Indian Challenger (2020+) Maintenance Schedule and Service Intervals

This is the maintenance schedule for the Indian Challenger and all variants, including the Indian Challenger Dark Horse and Indian Challenger Limited.

Indian has been making the Challenger range of motorcycles since 2020. They’re all powered by a liquid-cooled engine — the 1768 cc (108 c.i.) “PowerPlus” 60-degree V-twin. It has an 11.0:1 compression ratio and makes peak torque of a whopping 128 ft-lb (174 Nm) at a low 3800 rpm, with peak power of a quite high 122 bhp (91 kW), thanks to the liquid-cooled high-revving engine (it has a rev limiter at 6500 rpm).

Liquid cooling is quite rare in big cruisers, but is becoming more common in the latest generations of Harley-Davidson and other american motorcycles. Indian already had one liquid-cooled bike, the mid-size Indian Scout.

The Challenger’s PowerPlus engine has single overhead chain-driven cams, four valves per cylinder, and hydraulic valve lash adjustment, meaning it doesn’t need its valve clearances serviced — ever.

Final drive for the Indian Challenger is via a wet clutch, a 6-speed transmission, and a belt.

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Indian Challenger Service Intervals

Basic service intervals for the Indian Challenger are every 5000 miles (8000 km) at which point Indian recommends changing the oil and filter and doing a host of checks.

Indian recommends changing the air filter and checking the spark plugs and compression every two services. But they only recommend changing the spark plugs every 30000 miles (48000 km).

Being a liquid-cooled engine, you do need to change the coolant. Indian recommends you change the coolant every five years or 50000 miles / 80000 km, whichever comes earlier.

Indian also recommends frequently changing fork fluid — every two years. They even put a distance interval on replacing the rear shock!

See the maintenance schedule below for more details.

Maintenance Schedule for the Indian Challenger

Below is the maintenance schedule for the Indian Challenger motorcycles from the manual.

Since the manuals hows the schedule as a series of to-do lists, we’re presenting it in simplified format so it’s easier to understand what’s due when.

Basically there are three kinds of service:

  1. Standard Service — an oil/filter change and multi-point inspection, done every 5000 miles / 8000 km
  2. Scheduled service — done less frequently, according to the schedule below.
  3. Very infrequent service — Done at 50000 miles / 80000 km, grouped below.

Indian Challenger — Standard Service

Below are the items to do in a standard service for the Indian Challenger.

Do these items according to the schedule below.

Indian Challenger — Standard Service Checklist
Brake pads – inspect, replace if beyond service limit
Fuel system – inspect
Oil system/ lines – inspect
Control cable ends – inspect / lubricate
Clutch lever – inspect, adjust / lube as necessary
Clutch cable freeplay – inspect / adjust
Front brake lever – inspect, adjust / lube as necessary
Gear shift pedal – inspect, adjust / lube as necessary
Rear brake pedal – inspect, adjust / lube as necessary
Fasteners – check tightness
Front forks and front axle – inspect for smooth operation, no leaks, no notchiness. Clean to remove bugs / tar buildup. Make sure front wheel has no play
Damper, cushion drive – inspect for cracks or deformation whenever rear wheel is removed
Swing arm and rear axle – inspect (make sure no noises / notchiness when bouncing up and down on bike), and make sure wheel bearing has no play
Rear suspension linkage – inspect
Rear shock absorber – inspect for leaks / pitting / bugs or tar buildup, adjust if necessary
Rear wheel alignment – inspect, adjust if necessary
Tires / wheels – inspect tire condition and tread depth
Sidestand – inspect, adjust / lubricate as necessary
Battery – check terminals, clean, and test
Crankcase ventilation system – inspect, tighten, clean, adjust
Evap emission control system – inspect and clean
Road test – perform
Indian Challenger — Standard Service Checklist

Indian Challenger — Scheduled Service

Below is the maintenance schedule for the Indian Challenger.

mi x 10002.551015202530
km x 1000481624324048Every
Perform full inspection checklist (see above)
Engine oil – Replace. Inspect used oil for contaminants
Engine oil filter – Replace
Air filter – Inspect and clean
Air filter – Replace
Engine compression – inspect
Spark plugs – inspect, torque correctly
Spark plugs – replace
Exhaust system – inspect, tighten, adjust
Drive belt – inspect, tighten, clean, adjust (see below)
Drive belt – replace
Front fork oil – replace2 years
Steering bearings – inspect (no notchiness, no play in bearings)
Brake fluid – replace2 years
Gear position switch – inspect, clean
Battery key fob – replace
Maintenance schedule for the Indian Challenger

Indian Challenger — Long-term Service

Below are the service items to do at the intervals below. Where there’s both, use the shorter of the stated distance or time intervals.

Service itemDistance intervalTime interval
Coolant – replace50000 mi (80000 km)5 years
Fuel system – replace (hoses, filters, etc.)50000 mi (80000 km)
Rear shock absorber – replace50000 mi (80000 km)
Indian Challenger — Long-term service intervals

Checking / Adjusting the Belt on the Indian Challenger

At every service interval, check the belt condition. You want to make sure it has no cracked or broken teeth.

See the below examples from the Indian manual (showing only the situations where you should replace the belt).

You also need to check the deflection level of the drive belt.

The belt, with 10 lb of force, should meet the following deflection specs:

  • New belt: 0.6″ / 15 mm
  • Belt with 1000+ miles: 0.79″ / 20mm

If the belt is too loose, adjust the belt tension by loosening the axle nut, turning the right side adjuster nut to get the correct tension. Make sure the belt is aligned. You might need to tap the left end of the axle to ensure it moves.

Then, tighten the axle nut again (torque spec 65 ft-lb / 88 Nm).

About the Indian Challenger

2020 Indian Challenger Limited Riding RHS blue

The Indian Challenger is Indian’s first big liquid-cooled cruiser.

Let’s start off by making something clear: Indian is, despite all the branding and call-backs to being a very old company, actually a very new company. Polaris acquired Indian in 2011, and the first motorcycles produced under the new Indian name were just very different than anything that came beforehand.

Despite this, Indian constantly likes to remind us it’s a very old motorcycle brand. It is — but there have been massive (like multiple decades long) breaks in production. The only things consistent are some of the words and names being used. And a general brand aesthetic.

So Indian has to do things a little differently for us to be able to appreciate that they’re not just a carbon copy of Harley-Davidson.

Like a few of Indian’s other recent developments, the Indian Challenger breaks the mould a bit for what an American cruiser should be. Indian needs to take these bold steps so it can cement its name in American cruiser market that’s dominated by the Harley-Davidson brand.

Indian has done some interesting stuff with its air-cooled twins (like the modern classic styling of the Indian Chief), but the Challenger is a step in a different direction. Even though it looks like a classic bagger and has tons of chrome on it (or black, if you went for the Dark Horse), the Challenger has an unusual engine and high-performance brakes and suspension.

Let’s start with the engine. The PowerPlus unit is a liquid-cooled 108 c.i. (1768 cc) 60-degree V-twin with a sporty 11.0:1 compression ratio.

The liquid cooling is already interesting enough. But then so is the interior design: the PowerPlus engine has a SOHC 4 valve per cylinder design. But despite this, Indian kept hydraulic self-adjusting valve actuators, meaning that the Challenger never needs a valve adjustment.

By the way, the PowerPlus engine name is a call-back to one of the first models under the Indian brand, the Indian Powerplus, built between 1916 and 1924. Apart from that being a V-twin, it was an entirely different motorcycle. Nonetheless, the name has some history.

2022 Indian Challenger Dark Horse RHS static

Aside from the engine, there are a few aspects of the Indian Challenger that are quite high spec.

The front suspension is an inverted (upside-down) fork. They’re non-adjustable, though. The rear Fox shock is adjustable for preload only.

And the brakes are via twin 3320mm discs and 4-piston Brembo monoblock calipers. This is sportbike level spec!

Finally, the Indian Challenger gets cornering ABS and traction control via its Bosch IMU and safety package.

Reference — Maintenance Schedule Screenshots from the Manual

See the below screenshots from the manual for the Indian Challenger as references for the above maintenance schedule.

You can download manuals for Indian motorcycles from their official website.

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