Reintroduced for 2015 after over a decade-long hiatus, the Scout from Indian Motorcycles has a long and illustrious heritage dating back to 1920. Bigger than a café racer, but smaller than what I consider a cruiser , the Scout fits into an in-between class that I call a bar-hopper and Indian calls “mid-size.” Fair enough. Spec-wise, the 2017 Scout is essentially a carry-over from the 2016 model.
New in 2016 was the Scout Sixty. Rolling on the same chassis as the Scout, the Sixty has a smaller engine for “a confidence-inspiring ride, according to the folks at Indian. The Scout and the Scout Sixty have cut-down fenders — unlike the rest of the Indian lineup with valenced fenders — and lacks the iconic fender-mounted war bonnet. Still, they’re Indian in all the right places. The fat 130-series front tire gives the Scout a great bit dose of American-cruiser styling.
Let’s start with the very cruiser-esque low, low seat height of 25.3 inches. Shorties take note, but for anyone of medium height or taller, though, you might feel a bit clamshelled with your feet forward and your butt so low.
With a low center of gravity, the Scout handles like a dream. It is nimble and quick, easy to lean into the corners and the 31-degree lean angle lets you get a little aggressive in the curves, so you will really have to work at it if you want to drag a peg.
In keeping with the classic look, the speedometer has a decidedly vintage dial and instrumentation is basic. Warning lights are small and hard to see in the daylight, but that is the norm when the sun is bright.
Make no mistake about the Scout’s intended purpose. This is not a commuter bike, though it could be used as such. You ride this bike because you want to spend time with your fists in the wind and have fun with no particular place to go or be. The solo seat says you don’t want company, so don’t even ask.
Wait; you do want company? Peruse the accessories catalog and add passenger footpegs, a pillion and cushioned passenger sissy bar in that same gorgeous Desert Tan leather. Complete the look with matching leather-bound hard saddlebags and you and a friend are ready to hit the town.
Indian starts out strong with a steel frame and swingarm, but lightened things up a bit by going the stressed-engine route, thereby reducing the mass of the frame. The 29-degree rake gives the Scout an almost-custom vibe, and coupled with the 4.7-inch trail, keeps the bike fairly stable in the straights and eager in the corners.
The 41 mm, right-side-up front forks fit well with the looks of the bike, and even though inverted forks are arguably better in every way, they would not fit with the retro-vibe Indian was going for. Dual rear coil-over shocks are set at an angle that hints at the rear-end geometry of the old rigid frames, even if the springs give it away. Suspension travel is about average for a bar hopper (may not be an official category, but that’s what it is) at 4.7 up front and 3 inches even in back, but face it, you aren’t supposed to go off-road with this ride.
Cast wheels wrap up the running gear with 16-inchers front and rear, and 298 mm brake discs provide the stopping power. Though it only has a single front brake, it provides a positive feel. The Indian Motorcycle Red model (not to be confused with the Wildfire Red) comes with ABS as a standard feature, and the other colors have it available as an option, so you have a choice in that respect.
The 69 cubic-inch (1,133 c) engine is the real showpiece for the Scout and no less so the 60 cubic-incher for the Scout Sixty. Modern through and through, Indian engineers reached for connections to its roots through a design that hints at the old pushrod engines from back in the day. The liquid-cooled, 60-degree V-twin comes with a sharp looking, chrome-on-black décor, but it is far from an “all show and no go” mill. It puts out 100 ponies and 72.2 pound-feet of torque, but being a short-stroke engine, you have to wind it up to 5,900 rpm to get the full grunt out of it. Still, you get a pretty good roll-on once you are up into the powerband, and the Scout can really be a thrill when you grab a fistful and try to twist it off.
While the design emulates the look of pushrod tubes, they are a lie; the truth hides in the rocker boxes where dual overhead cams actuate four valves per cylinder. A big, 60 mm throttle body with closed-loop fuel injection feeds the beast, and the split dual exhaust carries off waste gasses with a pleasing note. The primary drive uses gears, instead of a chain, to connect engine to clutch, and a six-speed, sliding-mesh tranny sends power to the rear wheel via a fiber-reinforced belt drive.
In addition to the 69 cubic-inch (1,130 cc) engine, Indian also designed a smaller displacement mill to plug into the Scout chassis and presented it as the new-in-2016 Scout Sixty. The factory bumped the displacement down to an even 61 cubic-inches (999.6 cc), a move that allows it to drop the price and open up the mid-size U.S. cruiser market to a wider customer base.
Much like its big brother, the smaller engine uses fuel injection and water cooling to manage the V-twin mill, and follows the same aesthetics with faux pushrod tubes on blackout jugs, heads and cases. Performance numbers are acceptable, and the Sixty engine cranks out 65 pound-feet of torque at 5,800 rpm — not bad for a bike that weighs in around 550 pounds.
MSRP on the 2016 and 2017 Indian Scout is $11,299 for Thunder Black which does not come with ABS. For 2017, color choices in the non-ABS models are Silver Smoke, Thunder Black Smoke, or Ivory Cream for $11,599. The ABS models come in Burgundy Metallic for $12,299 or get a two-tone in Brilliant Blue, White & Red or Indian Motorcycle® Red over Thunder Black for $12,899.
The Scout Sixty comes in a little more affordable at $8,999 for Thunder Black. If you want your bike shot in Pearl White (non-ABS), be prepared to cough up $9,299. The ABS version in Indian Motorcycle Red goes for $9,999.
Indian covers your Scout with a two-year limited warranty providing that your warranty was registered at the time of purchase. If you don’t register with Indian, you’ll be SOL on warranty work.
Going head-to-head with the Scout, I’m looking at the 1200 Custom from Harley Davidson. The 1200 has a slightly bigger engine, but not so much so that it knocks it out of the apple crate.
Torque-wise, the two bikes are close — 71 pound-feet for the 1200 and 72 pound-feet for the Scout — but maximum grunt on the Harley comes on a full 2,400 rpm sooner. Don’t get me wrong, the Scout is torquey; but you have to wind it up to find it. Once you get up around 4,200 rpm, you’ll feel like you have a tiger by the tail, but on the low end of the range, the 1200 has it all over.
Both bikes roll on 16-inch wheels with a fat, 130-series tire up front and a 150 in the rear and both bikes have more-than-average steering rake — 29 degrees for the Scout and 30 degrees for the 1200 Custom — to take full advantage of that cruiser-style fat front rubber. Brakes are also comparable and ABS is optional on all but the Indian Motorcycle Red model of the Scout.
If you love the curvy roads — and who doesn’t — the Scout lets you take a more aggressive approach with a 31-degree lean both left and right. The 1200 Custom is a bit more reserved with 26 degrees right and 28 degrees left.
There is no clear winner here and there are all sorts of other things to consider when choosing between the two. In the end, it’ll come down to personal preference and what your priorities are. Price won’t be a deciding factor since the Scout will set you back $11,299 and the 1200 Custom squeaks in a little less at $10,889.
My husband and fellow writer, TJ Hinton, says, “I like the direction Indian is headed under the Polaris umbrella, and the Scout is a good example of what its engineers can do. While the Scout name is nothing new for Indian — far from it — this latest generation really moves the company out of the past and into the now. Notice I didn’t say ’future’, ’cause it still pays homage to its past without appearing to try too hard to be said past.”
My biggest complaint about the 2015 Scout was things that wobbled — namely the mirrors and turn signals. Both are annoying when you have to constantly readjust them while you are riding. I wasn’t able to tell if that’s been addressed. This isn’t a typical cruiser with lots of low-end torque; but then, it’s kinda-sorta not exactly a cruiser in my book. Two complaints I’ve heard from others are the lack of engine braking and there’s a whole Goldilocks thing going on in the suspension. The front end is too soft and the rear end is too hard. In order to get it just right, fiddle with the rear adjusters and check out aftermarket options for the front.”
|Engine Type:||Liquid-Cooled 60-degree V-Twin|
|Scout:||69 cubic inches (1,133 cc)|
|Scout Sixty:||61 cubic inches (999 cc)|
|Scout:||99 mm (3.898 inches)|
|Scout Sixty:||93 mm (3.661 inches)|
|Scout:||73.6 mm (2.898 inches)|
|Scout Sixty:||73.6 mm (2.898 inches)|
|Scout:||72.2 Pound-Feet at 5,900 rpm|
|Scout Sixty:||65 Pound-Feet at 5,800 rpm|
|Scout:||10.7 to 1|
|Scout Sixty:||11 to 1|
|Rev Limiter:||8,300 rpm|
|Valvetrain:||DOHC, 4 Valves Per Cylinder, Graded Tappets|
|Fuel System:||Closed Loop Fuel Injection|
|Throttle Body Bore:||60 mm|
|Exhaust System:||Split Dual Exhaust w/Crossover|
|Clutch Type:||Wet, Multi-Plate|
|Transmission Type:||Six-Speed/Sliding Mesh/Foot Shift|
|Gear Shift Pattern:||One Down/Five Up|
|Primary Drive:||Gear Drive Wet Clutch|
|Primary Reduction Ratio:||1.674:1|
|Overall Gear Ratio:||10.782:1, 7.328:1, 5.841:1, 4.957:1, 4.380:1, 4.034:1|
|Transmission Gear Ratio:||2.769:1, 1.882:1, 1.500:1, 1.273:1, 1.125:1, 1.036:1|
|Final Drive Type:||Belt Drive, 141-Tooth|
|Final Drive Ratio:||2.357 : 1|
|Suspension: Front:||41 mm Telescopic Fork – 4.7-inch travel|
|Suspension: Rear:||Dual Shocks – 3.0-inch travel|
|Brakes/Front:||Single / 298 mm Rotor / Two-Piston Caliper|
|Brakes/Rear:||Single /298 mm Rotor / Single-Piston Caliper|
|Tires/Front:||Kenda K673F 130/90-16 72H|
|Tires/Rear:||Kenda K673 150/80-16 71H|
|Wheel, Front:||Cast 16 x 3.5 inches|
|Wheel, Rear:||Cast 16 x 5 inches|
|Lean Angle:||31 degrees|
|Overall Length:||91 inches|
|Overall Height:||47.5 inches|
|Overall Width:||34.6 inches|
|Seat Height:||25.3 inches|
|Ground Clearance:||5.3 inches|
|Scout Sixty:||542 Pounds|
|Scout Sixty:||561 Pounds|
|Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR):||Front: 337 Pounds, Rear: 651 Pounds|
|Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR):||988 Pounds|
|Maximum Load Capacity:||428 Pounds|
|Fuel Capacity:||3.3 gallons|
|Fuel Reserve (fuel light on):||0.5 Gallons|
|Recommended Fuel:||Premium Unleaded|
|Gauges:||Digital tachometer, odometer, trip meter, engine temp, and low fuel lamp|
|Lights:||Headlight, tail/brake light, turn signals, license plate light, and speedometer and indicator lights|
|Warranty:||Two-Year Limited Warranty|
|Scout:||Thunder Black, Silver Smoke, Thunder Black Smoke, Wildfire Red, Indian Red|
|Scout Sixty:||Thunder Black, Indian Motorcycle Red, Pearl White|
|Scout:||Thunder Black, Ivory Cream, Thunder Black Smoke, Silver Smoke, Burgundy Metallic, Brilliant Blue, White & Red, Indian Motorcycle® Red over Thunder Black|
|Scout Sixty:||Thunder Black, Pearl White, Indian Motorcycle® Red|
|Scout:||Thunder Black $11,299|
|Scout Sixty:||Thunder Black $8,999|