I have been riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles for quite some time, off and on, for over 30 years. My last bike was a 2008, Harley-Davidson Electra glide Ultra – Classic,
I decided to take a look at obtaining a new motorcycle, partly because I wanted to see what new technology was out there.
I finally narrowed down my search to two possible motorcycles, a 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra – Limited, and an Indian Roadmaster.
In my research, I discovered that the 2017 Harley-Davidson Ultra – Limited had the new Milwaukee 8 motor, which has water-cooled heads, which means it runs months cooler than the current motorcycle that I have, has 11 more cc inches of power than I have now, a redesigned engine mount which lessens vibrations, a redesigned fairing which is said to be more stable, updated hard saddlebags, and an updated head unit with Bluetooth capability.
Frankly, I did not like any of the color schemes that came with the Harley-Davidson Ultra – Limited. With a motor cycle manufacturer such as Harley-Davidson, I would’ve expected more choices, or even custom options.
If I chose to get the Harley-Davidson, it would basically be getting the same motorcycle I have had for the past 12 years, with an updated engine, fairing, stereo, and saddlebag openers.
In my mind, there is no way to justify paying approximately $30,000 for an updated Harley just because of the few things mentioned above.
When I looked at the Indian motorcycles, frankly I was very surprised to see how far they’d come. The Indian motorcycles in this class have a 111 c.c. motor which is called the ThunderStroke. It puts out 119.6 foot-pounds of torque, and has approximately 90 hp. Although it is air cooled like the old Harleys, and heats up like the old Harleys, this engine is a beast, trust me it has some punch, it is fast.
Further, when I looked at the Indian Roadmaster, I saw many built-in features that would cost thousands of dollars to get on a Harley-Davidson as add on extras.
The head unit on the Indian is incredible, it has GPS built in, a much bigger screen, and shows you all engine functions, including a multi-function display, right on the front bike.
Basically, the Indian Roadmaster is a beautiful bike.
Lucky man that I am, when my fiancé found out that I liked the Indian Roadmaster, she decided to buy one, for me to ride, with the only condition that she be the only female I allow the back. Of course, I said yes 🙂 this lady is about to become my wife anyway.
We went to a dealership locally called “Indian Motorcycles of Orange,” (More on them in part two of this article.) to look at the Indian Roadmaster.
They had in stock, a black Roadmaster, a black and ivory one, and a red one, however, I wanted the green and ivory color Roadmaster.
I told Indian Motorcycle of Orange County that my fiancé was a cash buyer, and we wanted to buy a new motorcycle within a week.
The sales manager told us that he would call around to his other dealer friends, and if anybody had one, he could have it within a couple of days.
I figured that the dealer would be very excited to have a cash deal on their most expensive motorcycle, and that he would have jumped right on it trying to find the motorcycle that we wanted.
I called him the next day, and he told me that he had not had a chance to check yet, but that he would, and that he would get back to me.
3 days later I still had not heard back from him, so I decided to take matters into my own hands.
I went online and looked at the inventory of all of the local dealerships myself. I discovered that only Spirit Motorcycle of San Jose California had the motorcycle I wanted in stock, the green and ivory motorcycle. Unfortunately, it was 450 miles away.
I called and talked to the owner, Martin, who was very helpful, and we worked the deal out over the phone. Within 2 days, I was on a plane to San Jose to go pick up the bike.
Ironically, the day I was about to leave to go pick up the bike, Indian Motorcycle of Orange called me and left a message, but it was already too late, the deal was already done with Spirit, and I was on my way to San Jose to pick up the Indian Roadmaster.
Had Indian Motorcycle of Orange called me back sooner, they would have gotten the deal.
If you are a motorcycle dealer, I doubt you are so busy that it would take you days to find a unit for a customer, or at least call them back to let them know you are trying. It took me less than 15 minutes to find the motorcycle I wanted.
If you snooze, you lose. More on Indian Motorcycle of Orange below, and in part 2 of this article.
When I got to San Jose, they picked me up at the airport, brought me to the dealership, you can see from the pictures here that this is what I picked up. It is the most beautiful motorcycle I have ever rode I think.
The dealer sent his expert out to teach me everything I needed to know about the motorcycle before I took off on it, I had the service department install infinity Highway pegs on the motorcycle before I left.
This dealership bent over backwards to make sure I was happy. Since I did not bring a helmet with me, I purchased an Indian DOT meanie helmet with the built-in visor for the road.
How many of you have obtained a brand-new motorcycle and then rode it 420 miles plus home :-)?
When I got the bike on the road I discovered that the floorboards seem to sit a little bit higher than the Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra-Classic that I have, and because this motorcycle has a rider backrest installed, I could look not lean back as much. It was a riding position I was not yet used to. However, It took all of 5 minutes to get used to it 🙂
Even though this motorcycle has stock exhaust, due to the size of the engine, it still stock makes a loud low noise that lets you know you have one hell of machine between your legs.
I was told that the 1st 500 miles on this motorcycle is a break in. The 1st 100 miles you’re not supposed to give it more than ¼ throttle, or keep it at the same speed for too long of time. After 100 miles, no more than one half throttle, and after 400 miles, no more than three quarters throttle.
I broke it in riding it home from San Jose.
The only complaint I had about the motorcycle was that I could not figure out how to get the cruise control working. I stopped and read the manual while taking a break on the road, and discovered it worked just like the Harley-Davidson cruise control. You first turn it on, then hit set, it appeared my cruise control was not working, a little upsetting on a brand new 35k bike, but I was not worried because I have a five-year warranty. Turns out I have a lot to worry about. See my write up on Indian Motorcycle of Orange in part two of this article.
With respect to riding the Indian, here are my impressions. It is one hell of a fast motorcycle. The pickup and go on this stock motorcycle will blow away most of my Harley riding friends who have had serious custom worked on their motorcycles.
The motorcycle does not vibrate like the Harley-Davidson which is actually a pleasure. On the Harley-Davidson when you’re at a stop light, at least with my 2008, the whole damn thing is vibrating like hell. The Indian is smooth as a button.
The handling on the Indian is about the same as on my Harley, except my Electra Glide has a much tighter turning radius than the Indian. The Indian does have fatter tires.
Above all, the Indian is as far as I’m concerned, is a far more advanced motorcycle when it comes to rider amenities.
The stereo is mind blowing, it comes with the 200 W, 4 speakers, Bluetooth enabled, advanced head unit built-in, with a cell phone holder above it, and allows you to plug your cell phone into the motorcycle and charge it.
The Indian also has remote control locking and unlocking of the tour Pak and saddlebags, as well as keyless starting so long as your key fob is close by.
There are way too many other amenities that I have not included. I absolutely love my Indian Roadmaster.
I’m going to write another part 2 article about the horrendous and outrageously priced service I received for my 500-mile service, and my attempt to get the cruise control fixed, at Indian Motorcycle of Orange soon. This is the same local dealership that did not timely call me back when I tried to buy a motorcycle there.
The reason I’m going to write this article is to warn you all of you about this local dealer, who treated me very poorly, and to I strongly recommend my Biker Law Blog readers not to patronize.
A final word of closing for now, I still love Harley-Davidson don’t get me wrong, but I am now an Indian rider, and I think that many of you once you go check it out will also be an Indian rider. This competition is good because now it will force both manufacturers to produce better motorcycles.
By Biker Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, July 2017.