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2017 Indian Chieftain & Roadmaster First Ride Review

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2017 Indian Chieftain & Roadmaster First Ride Review

2017 Indian Chieftain first ride review
2017 Indian Motorcycle Ride Command System

The Indian Motorcycle Ride Command System features a 7-inch capacitor touchscreen teamed to a fast processor. (Barry Hathaway Photos Courtesy of Indian Motorcycle Co.) 

Biggest. Fastest. Most Customizable.

These words are running through my head as I sit roadside pushing buttons on the Indian Roadmaster’s new infotainment system trying to decide what I want to see on the display of my split screens. Seeing how a 5,000 foot climb to the Blue Ridge Parkway lies before me, I opt for the digital compass that has an altimeter so I can chart my ascension for the left half. On the right I run the motorcycle’s navigation system so I can chart my course through these marvelous ribbons of asphalt in the Appalachians. I bump the volume up a couple of notches on the music I’m streaming through Wi-Fi to set the tone for a spirited ride up the mountain. Welcome to the 21st Century Indian tourers.

During the presentation of its 2017 heavyweight motorcycles, Polaris’ President-Motorcycles Steve Menneto said that while Chieftain and Roadmaster sales were good, the bikes lacked one essential part consumers wanted. That missing part was a multi-functional, state-of-the-art infotainment system. Count us among those who scratched their heads wondering why Indian’s touring motorcycles didn’t come with nav as a standard feature. Now we know why. Indian was already in the process of developing it, and just like its motorcycles, the company doesn’t rush to launch something until they’ve got it right. In order to one-up its competitors, the Indian Motorcycle Ride Command System reportedly has the “biggest screen, fastest processor, and is the most customizable.”

To assess these claims, let’s peek at some of the primary features of the Indian Motorcycle Ride Command System and Harley’s Boom! Box Infotainment System. The Indian features a 7-inch capacitor touchscreen with an 800 X 480 pixel resolution while Harley’s Boom! Box is offered with either a 4.3-inch or 6.5-inch high resolution touchscreen. Both systems can be linked via Bluetooth and have voice activation, the Indian featuring “Voice Activated Call” and “Voice Activated Siri or OK Google” through a headset while voice-operated commands of H-D’s 6.5-inch Boom! Box system controls “mobile phone functions, media, radio tuner, navigation, and help.” Navigation comes standard for both Indian tourers while Harley’s navigation system comes standard only on models with the Boom! Box 6.5GR system. The Indian audio system is 50 watts-per-channel (100 watts on Chieftain; 200 watts on Roadmaster) while audio output on the Harleys is 25 watts-per-channel through either a two-channel or four-channel system.

2017 Indian Motorcycles 7-inch touchscreen

The 7-inch touchscreen of the 2017 Indian heavyweight motorcycles is mounted close to the rider and the fairing has been stretched a tad to accommodate it.

While the two systems are definitely comparable, what sets the Indian apart is its ability to customize screens and the amount of features it offers. There are eight screen options total, including Vehicle Status (tire pressure, voltage, engine hours, oil change), Vehicle Info (speed, fuel range, RPM, gear position), Trip 1 (fuel range, miles, average fuel economy, instantaneous fuel economy time, average speed), Trip 2 (fuel range, miles, average fuel economy, instantaneous fuel economy time, average speed), Ride Data (heading, moving time, stop time, altitude, altitude change), Audio, Bluetooth and Map/Navigation. The 7-inch digital display is flanked by two analog dials, a speedo and tach, each with small digital windows at the bottom of the dials. The tach window includes a gear indicator and an odometer, while the speedo has a digital fuel gauge. Radio controls can be accessed either from the display or through the pad on the left control housing on the handlebar. There is also two finger triggers on the back of the control housings to accept and decline navigation functions displayed on the screen, green on the right for accept and red on left for decline. The screen can also be turned off altogether if riders just want to kick back and enjoy the ride.

Look for the full ride review of the 2017 Indian Chieftain and Roadmaster in an upcoming issue of American Iron Magazine.

In the meantime, be sure to check out plenty more custom and classic motorcycle features, tech stories, events and more in past issues of  American Iron Magazine

Also available in digital format CLICK HERE American Iron Digital


Screen Size: 7”
Pixel Count: 800×480
Number of Buttons: 5
Brightness: 1000 Nit’s
Touch Screen: Two-Finger Capacitive
Glove Touch Screen: Swipe and Pinch to Zoom

Maps: (turn by turn with 3D birds eye view)
Point of Interest List
Point of Interest Search
Address Search
Audible Route Notifications
Show List of Nearby Gas Stations Upon Low Fuel Indication

Clock from GPS
Consumer Adjustable Clock
Ambient Air Temperature

Customizable Information Displays
Vehicle Information (From CANbus)
Trip Information
TPMS Display
Output power per channel (RMS), 50W (External Amp)
Display User Interface Customization (Main Screen Field Data Selection)

Radio Control from display
Radio Control from handlebars
AM, FM & Weatherband
iPod Control over USB (no old iPods with 32 pin connector)
Songs from USB flash drive
USB Song Shuffle
Bluetooth Audio
Album Art

Driver Smartphone Bluetooth Capable
Driver Bluetooth Headset

Phonebook Download (Bluetooth )
Incoming Call Notification
Incoming Call Friendly Name Display
Place a call from phonebook
Dial a number to call
Voice Activated Call (with headset)
Voice Activated Siri or “OK Google” (with headset)
Incoming Driver Text Notification
Incoming Driver Text Friendly Name Display
Send a quick text from driver device (Android only)
* Smartphone must support this feature

2017 Indian Chieftain bagger

It’s easy to see why the Chieftain bagger is a big seller for Indian Motorcycle Co.


Engine Type: 49˚ V-Twin
Transmission: 6-speed/constant mesh/foot shift
Battery: 12 volts / 18 amp/hour, 310 CCA
Bore x Stroke: 3.976”x 4.449” (101mm x 113mm)
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate
Compression Ratio: 9.5 : 1
Cooling System: Air / Oil
Displacement: 111 cubic-inch / 1811cc
Exhaust: Split dual exhaust with crossover
Final Drive: Belt, 152 tooth
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gal / 20.8 ltr
Fuel System: Electronic fuel injection, closed loop/54mm bore
Oil Capacity: 5.5 qts / 5.20 ltr
Primary Drive: Gear drive wet clutch
Torque (claimed): 119.2 ft-lbs at 3000 rpm

Front: Telescopic fork, 46mm diameter, 4.7 in. / 119mm travel
Rear: Single shock 4.5 in. / 114mm travel, air adjustable

Dry Weight: 828 lbs / 376 kg
Ground Clearance: 5.6 in / 142mm
GVWR: 1,385 lbs / 630 kg
Length: 101.2 in. / 2571mm
Rake/Trail: 25° / 5.9 in. / 150mm
Seat Height: 26 in. / 660mm
Wheelbase: 65.7 in. / 1668mm

Brake System Type: Individual front and rear control with ABS
Front: Dual 300mm floating rotor with 4-piston calipers
Rear: Single 300mm floating rotor with 2-piston caliper

Front Tire: Dunlop Elite 3, 130/90B16 73H
Front Wheel: Cast 16” x 3.5” with tire pressure monitoring
Rear Tire: Dunlop Elite 3 180/60R16 80H
Rear Wheel: Cast 16” x 5.0” with tire pressure monitoring

Thunder Black Pearl $23,999
Silver Smoke $24,499
White Smoke $24,499
Wildfire Red over Thunder Black $25,199
Star Silver over Thunder Black $25,199

Thunder Black $28,999
Burgundy Metallic $29,599
Willow Green over Ivory Cream $30,399
Thunder Black over Ivory Cream $30,399
Steel Gray over Thunder Black $30,399 US

*Does not include California emissions.