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Indian Roadmaster Classic: MD Ride Review, Part 2 (with video)

You can read Part 1 of our review of Indian’s classically styled, luxury tourer, the Roadmaster Classic here. After putting more mileage on the bike on all sorts of roads (even off-road as it turns out), we have this final report. Just like Indian’s other large cruiser models, the Roadmaster Classic is powered by the beautiful Thunder Stroke 111, a 1,811 cc, long-stroke v-twin. Indian claims a massive 119 foot/pounds at just 3,000 rpm.

Power is delivered to the rear wheel through a six-speed transmission, and the big machine is suspended by a non-adjustable fork with 4.7 inches of travel, and a single rear shock with 4.5 inches of travel that can be adjusted with an included air pump.

300 mm disc brakes all around, including two discs in front and a single disc in back. The dual front discs are squeezed by four-piston calipers. The Roadmaster Classic features 16″  cast wheels front and rear. This big machine, with standard saddlebags and trunk, weighs in at a claimed 896 pounds with 5.5 gallons of fuel on board. That standard luggage is massive … holding nearly 33 gallons of storage, including plenty of room for two, extra large, full-face helmets in the trunk.

The list of standard equipment is extensive. It includes ABS brakes, power windshield, cruiste control, keyless start (just carry the fob in your pocket), leather seats and luggage, tire pressure monitoring, heated grips, heated seats for both rider and passenger, and even adjustable passenger floor boards.

In addition to standard instrumentation that includes analog speedometer and tach, together with all of the usual information (including fuel consumption and gear position), cruise control settings are also reflected. The Roadmaster Classic also comes standard with “Ride Command”, a 7″ touchscreen centered on the dash.

Indian is very proud of Ride Command, and the features it offers are seemingly endless. For this reason, we are directing you to the video immediately below that illustrates the main Ride Command features and their operation.

 

It is an understatement to describe the Roadmaster Classic as an impressive mile muncher on the Interstate. This is one of the most comfortable, long-distance touring rigs we have ever tested, and the big v-twin is deceptively quick and capable, shrugging off passenger and luggage loads to deliver almost effortless acceleration at highway speeds … and a top speed well north of 100 mph.

The beautifully finished leather seats are as comfortable as they are attractive. With heated grips and heated seats, as well as the navigation aids and stereo offered up by Ride Command, this is a bike ready to take you and your passenger any where you want to go in comfort and style.

As we said earlier, the luggage capacity is huge. The saddlebags are wide and deep, and the rear trunk cavernous. Like the rest of the bike, they are beautifully finished. The only negatives are the lack of locks, and the time needed to deal with each of the three snap closures to open and shut the bags.

At speed, the Roadmaster Classic is rock steady and corners with confidence. Our 200 pound test rider added 50 psi in the rear shock to raise the back end of the bike a bit for improved maneuverability. The rear shock offers plenty of adjustability to carry a passenger and/or luggage in a balanced manner.

Maneuvering the Roadmaster Classic at low speeds, or moving it around in your garage, understandably requires a fair amount of effort and balance, given the near 900 pounds with a full fuel tank. The seat height is low, however, which allows even shorter riders to flat-foot at stops.

Indian has been producing this big v-twin for several years now, and it is dialed in very well. Throttle response is excellent, and the motor is very relaxed at highway speeds (70 mph at only 2,500 rpm).

The transmission shifts well, and clutch pull is reasonable for a bike offering this much torque. There seems to be more than one gear available for any occasion given the broad powerband.

With peak torque at 3,000 rpm, we cannot emphasize enough how effortlessly this big Indian accelerates at highway speeds. Relaxed, but quick. Very impressive.

We did notice engine heat, particularly on our right calf, riding on a hot day in stop-and-go traffic. At higher speeds, this was not an issue.

Due to an auto accident blocking the road, we actually were forced to take the Roadmaster Classic off-road for approximately two miles. The big bike handled it without breaking a sweat, again pointing to excellent chassis balance and a stiff structure (the frame is aluminum).

The Indian Roadmaster draws lots of attention. If you appreciate this classis style, the bike is jaw droppingly gorgeous, and you can expect to be approached at gas stations and yelled at at stop lights by onlookers who just have to comment on the beautiful machine.

At $26,999 U.S. MSRP, the Roadmaster Classic is expensive, but it offers nearly every imaginable luxury standard, and delivers the performance and handling (and luggage capacity) necessary to make long distance touring easy and comfortable. For additional details, specifications and available accessories, visit Indian’s web site.


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68 Comments

  1. Jeremy in TX says:

    I saw several of these out on the road this past week, and I have to say the design has a refreshing appeal compared to the HD touring bikes the Indians were traveling with. The Harley touring bikes always look like they were cobbled together in someone’s garage from mail-order parts.

  2. Michael Haz says:

    I’ve taken four demo rides on Indian Roadmasters in the past three years. The paint and chrome quality has increased remarkably. It is now equal or better than HD in that regard.

    The 111 engine is powerful. But it is a furnace, especially for the rider’s right leg. The catalytic converter can be removed to reduce the heat a bit; but to do it right requires a cat-less header pipe, an ECU reflash, and some other diddling. All in all it’s about $3000 to do it correctly, or a 10% premium on a $30,000 motorcycle.

    There are still assorted squeaks and rattles in the front fairing. That isn’t acceptable in any motorcycle, no less an expensive unit. It rides well, though, and is very comfortable.

    I demo’d an HD Ultra Limited with the M8 engine. The HD was smoother, stronger, and had no heat issues at all. If $30K landed in my pocket, I’d probably buy the HD rather than the Indian if those were my only choices.

    As it is, I like my K1600GTL better than either Indian or Harley. Better engine, suspension, brakes, etc. Just finished a 6,100 mile two-up ride on the K1600 and it was simply perfect.

  3. Rhinestone Kawboy says:

    Since there are so many Gary’s around here, I hope I can change to a more unique name. As far as the style and people that Indian is trying to reach with this bike, I think it is a winner. Would I buy it, no, I like more modern technology and styling as in liquid cooling and more than two cylinders for a touring bike. I was hoping that Victory may take that route that I was interested in and leave Indian to the more “classic” tastes that so many seem to like and too many manufacturers seem to think they have to be V-Twins to sell. The new Yamaha Venture is great in styling too, but ruined it in my opinion with another V-Twin engined tourer. Even Kawasaki foresaked it’s performance image with a V-Twin Voyager, unlike the inline 6 and inline 4’s of the Voyager line before it. Hopefully, this will start to change as Polaris seems to want to concentrate on the Indian line of bikes now. At least they have a few liquid cooled models now. Kudos to Honda for staying with their flat six and modern styling.

    • carl says:

      +++1 sick of air cooled V-twins, only platform Americans seem to buy and then they add top of the line performance, a LOUD exhaust. The turds still go nowhere.

  4. steve says:

    I’ll take a Rocket III Touring and keep the $10k

  5. slipjoint says:

    Are you on your own for the ‘tassel delete package’ Scissors? or is it available from the factory

  6. steveinsandiego says:

    awesome eyeball, regardless of anything else. i started my 20-yr mc life on three consecutive japanese cruisers, followed by a ninja 650 and now a v-strom 650. the v-strom is on its way out in favor of a cb500f, entirely for weight and height purposes.

  7. Larry Kahn says:

    No wheelie shot? You guys gettin’ old?

  8. carl says:

    Call me when Indian makes an inline 4. Can Americans build anything else but low powered, overweight boat anchor V-twins? Even the new POS yamaha tourer has to be a v-twin so Americans might buy it. Piss off already!!

  9. ABQ says:

    It is big and beautiful, like a lot of queen sized passengers I see on the back of most touring cruisers. But it is too big for me.
    I really wish that Indian would make a trike similar to the H-D FLRT Freewheeler. Then I would buy a big queen carrying Indian.

  10. falcodoug says:

    I don’t believe I will ever care for a bike like this. Or pay that much money for any bike. What is wrong with me?

  11. Sam says:

    Amazing it did well in the dirt considering it has no BEAK 🙂

  12. Tim C says:

    Look out it’s a bloated warthog

  13. My2cents says:

    I have test rode most of the Indian line up except this one. I kind of thought the blend from modern to retro from front to back seemed a bit odd at first, but it works better the more I see it. I like the fact that MCD decided to test Indian because I have found this site to fair and balanced with the posted results.

    For me the Indian is such a great motorcycle that unless you have ridden one your opinion is worthy of nothing.

    • todd says:

      Just like your handle implies, all opinions, including yours, are pretty worthless. It is OK for some people to like the bike and for some to dislike it. Each opinion carries ZERO weight, no matter how well informed.

  14. Murf says:

    “Impressive mile muncher” that holds 5.5 gallons. Makes no sense to me at all. On a trip I don’t want to spend half my ride deciding on fuel stops.

    • Gary says:

      Let’s see, 5.5 gallons, 60 mph (average), 38 mpg … that yields about 3.5 hours of saddle time between fill-ups. To me, that’s plenty. But then again, I’m no iron butt.

      • Mark says:

        Better hope there’s a gas station at exactly the point you run out to get that 3.5 hours endurance.

        To be realistic, a bike that sputters to a stop at 210 miles will seldom be pressed beyond 150 or so which is a full hour less of endurance, too little for this type of bike. And regardless of one’s personal endurance, having another gallon or so in a bike like this dramatically reduces the stress of fuel planning. The mfgs continue to yield to the stylists and short-circuit utility when it comes to fuel capacity.

        • Gary says:

          I don’t have to hope. When I tour, I step off the bike every 2-to-3 hours. I like coffee, see? But I can never buy it. I only rent it.

    • Auphliam says:

      Honestly, I don’t see it as that big a deal. A ‘Wing holds 1 gallon more. What’s that good for, maybe about 40 more miles? A K1600 holds 7…good for about 75 more. I rode across the country on a bike with a 5 gallon tank and never once thought “man, I sure wish I could go another 35 miles”. Heck, a friend of mine rode from Florida to Michigan then through Canada to New York and then back down the coast to Florida…on an 883 Sportster. When it’s time to stop for gas, you stop for gas.

      • todd says:

        If I ever rode that far on a Sportster, I’d be happy that I had to stop often for gas. Those things have pretty terrible suspension and ergonomics.

        • Auphliam says:

          Yeah, no doubt. I should mention that one of those velcro back braces was amongst the many items he had packed on the bike LOL

        • beasty says:

          One of the best bikes I ever did long distances on was a basic XL 1200 Sportster. You could go 120-140 miles before stopping for gas depending on how much abuse you heaped upon the bike. Windshield, cushy seat, saddlebags, bag on the seat behind me and another on the rack, second set of pegs so you could stretch out from time to time.That thumbwheel throttle lock came in handy also. Suspension was fine for the purpose and the ergos always worked well for me.

          • mickey says:

            buddy of mine put mid mount pegs and longer rear shocks on a 1200 Sporty. We rode down to NC together. At one point we traded bikes for about 50 miles. Got to admit with the mid mount footpegs the ergos were great. There were a lot of other things I didn’t care about on the bike, but riding position wasn’t one of them.

  15. Norm G. says:

    re: “the big v-twin is deceptively quick and capable”

    see that’s what i tried to tell Ducati, but noooOOOO they gotta make a heavy/bulky V4.

    oops, wrong thread.

  16. Auphliam says:

    When I saw the initial news around the reveal of this “new” model, I didn’t like it much at all. In fact, I thought it was a ridiculous attempt at further cashing in on that fabled “Heritage”. Looking at it today, it looks pretty damn good to me. What kind of voodoo is this? Nice write-up Dirck…and obviously, very nice work by Chris as well.

  17. austin zzr 1200 says:

    Another barge for our bloated, diabetic boomers to squander their ill-gotten gains on. Which reminds me, a 300+ lb dude (with gut slapping the tank) on a Diavel parked next to me in the parking lot today. Now I completely understand that bike. Its kinda incredible that here in Dallas, a massive beer gut is like a badge of honor for these guys.

    • Scott says:

      Stereotype much?

      • motocephalic says:

        I cant wait till they make an Indian that mimics the style that they raced. Got to ask, why don’t they offer one for sale?

    • Brian says:

      Give that dude some credit, it ain’t a HD and it’s got some genuine performance. Not that that matters: there’s nothing wrong with riding a Harley.

      Anyway, if all you care about is giving fat people a hard time, I suggest you step back and examine your own motivations and prejudices. Naturally thin people sometimes fall prey to labeling every overweight person is a morally reprehensible glutton…and mistaking their own good luck for virtue.

      • Squid says:

        genuine performance? LoL 119 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm is 65 hp
        850 pound bike + rider = half ton vehicle

        my single cylinder ktm has 10 more HP and weighs 300 lb

        and I consider it adequate

      • austin zzr 1200 says:

        precisely. I’m not a naturally thin person, nor is anyone in my family. I have to work to keep it off… its a lifestyle (and personal responsibility choice) but that’s not my point. Manufacturers build to demographics and the riding demo is getting thicker (hence the Diavle luxo barges trikes etc.) Chalk it up to aging? Nah, step dad was on two wheels until the day he died at 87.

        I do give the dude credit for riding the Diavle. I just dont like how obesity (and radical body acceptance) is driving up health care costs for everyone…

    • Cyclemotorist says:

      Ill-gotten?

      • austin zzr 1200 says:

        A bit of a literary flourish

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Yeah, you know… Through hard work and risk-taking. Bastards!

        • austin zzr 1200 says:

          it helps when you have benefited from cheap, high -quality education and a sustained economic boom…

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I do a lot of consulting work, and I have to say that the vast majority of very wealthy people I know rarely have more than a highschool education. Most of them learned a trade or industry, put everything on the line (and lost it at least once in many cases), and work hard. Many of the businesses I see succeeding today are the same kinds of businesses succeeding yesteryear, so the economy is more than capable of supporting growth for those willing to risk and sacrifice.

            T

        • peter h says:

          Interesting thought , but not borne out by facts. Most of the wealthy class consists of those who inherited money (70%+) and CEOs who are hired guns and play with other people’s money. There are a few bootstrappers, but that’s the exception.

          America today is largely class stagnant – where you’re born is where you stay. The main exception, was prior to the ACA, the largest cause of new poverty was unexpected health expenses.

          Curiously, the society was most mobile after WW2, a period of massive public investment, and taxes on the wealthy of some 70%. hmm….

          • austin zzr 1200 says:

            I think you are proving my point here… the boomers lived in the environment the most social mobility primarily due to the disruption of the two world wars( I see someone else read Thomas Piketty..)

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            No, admittedly born out of observation of a not to diverse sample (as I think I stated.) And I don’t disagree with your assessment. But then I guess it also depends how you define wealthy. These people aren’t hedge fund managers, but they have more than enough money to never have to worry about it.

            In any case, I am not trying to define what the wealthiest people look like or describe any demographic trends. I’m just saying the boomers (I am not one of them) are demonized a little too often due to the wealth of a very small percentage of the population.

    • richard says:

      we dont want to hear your bigoted BS..lets talk about the ZZR 1200…worse sport touring bike ive ever ridden….horrible..maybe a fat gut will make it handle better..lol

    • CrazyJoe says:

      Do you talk this way in public?

  18. paquo says:

    i’m sorry i just gotta laugh

  19. pBrasseur says:

    Not my kind of bike but I can certainly appreciate the style.

    Very «Indianesque» even down to the colors, original and beautiful tribute to this small corner of Americana that belongs to the Indian brand. It’s nice to see this live on. Harley has trouble growing, the revival of Indian backed up by strong Polaris is not going to help.

  20. SmokinRZ says:

    Not my style of bike but Polaris has done an outstanding job with the Indian line.

  21. BPinAZ says:

    The worst integration of a touch screen ever. Last minute add-on? Switchgear feels cheap, love the motor though. Big twin heat, it is what it is…
    Every year, my wife and I demo Indians. We hope they improve enough to try something other than HD. Just not quite there for us. And it will be many years before the aftermarket gets close to HD choices.

    • todd says:

      If you want an improvement over HD just head on over to any Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, BMW, Ducati, or Triumph dealership…

  22. DRJ says:

    It certainly is a gorgeous bike

  23. The heat from the rear cylinder was hot , to hot when I rode it at Daytona last October. It did outshine the Harley Electra glide in most cases , missing a heel shifter,and the heat from the rear cylinder evened them out . There’s alot to like about the Indian , but if I had to pick one over the other it would be a tough choice .

  24. VLJ says:

    That second photo is so perfect, Indian should use it for the cover of their Roadmaster Classic brochure/webpage.

  25. Gary says:

    I have to say, that is one beautiful bike. Too large for me, personally, but it has a classic elegance that I find very compelling.

    Not too sure I like the idea of air shocks. My experience with them over the years has not been positive.