Motorcycle riders have to accept fewer creature comforts compared to what’s offered in cars, but the gap is closing. While air conditioning’s still an impossibility, American motorcycle manufacturers have finally brought infotainment systems to two wheels.
The 2017 models of Indian Mototcycle’s Chieftain and Roadmaster come standard with Ride Command, an infotainment system that integrates navigation, premium audio and radio, Bluetooth connectivity, and vehicle data.
Indian’s 7-inch, two-finger capacitive 800×480 touchscreen is the biggest on the market today, besting Harley Davidson’s 6.5-inch display, which only supports single-touch input. Naturally, the touchscreen is glove compatible and supports pinching gestures to zoom in and out on the map. Riders can also interact with the system through handlebar-mounted controls when situations don’t allow for taking a hand off the bars.
Ride Command has several media connectivity options, both wired and wireless. USB flash drive support means that riders can just load their song files onto portable storage and play them through the 100-watt premium audio system output on the Chieftain, or the 200-watt system on the Roadmaster. Sound can even come over- the air with built-in AM/FM/weather band tuners.
Riders with audio systems in their helmets, such as those from Sena Technologies, can pipe that sound in wirelessly over Bluetooth, both from Ride Command or your smartphone. “It can easily pair with compatible phones and headsets,” an Indian Motorcycle representative confirmed with Digital Trends. “We sell and support Sena through Indian.”
Besides the features that can make the ride more interesting are features that give the rider safety and maintenance information about the motorcycle. Ride Command can display tire pressure, fuel range, fuel economy, miles left until next oil change, altitude, and heading.
Although a 7-inch infotainment system seems easily integrated into big, full-featured bikes like the Chieftain and Roadmaster, Indian’s most interesting motorcycle in our opinion is the new Scout. Unfortunately, Indian declined to comment as to when, or if, Ride Command will ever expand through the product line.