Madrid to Barcelona
Last winter, I set out on a road trip for work cutting through Spain.
If you have to travel and you work for BikeBrewers, what else can you do than ‘always ride in style’?
Departing from rainy Madrid and headed for sunny Barcelona, followed by even sunnier Valencia and Elche (a small town next to Alicante). After that it is back to Madrid again. Around 2.000km in 6 days with two full days of meetings in Barcelona.
For this kind of mileage and in the middle of winter, I had to be smart about the ride I was going to choose and decided to look into the touring segment.
But what is a touring motorcycle if I may ask?
A touring bike is built for riding the wide-open roads and often has a very powerful engine with lots of storage and protection. The stronger the engine, the easier it is to carry weight as these bikes tend to be big and heavy!
We love Indian
Fortunately at BikeBrewers we have a great relationship with Indian Motorcycles and I have been testing bikes for their Spanish division over a year now. I have gone through the 2019 FTR range and even tried out their custom cruiser Springfield with its 1800cc monster engine.
So, when explaining my trip, they kindly offered to lend me a big bike with a big engine.
I was awarded the ultimate challenge or better yet, the ultimate pleasure spurring the spanking new 2021 Roadmaster Dark Horse wearing its very dark dress and a complete complement of touring equipment including cruise control, plush air adjustable single-shock rear suspension, Apple Carplay and three large cases (total storage: 142L).
Pure luxury for a long road trip!
However, the best part of the 2021 Indian Roadmaster is its improved engine with the new Thunder Stroke 116ci (1,890cc). A powerhouse that is meant to keep power levels up in the face of more restrictive emissions requirements!
On the Jett Tuning dyno, this roughly 5-percent increase in volume has resulted in more power at the rear wheel, to the tune of 75.9 horsepower at 4,200 rpm and 105.8 lb-ft of torque at an astoundingly low 2,000 rpm —. Talk about a stump puller! Yeah man!
Come rain come shine
I left Madrid on a rainy Sunday and rode over 500km non-stop. The Thunder Stroke 116 has a surplus of power with great pulse feel and an enormously satisfying rumble!
The Roadmaster can make a brisk pass with a single downshift. Shifting the 6-speed transmission is clean with a decisive “thunk” going into gear that is common to the big V-twin engines.
With its modern streamlined fairing and electric windshield, I was fully protected from the rain and rode to Barcelona quite comfortably, smiling all along and listening to the awesome audio set.
Meetings, bloody meetings
While working around Barcelona, I was a bit hesitant to use the Roadmaster in the busy streets of the Catalan capital with its 421kg and huge engine generating lots of heat. But hey, I didn’t come all this way to move around by foot.
To my surprise, it was a blast! The Thunder Stroke has a rear cylinder deactivation designed to reduce engine and exhaust heat when the engine gets hot and the bike is stopped. So little heat there.
The Roadmaster is also equipped with Indian’s highly functional super easy-to-use Ride Command infotainment system and its 7-inch glove-friendly touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth and gigawatt audio with four speakers. It even has an FM antenna which I find hilarious for the 21st century.
On the road again
After a few days, I left Barcelona to go down south via the Mediterranean coast via the famous scenic road called ‘El Garraf’, a small winding road leading you up the cliffs and hills into the natural park of Garraf.
This Roadmaster has an appetite for curves thanks to its aluminium chassis and low centre of gravity.
During the rest of the trip, I mostly rode side roads enjoying the twisted Spanish scenery. These roadways are a real treat because they are deserted. Luckily most of the highways in Spain are toll free, so no incentive for car drivers to look for alternatives, leaving the secondary roads to us bikers!
I really enjoyed the Indian Roadmaster during this trip with its ride-by-wire and three riding modes (Tour, Standard, Sport). I never felt the need to ride in anything except Sport mode, which provides a great throttle response topped with a deeper sound system … always very satisfying!
I did get some warm weather toward the end of the trip, so I decided to use the virtues of the new ClimaCommand Rogue seat. Believe it or not, you can both heat and cool, just dial in your needs. Several minutes later, you will feel the benefits of temperature control butt-comfort.
With the blacked-out finishes, that rough American look and just enough chrome, the Roadmaster Dark Horse brings a modern yet aggressive attitude to Indian Motorcycle’s premium touring segment.
If I could have a bike for each of my needs, the Roadmaster would definitely be one of my touring bikes.
Special thanks to: Indian Motorcycles Spain
Photography: Gonzalo Mártin aka enigma