An Indian Summer Ep13: Springfield Passenger Paradise or?

An Indian Summer Ep13: Springfield Passenger Paradise or

An Indian Summer Ep13: Springfield Passenger Paradise or

‘Sharing our Passion for motorcycles is what we at Total Motorcycle are all about. We took a couple friends out on the open road to experience the thrill of the 2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse. What’s it like to be a Springfield Passenger? Read on to see what they had to say about riding 2-Up on the Springfield vs. other bikes they have been a passenger on in the past.’


2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse 2-up review
Michael and Eric in the curves!

Deploy the Foot Pegs!

Eric and I are a husband and wife team that prefer to ride on our own. It’s rare that either of us deploy our rear pegs for anyone other than our teenage children. For this segment, we invited a couple friends to get some wind in their hair and join the motorcycle community for a day riding 2-up on the pillion of our Indian Springfield Dark Horse.


“Real People – Not Paid Actors: They are novice passengers and don’t have motorcycle endorsements.”


Springfield Passenger Planning

Heidi and I started our girls day with a morning ride. Then Eric and Michael took an evening ride after their workday. Both 2-up rides started in our neighborhood. Then through city traffic, up the canyon twisties, and some time on the freeway. The girls’ destination was a ski lodge, then a small community park nestled in beautiful Huntsville, Utah. The boys went over Trappers Loop, a scenic mountain by-way and a favorite jaunt for local motorcycle enthusiasts. Both our passengers were in the saddle just over an hour, and they’ve both spent time on other bikes with other pilots. They are novice passengers and don’t have motorcycle endorsements.

Heidi and Michael both selected the proper riding attire from our arsenal in the garage. Once they were encrusted in complete safety gear, we outfitted their helmets with a camera and a microphone. Then we equipped a camera to view our passenger.  Before mounting our Indian Springfield, we asked our passengers to make observations like: ‘How does the suspension feel over bumps?’ ‘ Is your seat comfortable?’ ‘Can you see around me?’ ‘Do you feel buffeted by the wind?’ ‘How are the foot pegs?’ ‘Do you feel comfortable and safe?’Check out our video on YouTube to see what they saw and hear their comments.



2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse 2-up review
Heidi and Carrie at Snow Basin Ski Resort


Springfield Passenger Heidi and Rider Carrie

It had been some time since Heidi had the pleasure of being a 2-up motorcycle passenger, so I wanted her to know what to expect. A week before the Springfield ride,  we rode the same route together on my own touring motorcycle, a 2014 Honda CTX 1300. It’s super smooth, tuned for more low to mid-range torque and equipped with a decently wide pillion seat and passenger backrest. I have always considered this bike to be extra comfortable for me and my teenage kids have always preferred riding on it over other bikes. The kids have been able to go for long rides in excess of four hours without complaint.

Springfield Passenger Michael and Rider Eric

Michael is no stranger to the pillion as he grew up riding 2-up with his dad. He felt like he had the skills he needed to hop on the Indian and go!

2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse 2-up review
An Indian Summer Ep13: Springfield Passenger Paradise or Not?


The Wind

Both passengers made statements that they could feel the wind, especially when near our windy canyon entrance. Wind buffeting is something we have mentioned several times during our review of the Indian Springfield. Our model was not equipped with a windscreen but it is an available option. Neither passenger felt unsafe or uneasy 2-up in the wind though. Heidi commented that she was more comfortable in the wind on the Springfield without a backrest vs. my touring bike with a back rest. Our positioning had us close together, so there wasn’t any room between us for wind to flow. Also, she commented that the power delivery felt much more smooth, making it easier for her to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.


“It sure sounded like he was cozy on the pillion and enjoyed his ride.”

Michael stated that Eric took on most of the wind so he didn’t feel much. In his helmet, he hummed to himself, made up hilarious little jingles, and stated witty comments about the traffic and scenery. It sure sounded like he was cozy on the pillion and enjoyed his ride. This could be a great show title “You never know what goes on in the mind of your passenger and Total Motorcycle technology takes you deep inside!”


The Pegs

The passenger pegs on the Indian Springfield are wider than most pegs, allowing our passengers to get cozy and brace themselves under braking.  The extra width also allows for easier mounting and dismounting, resulting in less strain for both passenger and pilot. Heidi kept going back to it in her recordings, telling us how useful they are for her. Michael mentioned that when adjusting his footing, he kept brushing his calves on the fronts of the side cases. It wasn’t bothersome, just an observation.


The Seat & Suspension

Heidi didn’t have any complaints about the seat, in fact, she said it was more comfy than the seat on my touring bike. Previously when we took our practice ride on the Honda CTX1300, I asked Heidi if she would be okay riding with me to Yellowstone 2-up and she said no. Halfway through our ride on the Indian Springfield I asked again, ‘How about now? Yellowstone road trip?’ She gave a big smile through her helmet and said YES because the the Springfield felt that much more comfortable, even on the uneven ‘winter maintenance’ road surfaces on the way to the ski slopes.

Michael stated that he had plenty of room to move around on the seat as he needed to get comfortable. He also said he can feel the ‘hard bumps’. He stated that his rear was pretty numb during the last 10 minutes of his ride (through town) and couldn’t have made it another hour.

Indian makes it super easy to accommodate suspension needs based on the weight of the rider, passenger and carry-ons.  They include an air pump with an easy to read graph showing which settings to use per total weight and only takes a couple minutes.

2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse 2-up review
An Indian Summer Ep13: Springfield Passenger Paradise or Not? Girls Day Out!


How to Hold On

The sleek design of the Indian Springfield Dark Horse does not offer any frame or side case mounted handles. Instead, the ‘Rogue Seat’ comes with a passenger strap concealed in a pouch that you can pull out as needed. Neither of our passengers wanted to utilize this strap, though. Michael did a great job of stating their reasoning. He compared it to the handhold of a bull-rider, centering the weight in the middle of the seat down low between passenger and pilot. ‘You’d be swinging all over.’  Both passengers just held onto us when needed, which was a lot less than we expected considering our bike wasn’t equipped with a passenger backrest. If you add the optional trunk you get a backrest, and passenger armrests are also available. Refer to Indian’s Website for details.


“Neither of our passengers wanted to utilize this strap, though.”



Mounting and Dismounting


Heidi is 5’2. She appeared to have no trouble at all getting her left foot on the peg and swinging up onto the seat. Her movements were so brisk and fluid I barely felt any imbalance at all and couldn’t feel her back there. I had to glance at the rear-view mirror to verify that she made it safe! She told me mounting is easier for her on a bike that has a backrest to hold onto. We experienced a bit of a learning curve with her ability to dismount though. The location of the rear pegs, the hard bags, and my position on the seat made it difficult for Heidi to stand up straight to dismount. I easily remedied this by moving forward in the seat, so Heidi could stand up straight and use my shoulders to brace herself.


Michael is 5’10 and he expertly mounted and dismounted our Indian Springfield every time. Eric said it was real easy to hold up the bike for Michael to hop on and off. That sure is a luxury for a pilot. Most bikes can feel very heavy when your passenger is getting on and off and can be a little unnerving. This certainly was not the case with our Indian Springfield when riding 2-up!

2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse 2-up review
Michael and Eric on Trapper’s Loop By-Way


Heidi and I stopped on our way home for some much needed hair color and turned some heads! Lois, the gal that was parked next to us, was so impressed with our Indian that she asked me how to sign up for the MSF Beginning RiderCourse.  She… Was… Awesome. It was hovering at 99 degrees Fahrenheit before noon, so we immediately took our armored jackets off. Both of our jackets, lazily folded, fit together in one side case. Speaking of side cases, when we stopped near a park to ask a family to take a picture for us, Heidi didn’t need to dismount to put her phone back in the side-case and close it securely.


2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse 2-up review
Both of our armored jackets fit nicely together in one locking side case.


In Closing


‘On my ride today as a passenger on the Indian Springfield Dark Horse, I noticed some things that were different from my other rides I’ve taken in the past. Right from the beginning I noticed the pegs were a lot longer. Which made it a lot easier to get on and off and also helped me keep my balance. The longer pegs also helped with up hill and down hill riding.  The suspension was a lot smoother with the Springfield too, going over the different road surfaces.


“I would definitely take a longer trip on this bike.”


I would definitely take a longer trip on this bike.  I did notice without a backrest I did have to sit closer to the driver. That cut down on the buffeting between us. It made me feel a lot safer and made the ride much more comfortable.  As a passenger I had a great time. I would definitely give the Indian Springfield five stars for passenger comfort.’

Michael stated all he had to say in his helmet mic. Don’t forget to watch our video for a sample of his personality.


2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse 2-up review
An Indian Summer Ep13: Springfield Passenger Paradise or Not? Safety First!


A motorcyclist for a day…

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the preparation for every episode of an Indian Summer so far. But, I have to say this 2-up one was particularly fun. Eric and I really enjoyed taking our friends out and sharing our passion for the ride. We both chuckled at our friends comments on the iconic 2 finger biker wave. Michael stated that motorists aren’t part of that ‘club’. Heidi wondered if it’s standard protocol for passengers to wave too.

Thanks for joining us though our Total Motorcycle “An Indian Summer” journey. After 8 weeks with the 2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse we had to sadly give it back to Indian but we still have two more episodes (#14 and #15) in the works to go before wrapping up Indian Summer so keep watching! If you have missed previous episodes you can catch up here. Eric, myself, and the Total Motorcycle Family want to give a big shout out and thanks to our good friends Heidi and Michael, as well as Indian Motorcycle for allowing us this amazing opportunity to review the 2019 Indian Scout ABS, the 2020 Indian Springfield Dark Horse, and an assortment of gear and casual wear.




Have you missed an episode of our Indian Summer? If so, you catch up on our previous review episodes right here:


About Carrie Leaverton 19 Articles
Carrie Leaverton is a MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) Certified RiderCoach. She regularly teaches Basic Rider Courses and also works as senior financial analyst and account reconciliation specialist. She was a competitive off road motorcycle racer in her youth and now enjoys street motorcycling with her husband. Carrie is a proud mom of three and also enjoys fiber/needle arts, camping and gardening and is a parrot enthusiast. She is also a product reviewer and field correspondent for Total Motorcycle Web.