Indian Motorcycles has announced sweeping upgrades to its touring bike lineup for 2019. Chief and Springfield models will now get three ride modes and rear cylinder deactivation, and Roadmasters get beefed-up stereos and "the largest, fastest, most customizable touch screen infotainment system on two wheels."

Whopping great tourers aren't really my bag at this stage of life, but seeing Indian's bikes in the flesh is always impressive. The level of luxury finish and detail on these things is intoxicating, I can imagine owners getting very intimate with a cleaning cloth around the leathery and chromey areas in particular, they're very pretty things.

And now they're a little bit smarter. Indian has significantly upgraded the whole Thunder Stroke III family for 2019. Thunder Stroke, of course, being the name of the 111 cubic inch (1819 cc), 119 lb-ft (161 Nm), basso profundo v-twin motor they share. It's also what they used to call me back in my college days.

Thanks to fly-by-wire (coincidentally, the same name as another college trick of mine), the new Thunder Strokes get multiple riding modes. Tour, Standard and Sport, in this case, each with their own throttle mapping as you'd expect.

More interesting is the rear cylinder deactivation system, designed to combat excessive heat in stop-start traffic (after all, lord knows these battleships won't go in between lanes nearly as easily as smaller bikes). If the ol' Thunder Stroke's warmed up, and the ambient temperature is over 59 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 15 Celsius), then every time the bike comes to a standstill, the rear cylinder will cut out, letting the front one keep the motor spinning.

The instant you touch the throttle, the rear cylinder starts to fire again, putting full power at your disposal at all times but keeping heat under control and possibly saving you a bit of gas.

The new audio system (Roadmaster only) has been well thought out. Tweeters and midrange drivers have been separated for clarity, and a new dynamic equalizer changes the EQ of the sound, as well as the volume, depending on your speed. Effectively, it boosts the frequencies you start losing first as wind, road and the motor's Thunderous Stroking noise picks up. Nice touch!

And speaking of touches, the new Ride Command infotainment system looks like an absolute beast. It's a 7-inch, glove-compatible touchscreen handling navigation, Bluetooth, entertainment and a plethora of vehicle options.

The Thunder Stroke family also comes with some sweet mod-cons: keyless ignition, proper cruise control, ABS. In the case of the Roadmaster, there's now a set of adjustable lower fairings to channel extra airflow your way.

Pricing has also been announced. Here goes: the Chief Dark Horse starts at US$17,999. The Chief Vintage starts at US$19,999. The Springfield starts at US$20,000. The Springfield Dark Horse starts at US$21,499. And you're paying at least US$28,999 for the big daddy Roadmaster. Stroke on!

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