More than 2.6 meters long, a metre wide, and boasting a dry weight of 421kg, here is the flagship and most intimidating motorcycle on sale, the Indian Roadmaster.
Let's start with the intimidating appearance of this massive red hulk of a motorcycle. As the name suggests, the behemoth-looking Roadmaster is the biggest and most expensive Indian motorcycle till now. The bike is more than 2.6 meters long, over a metre wide and has a dry weight of 421kg, making it the heaviest one as well. Still, it looks very appealing and beautiful, like what Americans like to call a full dresser.
Based on the Indian Chieftain, the Roadmaster comes with a large front fairing incorporating triple headlamps, complementing the dimensions of the motorcycle. The bike we got to ride was in the Red and Ivory Cream shade which looks simply astonishing with its massive size.
The skirt style front fender with tapered ends almost covers the entire front wheel, providing a true retro Indian style to it while the illuminated war bonnet on it gives a premium modern touch. Thanks to the flowing design of the tank and the hard panniers on either side, the bike looks flawless. The massive chrome plated V-twin completes the classic look of the motorcycle along with the long sweep dual chrome plated exhaust mufflers.
For a better hold even with gloved hands grooves have been provided on the grips and it does the job well. Fit and finish level of the Indian Roadmaster is just excellent and it gives a solid feel as well. The wide and comfortable seat of the bike has been finished in genuine leather along with the armchair styled pillion perch. Along with the premium detailing, there is the 'Indian' logo on the bike at more than 50 spots which further enhances its exclusivity.
It's now time to swing a leg over the behemoth, but be careful as your legs might snag in the armrests provided for the pillion only. We were also told to be careful with the bike as it weighs more than 421kg in the running condition. However, once you sit on it, the exceptionally wide and comfortable seat, and the meter wide highway handlebar make you feel like one unit. Also, picking the bike off its stand is much easier than it looks due to the large dimensions.
The instrument console of the Indian Roadmaster looks like that on the Chieftain but it comes with a 200W Bluetooth compatible audio system. Also, you don't need to insert the key to start the motorcycle as it gets a keyless ignition system. This means that you just need to carry the key fob in your pocket to start the motorcycle using the push start button on the fuel tank.
As you push the starter button, the bike wakes up with a very gentle V-twin rumble, unlike the rude behaviour of most of the Harleys. Shifting from neutral to first will give you an idea of the smooth working of its gearbox. Though the shifting needs a bit of effort it has been ensured that you will never miss a gear or get false neutrals.
You can feel the bike losing at least a couple of quintals instantaneously as it starts moving. We know that it is hard to believe how a motorcycle with this much weight and an 1800cc V-twin could be so manageable, but it is true. Torque delivery of the Indian Roadmaster is smooth and you get enough torque available at any point in its rev range.
The combination of its comfortable features and the torquey V-twin provides an unmatchable riding experience, especially on wide open roads. The pillion seat is similar to that of an S-class, except that one is exposed to the elements of nature. Thanks to the beefy 46mm front forks and the adjustable pneumatic rear monoshock, the bike takes smaller undulations with ease and provides a plush ride experience. However, the larger ones tend to pose a little problem.
Performing braking duties on this giant are dual 300mm discs on the front with a single similar sized one on the rear wheel. All the units come with ABS assistance and provide a lot of feedback as well as stopping power. You can feel the true nature of its Thunderstroke 111 engine as you hit the open roads and it remains unstrained even when pushed to its rev limit. The motor delivers a peak torque of 161.6Nm and remains almost vibration free throughout the rev range.
The thing that impressed us most is not the massive storage space nor the stereo system or luxurious pillion seat or the super refined V-twin, but the superb handling of the Roadmaster. The bike feels majestic on the road even with its large dimensions and over four quintals of kerb weight. Thanks to the rake angle of just 25 degrees, the front wheel remains closer to the centre of gravity. It results in agile handling dynamics despite the massive fairing on the handlebar. Steering response of the bike is up to the mark and you will find the bike leaning into the corners without any rebellion.
There is cruise control on the bike as well, so when you feel to chill on the go, simply switch it on and sit back. Though it doesn't look like it, the Roadmaster is a versatile machine and quite flickable through slow traffic as well. However, curious people can create some problems for you. But that's not the only problem with the bike as we say nothing can be perfect. The massive V-twin of the engine is air-cooled, so you might have to bear a lot if stuck in traffic. Also, parking this mammoth is not an easy task at all and operating the big switchgear can be confusing as well.
But these niggles are not enough to change my opinion that the Indian Roadmaster is a remarkable motorcycle and the credit goes to its comfort, built, equipment, multiple storage spaces and one of the most refined motors available in the market today. We know that the price tag of Rs 38 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi) is not at all affordable for a set of two wheels, but you will find it much lesser than its direct competitor, the Harley-Davidson CVO Limited. And the most important thing is the pure cruising soul of the bike which makes it one of the best cruiser motorcycles on sale in our country.