2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic First Ride Test |
Old School…and New
Indian does a fantastic job of taking its basic Thunder Stroke 111 powered standard package and re-configuring it to appeal to different riders, in both functional and emotional ways. The 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic is far from an all-new machine, yet it takes the Roadmaster platform and adds Indian’s undeniable sense of Americana.
1. The Roadmaster becomes a Classic thanks to leather. Indian removed the Roadmaster’s hard saddlebags and truck, and replaced them with leather saddlebags and trunk. A matching leather seat is added, along with essential fringe, and the 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic is born.
2. Say goodbye to locked luggage. With the leather comes clasp-closed saddlebags and trunk. The buckles are there, of course, and you can use them exclusively if you like to inconveniently enhance the retro experience.
3. There is plenty of storage in the leather trio. There’s a total of 33 gallons of space, and the trunk will hold a pair of full-face helmets. If you need more room, take a car.
4. The styling touches are nicely done. The leather seat is quilted, with Indian Motorcycle logos embossed on the sides and on the lower back support. Logoed conches repeatedly highlight the buckles. The fringe will have its detractors, but give it a chance to grow on you. Accessory fringe is available for the bar ends, fenders, forward floorboards, and saddlebag lids, if you find the stock fringe inadequate.
5. The Ride Command monitor reminds you that the Roadmaster Classic is a 2017 model. While not quite as intuitive as the Indian representatives like to believe, it may still be the best onboard display on a motorcycle.
There are plenty of display options, and scrolling through them via the left-thumb operated button is easy (though distracting while riding). Indian hinted to me that the software for the touch screen (which prefers form fitting gloves) will be improved in the near future—we want Waze on that big screen.
6. Handling is nimble for a big dresser, yet the Roadmaster Classic is stable on the open road. Like the standard Roadmaster, the Classic combines a roomy 65.7-inch wheelbase with a tight 25 degrees of rake, plus a 130mm front 16-inch Dunlop Elite 3, to provide a superb balance between locomotive like stability and the agility of a gymnast. When you ride it for the first time in tight twisties, you’ll be impressed by how light the Roadmaster Classic is on its feet for a 900+ pound motorcycle.
7. The real locomotive is the Thunder Stroke 111. Cranking out nearly 120 ft/lbs of torque at just 3000 rpm, the air-/oil-cooled 49-degree V-twin barely notices you’re on the bike. The big long-stroke motor ignores equally the passengers and luggage. Indian pads down the power right off idle so the motorcycle is easy to maneuver in parking lots. Also, it revs fairly slowly, so nothing happens unexpectedly with all that torque on tap.
8. The 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic isn’t a better Roadmaster, but you may think it’s better looking. Your call!
Photography by Barry Hathaway
- Helmet: HJC CL-17
- Jacket: Dainese Washington Pelle
- Gloves: Racer Feeling
- Jeans: Dainese Bonneville
- Boots: Tour Master Vintage WP 2.0
2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic Specs
- Type: Thunder Stroke 111 49-degree V-twin
- Bore x stroke: 3.976” x 4.449” (101mm x 113mm)
- Displacement: 111 cubic inches (1811cc)
- Compression ratio: 9.5:1
- Maximum torque: 119 ft/lbs @ 3000 rpm
- Fueling: Closed-loop EFI w/ 54mm throttle body
- Valve train: Triple-cam pushrod, 2vpc
- Cooling: Air/oil
- Exhaust: Split dual exhaust w/ crossover
- Transmission 6-speed/constant mesh/foot shift
- Clutch: Wet multi-plate
- Primary drive: Gear
- Final Drive: Belt
- Front Suspension: Non-adjustable 46mm fork; 4.7 inches of travel
- Rear Suspension: Air-adjustable shock; 4.5 inches of travel
- Front wheel: 16” x 3.5” w/ tire pressure monitoring
- Rear wheel: 16” x 5.0” w/ tire pressure monitoring
- Front tire: 130/90 x 16; Dunlop Elite 3
- Rear tire: 180/60 x 16; Dunlop Elite 3
- Front brakes: 300 mm floating rotors w/ 4-piston calipers
- Rear brake: 300 mm floating rotor w/ 2-piston caliper
- ABS: Standard
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Length: 104.6 inches
- Wheelbase: 65.7 inches
- Rake: 25 degrees
- Trail: 5.9 inches
- Seat height: 26.5 inches
- Fuel capacity 5.5 gallons
- Dry weight: 864 pounds
2017 Indian Roadmaster Colors:
- Thunder Black
- Willow Green over Ivory Cream
- Indian Motorcycle Red over Ivory Cream
2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic Prices (MSRP):
- $26,999 (Thunder Black)
- $27,999 (Willow Green and Indian Motorcycle Red)