Tassels – thousands of them. They hang like a curtain from the new Roadmaster Classic’s flanks, dragging on the road as we scythe through California’s endless ribbons of mountain tarmac.
And this is the Roadmaster Classic’s homeland. Indian say they’re very well aware that this slice of Americana is as home-market as apple pie and an unhealthy dollop of ice cream – and has been built in direct response to customer demand. This is for the purest of North American cruiser addicts, and Indian have been unapologetic in their goal of over-delivering the aesthetic – the less be-tasseled Roadmaster exists for those not excited by leather. But this is all about excess, and Indian do it so well. You can even spec it with tasseled leather footboard skirts, fender mudflaps and lever sleeves.
Beneath the frills is a standard Roadmaster; a full-dress tourer that rides and handles with the sort of composure and engagement that’s utterly at odds with how it looks. And none of that is lost here. The Classic will thump and thunder with perfectly-fueled serenity along a boulevard at 25mph as happily as it’ll plough a furrow with its generous footboards through a mountain pass, while the immense Thunderstroke V-twin revs free and hard. It’s Jekyll and Cow Hide.
The lashings of luggage and sumptuous seating are all wrapped in high quality Desert Tan leather that you can smell from 20 paces. The individually heated seats are pure touring comfort, while the huge main trunk is a solid case that looks soft, and the side cases boast hard sides and soft tops that are secured by three quick-release clip fasteners secreted behind fake leather belt straps (the trunk uses two). Leave the clips undone and the lids rise at over 70mph and flap like a motorway stingray. But properly secured, each side case – while narrow – will take 30.25 litres of accommodatingly shaped items. And that trunk can easily take two full-face helmets, has a zip-shut compartment on top for small items, an incorporated backrest for your pillion, and boasts a total capacity of 64.5 litres. All-in you’ve got 125 litres of capacity to play with – more than enough for most trips.
In addition to the heated seats are heated grips, keyless ignition, LED headlamps, power windscreen, adjustable pillion footboards, tyre pressure monitoring system, and Ride Command.
The Classic also gets new Heritage decals on the tank, generous crash bars front and rear, and the usual faired-in fenders and 1950s locomotive-inspired main fairing, all painted in heritage two-tone colour schemes of red/cream, green/cream or plain black – which is the most classy, understated and European looking of the new Classics.
The Roadmaster Classic is an odd blend of heritage styling, superb handling, and class-leading electrickery. Full-dress heritage tourers shouldn’t be this effortless, well-spec’d or, such good fun to hustle. If gargantuan leather luggage is your bag, then you’re not going be disappointed by any other part of the Classic package.
Indian Roadmaster Classic – Tech Specs
Price Thunder Black – £23,099 / Indian Red/Ivory Cream – £23,599 / Willow Green/Ivory Cream – £23,599
Engine 1811cc (101x113mm), air-cooled, pushrod, 49º V-twin
Frame Tubular steel double cradle
Seat height 673mm
Suspension Front: 46mm telescopic, non-adjustable.
Suspension Rear: single shock with air adjustment
Brakes Front 2 x 300mm discs. Four piston calipers. Rear: single 300mm disc with twin piston caliper
Colours Black or two-tone green/cream, red/cream
Weight 392kg (dry)
Tank capacity 20.8 litres
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Pics Felix Romero Garcia