Indian Scout Review
- Nov 3, 2014
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- 5 min read
For a cruiser, the Indian Scout is a small bike but it's fast and keeps you entertained, whether you're out on a twisty highway or rolling through suburban traffic
Inspired by the legendary Indian Scout name of the 1920s, the all-new Scout is a modern motorcycle, although the design is still classic cruiser. Low seat height, wide handlebar, swept back fuel tank and large fat fenders give the Scout a bold and strong appearance. A chunky 130 section front tyre lends the Scout additional muscle, giving it a purposeful and heavy-duty look.
The wheels and forks are finished in black, and the tank badge with the curly font harks back at the Indian heritage and is similar to the iconic tank badges found on Scouts since the 1920s.
A single pod round instrument cluster is mounted on the handlebar with an analog speedometer and a small LCD display window displaying either distance-to-empty readings, trip meter or digital rev counter. The rider can toggle through these readouts using a pull switch on the left handlebar.
The solo bucket seat is a modern rendition of the original Indian Scout seat, finished in high quality tan leather. There’s generous amount of chrome too, on the two fat exhausts trailing out of the V-Twin cylinder layout, and on the crank case. There is no faux air-cooled fins, but chrome trims complement the blacked out and exposed structural ribs on the engine exterior. The slightly forward leaning stance of the Scout works for me, and it creates an impression of a light, fast, cruiser even when standing still.
Swing a leg over the Scout and the first thing you notice is the low seat height. At just over 63 cm seat height, with my average 5’9” height, I could plant both feet flat on the ground. Pegs are spread out and set forward and the wide handlebar gives a comfortable, arms spread out riding position.
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This is the second Indian I have had a chance to straddle, and compared to the big, bulky Chief, the Scout looks and feels like a small-ish cruiser, and seems perfectly suited for someone new to cruisers. If it’s poser value one is looking for however, then the Scout just doesn’t have the street presence of its larger siblings; it is less shiny and more understated, particularly with the matte silver paint scheme our bike is equipped with.
Thumb the starter and the 1133cc liquid-cooled V-Twin motor rumbles into life with a warm throaty burble. The clutch is light and the gearbox settles into the first cog with a light tap from my forward-set foot. The bike pulls cleanly and it doesn’t get too long to get used to the feet forward riding position.
The 1133cc V-Twin makes a claimed 101PS and 97.7Nm of torque at 5900rpm. The torque is available over a broad rev range though and at revs of over 3000rpm, the bike really begins to take off. It’s engaging, begs to be revved through the gears and fast - quite fast for a cruiser. Sixth gear is good to chug along at 60kmph and a little twist of the throttle pulls it quickly to over triple digit speeds and feels raring to go even further.
Liquid cooling, electronic fuel injection, counter balancing and a six-speed transmission gives the Indian Scout consistent and outstanding performance, and at all speeds. Whether riding languidly along with suburban traffic, or cruising down a long, winding highway, the Scout is a fun motorcycle to ride.
It belies its cruiser looks with a fantastic engine which delivers impressive power on demand, at any gear. The lightweight chassis shows its qualities as soon as you take on curves at speed. For a cruiser, it’s instinctively manoeuvrable and leaning into or out of corners, the Scout feels planted and stable.
The pegs however soon begin to scrape before you can push the leans any further. The suspension is on the rigid side, but offers good ride quality and a firmness which inspires confidence over broken road sections or undulating terrain. At 255kg, the Indian Scout isn’t what you would call a light bike, but its low centre of gravity helps make it manoeuvrable, even in city traffic. The ABS-equipped 298mm disc is adequate to slow down efficiently, despite the single disc setup at both front and rear.
With the Scout, Indian Motorcycles has taken one more step in the direction of a born-again marquee. And the new Indian Scout is certainly a worthy flag bearer of the Indian heritage, carrying the legacy of one of the oldest American motorcycle manufacturers forward. The Scout is targeted primarily at motorcycling enthusiasts, or even new bikers who are in the market for a cruiser with snappy performance creds.
With a low seat height and manageable dynamics, the Indian Scout will appeal to many riders new to motorcycles in general or to cruisers in particular. For India however, the Indian Motorcycle range will just be another alternative in the premium cruiser segment.
At Rs 11,99,900, the Indian Scout is by no means an entry level cruiser. But for someone who has tasted the joys of motorcycling and is willing to invest in a premium cruiser, the Indian Scout makes sense, for that weekend ride around town or the Sunday breakfast ride. For a cruiser, the Indian Scout has got enough punch to provide a cracker of a performance.
Long after the test ride ended, I still can’t help smiling to myself at memories of whacking open the throttle of this Indian. It may not have the bells and whistles or the kerb appeal of a larger cruiser like its sibling, the Chief. But the Scout is a far more engaging ride, offers loads of fun and ultimately deserves a worthy mention as a maverick of a motorcycle in the world of cruisers.
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