The Newest Dark Horse Comes Equipped With The New Thunder Stroke 116

Based on the success of its Chieftain Dark Horse, Indian Motorcycle expands its Dark Horse lineup for 2020 with the new Roadmaster Dark Horse that brings blackout treatment to the table along with Indian’s newest technological treats. Touring amenities and comfort features join with the Ride Command electronics and 200-Watt sound system for your riding enjoyment. If you’re into power, then the Roadmaster Dark Horse has you covered with Indian’s brand new Thunder Stroke 116 engine that churns out the most torque of any production American engine with over 120 pound-feet of grunt on tap.

  • 2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Thunder Stroke 116
  • Displacement:
    116 cubic inches
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph
  • Price:
    28999
  • Price:

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse Design

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861753
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861749
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861750
Indian has some very deep historical roots, and it isn't bashful about drawing on them for an attractive blend of modern design with a nostalgic edge such as we see on the Roadmaster.

Indian has some very deep historical roots, and it isn’t bashful about drawing on them for an attractive blend of modern design with a nostalgic edge such as we see on the Roadmaster. It starts out with the full-length front fender that drops the skirting in favor of cut-back sides that leave much of the front wheel visible. The nostalgic details start out strong in the war bonnet fender ornament that hails all the way back to the early 20th century. Beefy front forks rock classic beercan fork skirts with a chrome finish from top to bottom as a nice offset to the general blackout treatment that prevails in the drivetrain area.

Unlike the other MY2020 Roadmaster models, the Dark Horse version pushes a pared down, batwing-like front fairing that sheds the passing-lamp recesses in a move to lessens the visual weight up front and gives the bike a custom look. The cyclops LED headlight splits the night from below dual fairing vents that serve a dual purpose for your comfort. It reduces the tiresome head-buffet effect and introduces fresh air into the rider’s protective pocket to combat the heat wash from the engine. As for the windshield, it’s push-button adjustable so you can dial it in for conditions and preference, plus you get heated handgrips that’ll keep your digits nice and toasty.

A pair of round analog gauges come complete with small LED screens to deliver speed, revs, and other critical metrics. They are joined by a seven-inch color TFT display as the interface for the newly buffed, quad-core Ride Command system that brings weather, navigation, music, and communications together in one spot for quick and easy access. The touchscreen works in all kinds of weather and is sensitive enough to manipulate with gloved hands so you can pinch, drag, and tap your way through the menus no matter the conditions.

Chrome-and-black treatment on the console divides the top of the 5.5-gallon teardrop fuel tank that sports the classic Indian head/war bonnet graphic over a black background for contrast, regardless of which of the three paint packages you choose. Seat height is comfortably low at 26.5 inches off the ground, and not only does that serve to form a comfortable rider’s triangle with the pullback handlebar and forward footboards, but it makes for an easy reach to the ground.

The saddle is heated, and so is the p-pad for cold-weather comfort. Fold-up footpegs and a lofted pillion pad provide the passenger with their regular points of contact, and the touring trunk comes with a full-width backrest complete with armrests to help keep your friend in comfort. The trunk also mounts a pair of speakers to match the ones in the tips of the batwings up front and complete the stereo effect.

Hard saddlebags run with stretched corners for a generous dry secure storage capacity, and the trunk can hold a pair of full-face brainbuckets or a whole passel of groceries. Out back, a classic turn-signal bar and plateholder take care of business with a wide taillight that helps you remain visible to the cagers behind you though bright LED technology.

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse Chassis

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861757
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861752
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861767
Steering geometry lends the Roadmaster a balance between agility and stability while maintaining an eagerness for the corners with a 31-degree lean angle to both sides.

The double-cradle frame on the Roadmaster relies on tubular members, a strong backbone and dual downtubes for rigidity. This kind of arrangement supports the engine rather than using it as a stressed member, so it’s a heavy frame that protects the lower cases. Heavy plates brace up the steering head that sets a 25-degree angle of rake with 5.9 inches of trail over a 65.7-inch wheelbase. These numbers lend the Roadmaster line a balance between agility and stability while maintaining an eagerness for the corners with a 31-degree lean angle to both sides.

Cast-aluminum wheels mount Dunlop Elite tires in a 130/60-19 up front opposite a 180/60-16. The front suspension relies on the strength of 46 mm inner fork tubes, but the stems are plain vanilla with nothing in the way of adjustability about it. Out back, an air-adjustable monoshock takes care of business with a plush ride you can only get from air, and it has 4.5 inches of travel that’ll soak up some serious urban abuse.

Dual 300 mm discs and four-piston anchors slow the front wheel with a twin-piston caliper to grab the 300 mm rear disc, and no matter which color package you pick you can count on stock ABS protection.

Front Suspension/Travel: 24 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® American Elite 130/60B19 61H
Rear Tire: Dunlop® Elite 3 Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80H
Front Wheel: Cast 19 in x 3.5 in
Rear Wheel: Cast 16 in x 5 in

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse Drivetrain

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861759
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861754
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861758
You can count on low-stress interstate cruising and a throttle that has something to give almost anywhere in the range.

A striking combination of polished aluminum, chrome, and blackout sets off the cases and covers of the engine and transmission on the Roadmaster to draw the eye to the visual candy that is the new Thunder Stroke 116 engine. Up from 111 cubic-inches, the newest Thunder Stroke packs in a total of 116 cubes to make it one of the largest production V-twins on the market. As with the previous gen, it rocks a set of rocker-box covers with faux cooling fins and a quartet of parallel pushrod tubes that mimic the look of the old flathead engines from the early-to-mid 1900s. Traditional air-cooling manages the waste heat, and like its predecessor, the “116” comes stock with the Rear Cylinder Deactivation that kills the back jug to combat the heat felt by the rider.

Size matters, and this Thunder Stroke proves it with 126 pound-feet of torque at an astonishingly low 2,900 rpm, so you can count on low-stress interstate cruising and a throttle that has something to give almost anywhere in the range. Indian’s Ride Command system has a Ride Mode function that lets you dial in the power delivery to suit the prevailing conditions, but that’s the only ride-quality tweaks you get so the Roadmaster Dark Horse remains rather essential without too much in the way of fandanglery.

A gear-type primary drives a wet clutch, and power flows through a six-speed transmission before it heads to the rear wheel via a carbon-reinforced belt drive. The engine’s power and overall drive ratio delivers a top speed that’s governed at 115 mph. That’s plenty fast for civilized roads.

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
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
Peak Torque: 126 lb-ft (168 Nm) @ 2,900 rpm
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.2 : 1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse Pricing

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861757
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861748
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861766
MSRP on Thunder Black Smoke is $29k or get a choice of colors for $29.7k.

Indian breaks the pricing down according to color package. At the bottom of the range is the Thunder Black Smoke that combines with the blackout treatment for a wholly monochromatic finish at $28,999 MSRP. If White Smoke or Ruby Smoke is more your style, you’ll have to pony up a starting price of $29,749. The 2020 Roadmaster Dark Horse comes with a two-year subscription to the Connected Features infotainment service.

Standard Equipment: 7" Ride Command® Touchscreen Display with Navigation; Power Windshield; Driving Lights; Highway Bars; Vinyl Rogue 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 Smoke, Ruby Smoke, White Smoke
Price: Thunder Black Smoke: $28,999, Color: $29,749

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse Competitors

2019 Harley-Davidson Ultra Limited / Ultra Limited Low
- image 799402
2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse
- image 861765
Neither marque uses price as a selling point so it comes down to features when picking a winner.

Indian builds a hell of a machine, but it looks like America’s second-oldest manufacturer, Harley-Davidson, may be the one to beat with its full-dresser Ultra Limited. Like Indian, the MoCo borrows from historical looks throughout the design. The Ultra Limited starts out with a similar front fender and relatively spare Batwing fairing that comes complete with a large headlight and whiskerbar-mount pimp lights that’ll push out even more lumens than the Roadmaster’s single projector.

Vents in the fairing serve the same purpose across the board, but the Harley windshield is fixed in position and non-adjustable, so right off the bat Indian scores in the custom comfort department. Inside the fairing, Harley breaks even with its color TFT Boom! Box GTS infotainment system that delivers the same level of fandanglery as Indian’s Ride Command system along with heated handgrips. However, Indian comes out on top again as the Ultra Limited doesn’t come stock with heated seats.

H-D uses Showa Dual Bending Valve forks for a slightly superior ride up front, and sports a handwheel-adjusted emulsion shock out back for quick compensations in passenger/cargo weight for a slight edge in the stems. Power comes from a Milwaukee-Eight 114 to the tune of 122 pounds o’ grunt to fall just a skosh shy of the Thunder Stroke 116’s power, but it’s still enough for a tourbike, I promise.

Harley pulls ahead a bit in its electronics with a Rain Mode and traction control feature. As usual, Harley offers a number of color combinations that all come with their own price, and the range runs from $28,699 to $32,799 to bracket the Roadmaster Dark Horse’s price range.

He Said

“Competition is a healthy thing, and it’s good to see the lengths that Indian and H-D are pushing each other to nowadays. Harley may hold a slight edge in electronics, but given Indian’s deep research pockets under the Polaris umbrella, I expect it to catch up sooner rather than later. That said, the Roadmaster Dark Horse hits all the important high points to deliver a product that’ll gladly help you put some state lines behind you.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The 116 started as a Big-Bore kit for the Thunder Stroke 111, so while it isn’t new under the sun, it is new as a production engine. The screen on the Ride Command system is brighter and easier to read than it was before and the system received a few upgrades this year to help with weather and traffic monitoring, both of which are front-runner concerns for folks on a motorcycle. All in all, the Dark Horse line’s newest member, the Roadmaster Dark Horse, is rolling comfort in an elegant and upscale fashion.”

2020 Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse 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
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
Peak Torque: 126 lb-ft (168 Nm) @ 2,900 rpm
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.2 : 1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Chassis:
Front Suspension/Travel: 24 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® American Elite 130/60B19 61H
Rear Tire: Dunlop® Elite 3 Multi-Compound 180/60R16 80H
Front Wheel: Cast 19 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: 5.1 in (130 mm)
Overall Height: 58.7 in (1,491 mm)
Overall Length: 102.1 in (2,593.3 mm)
Overall Width: 39.4 in (1,000 mm)
Seat Height: 26.5 in (673 mm)
Weight (Empty Tank / Full of Fuel): 868 lbs / 900 lbs (394 kg / 408 kg)
Wheelbase: 65.7 in (1,668 mm)
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 Rogue 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 Smoke, Ruby Smoke, White Smoke
Price: Thunder Black Smoke: $28,999, Color: $29,749

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.

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

Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Motorcycle Finder: