RoadTest: The 2016 Indian Roadmaster.

 

Is this the new Cadillac of touring motorcycles, the 2016 Indian Roadmaster?

Here’s my take on this luxury touring dresser. It’s basically the same ride as the 2015 model I tested back in December of 2014…here’s a repost for your consideration as you decide whether or not to spend your hard-earned cash on this motorcycle.

 

My 2-cents right up front. This is one superb, big time bagger.

It’s also one of the sleekest and sexiest full-dressers on the touring market in my humble opinion. An absolute beauty of a bike.

The Roadmaster is Indian’s answer to current market dominator, Harley-Davidson’s best touring machine, the Ultra Glide Limited. And a big answer they came up with. Just look at the beautiful lines and styling of the Roadmaster in the image below.

2015 Indian Roadmaster. Photo: Indian Motorcycle Inc.

2015 Indian Roadmaster. Photo: Indian Motorcycle Inc.

 

This is a big motorcycle…near 900 pounds dry weight.

Add a passenger and full cargo and you could be man-handling 1,400 pounds on 2-wheels. But don’t worry. You’ll get plenty of help from the solid/rigid cast aluminum frame. Regardless of payload, the Roadmaster rides smooth and solid over all types of road conditions from what I could tell. Not even San Diego’s pot holes were a match for this big boy of a bagger.

Frame and Suspension…provide real stability and handling confidence.

The frame and suspension felt perfectly in sync. The front telescopic forks provide 4.7 inches of travel and are appropriately stiff to my liking. The rear suspension is controlled by a single shock which offers 4.5 inches of travel. This rear shock is adjustable to your total payload. For me, the Roadmaster’s ride is near perfect. Small road bumps were barely noticeable whether straight up or leaning. The bike simply handles with grace.

Enough storage capacity for any road trip.

This Roadmaster comes with serious storage capacity…almost 38 gallons of weatherproof storage according to Indian’s specs. You can easily fit two full face helmets in the trunk. The hardbags and trunk are secured by quality locks. The keyless remote for the locks is a nice convenience feature.

Ultimate in seat luxury. Desert tan, genuine leather with heat control!

Ultimate in seat luxury. Desert tan, genuine leather with heat control! Photo: Indian Motorcycle Inc.

The Seat: “Spectacular”.

The genuine tan leather is simply luxurious. Nicely padded, stitch design is immaculate. The seats offer superior support.

The Roadmaster seats, both rider and passenger, are heated and come standard with individual controls of high and low settings.

The aftermarket will be hard pressed to do better than this original manufacturer’s stock seat when it comes to the baseplate, foam and leather covering. It is pure quality.

What more can I say? The seats are darn right plush. Best motorcycle touring seat I’ve ever sat on and ridden.  It’s an absolute butt pleaser.

 

The Cockpit…vintage cool.

The Cockpit offers some impressive luxuries. Roadmaster’s power adjusted windshield provides good air flow options for the rider to customize airflow, add to weather protection and even to reduce glare.

Keyless ignition comes with remote locking feature for hassle-free operation and security of a tamper proof ignition.

The sound system, at 200 watts, is amazing. It comes standard with AM, FM, WB, AUX and Bluetooth so that you can connect your iPod/MP3 player. Fairing and trunk speakers are top notch.

Standard options include a tire pressure monitoring system, state-of-the-art cruise control, and more. Click here for a complete listing of the manufacturer’s offering from the cockpit’s electronic gauge.

Sorry, no factory navigation available on the Roadmaster. More on this later in this post.

 

LA Indian MY15 PR shoot May, 2014

The Roadmaster’s Cockpit looks vintage cool. Front-end upper and lower fairings do a an excellent job windbreaking and protecting the rider. Photo: Indian Motorcycle Inc.

 

The Thunder Stroke 111.

Look it! As we serious riders all know, engine power matters. Torque counts!

WOW is all I can say about the Thunder Stroke motor. In fact, let me say double WOW to this engine.

It’s a modernized 49-degree 1811cc V-Twin displacing 111 cubic inches and it unleashes impressive torque power…119 ft.pds of it according to the tech pros at Indian Motorcycles.

The power spreads over the torque curve regardless of RPM level and regardless of which gear you are in it seems. I just love the smooth acceleration and power that comes out of this motor.

1811cc Thunder Stroke 111… Awesome powerplant. Click image to view video on this impressive motor. Photo: MJB. Video: Indian Motorcycle Inc.

 

The Thunderstroke 111 differentiates itself favorably from Harley’s Ultra Glides which tend to come with 103.1 cubic inches at an estimated 1690cc.

Note: ** I could not find anyone, anywhere, anyhow who would talk to me about the Thunder Stroke’s actual horsepower.

So, let me offer my semi-educated, mechanic gearhead, humble opinion based on my 30+ years around motorcycle engines…I estimate this 1811cc motor is putting out around 90 hp. If you are a SuperFlow or Dynojet Pro, or have insider knowledge from the Indian Motorcycle Company, please let me and my blog fans know about the actual horsepower of the Thunder Stroke 111. Simply post your information in the comments section at the end of this post. “Horsepower” — We gearheads wanna know.

Update: See Comments Section below for horsepower update info sent in from one of my blog’s followers.

 

           The Indian Roadmaster is a stylish and beautiful Dresser.

2015 Indian Roadmaster. Click image for manufacturers specs.

2015 Indian Roadmaster. Click image for manufacturers specs.

 

Roadmaster designers…you lost me at “No GPS”. 

Got to admit…I did not expect that the Roadmaster, the newest Cadillac of Dressers, the want-to-be “Master of the Road”, would actually omit a basic factory navigation system from its list of exceptional offerings. How can that be I ask the Indian Motor Company?

That’s right folks. The Roadmaster does not come with GPS? Personally, as an experienced long distance rider, I find this to be a major design oversight and suggest this be addressed for the 2016 – 2017 models.

 

Yup, it's true. No factory navigation system. That's righ, no GPS on a Full-Dresser???

Yes, it’s true. No factory navigation system on the 2015 Indian Roadmaster. No GPS on a modern day full-dresser?

 

GPS ON Harley-Davidson's Ultra Glide.

GPS navigation system should be is a standard part of the long-distance rider’s cockpit. See Harley-Davidson’s Ultra Glide Limited for example. Photo: Harley-Davidson.com

 

The Bottom Line.

The 2015 Indian Roadmaster is beautiful machine, a great handling full-dresser. The bike offers a spectacular and comfortable ride, plenty of engine power from every gear and is a clear winner in the design and attention to detail category. Add a state-of-the-art navigation system in 2016 and this big bagger could become the real deal…the true “Master of the Road”.

Roadmaster. Master of the Roadtrip. Big Boy Bagger for sure. A spectacular entre into the full-dresser market niche.

The Indian Roadmaster… Master of the Roadtrip…Big Boy Bagger for sure. A spectacular entre into the full-dresser market niche. Good job Polaris & Indian Team. Good job indeed! Photo: Indian Motorcycle Inc.

 

Ride Safe Out There.

 

MJB July 2015 - 302x302 BLOG

Ride Safe Out There – MotorcycleMarc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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22 comments

  1. Xavier G. says:

    After looking at a number of the articles on the Roadmasters I must say I like your blog article the best. I seriously like your way of writing a blog. Thanks
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Hey Xavier…thank you. Ride Safe Out There. — Motorcycle Marc

  2. Randall B. says:

    The Roadmaster is a work of art. It handles and rides like a dream. I currently ride a 2012 Ultra limited and it put my bike to shame. There are some refinements that need to be done though. All the Indians are hot on the ass! HD puts a deflector near the head while ass gets hot it does deflect heat. Also the windshield is a rattle trap. The bikes I demoed rattled under the bike as well. Only noticed when cruising 70 or 75. I could never find the cause of the vibration. The other refinement,, is cost! few thousand more than HD. I would consider buying one for sure. But maybe at yrs end and some negotiations I think the Roadmaster should be 23-25k not 30plus. For now I will keep my eye open though. I absolutely think the Indians are beautiful.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————–

    I agree with you Randall that the Indian Roadmasters are “dreamy” in many ways. Good looking baggers for sure. Big price tags on big, top of the line touring baggers are always an issue for most of us. Big bikes like these are not for everyone. According to their websites, the new new Harley-Davidson Ultra Limiteds are MSRP at a whopping $26,999…The new 2017 Indian Roadmasters are MSRP at $28,999…You’ll be near $30Ks out the door for either of them…Great machines if you can afford them. — Motorcycle Marc

  3. Terry D. says:

    An outstanding write-up dude. Thank you. I just love the Indian Roadmaster. Too pricey for me now but maybe someday I’ll be able to afford a used one.
    ———————————————————————————————————–

    Hello Terry…no doubt about it, today’s big American baggers are expensive. The new 2016s & 2017s Roadmaster are well into the $30,000 out the door but man, what a beautiful machine. See Indian’s webpage for more info…

    I guide aspiring riders all the time towards buying “used” or “pre-owned” motorcycles has they are one of the best value purchases out there. You’ll easily save $10K on a 5-year old Roadmaster so start saving your pennies. Look out for miles…anything less than 40,000 is OK on the Thunderstroke motors…good as new in many respects.

    Motorcycle rental giants, Eagle Rider, regularly sells used, well-serviced bikes…Check ’em out when you are ready. Click on this link…http://www.eaglerider.com/?utm_source=whitelabel&utm_medium=affiliate&utm_campaign=motorcyclemarc

    Thank you for reading my blog Terry. Make your dream come true within 60 months. #youcandoit. – MJB

  4. Marly M. says:

    Reading your blog gave me a lot of interesting information on the Roadmaster. Thank you Motorcycle Marc. I am thinking of trading in my Street Glide for it. What do you think about this?
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    Hi Marly…depends on your riding style…the Roadmaster is great if you are riding long distance on a regular basis. The Street Glide is a great ride both short and long distances. Tough decision as both are excellent baggers…Select based on your normal riding pattern I say. MJB

  5. Mohammed A. says:

    I see your page is in the same niche like my page is in Jordan. Do you
    allow guest posting? I can write interesting & unique content for you from the Middle East.
    Let me know if you are interested.
    ————————————————————————————————–

    Hey, Mohammed…thanks for reading my blog and, all the way from Jordan! I do accept guest blog posts but I’m very selective on content and copyrights. Feel free to send me an article in Word so that I can edit it to my blogging standards and please make sure that you specifically indicate your authority to use copyrighted images and photos. Send me your stuff. – MJB

  6. Dude M. says:

    I love this motorcycle…big! I can’t afford the Roadmaster but I do love it. I also love your blog. I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website. It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much more enjoyable for me to come here and visit often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme? Superb work!

  7. Harry U. says:

    Nice ride the Indian Roadmaster…You really understand what you are talking about with this motorcycle. I am surprised however, that the Thunderstroke motor is not made more powerful given that the owners of this Touring bike will likely carry heavier 2-up loads. Thank you for your blog post.
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    Hi Harry…thank you for your comments. I agree with you…the T111 should be closer to a T120 given the target market of the Indian Roadmaster…MJB

  8. Teresa T. says:

    Hello my name is Teresa and I just wanted to send you a quick message. I came to your RoadTest: The 2016 Indian Roadmaster through a Google search as I am considering buying my friends Roadmaster. He has developed a medical condition and can’t ride it anymore. I’m an experienced Sportster rider but have never ridden a big bike like his. What do you think? Thanks.
    ———————————————————————————————————–

    Thank you for reading my blog Teresa…Got to admit, it’s a big leap going from a small Harley-Davidson Sportster to a big bagger/tourer like the Indian Roadmaster.

    I personally do not recommend it…too much of a leap in engine size, weight and control…My recommendation is that you move on up to a next level cruiser-style bike such as a Heritage Softail and develop your skill on that bike first before jumping on a big touring bagger. You’ll build your confidence on that heavier bike and then graduate with even more riding skill to the Roadmaster. Ride Safe Out There…MJB

  9. Van C. says:

    Wow, sweet machine! Love the lines and look of this touring motorbike. Really expensive though in Australia. Don’t even know anyone who could afford it down here. Love your blog.

  10. Desiree H. says:

    I see many interesting articles here. Your blog is awesome. One of the best I’ve read on motorcycle stuff. Keep up the good work Motorcycle Marc.

  11. Deborah B. says:

    Thanks. Very interesting blog! I’m an experienced woman rider but intimidated by the size of the Roadmaster. Is there a smaller bagger style motorcycle you would recommend? I’m 5’6″ tall. Thank you.

  12. Joseph T. says:

    You have many interesting articles in your blog. Great review of the Roadmaster. Good job.
    —————————————————————————————————-

    Thank you for reading my blog Joseph. What do you ride now? You looking to buy a big touring bagger? MJB

  13. Jeremy S. says:

    Hi Marc, just read your review of the Indian Roadmaster. I too am surprised that there is no built in GPS??? Doesn’t seem right for a big road bike.

    ———————————————————————————————————–
    Hello Jeremy. Thank you for reading my blog. Check out my new blog post on the 2017 “Ride Command Center”. Navigation and a whole lot more is now standard touchscreen equipment on the new Chieftain and Roadmaster…Excellent upgrade from the Indian Motorcycle Company since I wrote my original article in 2014. — Motorcycle Marc

  14. Eddie says:

    Hey Marc, i have a concern about a few things,

    One is which cooling system is better air or water

    (2) Will the 2017 roadmaster have the built in navigation? I must admit i have not done any long travels so far but looking forward to a roadtrip soon! I’ve only owned a 99 HD Ultra Classic for a few years with little time ride so I sold it. Now looking for an new bagger. As the old men say, this one will take me out LOL!!! Your thoughts? Thank you. Eddie…

    ————————————————————————————–

    Hello Eddie…thank you for reading my blog. Performance wise, I do like water cooled engines for the long roadtrips. This said, today’s oil-cooled engines are excellent and do handle coolness well.

    Yes, the 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster have GPS Navigation and them some…Read the blog post I did on the Ride Command Center”…It is the industry’s best cockpit system.

    Cheers and Ride Safe Out There…Motorcycle Marc.

  15. F. "Bud" Stumbo says:

    Hi Motorcycle Marc,

    I rode my 2016 roadmaster on a 3200 mile trip. Cost me a nights stay and 40 bucks for towing to the Indian Dealer shop.

    Stereo system doesn’t hardly pick up any stations anywhere and my mp3 player wont play. They tried everything to fix it. I don’t think the seat is very comfortable. My butt got sore quickly.

    My 2013 HD roadglide was way more comfortable and stereo worked well. I am dissapointed with the stereo issue. Engine runs great and my roadmaster handles very well. Thank you for your blog. Bud

    ———————————————————————————–
    Thank you for connecting with my blog Bud. Sorry to hear about your radio/MP3 issue. Suggest taking it to another Indian Dealership near home as it appears to me to be a simple wiring issue that needs attending. What was the towing for that you mention? Let me know how/when you get it fixed. – Motorcycle Marc

  16. R. Storey says:

    Hey Marc, good job on this review of the Roadmaster. I am thinking of buying one. It is between the Roadmaster or the Ultra from Harley. Thanks for your review. I leaning towards the Indian. R. Storey

    ———————————————————————————————————–

    Thanks for your note Roy and thank you for reading my blog.

    Both of these touring bikes are excellent rides. Depends on how much money you have to spend here from a choice standpoint.

    In total, from a motorcycle ride to motorcycle value ratio, you’ll find the “out-the-door” price, discounts & deals included, lower for the Roadmaster versus the Harley-Davidson Ultra. This said, I ride both brands regularly and at the bagger level, I love both of these bikes.

    Ride Safe Out There,

    Motorcycle Marc

  17. Ray Daloisio says:

    Hello Marc,

    I own a 2016 Roadmaster, it is a great bike. I am getting ready to take in on the first long trip, going to be travelling from Panama City FL to Chicago IL. What I am trying to find out is what is the estimated highway mileage for the Roadmaster. I have not been able to find this information anywhere. Thanks. Ray

    —————————————————————————————————————–
    Thank you for your note Ray and thank you for reading my blog.

    Best I can tell, using my own Indian Chieftain riding as a guide, fully-loaded, after 37,000 miles, you should be able to get about 190 miles out of your 5.5 gallon fuel tank. I average 34 to 36 miles per gallon at highway speeds…70 to 80 mph. This said, your fuel warning light will come on at about 170 miles to a tank. I pushed my Chieftain to 190 miles between fill ups on my last roadtrip…the tank was all but dry…Hope this helps.

    Ride Safe Out There.

    Motorcycle Marc

  18. B. Fish says:

    Hello Motorcycle Marc,

    Just did a road test on the 2016 roadmaster I thought this bike was seriously underpowered!

    Too big of a flywheel. I found that the engine does not respond quickly nor does it slow down when you let off on the throttle you feel like your speed shifting.

    I currently ride Yamaha 1300 Royal venture and I felt the royal venture blows this bike away in engine performance.

    I had done all the research I was super pumped about this bike I thought this was my next bike and then I rode it and I was so disappointed. Not enough power when both the wife and me are on a ride.

    Writing double up this bike drags the pipes just a little bit on curve leans.

    On a positive note, the comfort is out of this world and the looks really rock but to ride this bike after years riding my Yamaha Venture, I don’t think so. It’s not for me. Thanks for the article though, it lead me to try the Roadmaster out, sure is a nice bagger just not enough power.

    Sent from my iPhone.

    B. Fish – NY

  19. Edgar T. H, III - PA says:

    Marc:

    Thanks for a nice article on the 2016 Roadmaster and dead on except I’d disagree regarding the GPS.

    As a new owner who set off to a dealer to purchase a used 2014 Harley Ultra Limited and ended up driving home a new 2016 Indian, I had the same initial misgiving about the lack of GPS.

    However, during the Harley test ride I got a bit disoriented and tried to use the Harley’s built-in GPS to find my way back and concluded quickly that it stunk and I’d never us it.

    The conundrum is that Google Maps is so good that most “built-in” GPS systems can’t compete with all the real-time info, alternate routing options, etc. that Google Maps brings to table.

    As a tech guy we just ripped out a $50K “trip planner” system at a transit authority website and replaced it with a Google Maps version because the third-party solution just couldn’t keep up with what users have come to expect from using Google Maps.

    I quickly realized that I’d rather use my smart-phone and Google Maps for navigation on the bike than anything built-in as I often do even in my F-150 Lariat which has built-in GPS. It’s just that much better.

    And with the “hidden” phone cubby, USB and/or Bluetooth on the Roadmaster, it’s easy to set your destination then just listen to the directions keeping your eyes on the road where they belong. If you really want to see the map, there are plenty of handlebar mounts that will put it in easy view. So not a bad decision by Indian in my mind.

    Good riding!

    Edgar from Pennsylvania

  20. Hugues says:

    I understand why no GPS but why not an alarm ?

    Hi Hugues,
    There’s been some communication confusion around whether or not the Chieftain and Roadmaster have or don’t have a built-in alarm system out of the factory. Best I can tell, here’s how to double-check.

    1. Do the following with your Key Fob.

    Double-click your key fob near your bike. You should hear your bike make a chirping sound. If you don’t hear the chirp and all you hear are your saddlebags locking, you may not have the factory alarm installed. To check further, take your key fob out of range of the bike and try to lean the bike off of its kick stand…if all hell breaks loose with horn sound and lights, you got an alarm on.

    2. “Flash It
    Visit your Indian Motorcycle dealer and ask them to “program” your alarm…in other words, flash it to life. Chances are it is on your bike just not activated.

    Hoping this answers your inquiry. Let me know.

    Thank you for reading my blog by the way Hugues.

    Motorcycle Marc

  21. Terry says:

    Thank you for sharing this info from Cycle World Terry…excellent article by Andrew Bornhop. re: “Three American V-Twin Touring Baggers” – March 16,2015

    Looks like their review uncovered the Indian ThunderStroke 111 pushing out 76.4 hp @4510 rpm…this compares to 73.7 hp @ 4980 rpm from Harley-Davidson’s Ultra Classic. My gut expectation was for TS111 horsepower to be closer to 85 – 90 hp…more in line with the Victory Freedom 106 which claims 85.0 hp @4300 rpm. At least it felt that way. Thanks again for sharing the Cycle World article.

    Note to Blog Followers: See the following Cycle World link for additional info on these three American baggers and their numbers.

    http://www.cycleworld.com/2015/03/16/harley-davidson-electra-glide-ultra-classic-vs-indian-roadmaster-vs-victory-cross-country-tour-comparison-test-motorcycle-review/

    MJB 10/26/2015

  22. Hello Marc…Regarding the Roadmaster not coming out with GPS—we elected to make that an option as the technology is changing quickly, and it offers the owner the chance to use the same GPS that is often used in their car rather than being tied to the motorcycle.

    The radio system has a Bluetooth interface, and we have accessory cables that tie the GPS into the audio system to fully integrate it.

    Other standard equipment such as the leather seat, heated grips and seats, chrome forks and ABS brakes, ranked higher on customer’s wish lists for standard equipment over the GPS.

    Thanks for the article.

    Robert P. – Indian Motorcycle Co.
    December 22, 2014