2016 – 2017 Indian Roadmaster Review

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What do you get when you fully dress a Chieftain from Indian Motorcycles? If you’re clever and remembered the title of this article, you guessed the Roadmaster and you’d be correct. If that’s the case, you might wonder why the seat height of the Roadmaster is just a tad higher than the Chieftain. The answer to that is the extra plush saddle on the Roadmaster. That is just the beginning of plush when looking at the 2017 Roadmaster, Indian’s full-time luxury tourer.

With standard features such as a premium 200W stereo, cruise control, ABS, power windshield, keyless ignition, remote locking storage, tire pressure monitoring, Pathfinder LED lights, heated seats and grips, and that gorgeous desert tan leather, the Roadmaster is the “LT” model of the Indian stable.

Design

Indian Roadmaster

I can tell you how comfortable the two-up seating is on the Roadmaster, but honestly, looking at the deep diamond-tufted seat, you just know it’s going to be as comfortable as your favorite easy chair. The big barn-door fairing and power windshield provide ample wind and weather protection and the wind deflectors in the fairing lowers do a nice job of diverting water away to keep you as dry as can be when riding in the rain. In cool or wet weather, you’ll appreciate the heated rider and passenger seat and the x10 setting heated grips.

Looking at the deep diamond-tufted seat, you just know it’s going to be as comfortable as your favorite easy chair.

We can’t talk about a full dresser without talking about weatherproof storage. At 17 gallons, the top case is more than adequate to stash two full-face helmets; and in the saddlebags, you get another 17.2 gallons. Glove boxes in the upper and lower fairings provide 3.4 gallons of storage for almost 38 gallons total.

Keyless ignition is a plus when you don’t have to take off your gloves to fumble with a key and remote storage lock and unlock functions are on the key fob. Without the fob, you can still start the bike with a security code.

I think the coolest thing with this system has to be the feature that drops a map marker on all nearby gas stations when low fuel is detected.

The 2017 model year sees the addition of the all new Indian Motorcycle Ride Command System that brings a number of infotainment features to the table with touchscreen functionality. A 7-inch display comes with Swipe-and-Pinch-to-Zoom that works even with gloved hands and a number of large buttons that control access to the various features such as the GPS/chartplotter with address search and 3D bird’s-eye map, radio receiver with USB/Bluetooth device input for your portable pocket jukebox and wireless phone interface. I think the coolest thing with this system has to be the feature that drops a map marker on all nearby gas stations when low fuel is detected. As one who is occasionally guilty of riding while oblivious, I think this would save me from myself quite nicely.

Chassis

Indian Roadmaster

The Roadmaster isn’t exactly an exercise in subtlety. It’s a big, heavy bike with a strong, double-cradle frame to support the engine, rather than use it as a stressed member. This bigness carries over to the front end, where a full-skirt front fender and 46 mm front forks house the fat, 16-inch front wheel.

A single, air-adjustable shock supports the rear, and provides 4.5 inches of travel to go along with the 4.7 inches from the front. This may not seem like much on paper, but this isn’t the bike you take off-road, or even jump the tracks on.

Did I mention this bike is big? Not just big, but heavy too. At 930 pounds wet, before the first bit of cargo, rider or passenger, this is a lot of bike to handle. Indian gives you the tools you need with an ABS overseeing dual front brakes with 300 mm discs all the way around. The front fairing forces the handlebars, which are apes really, into a tiller position that pivots in an arc around the steering head. Not saying it’s a bad thing, but it does have a different feel that takes some getting used to.

Drivetrain

Indian Roadmaster

This 111 cubic-inch mill cranks out a stump-pulling 119.2 pound-feet of torque at a mere 3,000 rpm.

The Thunder Stroke 111 engine is probably my favorite of the American big-twins right now. It’s big, it has curb appeal, and it really captures the look of the old flatheads with the rocker box design and pushrod tube layout. Chrome engine components draw the eye, and leave one with the impression that this is the engine’s world – the rest of the bike is just living in it. Best of all, the pretty-boy veneer falls away as soon as you grab a fistful of throttle. This 111 cubic-inch mill cranks out a stump-pulling 119.2 pound-feet of torque at a mere 3,000 rpm — numbers you’d expect to see on a tractor, not so much on a touring motorcycle.

A gear-type primary drive and wet clutch carry power to the six-speed transmission for a comfortable highway-cruising rpm. Long-distance rideability gets a boost from the standard cruise-control function that rounds out the Roadmaster’s interstate credentials.

Pricing

Indian Roadmaster

MSRP on the 2016 Roadmaster in Thunder Black is $27,999, and the range tops out at $29,399 with the two-tone paint schemes. The ’17 model year sees another grand tacked onto that across the board, a repeat of the increase the ’16s saw over the ’15s, and one that Indian will hopefully leave off next year’s sticker.

Indian covers your Roadmaster with a two-year limited warranty providing that your warranty was registered at the time of purchase. If you don’t register the purchase of your Roadmaster with Indian, you’ll be SOL on warranty work so hang on to that warranty registration form.

Competitors

Indian Roadmaster

Staying within the American market and indeed within the same Polaris umbrella, I went with a Victory for the head-to-head: the Cross Country.

Big bikes are big, m’kay? A few pounds here or there doesn’t make much difference once you get above 700 or so, but for what it’s worth the CCTour rolls out at 52 pounds lighter with a dry weight of 845 pounds. Since we are talking about baggers, storage capacity rates a mention. The CCTour sports an ample and adequate 37.6 gallons of storage between the two saddlebags, the trunk and fairing glove boxes, but Victory comes out on top with a whopping 41 gallons of total cargo capacity, so the Cross Country Tour is the clear winner in the battle of the bags.

Both engines have what you might call “inches o’ plenty” with only a five-inch difference between the Indian Thunder Stroke 111 and Victory’s Freedom 106. The big V-twins give the bikes plenty of power for hitting the highway and crossing some state lines, and unless you are drift-racing on your bagger, the difference in engine size is probably a non-issue.

Honestly, it comes down to personal taste. If you like retro and want luxury, Indian is where it’s at. If progressive is your thing, Victory has your ride. The Cross Country Tour rolls out at $21,999, but the Indian is considerably prouder at $29,999; a difference sure to matter to some buyers, but one that is offset somewhat by Indian’s Ride Command System.

2016-indian-roadmaster-3

He Said

My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “Great looking bike. You know, I don’t care for the full sheet-metal covers on the non-bagger big-twins, but it makes sense and fits the look perfectly on a full dresser. The boss front fender and Indian-head icon really complete the look and take me back a few years, to say the least. It will be interesting to see how this bike sells against the plethora of tour bikes from Harley this year.”

She Said

“This Thunderstroke 111 engine gives me the warm fuzzies all over. It has monster torque at low, low rpm and has that deep, throbbing pulse I expect from a big V-twin. If I were to go with the Roadmaster — and believe me, it’s my tourer of choice — I’d have to peruse the accessories catalog and add the desert tan matching armrests. This is a premium ride for serious touring folks.”

indian-roadmaster-12_800x0w

Specifications

Drivetrain:
Engine Type: Thunder Stroke® 111, Air/Oil Cooler
Valve Train: Two Valves Per Cylinder Hydraulic Lifters
Displacement: 111 cubic inches (1,811 cc)
Bore: 3.976 inches (101 mm)
Stroke: 4.449 inches (113 mm)
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Fuel Syetem: Closed loop fuel injection / 54 mm bore
Maximum Torque: 119.2 Pound-Feet at 3,000 rpm
Rev Limit: 5,400 rpm
Lubrication System: Semi-Dry Sump
Exhaust System: Split dual exhaust w/ cross-over
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Final Drive: 2.2 : 1
Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Transmission: Six-Speed, Constant Mesh, Foot Shift
Gear Ratio (Overall): 1st 9.403:1 / 2nd 6.411:1 / 3rd 4.763:1 / 4th 3.796:1 / 5th 3.243:1 / 6th 2.789:1
Chassis:
Swingarm: Cast Aluminum
Suspension, Front: 46 mm Telescopic Fork, 4.7-inch travel
Suspension, Rear: Single Shock w/Air adjust, 4.5-inch travel
Rake: 25 degrees
Trail: 5.9 inches
Brakes,Front: Dual 300 mm Floating Rotor Four-Piston Caliper
Brakes,Rear: Single 300 mm Floating Rotor Two-Piston Caliper
Wheel, Front: Cast Aluminum 16 x 3.5 inches
Wheel, Rear: Cast Aluminum 16 x 5 inches
Tire, Front: Dunlop® Elite 3 130/90B16 73H
Tire, Rear: Dunlop® Elite 3 Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80H
Dimensions:
Overall Length: 104.6 inches
Overall Width: 39.4 inches
Overall Height: 58.7 inches
Seat Height: 26.5 inches
Wheelbase: 65.7 inches
Ground Clearance: 5.5 inches
Storage:
Saddlebags: 17.2 gallons
Trunk: 17.0 gallons
Lower Fairing Glove Box: 2.4 gallons
Upper Fairing Storage: 1.0 gallons
Details:
Standard Equipment: ABS; Cast Aluminum Frame with Integrated Air-Box; Cruise Control; Driving Lights; Highway Bar; Keyless Start; Horizon Power Windshield; Desert Tan Genuine Leather Seats; Remote Locking Hard Saddle Bags; Remote Locking Trunk; Tire Pressure Monitoring; 200 Watt Stereo with AM/FM Bluetooth and Smart phone Compatible Input; Heated Rider & Passenger Seats; Heated Grips; Adjustable Passenger Floorboards; 37.6 Gallons of Storage
Gauges: Fairing mounted instrument cluster featuring electronic speedometer, tachometer, and fuel gauge with odometer, dual tripmeters with distance and time, instantaneous and average fuel economy; fuel range; real-time clock; compass; ambient air temperature; gear position display; front and rear tire pressure; engine hours of operation; engine oil life percentage; average speed; battery voltage; radio information display; vehicle trouble code readout; heated grip level; and 15 LED telltale indicators: cruise control enabled, cruise control set, neutral, high beam, turn signal, ABS, check engine, low tire pressure, battery, low fuel, security system, low engine oil pressure and MPH or km/h unit designation
Lights: Pathfinder LED Lights (headlight, fog lights, turn signals, tail light trunk, tail light, trunk interior light, and war bonnet fender light)
Ride Command™: 7″ Touchscreen including realtime clock; ambient air temperature; heading; audio information display; vehicle trouble code readout; Vehicle Status (tire pressure, voltage, engine hours, oil change); Vehicle Info (speed, fuel range, RPM, gear position); Dual Trip Meters (fuel range, miles, average fuel economy, instantaneous fuel economy time, average speed); Ride Data (heading, moving time, stop time, altitude, altitude change); Bluetooth connectivity for phone and headset; Map/Navigation
Power Points: Front: 10 amp maximum, Rear: 10 amp maximum, (Combined: 10 amp maximum)
GVWR: 1,385 Pounds
GAWR: Front: 500 Pounds, Rear 885 Pounds
Maximum Load Capacity: 455 Pounds
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gallons
Dry Weight: 897 Pounds
Curb Weight: 930 Pounds
Warranty: Two-Year Limited Warranty with Registration
Colors:
2016: Thunder Black, Blue Diamond, Springfield Blue/Ivory Cream, Indian Red/Ivory Cream, Steel Gray/Thunder Black
2017: Thunder Black, Burgundy Metallic, Steel Gray/Thunder Black, Willow Green/Ivory Cream, Thunder Black/Ivory Cream
Price:
2016: Thunder Black: $27,999 – Blue Diamond: $28,599 – Springfield Blue/Ivory Cream, Indian Red/Ivory Cream, Steel Gray/Thunder Black $29,399
2017: Thunder Black: $28,999, Burgundy Metallic: $29,599, Steel Gray/Thunder Black: $30,399, Willow Green/Ivory Cream: $30,399, Thunder Black/Ivory Cream: $30,399

(topspeed.com, https://goo.gl/zhza2T)

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