We at American Iron Magazine take our jobs seriously, and part of that responsibility is to ride lots of new motorcycles to share our observations with our readers. Tough job, right?
We test as many new bikes as possible, knowing our readers can’t always get the opportunity. While we try to cover at least 1,000 miles on the machine for a realistic review, we seldom have the opportunity to really live with and on a bike long enough to do an exhaustive review.
During Daytona Bike Week 2017, I and some of our staff test rode the new 2017 Indian Roadmaster Classic. I was so impressed with it we convinced the good people at Indian Motorcycles to arrange a long term machine to ride, review and even modify here at American Iron Magazine.
Our plans include a lot of miles on this bike with reports of our experiences and observations so you can decide if this is a bike for you.
We picked the Roadmaster Classic in Thunder Black. It’s a handsome black and chrome touring machine capable of packing a lot of gear in those classic brown leather bags. When not touring, the trunk and/or saddlebags pop off quickly to convert to a slim around town cruiser.
Here is a list of most of the standard specifications: ABS; cast aluminum frame with integrated air-box; 6-speed transmission, cruise control; highway bars (front and rear); keyless start; Horizon electrically operated Power Shield; heated Desert Tan genuine leather seats; Desert Tan genuine leather saddle bags; Desert Tan genuine leather trunk; tire pressure monitoring; 100 watt stereo with AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB, smartphone compatible input, and Weatherband; heated rider & passenger seats; heated grips; adjustable passenger floorboards.
As requested, the bike was recently delivered to Brookfield Indian Motorcycles in Brookfield, CT, about an hour from our editorial offices in Stamford, CT. After the dealership prepped, checked and cleaned the bike, they handed the keys over and off I went down Interstate 84, keeping in mind this is a new machine that needs to be properly broken in.
I have always felt we need to respect our bikes, and part of that respect is not to abuse them – especially when brand new. Thanks to the smooth 6-speed transmission, the Roadmaster easily keeps up with highway traffic while keeping the engine speeds surprisingly low. And that’s a smart idea for the first 1,000 miles of engine and transmission break-in.
I found the Roadmaster comfortable with all the basic controls doing exactly what I’d expect – until it comes to all the high tech components.
I get to test ride a lot of the new bikes, but keep in mind that most of the motorcycles I own and ride are 6-volt and kickstarters. This included a 1953 Indian Roadmaster I sold many years ago. So the GPS, radio and high tech accessories are going to take some getting used to. But even after the first short ride from the dealership I was already starting to figure out some of the basic electronics.
Watch for us in print (subscribe in print or digital delivery at SUBSCRIBE) and on-line on further updates on this long term project bike. And please feel free to share your thoughts, comments and suggestions on this bike at [email protected] Thanks for following along and hope to see many of our readers on the road with this fun tourer. – Buzz Kanter, Editor-in-Chief