2016 Motor Trike Indian Roadmaster Tomahawk | First Ride Review

Just gawjus! The two-tone Roadmaster Tomahawk parked at the Sam Rayburn Library in Bonham, Texas. (Photos by James Parchman)
Just gawjus! The two-tone Roadmaster Tomahawk parked at the Sam Rayburn Library in Bonham, Texas. (Photos by James Parchman)

“We’ve built several black Tomahawks, but you’ll ride our first two-tone model,” said Motor Trike’s Operations Manager, J.D. Vey. Black is beautiful, but the Springfield Blue and Ivory Cream Indian Roadmaster conversion was as stunning as a classic Hollywood-era Cadillac.

A record East Texas drought had morphed into record rainfall and flooding that was forecasted to slacken for three days before the next heavy deluge arrived. Not much time for fun, so better load up and head off in the least rainy direction!

The forward opening top box is removable and locks with the key or a tank mounted button. Its full-width LED lights are stylish and enhance safety.
The forward opening top box is removable and locks with the key or a tank mounted button. Its full-width LED lights are stylish and enhance safety.

The Tomahawk is equipped to haul; its trunk capacity is 29.9 gallons (113.3 liters). The top box (removable) capacity is an additional 17 gallons (64.3 liters) and it carries even more with light items strapped to its upper luggage rack. The trunk and top box open with the push of a button and are electrically lockable via a center-mounted switch.

The Tomahawk’s deep-pocketed Desert Tan leather seat continues the classic look. It’s heated with separate low/high settings for rider and passenger. Combined with the 10-position heated grips, electrically adjustable windscreen and closable fairing lowers, it will take really inclement weather for a Tomahawk rider to get wet or cold. An analog speedo and tach in the stylish retro center display bookend digital readouts for numerous engine, audio (200 watts of boom) and tire-monitoring functions.

All eyes usually head straight to Indian’s beautifully finished 111ci (1,811cc) twin-cylinder engine. Blip the throttle and hear the deep rumble from the Tomahawk’s dual rear exhausts. The engine’s torque is evident—you can upshift into sixth gear at 50 mph and slow to as little as 40 before downshifting back to fifth. At 3,000 rpm, I saw an indicated 70 mph in fifth gear and 80 mph in sixth. Redline is 5,400 rpm, so plenty was left.

The 111’s power is transferred to a 6-speed gearbox via a cable-actuated clutch. Shifting was crisp using the toe shifter; Indian offers a heel extension as an option. Neutral was a bit tricky to find initially, but became easier with miles. Floorboards are comfortably angled for rider and passenger.

Classic looking dash actually is ultra modern in capability, with keyless start, electric windshield, sound system, and screens for monitoring engine and tire pressure. Suspension pressure display is Motor Trike’s.
Classic looking dash actually is ultra modern in capability, with keyless start, electric windshield, sound system, and screens for monitoring engine and tire pressure. Suspension pressure display is Motor Trike’s.

With its large upper fairing, hard lowers, sweeping front fender and full bagger package, the Indian Roadmaster looks every bit a big and heavy motorcycle. But at a length of 110 inches and fender-to-fender width of 55 inches, Motor Trike has engineered the Tomahawk conversion to be a stable platform without becoming auto-sized. At about 1,250 pounds, it’s just a smidge heavier than Motor Trike’s F6B Raptor we tested (October 2014, CLICK HERE). But, unlike the Raptor, electric reverse is available as a Tomahawk option, and one you probably want to add.

Motor Trike engineers incorporated valanced rear fenders that blend perfectly with the Roadmaster’s classic front end.
Motor Trike engineers incorporated valanced rear fenders that blend perfectly with the Roadmaster’s classic front end.

The Tomahawk rides on MT’s proprietary independent rear suspension with air ride shocks that adjust automatically to the load, or by the rider via a switch on the left handlebar. The front tire is the Roadmaster’s stock 16-inch Dunlop Elite 3. Our tester had the optional 245/45-R17 tires on the rear, which MT says should last 25,000 miles. Those big tires also helped the stopping, with ABS preventing any lockup since you use more rear brake on a trike.

Our Tomahawk had the optional 5.5-inch rake kit that we liked so well on previous tests of MT’s Raptor and Gladiator models. It helped keep the trike pointed precisely without requiring excessive steering input.

Fuel economy was in the 26-31 mpg range, and the fuel tank holds 5.5 gallons of premium. Mileage should improve with break in, but you will likely be stopping well before 200 miles per fill, even so. And there was no such thing as a quick gas and go—the Tomahawk drew a crowd of admirers and questions at every stop.

Spacious floorboards are perfectly angled for all day comfort. A rear heel extension for the toe shifter is a worthwhile option.
Spacious floorboards are perfectly angled for all day comfort. A rear heel extension for the toe shifter is a worthwhile option.

The basic Tomahawk kit for your Indian Roadmaster has an MSRP of $8,995. The kit also fits Indian’s Chief and Chieftain models. Motor Trike’s website lists the numerous options available. The company says it can ship a kit to one of more than 200 authorized dealers in about three weeks. The dealer will spend 1-2 days doing the conversion, which will cost you approximately $1,000. The warranty on the kit is 3 years or 60,000 miles.

Motor Trike’s Indian Roadmaster Tomahawk is one nifty cruising machine. It has stayed true to the design concept of the classic motorcycle while offering riders who prefer that extra wheel a quality product at a still affordable price point. Just don’t plan on traveling incognito!

Stylishly lit in the rear and ready to travel with almost 30 gallons of trunk capacity. It has interior lights, too.
Stylishly lit in the rear and ready to travel with almost 30 gallons of trunk capacity. It has interior lights, too.
Beauty and a Beast. 111-cubic-inch V-twin has just the right rumble and provides all the power necessary to keep the Tomahawk rolling.
Beauty and a Beast. 111-cubic-inch V-twin has just the right rumble and provides all the power necessary to keep the Tomahawk rolling.

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