Although Indian lays claim to being American’s first motorcycle manufacturer, in this group the Roadmaster is the new kid on the block. After the original company was shuttered in 1953, years of darkness and confusion were followed by a couple of wobbly resurrections until Polaris finally bought the company in 2011. Backed by a multi-billion-dollar powersports behemoth, Indian was re-launched for 2014, with impressive results.
Like the original 1947 Roadmaster, the new-for-2015 iteration is Indian’s top-of-the-line touring model. It’s powered by the air-cooled, 49-degree Thunder Stroke 111 V-twin also found in the Chief and Chieftain models, which belts out 107.1 lb-ft of torque at 2,700 rpm and 76.4 horsepower at 4,500 rpm (Rider, February 2014). The engine is a thing of visual and aural beauty, with a flathead look, lots of chrome, downward firing exhausts and a deeply satisfying (if a bit loud) exhaust note. The Roadmaster’s air-cooled V-twin radiates a lot of heat, which is welcome on cold days but can be very unpleasant otherwise. It’s also the heaviest bike here, and looks and feels biggest, particularly when you’re pushing it around.
The Roadmaster comes decked out with an electrically adjustable windscreen, ABS, LED lighting, an audio system with remote Pandora control and Bluetooth connectivity, heated grips and seats, cruise control, adjustable passenger floorboards, remote luggage locks, keyless ignition, three power outlets and a tire-pressure monitoring system. It has a 5.5-gallon fuel tank, a 6-speed transmission and belt final drive. Between the saddlebags, trunk and fairing lowers, total luggage capacity is 142 liters.