First Rides: Roadmaster

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Article And Photos By: J. Ken Conte

Originally Published In The September 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Ihave been trying to throw a leg over this bike for a few years now. The time finally came when I put in a call to Indian’s PR firm and asked for the Roadmaster. I don’t typically get intimidated by bikes, big, small or death traps. I do however get nervous about heavy bikes with high centers of gravity, the Roadmaster is not one of those bikes. As I eased myself into the premium leather touring seat I at once felt at home on the Roadmaster, it had the familiar Chief feel (which I have grown to love) with a low center of gravity and almost perfect ergonomics for my six-foot frame. I stepped off the bike once I realized the treat I was in for and began to fill the saddlebags and trunk. The trunk immediately revealed itself as a leader in class. The Roadmaster boasts over 37 gallons of total cargo space. The trunk can store both mine and my wife’s full-face helmet and with its self-locking mechanism, AC plug and light for finding things in the dark, Indian has all the bases covered. Once I had the bike packed up and ready to go I paired my phone via Bluetooth and put in navigation to my first stop. It paired seamlessly, and I was soon on the road enjoying everything the Roadmaster has to offer, listening to my music through the 200 watt audio system with speakers in the fairing and trunk.

The difference between the Chieftain and the Roadmaster are endless. Yes, it still has the streamliner locomotive inspired fairing, power adjustable windscreen, LED lighting from front to back, ABS brakes, cruise control, adjustable passenger floorboards, keyless ignition, 7-inch Indian Ride Command System and of course the 111- inch Thunderstroke V-Twin motor but it has a lot more. The lowers on the fairing are stock and were ample to block any sort of wind but also are adjustable to let the air flow through and allow additional cooling for the engine as well as the legs. There are also two handy storage compartments on either side of the lowers that are  hats or even a compact set of rain gear. The trunk, as I said before, is ample in size but also fairly easy to remove (there is an AC adapter and locking mechanism that has a quick disconnect underneath) but also provides superior comfort for the passenger with the wrap around padded trunk that has additional speakers for the stereo so even the passenger can enjoy the tunes. The passenger floorboards are adjustable, so they can have just the right position for those long days touring. Since that first day of initial riding, I have put over 2000 miles on this bike, having ridden it in California, up the coast then back to Colorado.

I easily took it over the famed and winding Nacimiento Fergusson road near Big Sur, easily navigated the high Sierra peaks (some still with significant snow pack on the side), dirt roads, and many cities. It handled everything I threw at it. The starting price is just under $30K, which for what you are getting is what would be expected. The only drawbacks I see are the excessive heat on the pant legs when it is hot out, which can be easily remedied by removing the lowers and windshield bolts backed out. Otherwise this bike has been a dream to have for a few months. I did want to see what other Roadmaster riders think of their rides, so I went on the Indian web site and began to peruse the reviews and was surprised to see how many of the Indian Roadmaster riders have made the switch to Indian from metric bikes. They overwhelmingly loved the bike and with 545 reviews they scored a 4.7 out of 5 stars. This is a real testament to what Indian is doing. They are offering an American Made alternative and I for one have enjoyed every minute being on it.

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