Indian Roadmaster: Repose spirit
Snapshot: As far as long distance touring on motorcycles is concerned, the Indian Roadmaster is one of the best you can get. It has a charismatic engine, lots of storage, decent handling and a supple ride.
Nothing defines luxury on two wheels than Indian Motorcycle’s Chief series. Take any one of them for a test ride and you’ll come back with a sense of pride in owning one. The Vintage is for those who prefer nostalgia, get the Classic if you like retro, for lovers of black there the gorgeous Dark Horse and then is the Chieftain for those who like comfort with style. And now after its release at the Auto Expo this year is the new Chief Roadmaster specifically designed for long distance touring. Swing a leg over the hand stitched pure leather seats, crank up the 1,811cc Thunderstroke engine and cruise away listening to music on the USB music system. It is an intriguing image, isn’t it?
Road presence might be just another word to define the Roadmaster. Massive proportions, beautiful paint schemes and an imposing personality, all in one package in the Roadmaster. The classic fenders differentiate Chief models from anything on the road, and the fairing and saddle bags differentiate the Roadmaster from other Chiefs. The other major design element as always is the shining Thunderstroke engine with the long swooping exhausts. What is genius is how well the panniers gel with the overall design without looking too bulky despite having an impressive 130 litre storage space. Then you notice the beautiful hand stitched leather on the seats which is as best as it gets. The rear seat in itself is a design feature and it works even better than it looks.
Engine and transmission
The engine powering the Roadmaster is the same 1,811cc V-Twin Thunderstroke that powers other Chief motorcycles. However, this one is tuned for smoothness and easy pulling power for cruising. Imagine commanding 138Nm of peak torque from a measly 2,600rpm. Release the clutch and the Roadmaster pulls away with grace and aplomb. It does not have the torque surge of the Classic or the nippy feel of the Dark Horse, but it does have a relentless store of usable torque. It will keep cruising at 90kmph in 6th gear with the Thunderstroke barely perceptible. Gently twist the throttle some more to go faster. The 6-speed transmission is slick shifting with zero false shifts. In fact you may have a lot fun with through the corners under the motorcycle’s limits. Another feature is the electronically adjustable windscreen which raises and falls at the push of a button. It works very effectively keeping winds away from the riders face.
Ride and handling
When it comes to ride quality, Roadmaster will put a lot of premium luxury cars to shame in terms of delivery which is absolutely supple and stable. Also the Polaris developed suspension setup is sturdy and you may rest assured it won’t collapse under its own weight. Chuck it around bad road surfaces and it keeps composed without unsettling the heft of the motorcycle. And riding through corners too is not scary considering its dimensions. The old lady and run through corners, and that too at a decent pace. The brakes though could have been made better. They are satisfactory in performing but perhaps added bite and progression.
Indian Roadmaster is not one of those motorcycles which you buy for performance and practicality. It is more a piece of history you borrow from an ancient brand. The surprise is that you actually do get performance and practicality from a machine that was designed for style and class. This will take you to entire lengths and breadths of the country without breaking a sweat and keeping you comfortable at that. Loads of storage areas mean you and your pillion can load up their luggage and travel without carrying restrictions. It might not be as good as its competition from Harley in terms of equipment, but it does cover it up with its breathtaking design and road presence. It is pricey and ought to be, it’s a piece of art and not a machine.
Photography: Mohd Nasir
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