Indian’s new flagship tourer caters to the elite of the elite with hand-finished paint and their biggest production engine to date

Indian Motorcycle brings classic and contemporary together for its limited-edition Roadmaster Elite. Powered by the new, 116 cubic-inch Thunder Stroke plant and enhanced with top-shelf infotainment features as well as safety equipment, the Roadmaster Elite serves as Indian’s Flagship entry in the tourbike bracket and looks like it’s set to take on its domestic competition.

  • 2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Thunder Stroke 116
  • Displacement:
    1890 cc
  • Top Speed:
    115 mph
  • Price:
    38999
  • Price:

2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite Design

  • LED lighting
  • 7-inch color TFT display
  • Remote-locking storage
  • Heated grips and saddle
  • Ride Command system
2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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When you have roots as deep as Indian, you have plenty of grist for your design mill, and it shows. The Roadmaster Elite leads the way with a full-valence front fender that takes us all the way back to the 1940’s, but it ain’t all about the looks. That design was superior for containing the spray from the front wheel in wet weather. Equally classic, the chrome war bonnet ornament, brow, and piping dresses the fender up quite nicely.

The bling continues up the face with a large chrome crest around the cyclops headlight. Flush-mount turn signals and recessed passing lights wrap up the forward lighting, all in LED tech to ensure maximum visibility.

Atop the semi-dome front fairing sits a clear windscreen with a bit of flare along the top to punch a bigger hole in the weather. It’s push-button actuated for easy height adjustments, even on the fly. The tiller steering offers plenty of leverage and puts your hands in a comfortable, neutral position, plus it comes stock with heated handgrips for you intrepid chilly-weather riders out there. Heated seats front and rear keep your collective nethers thawed out and also come with the standard equipment package. Out back, a full pillion backrest and armrests support your passenger with a set of full-foot, fold-up footboards to complete the package.

The Roadmaster Elite boasts a total of 36.2 gallons of dry, secure storage, and the saddlebags and top case come with a remote-locking mechanism for easy operation, even with gloves on. Someone took some artistic liberty and introduced a bit of custom-style stretch to the side bags, which is a nice touch. LED turn/tail and tag lights finish out the lighting.

As for the infotainment system, the Ride Command system delivers the goods with navigation, ride monitoring, communications, and music all bundled behind a seven-inch, color TFT screen. A quartet of round analog gauges handle the more mundane metrics with a full array of idiot lights for what remains. A pair of weatherproof sound drivers in the inner fairing work with another pair speakers set in the saddlebag tops for surround-sound stereophonics.

2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite Chassis

  • Cast aluminum frame
  • Exceptionally low seat height
  • Air-adjustable monoshock
  • Multi-compound tires for improved cornering traction
  • ABS
2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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At 951 pounds wet, the Roadmaster Elite isn’t a light bike by anyone’s standards, but it could have been heavier since cast-aluminum is the material of choice for the frame instead of steel. The steering head sets a 25-degree angle of rake that’s pretty short for a bike of this type, but the trail is more typical at 5.9-inches long to balance out the cornering and tracking behavior.

Ground clearance is minimal at 5.5 inches off the deck, but that’s the trade off for the exceptionally low, 26.5-inch seat height that should be in flat-foot territory, even for the most vertically-challenged riders. A 46 mm hydraulic fork floats the front end on fixed values, and out back, an air-adjustable monoshock takes care of business with 4.7 inches and 4.5 inches of travel, respectively.

Cast-alloy wheels round out the rolling chassis with Dunlop Elite 3 hoops to make the connection to the tarmac in a 130/60-19 followed by a fat, 180/60-16. These are multi-compound tires with long-wearing material in the center of the tread, and extra-grippy stuff up around the sides for improved cornering traction.

The Roadmaster Elite relies on dual four-pot front calipers, a single-piston rear anchor and all-around, 300 mm rotors to control the great energies such a large bike and engine can produce. A stock ABS feature ensures you can safely get the most out of the brakes, even in inclement conditions.

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)
Lean Angle: N/A
Rake/Trail: 25° / 5.9 in (150 mm)
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 Elite Drivetrain

  • Thunder Stroke 116 engine
  • 126 lb-ft @ 3,100 rpm
  • 93 horsepower
  • Three ride modes
2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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So far, the Roadmaster Elite hits all the pertinent high points for a top-shelf model, but the engine really steals the show. I’ve always did like the original, 111-inch Thunder Stroke mill for its classic looks and grunty performance, and it looks like the factory outdid itself with a 116-inch version of the same faux flathead that helped to relaunch the marque. The Thunder Stroke 116 is a long-stroke engine with a 103.2 mm bore and 113 mm stroke that gives it a compression ratio of 11-to-1 and total displacement of 1,890 cc.

While that configuration limits the rpm range up to redline, it also produces a metric ton of torque with a whopping 126 pound-feet at a low 3,100 rpm. That’s almost locomotive-like folks, and is sure to pull this big-boned bike out of the hole with authority. Peak horsepower measures in at 93 ponies overall.

A gear-type primary drive couples engine power to the six-speed transmissionvia a wet, multi-disc clutch pack and a belt-type, final-drive ratio to turn out a 115 mph top speed.

As for aesthetics, the 116 rocks the same faux cooling-fin rocker box covers as the 111, and the contrasting red paint draws the eye to the old school, parallel pushrod tubes and timing cover on the right side. The Ride Command system lets you choose between three ride modes, each with their own combination of attributes and levels of intervention under the headings of Tour, Sport, and Standard.

Engine: Thunder Stroke® 116
Bore x Stroke: 4.063" x 4.449" (103.2mm x113mm)
Displacement: 116 cu in (1,890 cc)
Horsepower: N/A
Peak Power: 93 hp
Peak Torque: 126 lb-ft (172.2 Nm) @ 3,100 rpm
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 54 mm bore
Exhaust: Split Dual Exhaust w/ Cross-over
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.2 : 1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Gear Ratio: 1st: 9.403, 2nd: 6.411, 3rd: 4.763, 4th: 3.796, 5th: 3.243, 6th: 2.789

2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite Price

2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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The 2020 Roadmaster Elite comes only in its unique, hand-laid paint scheme of Thunder Black Vivid Crystal over Gunmetal Flake with crimson pinstripes. Starting MSRP is at the top of the range, as it should be with a limited-edition/flagship model, and so buyers can expect to be on the hook for a base MSRP of $38,999.

Standard Equipment: 7" Ride Command® Touchscreen Display with Navigation; Power Windshield; Driving Lights; Highway Bars; Genuine Leather 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; 600 Watt Audio System with AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB, Smartphone Compatible Input, and Weatherband; Passenger Armrests; Chrome Front & Rear Bumpers; Pinnacle Mirrors; Premium Floorboards; Paint Matched Engine Badges
Color: Thunder Black Vivid Crystal Over Gunmetal Flake
Price: $38,999

2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite Competitors

2019 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
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2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite
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Nothing but the best will do for a competitor here, so I went straight to Harley-Davidson for its 2020 CVO Limited for my measuring stick.

Harley-Davidson CVO Limited

2019 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited
- image 792114

The MoCo takes a darker turn with blackout treatment and smoked chrome in contrast to the bright trim the Roadmaster rocks. A batwing fairing and set of fairing lowers punch a hole in the weather to break even with the Indian’s coverage, but the chopped windshield is fixed in height to cede a bit of comfort to the Roadmaster.

H-D gets some back in the front stems. Showa forks are still non-adjustable, but the dual bending valve system delivers a superior ride nonetheless. Harley tucks in its Twin-Cooled Milwaukee-Eight 114 engine that cranks out 125 pound-feet of torque to fall just one pound shy of the Thunder Stroke’s performance, but the heinie-dyno will never detect the difference.

Equally similar are the infotainment features. Harley matches Indian’s Ride Command point for point through its Boom! Box GTS and Reflex Defensive Rider Systems to break even yet again, but that shouldn’t be a surprise since at this level, it’s really a game of inches.

At the checkout, the Indian steed noses out a win with its $39k sticker against H-D’s $44k starting price, so buyers without H-D brand loyalty and those looking to jump the fence may find the Roadmaster Elite an attractive option.

Read our full review of the Harley-Davidson CVO Limited.

He Said

“This is a lot of bike. It carries all the bells and whistles to pretty much break even with its only real domestic competition, plus it rocks one of the most powerful V-twin powerplants ever to go to production. Fit and finish is also comparable to H-D, so you can forget about using a lack of quality as a tiebreaker between the two.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I’m not a fan of the colorway, despite the fact that it is truly hand-finished premium paint. But I always say, if you’re sitting on it, you’re not looking at it. What I do find beautiful is the Thunder Stroke 116. It’s a beauty to look at and it has awesome performance. The new Roadmaster Elite touches on so many historical points, but it is a modern machine. As big as it is, it’s almost effortless to ride. It’s comfortable, powerful, and it’s the ultimate tourer.

2020 Indian Roadmaster Elite Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Thunder Stroke® 116
Bore x Stroke: 4.063" x 4.449" (103.2mm x113mm)
Displacement: 116 cu in (1,890 cc)
Horsepower: N/A
Peak Power: 93 hp
Peak Torque: 126 lb-ft (172.2 Nm) @ 3,100 rpm
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Compression Ratio: 11.0:1
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 54 mm bore
Exhaust: Split Dual Exhaust w/ Cross-over
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.2 : 1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Gear Ratio: 1st: 9.403, 2nd: 6.411, 3rd: 4.763, 4th: 3.796, 5th: 3.243, 6th: 2.789
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)
Lean Angle: N/A
Rake/Trail: 25° / 5.9 in (150 mm)
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: 5.5 in (140 mm)
GVWR: 1,385 lb (628 kg)
Overall Height: 56.7 in (1,440 mm)
Overall Length: 105.4 in (2,676 mm)
Overall Width: 39.4 in (1,000 mm)
Seat Height: 26.5 in (673 mm)
Weight (Empty Tank / Full of Fuel): 919 lbs / 951 lbs (417 kg / 431 kg)
Wheelbase: 65.7 in (1,669 mm)
Electrics:
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 MPH or km/h unit designation. Tank mounted auxiliary analog fuel and voltage gauges.
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; vehicle trouble code readout; Vehicle Status (tire pressure, voltage, engine hours, oil change); Vehicle Info (speed, fuel range, RPM, gear position); Dual Trip Meters (fuel range, miles, average fuel economy, instantaneous fuel economy time, average speed); Ride Data (heading, moving time, stop time, altitude, altitude change); Bluetooth Status for phone and headset; Ride Mode Selection; Map/Navigation
Lights: LED Headlamp/Driving/Tail/Brake/Turn Signal
Details:
Standard Equipment: 7" Ride Command® Touchscreen Display with Navigation; Power Windshield; Driving Lights; Highway Bars; Genuine Leather 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; 600 Watt Audio System with AM/FM, Bluetooth, USB, Smartphone Compatible Input, and Weatherband; Passenger Armrests; Chrome Front & Rear Bumpers; Pinnacle Mirrors; Premium Floorboards; Paint Matched Engine Badges
Color: Thunder Black Vivid Crystal Over Gunmetal Flake
Price: $38,999

Further Reading

Indian Motorcycle

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TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
About the author

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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