2015 Indian Roadmaster | FIRST RIDE

The First Luxury Tourer From America’s First Motorcycle Maker

They say: A storied soul in a brand-new bike. We say: This one’s ready to write your own story.

When Indian debuted the Roadmaster name in 1947 it graced the flanks of the most luxurious American motorcycle ever built, with a list of standard features that made even the ostentatious Chief look plain in comparison. Recycling the Roadmaster title for the new Indian’s first luxury touring motorcycle was a no-brainer, and true to that pedigree, the company cut no corners to make this the most extravagant American motorcycle yet.

This is more than a Chieftain with a trunk. The typical touring customer is older than the typical bagger buyer and has been riding for much longer, too—35 years compared to eight years, Indian says. They know what they want in a motorcycle, and what they want is premium features and comfort. The Roadmaster delivers with full LED lighting, keyless ignition, 37.6 gallons of weatherproof, remote-locking storage, 10-stage heated grips and a hi/lo heated saddle, electronic cruise control, integrated infotainment with Bluetooth connectivity, tire pressure monitoring, and much more—these are just some of the standard features.

The Roadmaster looks tight in two-tone Indian Red/Ivory Cream colors. Two-tone paint schemes are a new option on all 2015 Indians, including the Chief, Chief Vintage, and Chieftain.

The ergonomics have been completely revised for comfort, starting with a wider, taller, and softer “pillow top” saddle that better cradles your bum and increases leg room too. A new, 4-inch-adjustable windscreen is lower but wider than the Chieftain’s to create an overall larger pocket of still air, but it’s still too tall for this 5-foot-7 pilot to see over in its lowest position. The passenger enjoys a full-length padded backrest and floorboards that adjust 2 inches vertically and offer 12 degrees of angle adjustment to accommodate boots. Cockpit comfort is further improved by clever lower fairings with four adjustable air deflectors that very effectively control airflow—and weather protection, too, as we discovered during our wet, two-day ride around Red Wing, Minnesota.

The Thunder Stroke 111 V-twin is essentially identical to that in the Chieftain. Same for the cast-aluminum frame, though that didn’t stop Indian from performing the equivalent of 2 million additional miles of validation testing on the basic Chief/Chieftain platform to create this bike. The biggest-in-class engine, all-new last year, shines in this application, with a claimed 119 pound-feet of torque confidently pushing this 930-pound (claimed, wet) cruiser down the road with unexpected smoothness thanks to the direct-drive configuration (power transfers direct from crank to clutch without a primary drive). Air-adjustable suspension and totally transparent, “high-resolution” ABS—also sampled repeatedly during our wet test ride—provide handling every bit as refined as the rest of the bike.

At $26,999, the base Roadmaster is the most expensive bike in the category, but when you consider that adding the equivalent options to Harley-Davidson’s Ultra Limited pushes its price to nearly $30K, the Indian ranks as a great value. There are minor gripes here—some control buttons are hard to reach and require too firm a push, and we’d like to see a TFT display instead of the garden-variety LCD—but in terms of style, performance, and pure luxury for the rider and passenger both, Indian’s first luxury tourer has installed itself at the head of the class.

VERDICT   8/10 Stars

Iconic American style, an impeccable pedigree (via Indian and Polaris both), and an impressive level of luxury and functionality create a new luxury leader.
PRICE $26,999
ENGINE 1181cc, oil-cooled 49° V-twin
CLAIMED TORQUE 119.2 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm
FRAME Cast-aluminum semi-double-cradle with tubular-steel backbones
FRONT SUSPENSION Indian 46mm fork; 4.7-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Indian shock adjustable for air preload; 4.5-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Dual Indian four-piston calipers, 300mm discs with ABS
REAR BRAKE Indian two-piston caliper, 300mm disc with ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 25.0º/5.9 in.
WHEELBASE 65.7 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 26.0 in.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 930 lb. wet
CONTACT [Indian Motorcycle][]
The Roadmaster looks tight in two-tone Indian Red/Ivory Cream colors. Two-tone paint schemes are a new option on all 2015 Indians, including the Chief, Chief Vintage, and Chieftain.