Daniel’s Roadmaster Horse



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Legendary companies collaborating on a product seems like a fairly popular branding exercise these days. Kanye and Adidas have done it, Nike and Apple too, and of course Taco Bell and Doritos. When they work, it’s because both parties find value in the resulting product. So when Indian partnered up with Jack Daniel’s back in 2016, I had to admit I was confused. Booze and bikes? What’s next, school crossing guards wearing Ambien insignia? As usual, the joke was on me, ‘cause five years (and four custom bikes) later, most of Indian’s limited edition Jack Daniel’s models have sold out their run, some within minutes of release. Last year, it was the Springfield Dark Horse’s time in the whiskey barrel, so for 2021, Indian went to its top-of-the-line Roadmaster tourer to serve as the platform for all kinds of distillery-related fandanglery.

It was a heavily customized and exquisitely detailed Dark Horse model that was revealed in front of spotlights at the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, which means all the chrome got nixed in favor of lots of darker touches to accent the gorgeous custom paint job (the only Dark Horse with any color, as far as we can see). As with the previous four iterations of the Jack Daniel’s models, much of the design work comes courtesy of Klock Werks Kustom Cycles, which used the burly Roadmaster as a starting point and took off from there. Indian will tell you it’s the fifth consecutive year that the “three American brands have united to celebrate American craftsmanship through an exclusive offering of Jack Daniel’s-inspired Indian motorcycles.” Each year’s JD bike draws inspiration from a different product in the whiskey maker’s portfolio, and this year the Klock Werks crew was tasked with targeting the brand’s premium Gentleman Jack whiskey as its muse.

Marketing materials tell us Gentleman Jack is “a special whiskey that’s double-charcoal mellowed for an exceptionally smooth finish,” but I couldn’t imagine how those characteristics could in any way shape or form affect the design of the bike. All I had to do was read the next paragraph—the part about Gentleman Jack being aged in handcrafted oak barrels, and how that’s reflected in the Jack Daniel’s Limited Edition Indian Roadmaster Dark Horse “custom two-tone Whiskey Pearl paint scheme and Oakwood accents.” Okay then.

Fortunately, this puppy carries a pile of more new features than just a unique paint job. The premium aesthetic treatments include Oakwood ceramic engine finishes which are exclusive to this model, and you’ll also pick out details like floorboards engraved with the Gentleman Jack logo, custom Jack Daniel’s branding on the seat, tank, and lowers, and a numbered Montana Silversmiths badge perched right between the jugs of the Thunder Stroke 116 V-twin, just so you don’t forget the limited nature of this model.

But that’s just eye candy. Indian’s also debuting some new tech on this bike, like the all-new Pathfinder Adaptive LED Headlight and Pathfinder S LED Driving Lights. The new headlight senses the bike’s lean angle and activates individual LED projector beams in real-time to throw more illumination into dark corners to give you better visibility. Although we’ve seen similar systems from BMW and Harley, Indian says it’s patent-pending technology—the firm might be referring to the fact that the Pathfinder headlight also sports the industry’s first adaptive high-beam feature.

Next, up is the maiden voyage of the ClimaCommand heated and cooled seat Indian debuted just a short time ago; it’s the seat’s first appearance as a standard kit on a new model. The Jack Daniel’s Limited Edition Roadmaster Dark Horse gets a Rogue version of the saddle, which is a different style and shape than the Classic, with more provisions for two-up touring, though it uses the same thermoelectric technology to cool or heat the seat for both the rider and passenger. The sleek seat wears Jack Daniel’s badging embroidered on the premium leather surfaces and allows riders to conveniently manage heating and cooling settings through the onboard Ride Command infotainment system, also a first in this application.

Filling out the trifecta of new tech comes the integration of Apple CarPlay for the aforementioned Ride Command, so riders can take all their maps, tunes, and phone calls on board with them. A carefully hidden “Bottles and Throttles Don’t Mix” disclaimer appears—if you can find it—in stern albeit stylized lettering somewhere up near the front fairing.

Limited edition, one-off bikes don’t usually come cheap, and this one’s no exception; it’ll cost you almost $40,000 (or as much as a current Roadmaster Elite). So the thing better be tricked out, right? Potential owners can take comfort in the full suite of premium goodies making the cut here, including an upgraded 600-watt PowerBand audio system, heated handgrips, and adjustable flared Klock Werk’s windscreen, and remote-locking saddlebags and trunk.

The slammed saddlebags and precision-machined wheels, including a 19-inch front, are a nod to current style trends, and the powerplant is no slouch either; you get the Thunder Stroke 116 air-cooled V-twin engine to motivate this beast and deliver a best-in-class (claimed) 126 pound-feet of torque. That includes a six-speed transmission and electronic fuel injection, along with Rear Cylinder Deactivation for less engine heat in slow-moving or stopped traffic. All that, along with the Jack Daniel’s detailing, numbered badging and hand-built, limited production run – just 107 will be made – make this Roadmaster truly unique.

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