In our last luxury touring comparison (Rider, August 2015 and on ridermagazine.com), we put the 40th anniversary Honda Gold Wing up against the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited and Indian Roadmaster. Even though the Honda’s turbine-like flat six and sportbike-caliber chassis offered a very different riding experience than the American V-twins, we found them to be very close in terms of wind protection, comfort, luggage capacity and standard features—the things that put “luxury” in luxury touring.
Read our review of the 2018 Honda Gold Wing Tour DCT here.
Here we are nearly three years later and the landscape has changed. For 2017, Harley-Davidson’s Touring lineup got the new 107ci Milwaukee-Eight engine and Showa suspension, and Indian’s Chieftain and Roadmaster touring models were upgraded with the Ride Command infotainment system. For 2018, Honda launched the sixth generation of its flagship tourer, reducing weight (and luggage capacity) and shifting its focus more toward sport touring. The Gold Wing is now more in line with its six-cylinder competitor, BMW’s K 1600 GTL, which is why we opted to leave it out of this comparison. Taking its place is the new-for-2018 Yamaha Star Venture, a boldly styled behemoth powered by a 113ci air-cooled V-twin and equipped with state-of-the-art technology.
Even though the Venture was powered by a liquid-cooled V-4 in its past life, when Yamaha decided to re-launch its full dresser, research among touring riders and passengers indicated a strong preference for air-cooled V-twins, a predilection that’s reflected in domestic touring bike sales. What some view as an antiquated design others view as timeless, and when it comes to sound and feel, there’s nothing quite like a rumbling V-twin.
The V-twins in this comparison may be derived from or modeled after decades-old architecture, but they balance classic looks with modern technology. All three have electronic fuel injection, throttle-by-wire, cruise control, balancers that eliminate some but not all primary vibration, self-adjusting hydraulic valve lifters and maintenance-free belt drive. The Harley and Yamaha also have hydraulic assist-and-slipper clutches, and the Yamaha has two throttle response modes, traction control and the Sure-Park system (electric forward/reverse).
These are big V-twins—ranging from 107ci for the Harley (click here for full specs and our “quick read” on the 2018 Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra) to 111ci for the Indian (click here for full specs and our “quick read” on the 2018 Indian Roadmaster) and 113ci for the Yamaha (click here for full specs and our “quick read” on the 2018 Yamaha Star Venture TC)—that generate loads of low-end torque, encouraging you to shift early and ride that wide wave of grunt. There’s no replacement for displacement, and the number of cubic inches tells us the rank order of these bikes in terms of torque: the Harley belts out 100.7 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm, the Indian makes 104.2 lb-ft at 3,000 rpm and the Venture cranks out 110.9 lb-ft at 4,300 rpm. All that twist propels these hulking, 900-plus-pounders forward with ease, even when fully loaded.
Fueling and throttle response are precise across the board (we prefer the Yamaha’s more direct Sport mode over the lazier Touring mode), and there’s plenty of visceral pulsing between the knees to keep things entertaining. Exhaust notes are robust and satisfying, but the Indian’s is often too loud. Changing gears is easy, but, surprisingly, the Harley’s hydraulic clutch requires the strongest pull and feels grabby compared to the other two. Overdrive sixth gears allow these bikes to lope along smoothly on the open road, with a pleasant low-rpm thrum.
Mystery Rider’s Gear
Helmet: Schuberth C4
Jacket: Joe Rocket Ballistic Adventure
Pants: Fly Terra Trek
Boots: Fly Milepost II
Only the Indian has a handlebar-mounted fairing, and the weight of the fairing, electric windscreen, infotainment system and front speakers has an adverse effect on handling. Steering through tight corners can be a chore and strong crosswinds require a firm grip to keep the bars steady, adding to rider fatigue on long rides. Frame-mounted fairings on the Harley and Yamaha give them lighter steering and more stability. None of us warmed up to the Harley’s mini-apehanger handlebar, which is narrower, higher and has a more awkward grip angle than the tiller-style handlebars on the Indian and Yamaha. But, being the lightest and shortest of the bunch, the Harley was the easiest to ride fast in the curves.
Admittedly, on back roads we ride these bikes at an above-average pace, but they’re eminently capable when pushed hard. Built to deal with heavy loads, their chassis are strong and their triple-disc, ABS-equipped brakes are powerful (the Harley’s and Yamaha’s brakes are also linked). Floorboards are the first thing to scrape pavement; the Yamaha’s touch down early whereas the Harley and Indian have more generous cornering clearance.
Helmet: Scorpion EXO-GT3000
Jacket: Olympia Richmond
Pants: Olympia X-Moto
Boots: Dainese Long Range
Massive forks and heavy-duty shocks handle the critical job of keeping the bikes suspended and in control, and for the most part they’re comparable, with the only suspension adjustment on all three being rear preload. The Indian has a slight edge over the Yamaha in terms of suspension compliance and ride quality. The Harley’s fork performs well, but its dual rear shocks have only 3 inches of travel (the others have single shocks with 4.3-4.5 inches of travel), which can result in a jarring ride on anything other than smooth pavement.
As full dressers, these bikes have big fairings, big king-and-queen seats, big trunks and big saddlebags. The Harley’s sharknose fairing is the only one here without an electrically adjustable windscreen, but its triple “splitstream” vents create smooth airflow and the windscreen height is just right. As the only one with partial liquid cooling, engine heat was never a bother on the Harley and the vents on its fairing lowers make it easy to manage airflow around the rider’s legs. Its seat is plush, but the rider’s portion slopes upward at the back, which can cause the rider to slide forward with awkwardly rotated hips.
Helmet: HJC FG-17
Jacket: Fly Butane 4
Pants: Fly Terra Trek
Boots: Fly Milepost II
Even though the Harley’s 133 liters of luggage capacity is less than that of the Indian (142 liters) and Yamaha (144 liters), the difference wasn’t readily apparent—there seemed to be plenty of packing space on all three bikes. But we didn’t like having to manually secure three separate locks for the Harley’s trunk and saddlebags; the Indian and Yamaha offer the convenience of central luggage locks—actuated by pressing a button on the bike or remotely using the key fob.
The Indian’s fairing and electric windscreen create a bubble of peace and quiet, in part because the handlebar-mounted fairing places the screen close to the rider. We’ve complained about engine heat on Thunder Stroke 111-powered Indians before, and the situation hasn’t changed. Adjustable vents in the fairing lowers help somewhat, but on hot days there’s no escaping the radiant heat. Although it looks inviting and has stylish stitching and chrome conchos, the Indian’s thinly padded seat is the least comfortable.
How about the new-kid-on-the-block Yamaha? Its wide fairing, which cascades down both sides of the bike, is huge, and its electric windscreen is similarly broad. Together they punch a huge hole in the air, but even with the screen’s adjustability we sometimes struggled with helmet buffeting. Swiveling side air deflectors, which can be angled closed to block wind or open to bring fresh air into the cockpit, are very effective. The Yamaha’s air-cooled V-twin also gets hot, but its adjustable lower vents provide some relief. With flat, firm padding and an adjustable rear bolster that provides good lumbar support, the Yamaha’s seat was our hands-down favorite.
Reflecting contemporary tastes and desires, all three of these bikes have infotainment systems with color touchscreens that provide control over various audio, navigation and informational functions, including Bluetooth connectivity and USB ports that enable charging and audio control. And, as equipped for this comparo, all three have front and rear speakers. The Indian’s and Yamaha’s systems are the newest, and they have the largest screens, sharpest graphics and most intuitive interfaces. The Harley and Yamaha also have ports for wired headsets (which can be used for voice recognition commands), CB radio and SiriusXM satellite radio. Each system has its plusses and minuses, but overall they are useful and enhance the riding experience.
If we were awarding medals, bronze would go to the Indian (click here for full specs and our “quick read”). With endless chrome and graceful lines, the Roadmaster is a beautiful motorcycle, and it has the best suspension compliance and an impressive array of standard features. But from a performance and functionality standpoint, it feels less refined and cohesive than the Harley or Yamaha. Its engine throws off too much heat, its exhaust is too loud, its handling is too cumbersome, its seat is too uncomfortable and it has the smallest gas tank.
Silver goes to the Harley-Davidson Road Glide Ultra (click here for full specs and our “quick read”), which handles well, has the advantage of partial liquid cooling and offers more range than the Indian. But it also has a funky handlebar and an irksome clutch, it needs more rear suspension travel and it lacks some features that are standard on the others.
Gold goes to the motorcycle that none of us saw coming—the Yamaha Star Venture TC (click here for full specs and our “quick read”)—which made a big splash with its global debut at the Americade touring rally last year. Yamaha went out on a limb by blending modern styling with a traditional air-cooled V-twin, but the end result works exceptionally well. For what is mostly a clean-sheet design, the Venture came out of the gate with a smooth, torque-rich V-twin, a solid, capable chassis, attention to detail when it comes to rider and passenger comfort, plenty of luggage capacity, the largest in-class fuel tank and a full suite of electronics and infotainment, all for a reasonable price. Welcome to a new era in luxury touring.
It’s good to see Tuttle on another Yamaha Venture 30+ years after the first time I saw him on one doing the Superman thing across Texas on an 85 model.
James, is he really that old?
Die hard Venture riders wanted a V-4. We love our high revving, liquid cooled. smooth running V-4s.
That’s all well and good but in order for this bike to have that engine it would weigh more, be more top heavy and need to have a Stratotanker type fuel tank. My 05 RSV was a joy but having to stop for gas every 100 miles was a joke for a touring bike.
why would a v-4 bike weigh more? As it is, the yamaha weighs the most. 963lbs. Holy shite. So what they have load capacities over 400lbs. So does my R1200RT, which is 520lbs. And it weighs only 570lbs wet.
Why would you need to stop every 100 miles? My 06 can easily do 250 on a tank.
I had a 1983 venture and loved. I thought it was the best bike I would ever own. Then I got a Roadliner. Love the air cooled v twin.
Must have had a hole in your tank. Mine gets about 170 before I hit reserve, and its hauling my 280 lb. butt around. The second generation V-Max motor weighs less than that lard-assed V-twin.
I’d buy a Venture in a millisecond if it came with the VMAX Gen2 engine.
Now THAT would be a Sport Touring to the MAX!
Wife’s favorite bike was the 03 Venture, liked it better than the 08 Ultra. Think if Yamaha would have updated the V-4, the New Venture would have been awsome.
Sorta funny, the Venture is now a Hot V-Twin and Harley now a liquid/oil cooled 4 cylinder, lol.
Harley is still twin.
I knew before I read who you’d pick
The Yamaha, according to the owners manual, needs valve adjustments @ 26K miles.
My Yamaha dealer said not to worry about it. I have a stratoliner so almost same engine. Our dealer and its a great dealership said he checked many valves after 40000 to 60000 miles and never needed any adjustments. He said if it starts running rough or more fuel or ticking sound then bring it in.
I’d want that in writing (on dealer letterhead, signed and notarized) if the bike is under warranty.
Yeah v four ventures will be missed
Interesting article ! But you’ll be slammed by Indian owners tho lol. I agree on your suggestions for improving the Harley, I wonder it the touring line will get a monoshock frame next ?
Owned 2017 Indian roadmaster for 7 months. Owned a 2001 screaming eagle road glide. Indian totally out corners the Harley any day. I passed a friend doing the 85 mph wobble riding ultra classic, at 105 mph on the roadmaster, it felt like a sport bike in the turn.
I agree with the heat, the Indian is blistering! It’s a bet better after removing catalytic converters, to headers, but still need to wrap the exhaust.
I’m reading reviews only because unfortunately a car pulled out in front of me at 45 mph and totaled my bike. I love everything about the Indian except the heat. I may go ride the Yamaha to check it out.
Wobble. I ride my ultra 90 all day and never had a wobble. BS
I believe your torque numbers are wrong on the yamaha. It produces its peak torque much lower.
Look at the torque curve graph. Peak is actually correct at 2700. That’s pretty low.
Upper article not graph
Nice review, for once an honest less bias in the favor of the Harley simply for its name. Quiet often the American V-Twin (HD) gets the nod of approval based on its heritage despite its lack of innpvation over the years. i for one look forward to seeing the Yamaha in person and would jump at the opportunity to take it for a ride.
I have literally read reviews that support this. The Harley would place second or worse in every category and still somehow the Harley still wins…
Nice review! – How about commenting on another important reason for owning one of these – 2 up touring – which one does the best job for your pillions’ comfort/foot position, any adjustability / heated seat and/or backrest – any adjustability, pillion grips/or lack of and position (reach) and if heated; best for pillion wind management/ head buffeting/ foul weather protection; most 2 up friendly luggage design; best/ most user friendly comms system for dual use – and finally max load carrying capacity of each rig – thanks again for the excellent articles as always!
Agreed. We all know, if mama ain’t happy, papa ain’t happy. Test ride them two up with luggage for a few days!
The Yamaha has heated passenger seat, backrest, and heated passenger grips. My wife says that riding the Venture is the most comfortable and safest that she’s ever felt.
Thanks Teal – have to give the Yamaha a test ride – appreciate the input!
I guess none of the testers were over 6 foot tall. The Indian RM is the first bike I have ever owned in 30 years that did not need a new seat or floorboard adjustments to be comfortable. The heat is a non issue as it can be taken away without much effort. The comment about handling is really puzzling leading me to believe the testers were short and used to riding sport bikes. I can’t speak for the Yamaha but I am very familiar with the cramped HD.
I think you got your ratings wrong I can accept the Yamaha taking the Gold but I won’t agree with the Harley coming in before the Indian. You stated one of the most important failures for comfort belonged to the Harley with the Shock system they use and bottoming out on bumps and imperfections in the road. This is exactly the reason I left Harley for the Indian.
Raeford, after my 2015 Chieftain was totaled by a dump truck’s distracted driver, we replaced it with a 2015 Street Glide Special and have regretted it from day one. The Indian’s supple suspension is grossly under-reported in magazine reviews. We’ve added Ohlins rear shocks w/13″ of travel and a front fork cartridge kit and it’s still not even close to the Indian’s ride. In order to get the Harley to have great throttle response & run as strong, we’ve installed a CycleRama 575 cam, Screaming Eagle controller, K&N free-flow intake, S&S headers, & FullSac muffs. So… after spending an additional $6,000, our Harley runs slightly stronger but still doesn’t ride as softly as the Indian. Indian makes one helluva good motorcycle; right off the showroom floor.
13″ of travel? I assume that is a typo.
Shock length is 13″ overall length.
Stock rear suspension travel is 3″
They stated it was the heat which harley has addressed with the milwakee 8.
Hmm. I may have to try an Indian again. My impression was that it handled like a barge. I really dislike the front suspension on it.
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I own a 2016 Roadmaster. I owned a Goldwing GL1800 previously and a Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 LT also. I have ridden a 2016 Harley Ultra Classic, but not the improved 2017 or 18 Milwaukie 8. I also have not ridden the Yamaha. With that said, the author lost all credibility with me when he criticized the Indian’s handling – “the handlebar mounted fairing … has an adverse effect on handling”, and “Steering through tight corners can be a chore and strong crosswinds require a firm grip to keep the bars steady, adding to rider fatigue on long rides.” Those statements are pure poppy cock. I am a smaller, older rider (66 years old, 5’6″ and 170 pounds), and I have no problem whatsoever with the handling of my Roadmaster, through curves and with strong cross winds. I liked how my Vulcan 1700 handled as compared to my older Vulcan 1500, but I much prefer the handling of the Roadmaster. I have heard Harley Road Glide owners claim their fixed fairings are better in cross winds than handlebar mounted fairings, but I have been in plenty of strong crosswinds with the Roadmaster and haven’t noticed any problem at all that could be attributed to the fairing. In fact, if pressed I would have to say that my Goldwing (with its fixed fairing) was affected by crosswinds more than my Roadmaster is. I have not ridden the Milwaukie 8 or the Yamaha, and they may ride as easy as a crotch rocket for all I know, but these critical statements about the Indian handling are total garbage.
Dave, I agree. I liked the handling of our GL1800 much less than our Indian Chieftain; and our current Street Glide handles similarly to the Indian (both are excellent). The Gold Wing felt too bulky whereas the two V-twins were a dream. That said; the Indian’s suspension was so superior to the Harley’s that even after adding Ohlins rear shocks & front fork cartridge kit to the Harley, the Indian was still markedly better & much more enjoyable. The difference is huge especially here in the midwest where potholes & frost heaves prevail.
I’m a Harley lover through and through. However, even I will agree that the Roadmaster got a bum rap here. I thought it was surprisingly nimble for a 950 pound motorcycle. There were other things that didnt impress me but handling wasnt one of them.
Interesting article that brings up some of the strengths and weaknesses of each of the bikes. I have no experience on the Venture (and have yet to even see one). I do have a ’16RM and test rode the Harleys. The selling points for me on the RM vs HD was largely in features. Electric windshield, central locking system, nicely done push button start (no knob to turn), and the heated seat. I find all these features very nice. One issue I had with the HDs was the cramped position of the floorboards, particularly with the heel-toe shifter. I found it very cramped with size 13 boots. One of my favorite features of the RM wasn’t touched upon. The quick release trunk (std). Flip two levers and unplug one plug and you’ve got a bagger. For daily use I ride with the trunk off-noticeably lighter and I find it far easier to toss a leg over. If the wife comes along it’s on in about 2 minutes (would be nice if it were a bit lighter, I admit).
Heat on a RM can be an issue. I test rode a brand new one in stop and go traffic and it was unpleasant. But I bought mine with ~5k on it and don’t notice it being objectionable even on hot days. Sure there is heat but not bad. I’m not sure if that’s due to it being a different bike, or if the just run cooler (radiate less) with some miles. I’ve never noticed the weight on the forks, but haven’t spent enough time on the other rides to offer an honest comparison.
I do find the Venture appealing-all the features of the RM (except QD trunk afaik) plus park assist/electric reverse. I can appreciate where that can be handy.
Check out Captain Itch’s heat shields that he makes…takes the heat from the rear cylinder away from the rider on the indians. They look cool too.
I have one, and maybe that’s the reason the heat hasn’t been a big issue. I just got back from a 6500 mile trip last weekend, several days over 700 miles and 2 over 800. Never felt cramped or sore on the RM. The first 800 mile day I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t go for an Ironbutt, still flet good. The only time I noticed the heat was on a 90+, humid day following a SLOW moving dump truck up a steep grade for a couple miles-was getting unpleasant. Engine under load and too little air flow. But under these conditions even a liquid cooled bike isn’t much fun.
I’ve had the chance to see and sit on (but not ride) a new Venture. I don’t doubt what is in the article about it being a very good machine. But my impression based on appearance isn’t all that great. Lots of plastic, parts that don’t fit all that well, just a general impression that put a price point as a major factor. I’ve looked at a few now-every one has had a kink or bend in the windshield bezel-which in itself is just a thin strip of aluminum. In contrast, the RM has a much more luxurious or higher class appearance. Better paint, lots (but tasteful) chrome. More refined switches (the plastic knob you have to turn on the Venture (and the knob on the HD for that matter)) are a step below the true “pushbutton” start of the Indian. The leather seat looks more upscale. And again-I’d really miss the quick release trunk. I’m hoping my local dealer has a demo day on the Venture, really need to give one a try.
I do find it interesting that they writer complained about noise of the Indian exhaust. I like it a lot. Just a little bit of a bark or rumble, not as strangled sounding as the others. Considering that loud pipes (which I really don’t care for) are the first mod of probably 75% of owners, I’m not sure that it’s an issue.
I’m likin the Yamaha more with each review. but i do not need any of these bikes. I have a tour deluxe with that beautiful V4 which suits us for most of the riding we do, I already have the 113 motor in my 06 Roadliner and it handles most everyday duties and local rides and if we DO want to go long I have a 98 GL1500 SE with a DFT IRS Trike with EZ Steer which is pretty darn comfy. I’ll just stick to these three and be happy for now altho I WILL give the Yamaha a test ride just because…
Polaris had the perfect touring bike with the Victory Vision.
I have 88,000 miles covering 49 states on my 2011.
No other touring bike handles the miles better, but I haven’t ridden the new Goldwing yet. (It’s reduced luggage capacity would definitely be a huge negative for me).
Until Polaris makes an Indian similar to the Vision, I’ll simply keep mine.
I have the Indian RM ‘15. I coach MSF BRC. I have taken the BRC and ERC both on my RM. I have never had “adverse effects” handling my bike. I prefer the non-vibration, non-bottoming out of my Roadmaster. have Demo’d all before my purchase. As for the Heat; take off your insulated pants. All bikes are hot with ATGATT. SEE and dog gone it just have FUN🏍📵
I keep looking but can’t get rid of my 13 Cross Country Tour. Before I bought it I looked at all the competition and ended up with a Victory. My 106 puts out better numbers than the new Yamaha with no internal mods, I still have more storage, more cornering clearance, and more stretch out comfort than any touring bike. Sure it lacks the latest techno stuff but most people use their smart phones anyway. To top it off I can’t think of a more reliable and trouble free bike. I think my next bike will be another ZX14, I sold my 07 when I bought my Victory that way I can stop riding my CCT like a sport bike.
The stock Victory 106 only beats the Yamaha in Horse power with 79 HP to 75.9 HP but loses big time to the Yamaha in torque as the Yamaha113 makes 110 lbs ft of torque to the stock Victory 106 making a lame 92 lbs ft of torque.
I owned a Victory Cross Country Tour and while it was a good bike it is not in the same class as the Yamaha Star Venture which I now own. The Star Venture just completely out classes the Cross Country Tour in every way
I test drove the Victory CC and right off the bat I noticed the bike was top heavy and had a clunky trans and an anemic engine. I had planned to ride a few miles but cut it short totally disappointed in the bike…couldn’t wait to park it.
I owned a 2014 Harley Ultra Limited and loved the bike. My wife & I put 40,000 miles on it and enjoyed every mile. We hoped Harley would address the suspension issue and the seat height. I have a 29″ inseam and the Harley is a little tall for me. We rode the Indian Roadmaster last summer. The ride was great, but my wife did not like the seat. Also, the heat issue was much worse than our water cooled HOG. I was anxious to try the Yamaha after reading the rave reviews. Yamaha has done a good job addressing what we saw as shortcomings on the Harley, the rear suspension travel and the seat height. They also added the park assist, which I think is very smart. We finally tested the Yamaha recently, but I was left unimpressed. It had a bad “shutter” under hard acceleration. The Harley engine feels the best of any bike we have tried. The Yamaha and Indian are fine motorcycles, but we decided to stick with Harley and purchased a 2018 anniversary addition Ultra Limited. Our new bike is fantastic. The new engine is smoother and stronger. The suspension has been noticeably improved compared to our 2014, which we had upgraded to gas charged shocks. I had a cooling fan and Screamin’ Eagle slipons added and we are very happy with our new ride. Best touring bike ever! I don’t know why the comparison included the Road Glide instead of the Ultra Limited. We have ridden both, and much prefer the Ultra Limited.
I just had my 2018 ultra lowered. 30″ inseam, here. What a difference! And I love the 107 engine. It’s mostly stock, I removed the pillion, that made it handle much better at low speeds. A reverse gear would be a HUGE improvement. And the nav system totally sucks.
Dan did you have a chance to sit on a Ultra Limited LOW? When I went to buy the sales person saw my inseam shortfall and said try this bike now. The bike is 2″ lower than the standard limited. Seat and shocks, and primary is pulled in a bit get the left leg in a little closer. With both feet firmly on the pavement I said sold!!!
I literally LAUGHED when you little girls started talking about the poor handling of the Indian…. I’ve put 250k miles on half a dozen Harleys, put another 70k on two RSV’s, have locked another 200k on 3 Valkyries, etc, etc.
I was dead set on buying a new Ultra Classic to replace the one I had…. then I test road a Roadmaster, and haven’t looked back. It handles SO MUCH BETTER than any Harley I ever owned. I LITERALLY went back to the dealership after the first weekend, and threw a fit about how it was too low, md demanded some way to raise the bike up, because I was dragging parts all over the pavement…. then he told me that it had the highest clearance in the class.
It handles THAT good.
Yeah, it’s warm, easily fixed, the finish on the seat is BS, and it has some minor issues. But it’s the only bike I’ve ever had 2 years, and wasnt ready to trade in. And I generally have 4-5 at a time, and I’ve averaged 20-25k miles a year for the last since 1991….
Every rider’s impression will be slightly different. I have ridden all 3 of these and currently have a 16 RM which in my opinion is the best motorcycle I have ever owned. I have 25k on it so far having just finished a 4k trip in 2 weeks. I find the stock seat better then any of the 5 HDs I put 50k on. I test rode the new Yamaha and think the old V4 was a much better bike. Heat? Yes they all get hot. The Rm is made much better by removing the cat and adding a tuner. The Yamahaa has the motor almost sealed in from air flow. On my test ride I found the heat of the Yam MUCH worse then the RM. On a high 80 degree day I was soaked in sweat from a 20 min test ride. I could not wait to get off of it. There was virtually no air flow to the rider. The vents did nothing to help. The Yamaha quality was disappointing. The plastic was so thin the saddle bags lids were flexing like Tupperware lids. I liked my HDs at the time and loved the older Venture but I am still far happier with the Inian. Exhaust too loud? That’s a joke. Who rides an HD and doesn’t put loud mufflers on it? No one I know. The Indian exhaust makes a very pleasant low rumble and is pretty quiet under acceleration. I relate the sound to distant drums and find it pleasant. The Yamaha made little to no sound. Who wants there motorcycle to sound like a Honda Civic?
To each their own, but after test riding everything I can I still find the Indian quality, handling and ride superior to them all.
I live in North Carolina where much of our riding season is doing in 90 plus weather. It would be my opinion that unless you live in a much cooler climate that you might want to stay away from the Indian Roadmaster. In 90 plus whether, the bike is a towering inferno whether sitting still or on the move.
I’ve got to agree with Carl Hursky on the heat of the Yamaha. Way much worse than even the Indian. Plus in hot weather the Indian lowers come off with six screws which pretty much solves the problem. No such luck on the Venture. I spoke with Editor Tuttle and his crew in the riders lounge at the trade show in Columbus last October. We talked about my extensive collection of Rider from the beginning and CYCLE and Cycle World dating back to the late 60’s as well as rating the big tourers. I forgot to identify myself as the owner of the FXRT Clem had featured in the February 2017 issue Retrospective. We didn’t agree then and I still disagree now. Not a fan of HD’s Milwaukee 8 and the laundry list of problems (including oil transferring itself to the primary). I already spoke of how to fix Indians heat issues. And the Yamaha? Where do I start? Its UGLY. Fit and finish look cheap, several notches below the Royal Star Venture I have now. it’s HOT and the motor transmits all the excitement of watching paint dry. Solution for now? Until the Indian manages the heat issue a little better, I’m perfectly happy with my Royal Star Venture. Bullet proof, I’ve seen others with 200,000 to 300,000 miles with no trouble. I’ve already replaced the only two know weak points on the bike, the clutch pressure plate/spring issue with Barnett aftermarket and the leaking rear shock with a rebuild-able Hagon unit. It’s smoother, more fun to wind out and loads cooler.
Carnt believe HD expects touring riders to put up with a drive belt change that takes 3 to 5 times longer and more expensive than any other brand. Needing to change a HD big twin drive belt in the out back in 100 deg heat is like needing an operating theatre to remove a splinter.
I upgraded from a 2010 cross country to a 18 venture and I’m very happy. The venture is an amazing bike.
There’s really only two brands of motorcycles. There’s Harley-Davidson, and there’s why you shouldn’t have a Harley!!
Remember: SLEEP MAKES YOU WEAK, RIDE ON!!!!
Trust me on this…there is no better V-twin on the market. Yamaha has it hands down by utilizing the amazing Stratoliner engine but they improved on it with 6-speed tranny and some other internal changes. I rode an Indian RM…no comparison to the Venture. Road the Road Glide…again no comparison. I had a Stratoliner for years and it was by far the best bike I have ever owned. Yamaha should own the touring segment with the Venture with the only bike to consider outside the Venture would be the new Wing….it is a very good touring bike. As a previous owner of a Strat and Road Star I could easily say it was the best kept secret until you put your butt on those…then you would understand. Buy a Venture and you will have the best touring rig on the planet
Not everyone believes a archaic V twin is thee answer for a touring bikes engine. Yea I have a Intruder VL1500 Air/oil V Twin. LOVE IT. But. When it came time to buy a real touring bike. My demand was Multi cylinder for smoothness, Liquid cooled And a suspension that could handle mountain roads at a good clip.And I prefer shaft drive. But back to the point. Yamaha blew it for me with the new Venture. They should have put the Liquid cooled Vmax Gen 2 engine in it. How was it going to weigh more? It’s already 963 F#@in pounds! Yea . I would have bought the new Venture with the water cooled V4 .. Now Yamaha says opinions from touring riders and passengers preferred a V twin. I say BULL.. I know enough Venture forum members and Yamaha star members that say they were disappointed with the V twin decision. THEY WANTED A V4. Matter of fact .Before they discontinued the last Venture. I Asked while at a Yami dealer .Why are they still putting in the Cassette players? I even said something to the effect of… Their still carbureted??? The salesman goes into this OHHH , Cassettes are the rage, And The carburetors are just as efficient as EFI and. BLAH BLAH…And I say Really?? Come on dude. Don’t give me the BS line.. These manufactures do what they want. They don’t listen to the customers.. Harley actually did on the Rushmore project. But the new Wing is a lot of things the customers didn’t want. Too bad the Yamaha went with the air cooled twin. That new Venture with a Liquid cooled V4. I would have me seriously thinking to give up my BMW K12LT
It’s not just the bike but it’s what you get when you join the Harley family…dealer support that is easy to find across the world. It is the dealer and Harley rallies that no other bikes offer. It’s the community support and rides such has Ride for Burn camp and MDA rides and support rides for police, and so much more that none of these manufacturers offer it’s riders. It’s the hand hand out as you pass another family owner and the comradery that is there when you purchase a Harley none of these bikes offer. Plus older Harleys hold their value mush better than any of these.. REMEMBER when you purchase a Harley the profits state in the USA ..let’s us hope INDIAN does not go the way of the VICTORY.. I’ll stay with my year after year proven Harley ,,,ever see any other clothes worn in public or even by non Harley riders >>??? NOPE