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Old 08-27-2014, 03:57 PM   #1
MHaz01 OP
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2015 Indian Roadmaster Thread

An Indian dealer sent me an email inviting me to an Indian demo day. The deal was that I could ride any Indian motorcycle I wanted, as often as I wanted, provided I lined up like everyone else. Sweet.

The bike I really wanted to ride was the Roadmaster. I ride a Victory Cross Country Tour, and I'm considering trading for a different touring bike this fall or next spring. My wife came along for the day as she's a motorcycle fan, and most of our riding is two-up, multi-day trips.

Indian brought about 20 bikes to the event. Most of the people there were lined up to ride the Scout, so it was easy to get several 45 minute demo rides on the Roadmaster. The route included city streets, suburban roads, rural roads and a divided four lane highway.

My impressions: The Roadmaster feels lighter than it weighs, probably because of its aluminium frame and lower center of gravity. It can be lifted off the center stand much easier than a Harley Ultra, even though they weigh about the same amount. The steering is light, and the bike feels agile at low speeds. It is very maneuverable for a touring rig, with none of the uncertainty I usually feel on a heavy bike going less than 5 mph. The seating position is good. The new seats are the most comfortable motorcycle seats I've ever been on, although I wonder whether they will compress after a few thousand miles of use.

The keyless ignition is nice, though it took a moment to get used to. Wearing the fob securely on a carabiner in your jacket seems like a way to avoid losing a key. When you (and the fob) walk away form the bike, is is locked and disabled. The fit and finish of the bike is excellent. High-quality chrome, beautiful paint, nice details. If HD fit and finish is 100, the Indian fit and finish is 98 or better.

The 111 engine is a work of art, visually and performance wise. It is so smooth it feels nearly like a low rpm rotary engine. Torque arrives early in the power band and hangs around a long time. This is a sweet, sweet engine. While there is some of the usual v-twin heat coming from the engine, it isn't unpleasant (ambient temp was 87F, so a hotter day might have led to a different opinion). The header pipes are ceramic coated to move heat further down the exhaust system, and the artistic looking valve covers are actually a second cover, again to control engine heat. The engine is eerily devoid of mechanical noises. The transmission is smooth without the usual clunking heard on other v-twin transmissions. I'd equate it to the smoothness and shifting of the GL1800.

Airflow management is very good. We experienced no turbulence with the windshield in either its lowest or highest position. The windshield is high quality, with no visual distortion. Shouldn't any bike that costs more than $25K have an electric windshield? (Looking at you, Goldwing and Harley)

The Roadmaster is deceptively comfortable at higher speeds. We entered a four-lane down a long on-ramp, trying to catch up to the group leader who had blasted ahead on a Scout. I looked at the dash to see which gear I was in and noticed that speedometer needle was at 100. It felt like 60 or 65. Very little turbulence in the cockpit, very stable ride. My wife later said she had no sensation of going that fast, and was quite blissfully comfortable on the back seat.

The air adjustable suspension needs to be pumped up or down to match the riders' weight. The correct pressure makes a big difference. The first Roadmaster we rode was correct for our weight, and the resultant ride was exceptionally smooth. We felt no bumps or road imperfections at all. We rode over two railroad grade crossings and didn't feel them, even though they were in poor condition. The ride was blissful. The second Roadmaster, however was not inflated to accommodate our weight and the ride was harsh at times, especially over the railroad crossings, and joint heaves on the highway. The non-adjustable front suspension felt a bit soft at times, but not so soft as to bottom out.

The brakes were okay, just okay. Good brake balance in the linked system, and it self-disables below 25 mph so the rear brake can be trailed on u-turns, etc. Still, I'd like a shorter stopping distance. The HD Ultra we rode later had better brakes.

So what did we think? After the first ride on the Roadmaster, my wife found a salesman and asked him to give us a written trade-in proposal for our bike. We haven't pulled the trigger yet - the dealer won't have Roadmasters until November - but I think we'll be on one next spring at the latest.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:23 PM   #2
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Thanks for starting the thread and for your review, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Roadmaster "Down Under" as since buying my Victory Cross Roads the wife and I have spent way more time on it than we expected( so much so we sold our sports car as we were walking past it to ride) so a step up to a Roadmaster is on the cards, sounds like we may fall in love.


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Old 08-27-2014, 07:42 PM   #3
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Escellent review. Thanks for sharing. I took a 20 minute escorted group ride on a Chieftain. That engine is sweet. If I could have bought an Indian with the Vintage windshield and Chieftain hard saddlebags, I likely would have. But the dealer told me the combination is not available (even by throwing money at the accessory catalog).
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Old 08-27-2014, 09:25 PM   #4
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My friend just rode one in Oklahoma and complained about the heat. I'll have to ask him what the temps were.

I loved the Chieftain I rode last year, I'd like one of them with the Roadmaster's seat, and trunk.

Indian did several follow up calls, I told them the same things I told the rep at the demo ride. The passenger pegs should be floor boards for a bike that expensive, the power symbol kinda detracts from the classic aspect, and I need a tour pack before I would buy one. Other than that a great effort for a new bike.

It took me forty years to finally buy a Harley in 2013, I think I will keep it a while longer.

Hope Indian, and Victory make it though. I could see myself on one or the other next time around if the wife still wants to ride. Otherwise it'll be an Explorer, or another GS.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:32 PM   #5
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Current Rider magazine has a write up of the Roadmaster..... Looks like a Harley....




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Old 08-28-2014, 06:33 AM   #6
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I don't think that looks like a Harley at all.


Quote:
Originally Posted by HighwayStar View Post
Current Rider magazine has a write up of the Roadmaster..... Looks like a Harley....




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Old 08-28-2014, 10:00 AM   #7
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Cool

Wow, I think it looks great, I'd buy one if I could afford it.

As far as looking like a Harley, their is only so much you can do with a v twin and two wheels. The fairing and tank have an Indian style.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HighwayStar View Post
Looks like a Harley....


These Indians are the most hideous bikes made when seen in pictures, they must be seen in 3-D to appreciate what nice bikes they are...they just work in person.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:22 PM   #9
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I have always hated that front fender -- on the old ones and now again on the new ones, but I guess it's the Indian trademark...
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:35 PM   #10
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I guess if you automatically associate any V-Twin cruiser with Harley Davidson then it does look like a HD. If you actually look at it for what it is then it looks nothing like a Harley.

I'm not a huge fan of that "trademark" front fender and I think the fairing looks a bit pug nosed, but overall its a very nice looking bike and I would gladly take it over a HD.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by larryboy View Post
These Indians are the most hideous bikes made when seen in pictures, they must be seen in 3-D to appreciate what nice bikes they are...they just work in person.
I kinda think it's the other way around. They look far worse in real life than in the pictures.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:01 PM   #12
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I kinda think it's the other way around. They look far worse in real life than in the pictures.
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Old 08-28-2014, 03:46 PM   #13
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Thanks for the great write up! I like that you wrote what your wife thought too, as it will be a big factor for me when the time is right. Indians are on the top of my list right now, although it will be years until I can afford one (or allowed to openly think about one) as I just got my first bike the Vstrom 650. But the Chieftain and Roadmaster are the styles I've wanted sense a kid, and I know my wife would be comfortable and would appreciate the extra room for her girly things.

When you get it, please post back your thoughts and let us know what you think after a few months ownership (if its the one you end up with).
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:05 AM   #14
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Over $28k, huh?
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Old 08-29-2014, 08:08 PM   #15
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The price is an issue, isn't it? The big touring bikes all sticker above $25,000. That includes the Roadmaster, the HD Ultras, the Goldwing, and the BMW K1600GTL.
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