The Roadmaster can be customized with twotone paint options that amplify the bike’s retro appeal.
The very modern 7-inch command screen takes delicate touchinput from a gloved hand.
While the visual appeal of Indian Motorcycle’s top-of-the-line full-touring Roadmaster cruiser is all about the classic touches harkening to the glory days of postwar motorcycling (especially in an optional two-tone paint configuration that really hammers home the retro vibe), you might be surprised this big boy sports state-of-the art technology you’d expect to find in a luxury automobile (minus the cup holders). Yes, the bullet-proof 1811cc Thunderstroke 111 V-Twin engine generates plenty of chortling, throaty power, and the etched Indian Motorcycle headdress front fender lamp leads the way for heritage lovers—but how about a little 21st century comfort and luxury?
To start, you and your passenger can plant yourselves for the long haul in immaculately stitched, individually heated leather saddles—you probably won’t need to jack up the heat beyond 3 or 4 unless you’re driving through the Yukon in the winter. Ditto on the heated leather grips, by the way.
The wide fairing not only provides plenty of wind shelter, but also sports modern LED lighting and houses the front speakers of an uncanny Bluetooth-enabled, USB-sporting sound system that automatically lowers the volume when you reduce speed. Rear speakers are housed in the voluminous rear trunk unit, with enough room to stow two full-face helmets and more. Plus, the front windscreen is retractable.
The centerpiece of the tech candy is an Indian-designed 7-inch touch-sensitive Ride Command system, which covers navigation, points of interest and more, and can be customized on-the-y to display split-screen information. Throw in odds and ends like beefy saddlebags (all storage is easily removable without the aid of tools) and front and rear ABS, and you have a masterful combination of old-school meets new-age that’s faithful to the spirit of heavy cruising yet offers up-to-date amenities about which Marlon Brando in The Wild One could only have dreamt.
At 929 pounds fully fueled, the Roadmaster is a big bike to take on. While removing the storage units can add a little nimbleness to your ride, the Indian engineers have done an extraordinary job at balancing out the full-dress load. Road dynamics are exceptional with everything on, and rolling maneuverability was a breeze, even if you only occasionally hit the gym. $28,999-$30,399, Spirit Motorcycles, San Jose
Originally published in the September/October issue of Silicon Valley