Old-School Luxury On The Outside; Modern Tech And A New Engine On The Inside

Indian Motorcycle made a number of changes to its touring lineup ahead of MY2020 including a new powerplant for its full-dress Roadmaster. The base-model Roadmaster hits important historical high notes and maintains the full-size front fairing, but the real news here is the addition of the new Thunder Stroke 116 engine that toes the family line and pumps out over 120 pounds of stump-pulling torque. Comfort and luxury for the every-rider are the hallmarks of the Roadmaster, and it delivers with its usual style and aplomb.

  • 2020 Indian Roadmaster
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Thunder Stroke 116
  • Displacement:
    116 cubic inches
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph
  • Price:
    29999
  • Price:

2020 Indian Roadmaster Design

2020 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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Indian stays relatively true to its roots on the Roadmaster with design components that hail back to the early 1900s.

Indian is, in fact, America’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer, and while it has enjoyed a definite resurgence under the Polaris umbrella, it stays relatively true to its roots with design components that hail back to the early 1900s. Nowhere is this more apparent on the Roadmaster than at the front fender that carries the full skirting once so popular in the U.S. market. As the icing on this historical cake, the iconic war bonnet ornament rides in chrome to go with the old-school chrome fender tip and trim. Sure, it covers half of the front wheel, but that’s the way it used to be, and I think it’s cool for the factory to pull such details right out of its own history book.

Beefy chrome fork lowers shun the usual beercan skirting in favor of a couple of little tabs that hang down from the fairing to protect the inner fork tubes from the grit that would damage the seals. The fairing maintains its full coverage on this model, so there’s room for a large headlight that comes nestled in betwixt a pair of pimp lights with large recessed turn signals — all in LED — to complete the forward lighting.

Batwing-like tips extend the weather protection to your hands, and a push button-adjustable windscreen lets you dial in the height right where you want it. Behind the glass, a pair of round analog gauges for the speedo and tachometer complete with small LCD screens and indicator lights serve as basic instrumentation. The real star of the show here is the seven-inch, full-color TFT touchscreen display that acts as an interface for the Ride Command feature. The Ride Command is on-par with the world’s top-tier infotainment systems, and it delivers navigation, weather, and communication functionality as well as serving as a virtual jukebox for your listening pleasure. You can manipulate the system with gloved hands as you swipe, pinch, and drag your way through the menus, even in wet weather.

Additionally, you can switch between the Ride Modes and monitor your tire inflation through the TPMS feature, and you can share your tunes with the world via the 200-Watt sound system. The system rocks through a pair of drivers in the inner fairing and is matched by another pair housed in the top case for a stereophonic effect.

A chrome console dresses up the 5.5-gallon teardrop fuel tank that defines the angle of the flyline which is picked up by the deep-scoop seat to leave the Roadmaster with a look not entirely unlike the old rigid-tail machines. The seat covering comes in black with white diamond-stitching on three of the four models, but the Burgundy Metallic rolls with a tan-leather finish that sets it apart from the crowd.

Heated grips join heated seats to keep both pilot and pillion comfy and warm on cold-weather rides, so you can potentially extend your riding season a bit. Hard-side bags and a top case add up to 36.2 gallons of dry, secure storage for long weekend rides or some serious grocery-getting missions, and LED lights wrap up the gear in the rear with a high-visibility layout.

2020 Indian Roadmaster Chassis

2020 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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The multi-compound rear tire and 31° lean confirm the Roadmaster's capabilities in the curves, so you get straight-line stability and some fun.

A cast-aluminum frame on the Roadmaster sets the stage and delivers tour-worthy handling with a 25-degree rake angle and 5.9 inches of trail over a 65.7-inch wheelbase. Combine that with 31 degrees of lean to either side and you gotta know this thing ain’t no stick-in-the-mud on the twisties. It delivers handling that is comparable to Honda’s big-but-agile Gold Wing models, so you get luxury touring plus fun in the curves.

The front suspension rides on fixed damping values and is completely non-adjustable, so the factory missed an opportunity here, but out back an air-adjustable shock delivers a plush ride and wide range of preload tuning. Suspension travel measures at 4.7 inches and 4.5 inches on the front and rear, respectively, which is plenty for your urban jungle of choice.

Cast, 16-inch rims round out the rolling chassis with alternating polish and blackout to add a bit of bling down low under way. Dunlop provides the hoops in a 130/90 up front opposite a 180/60 out back. In a bid to improve safety, the rear hoop is of the multi-compound variety that provides long wear in the middle with sticky rubber on the sides for cornering performance.

All-around, 300 mm brake rotors work with dual four-piston anchors up front and a twin-piston caliper out back to keep the 926-pound (wet) Roadmaster under control, and regardless of which of the four color packages you choose, you can count on stock ABS protection to keep you relatively safe.

Front Suspension/ Travel: 46 mm Telescopic Fork/ 4.7 in (119 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Single Shock w/ Air adjust/ 4.5 in (114 mm)
Rake/Trail: 25° / 5.9 in (150 mm)
Lean Angle: 31°
Front Brakes: Dual 300 mm Floating Rotor, 4-Piston Caliper
Rear Brakes: Single 300 mm Floating Rotor, 2-Piston Caliper
Front Tire: Dunlop® Elite 3 130/90B16 73H
Rear Tire: Dunlop® Elite 3 Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80H
Front Wheel: Cast 16 in x 3.5 in
Rear Wheel: Cast 16 in x 5 in

2020 Indian Roadmaster Drivetrain

2020 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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The new Thunder Stroke 116 churns out a stump-pulling 126 pound-feet of torque and roll-on anywhere in the rev range.

Indian gives the Roadmaster a significant boost this year with its new Thunder Stroke 116 powerplant. That’s right, the displacement is boosted to just shy of two liters at 1,900 cc with a 103.2 mm bore and 113 mm stroke that bumps the compression on up to 11-to-1. As you might imagine, this also spices up the power output with a total of 126 pound-feet of torque that tops out at a remarkably low 2,900 rpm. That translates into low-stress cruising, even at interstate speed.

A 54 mm throttle body feeds both jugs with closed-loop fuel injection to keep fuel efficiency high and emissions low. A Ride Modes feature lets you dial in the power delivery to suit the prevailing conditions for the only ride-quality tweak to come on this bike. Power flows through a gear-type primary drive and wet clutch ahead of the six-speed transmission, and between the gearbox and final-drive ratio, the Roadmaster will turn in a top speed of 115 mph in top gear at the rev limit.

Performance is important, but on American-made rides, the engine’s aesthetics are important as well. With that in mind, Indian puts together a beautiful powerplant that references historical lumps with faux cooling fins cast into the rocker-box covers and parallel pushrod tubes that bring to mind the old flathead engines that saw service around the world from the 1930s through the 1970s.

Engine: Thunder Stroke® 116
Displacement: 116 cu in
Bore x Stroke: 4.063" x 4.449" (103.2 mm x113 mm)
Compression Ratio: 11:1
Peak Torque: 126 flb-ft (168 Nm) @ 2,900 rpm
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 54 mm bore
Exhaust: Split Dual Exhaust w/ Cross-over
Gear Ratio: 1st: 9.403, 2nd: 6.411, 3rd: 4.763, 4th: 3.796, 5th: 3.243, 6th: 2.789
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.2 : 1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch

2020 Indian Roadmaster Pricing

2020 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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MSRP starts at $30k for Thunder Black and tops out at $32k for a premium two-tone colorway.

Indian offers a tiered pricing schedule that is bound to the color package you choose. At the bottom of the range is the Thunder Black model at $29,999. Next up is the Burgundy Metallic that rocks the tan seats and passenger backrest at $30,749. The two-tone packages command the highest prices with the Pearl White/Titanium Metallic package at $31,499, and at the top of the totem pole, the Titanium Smoke/Thunder Black Smoke fetches top dollar at $31,999.

Standard Equipment: 7" Ride Command® Touchscreen Display with Navigation; Power Windshield; Driving Lights; Highway Bars; Vinyl Seats (Separate Rider/Passenger Heat Controls); Heated Grips; Adjustable Passenger Floorboards; 36.2 Gallons of Storage; Tire Pressure Monitoring; Remote-locking Hard Saddlebags & Trunk; Selectable Ride Modes; Rear Cylinder Deactivation; ABS; Cruise Control; Keyless Ignition; 200 Watt Audio System with AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB, Smartphone Compatible Input, and Weatherband
Warranty: 2 Years, Unlimited Miles
Colors: Thunder Black, Burgandy Metallic, Pearl White/Titanium Metallic, Titanium Smoke/Thunder Black Smoke
Price: Thunder Black: $29,999, Color: $30,749, Two-Tone: $31,499, Premium Two-Tone: $31,999

2020 Indian Roadmaster Competitors

2019 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited / Ultra Limited Low
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2020 Indian Roadmaster
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Luxury is as luxury does and both of these competitors have it in spades.

Indian’s only surviving domestic foe is the Harley-Davidson Motor Company, so it seems entirely appropriate to go to the MoCo for my competitor. With that in mind I grabbed H-D’s Ultra Limited, because it’s definitely geared toward the same buyer base with its full front fairing, stowage capacity, and two-up comfort.

Harley starts out with a decidedly non-skirted front fairing ahead of a classic front end that sports the good old beercan-fork skirts, and it channels its own storied history with pimp-lights and bullet-style turn-signal housings to go with the Daymaker headlight. The Ultra Limited’s windshield is fixed in position, so Indian gains a slight edge in custom comfort that is reinforced by the lack of stock heated handgrips and seat on the H-D.

As for infotainment, this pair is neck-and-neck with little to choose between the two. Same with comfortable saddles, pillion pads and full passenger backrests, unless you count H-D’s lack of stock heated seats, of course. Another point for Indian. Harley gets a minor win with the Showa front forks that use Dual Bending Valve technology to deliver a plush ride that’s superior to the plain vanilla stems on the Roadmaster, but out back is another draw as the emulsion-type shock has adjustable preload for the only adjustment.

ABS is standard across the board, but credit where it’s due, Harley chucks on a Vehicle Hold Control that makes for improved stability during takeoffs on a grade. The MoCo also joins the 21st century with a Rain Mode that lets you dial the power down for inclement weather and a stock traction control feature for another edge over Indian.

Harley’s Twin Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 delivers 122 pounds o’ grunt to cede the power advantage to Indian’s Thunder Stroke plant, however slight that advantage may be. The King of Paint sells the Ultra Limited in a choice of 19 paint options for a price spread of $28,699 to $32,799 that brackets the Roadmaster’s stickers.

He Said

“Indian delivers the goods with this ride, and even though I’m not a fan of the chrome crest at the front fairing, I’ll concede that you don’t have to look at it if you’re riding it and some of you are probably on-board with that look. I like that Indian isn’t resting on the success of the Thunder Stroke 111, but in light of H-D’s technological revelations of late, Indian had better be working on traction control and the like if it wants to remain competitive, and that right soon.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The Thunder Stroke engine has always been a beauty and no less so with the new 116. Mind you, it’s not new under the sun since you could install the Big-Bore performance kit to the Thunder Stroke 111 and make it a 116, but I am delighted to see the 116 in production. The Roadmaster is truly a luxury ride. Handling is sportier than you might expect on touring bike and putting the Ride Mode to “Sport” will give you quite a thrill.”

2020 Indian Roadmaster Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Thunder Stroke® 116
Displacement: 116 cu in
Bore x Stroke: 4.063" x 4.449" (103.2 mm x113 mm)
Compression Ratio: 11:1
Peak Torque: 126 flb-ft (168 Nm) @ 2,900 rpm
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 54 mm bore
Exhaust: Split Dual Exhaust w/ Cross-over
Gear Ratio: 1st: 9.403, 2nd: 6.411, 3rd: 4.763, 4th: 3.796, 5th: 3.243, 6th: 2.789
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.2 : 1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Chassis:
Front Suspension/ Travel: 46 mm Telescopic Fork/ 4.7 in (119 mm)
Rear Suspension/ Travel: Single Shock w/ Air adjust/ 4.5 in (114 mm)
Rake/Trail: 25° / 5.9 in (150 mm)
Lean Angle: 31°
Front Brakes: Dual 300 mm Floating Rotor, 4-Piston Caliper
Rear Brakes: Single 300 mm Floating Rotor, 2-Piston Caliper
Front Tire: Dunlop® Elite 3 130/90B16 73H
Rear Tire: Dunlop® Elite 3 Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80H
Front Wheel: Cast 16 in x 3.5 in
Rear Wheel: Cast 16 in x 5 in
Dimensions & Capacities:
Fuel Capacity: 5.5 gal (20.8 L)
Ground Clearance: 5.5 in (140 mm)
Overall Height: 58.7 in (1,491 mm)
Overall Length: 104.6 in (2,656 mm)
Overall Width: 39.4 in (1,000 mm)
Seat Height: 26.5 in (673 mm)
Weight (Empty Tank / Full of Fuel): 893 lbs / 926 lbs (405 kg / 420 kg)
Wheelbase: 65.7 in (1668 mm)
Top Speed: 115 mph
Electric:
Gauges: Fairing-mounted instrument cluster featuring analog speedometer and tachometer with fuel gauge, range, odometer and current gear. 15 LED telltale indicators; cruise control enabled, cruise control set, neutral, high beam, turn signal, ABS, check engine, low tire pressure, battery, low fuel, security system, low engine oil pressure and MHP or km/h unit designation.
Infotainment: Ride Command with connected services on 2020 model year bikes includes a complimentary 2-year trial for connected features from the vehicle sales date (after which, fees apply). 7" Ride Command® touchscreen display with real-time clock; ambient air temperature; heading; audio information display; map/navigation with real-time traffic and weather; Bluetooth status for phone and headset; vehicle status (tire pressure, voltage, engine hours, oil change); vehicle info (speed, fuel range, RPM, gear position); current ride data (distance, moving time, stop time, altitude, altitude change); trip meters; ride mode selection; screen brightness; vehicle trouble code readout.
Lights: LED Headlamp / Driving / Tail / Brake / Turn Signal
Details:
Standard Equipment: 7" Ride Command® Touchscreen Display with Navigation; Power Windshield; Driving Lights; Highway Bars; Vinyl Seats (Separate Rider/Passenger Heat Controls); Heated Grips; Adjustable Passenger Floorboards; 36.2 Gallons of Storage; Tire Pressure Monitoring; Remote-locking Hard Saddlebags & Trunk; Selectable Ride Modes; Rear Cylinder Deactivation; ABS; Cruise Control; Keyless Ignition; 200 Watt Audio System with AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB, Smartphone Compatible Input, and Weatherband
Warranty: 2 Years, Unlimited Miles
Colors: Thunder Black, Burgandy Metallic, Pearl White/Titanium Metallic, Titanium Smoke/Thunder Black Smoke
Price: Thunder Black: $29,999, Color: $30,749, Two-Tone: $31,499, Premium Two-Tone: $31,999

Further Reading

Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited / Ultra Limited Low

2019 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited / Ultra Limited Low
- image 799393

See our review of the Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited / Ultra Limited Low.

Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour

2018 - 2019 Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour
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See our review of the Honda Gold Wing / Gold Wing Tour.

Indian Motorcycle

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 794320

Read more Indian Motorcycle news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: indianmotorcycle.com, harley-davidson.com

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