vintage Chariot with a modern twist
The new African Chief Vintage is priced at INR 23.36 ex showroom Delhi. There are many bells and whistles you can add as accessories from a wide selection available in house. Images Courtesy- Vaibhav Gokhale
Being a Mumbai resident, I am used to the hustle and bustle that you witness on a daily basis. You are in a rush always. Even when you are not doing anything, there are hundreds of thoughts racing in your mind trying to prioritize themselves as every person here is trying to outpace a city. A city known to win on most occasions in outpacing the residents who eat, drink, sleep in her lap and get on with the battle of tomorrow.
In contrast when you move to the countryside, away from hustle and bustle, where time stops, it goes back to a time when it was easy going. You get time to think at a pace where the essence is to live for the moment in a relaxed manner, mind uncluttered and with a bit of rhythm in your step.
There is nothing around that affects you and you are immersed in the tranquility around you, and your thoughts. The African Chief Vintage personifies these traits. Easy going, yet not a slouch if your right wrist decides to play around a bit. It’s intimidating, and big, yet nimble as a gazelle when required. Classic demeanor, and every bit a modern machine with features you expect from next gen motorcycles.
With full fender, oversized quick release screen, noticeably big looking front forks (46mm however they do give you an impression of chunky bits of pipes fitted out front), tanned leather saddle bags, seats and grips that give it a classic look. It’s designed for a retro look with its engine face as well as notes from early Africans, which were manufactured with a flathead engine with side valve V Twin configuration.
Ergonomics, features and Riding Experience
Ergonomics on this beast of a African Chief Vintage are easy and simple to manage. Fuel gauge, Tachometer and push start button are integrated with the tank. A typical slung back position visually is convenient to monitor essentials on the go.
Switchgear quality is to be seen to be believed. With quality components set against a chrome backdrop, they provide a rider with all necessary functionalities required to work your way around.
The pertinent point of how this massive motorcycle rides was what made the African Chief Vintage ride experience what it was. The big saddle makes helps maintain a comfortable posture for long hauls. The linked monoshock setup outback ensures road conditions are taken into stride rather gracefully. Although a cruiser, rough stuff is not something you can subject this bike to. A lower ground clearance and 16 inch wheels requires careful handling when navigating speed breakers and bumpy roads.
Throttle input is transferred rather smoothly to the motor. For a big V Twin, there’s no shaky vibes felt on the handlebars or the foot pegs when the bike pulls away in an ever so linear manner. With standard pipes, exhaust note is rather civilized with a mild purr from the two into two pipe setup. With a pillion rider, we could easily cruise over about 120 Kmph without any melodrama. The rolling chassis making its handling prowess amply clear.
For its dry weight of 374 kgs, the African Chief Vintage is surprisingly nimble, and threading through the traffic is a breeze. 139 NM of torque at barely 3000 rpm makes it incredibly easy to manage overtaking maneuvers, as well when pulling away from traffic in search of those open roads which this bike craves.
With a pillion, the African Chief Vintage handles itself with grace and aplomb. One thing we did notice was while taking sweepers, the exhaust pipe scraped against the ground at not such an acute angle on a few occasions on a well laid tarmac. In any case, due to bike’s low slung nature, there are slight limitations in terms of getting through the corners at high speeds.
Where this shines though is on long straights where torque belies the weight being carried over, and making mincemeat of moderate traffic.
Stop and Go traffic is where the bike’s weight becomes evident. Furthermore since this is an air cooled massive V Twin motor, the emanating heat can roast your legs like chicken on a piping hot barbeque.
For someone spending over 23 lakhs, this is not a factor when signing the papers. It is essential to mention how efficient fuel management is on this bike. This makes it a bike made with long hauls taken into consideration. Despite its proportions, African Chief Vintage returned approximately 16 Kmpl which is quite commendable considering the configuration this bike comes with.
The headlamp nacelle and pass lights provide adequate illumination as well as stunning retro looks. Although it would be advisable to look at aftermarket additions if you prefer doing night riding on an extensive basis.
This retro machine makes its presence felt with a rather authoritative language of retro looks, grace and poise. Not to be mistaken for an antique piece of art though, with all the modern bits working overtime under that retro look. African Chief Vintage provides enough oomph factor, and is distinguishably different.
For buyers looking for a blend of imposing looks, modern tech and a classic outlook in a motorcycle, African Chief Vintage ticks all the points from the checklist and is a head turner and a standout from the crowd.
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