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Find my brake – Indian Roadmaster

August 1, 2022 Tips & how-to guides
Roadmaster feature min

We look at the Indian Roadmaster range from 2015 onwards, and the brake pads Bendix supplies for these motorcycles.

The Indian Motorcycle Company is America’s oldest motorcycle manufacturer, albeit with a hiatus of 60 years. And while it has enjoyed a definite resurgence since being acquired by Polaris Industries in 2011, it stays relatively true to its roots with design cues that hail back to the early 1900s. Many modern Indian motorcycles, such as the Roadmaster, are easily recognizable by their characteristic front fenders with full skirting, adorned with the iconic war bonnet ornament and old-school chrome fender tip and trim.

And after a 62-year respite, the classic American marque finally reappeared in Australian showrooms sporting a combination of high-performing technological innovation and authentic retro design.

Laying claim to the title of America's first motorcycle brand, Indian launched its new lineup in Australia with an offering of six 1950s-themed cruisers, baggers, and tourers, that in 2015 grew to include the Roadmaster. Sitting at the top of the Indian lineup, the Roadmaster was essentially marketed as the Rolls-Royce of its ilk, fitted with the very latest gadgetry and creature comforts.

Though the large cylinder heads on small finned cylinders and parallel push-rod tubes gave the “Thunder Stroke 111” (representing cubic-inches) engine a vintage appearance, it was an entirely modern design, with the 49-degree V-twin boasting a capacity of 1811cc with bore and stroke of 101 x 113mm. The ‘oversquare’ engine delivered 138Nm of torque - every last one needed to propel the portly 400kg-plus tourer.

The fuel mixture was controlled by a throttle-by-wire Bosch ME17 ECU and delivered to the combustion chamber through a 54mm throttle-body, with a “Y” manifold - designed to enhance charge swirl for more efficient combustion - feeding each of the engine’s two inlet ports. Its two overhead valves per cylinder were actuated by a three-cam pushrod system with parallel tubes and hydraulic lifters. A center cam, with two lobes, actuated the intake valves, while single-lobed cams on either side opened the exhausts. A single silent chain connected the crank to the center cam.

The Thunder Stroke’s cast short-skirted, flat-top pistons operated in cylinder bores hard-plated with a Nikasil-like coating. To reduce unwanted vibration the single-piece, forged steel crankshaft was coupled to a single engine-speed balancer. The engine’s oil tank was integrated into the crankcase behind the gearbox.

Torque was transferred to the rear wheel via a six-speed gearbox that employed straight-cut gears only for first; second through sixth were quiet-running helicals. The final drive to the rear wheel was by a carbon-fiber-reinforced toothed belt.

The state-of-the-art double-cradle cast aluminium frame on the Roadmaster was aimed at reducing weight whilst offering a fine balance between torsional rigidity and flex. To soak up the bumps the big Indian was equipped with 46 mm telescopic front forks carrying a 16-inch front wheel. A single, air-adjustable rear shock provided 115mm of travel.

Dual 300 mm discs and four-piston anchors slowed the front wheel with a twin-piston caliper grabbing the 300 mm rear disc – all controlled by ABS.

Even though the Roadmaster underwent several upgrades, these were mainly in the form of infotainment and equipment updates. However, for 2019 Indian upgraded the ECU to incorporate three riding modes, which could be selected on the fly. These consisted of Tour, Standard, and Sport.

The Tour mode featured a smooth throttle response for relaxed riding, while the Standard setting offered a slightly better response for quick overtaking and acceleration. 'Sport' mode delivered instantaneous and linear throttle response for more aggressive power delivery. Alongside these riding modes, the bike also gained rear cylinder deactivation, to help reduce the characteristic heat build-up of the big twin when stationary. In operation, the bike would cut a cylinder automatically when stationary once up to operating temperature, with an ambient temperature above 15 degrees. The rear cylinder would reactivate when the throttle was opened.

After having established its credentials Indian decided the Thunder Stroke needed a little more thunder - introducing the new Thunder Stroke 116 engine for 2020. The Thunder Stroke 116 (cubic –inches) with a bore x stroke of 103.2 x 113.0mm now displaced a whopping 1,890 cc, making it one of the largest production V-twins on the market. Like its predecessor, the “116” comes stock with Rear Cylinder Deactivation and selectable riding modes.

Weighing in at over 400kg the Indian Roadmaster is not a light motorcycle and with a top speed of about 185 km/h, it is important that the cruiser can be brought to a safe stop in all conditions. For this reason, Bendix has developed the Bendix Moto line of brake pads that cover a wide range of bikes and riding applications.

Roadmaster image min

Bendix Brake Pads For The Indian Roadmaster

As Australia’s largest automotive friction material manufacturer, Bendix has been at the leading edge of braking technology for close to 70 years and has now taken that expertise to the world of motorcycles with the Bendix Moto line of brake pads.

Bendix Moto currently offers two brake pad types – Ultimate+ and Street Road Track. Each pad type covers the needs of a range of motorcycles and how they’re used, from putting around on the daily commute to full-blown track use. Bendix Moto’s extensive catalogue also covers an enormous range of different motorcycle types including Indian’s Roadmaster tourer.

Ideally suited to the Roadmaster, Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads have been developed to perform flawlessly when commuting in daily traffic but also for tourers that require the stopping power of a premium brake pad when heavily laden, as is often the case with the Roadmaster. They offer exceptional stopping power, low dust, and low noise, whilst offering high resistance to brake fade at higher temperatures thanks to a high friction ceramic formulation.

Whilst Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads are made to handle the stresses of stop-start traffic they also offer high braking performance to safely slow the heavy Indian when negotiating twisty mountain passes.

Whether you spend your weekends cruising the back roads of Australia or commuting during the week, Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads have got you covered, under all riding conditions, whether in the wet or dry.

Never get caught out by brakes that aren’t quite up to the job. Fitting a set of Bendix Moto Ultimate+ Brake Pads to your Indian Roadmaster means you can brake with confidence - anywhere, anytime, in all conditions.