True American iron
Over the past few years we have been riding a number of Indians, from the exciting FTR up to the impressive Chief last Summer. With the Autumn in full swing, we thought it would be apt to try out some big bikes in the month of November 2021. We recently kicked off with the BMW R18 and the R18 Transcontinental.
With that heritage in mind the Indian Roadmaster was a logical next step. To stay in tune with the inspiration of the Bavarian bikes dating back to the 1930’s, it was nice to be presented by Indian Motorcycle with their ‘Heritage Edition’.
Everything you can dream about is probably fitted to this machine! Starting with the very impressive ‘Thunderstroke’ heart which is no less than 116 cubic inches (1800 cc), also to be found in the Chief, the Chieftain and in the Springfield, the list of mouth-watering goodies just goes on forever.
Standard amenities include multi-setting heated seats and grips, remote-locking saddlebags and trunk, adjustable passenger floorboards, ABS, cruise control, keyless ignition, automatic tyre pressure monitoring, full LED lighting, and lower fairings with adjustable airflow vents.
“Can we get you anything else sir?”
Well, how about: Metzeler Cruisetec® tyres, and a push-button adjustable windshield? Standard amenities across the entire Roadmaster lineup include remote-locking saddlebags and trunk with over 140 litres of combined storage, adjustable passenger floorboards, ABS, cruise control, keyless ignition, tyre pressure monitoring and full LED lighting.
Furthermore, the power buttons on the Roadmaster, just like on the above mentioned models, have been relocated to the switch cube on the handlebars to accommodate a new 12-volt charge port on the dash. The charge port conveniently provides riders with an opportunity to plug in and connect to a wider range of electronics.
Phew! And I though my Christmas wish list was long.
On the road
After taking this all in it was time to hit the road. Having just given back the BMW R18 Transcontinental it was quite a change to get on the Roadmaster. Whereas it took a full day to get really comfortable with the huge BMW, the Roadmaster, which is equally gigantic, felt easy to handle right from the start.
Of course it is a bulky machine not necessarily built for Dutch country roads. Its natural habitat is more the American highway, but still there was no instant at all that it felt uncomfortable or out of place.
It is also nice to experience the reactions of other road users when they see the impressive front fairing of the Roadmaster appear in their rear-view mirrors. Cars automatically move to the side of the road to make room and you see many heads turned towards the machine to admire the beautiful finishes.
Broad power band
Did I already cite the smooth power delivery and loads of torque available at crazy low revs? Being the hooligan that I am, I could not resist throttling the engine at times, just to experience the full power of its roaring heart.
The Roadmaster comes with a dual-disc front and a single-disc rear brake arrangement (with ABS). There is sufficient stopping power available, although it feels a bit less direct compared to the BMW. With its low and wide handlebars, large seat and spacious floorboards, all Roadmaster models should fit the vast majority of European riders comfortably. And thanks to the adjustable windshield, wind protection is easily customizable. I played around with the electronics to raise and lower the shield while riding. In urban environments I found it better to ride with the shield down as the upper edge was exactly in view when sitting up straight.
Autumn comes with crisp weather and the heated grips and seats (even for passengers) did definitely make the long miles go by far more comfortably as well on shorter and even colder rides.
Coffee and cake the American way
On a chilly Saturday morning I decided to ride to a friend who lives in the south of the country. He is not very well unfortunately and this was a great excuse to cover over 400 kilometres on one day, just for coffee, cake, good old riding memories and a laugh.
What a magnificent experience it was! The Indian challenges the pilot to just keep on riding and riding until there is no horizon in sight anymore. It was a Royal Ride that day and I felt like a King riding this high powered motorcycle all week.
Life is all about selecting the paths to go on and following your passions to lead the way in life.
Choosing the right bike for the right moment is one of them.
Don’t forget to ‘work less and ride more’. Life is too short not to.
Photo credits: Ron Betist