Here’s the short version of our first-ride review of the 2015 Indian Scout: Buy it! The Scout rocks.
Here’s the longer version...
Being a brand of American heritage, like that other brand, there are two questions, rather than one, that the Indian Scout has to answer: 1) Does the Scout convincingly carry the Indian heritage forward? 2) Is the Scout functionally a motorcycle you’d want to ride? The answers are a resounding yes times two. In fact, it’s rare that a new motorcycle so completely satisfies on every level as superbly as does the 2015 Indian Scout. Look at it, ride it, take it home and hug it.
The Scout goes its own way at interpreting the evolution of the American V-twin, not following the lead of the Indian Chief. It gives a modern answer rather than the popular Luddite imitation of outdated technology. If that offends you, maybe you should go get a dial phone or move to an Amish farm.
Powering the Scout is a 69 cu. in. (1133cc) 60-degree liquid-cooled V-twin, a DOHC engine with four valves per cylinder that prefers high-test. Fed by EFI with a 60mm throttle body, the new Indian mill, which has a redline of 9,000 rpm, puts out a claimed 100 horsepower at 8,100 rpm and 72.2 pound-feet of torque at 5,900. It has a six-speed tranny and a left-side belt drive. The Scout is geared high and it comfortably rolls along at 70 mph in sixth gear at 3,750 rpm.
The Scout’s suspension is conventional—41mm fork legs up front, dual shocks out back. Without a rider on the bike, the Scout’s rear suspension is topped out with zero sag; on rebound over larger bumps, the bike will top out against this upper limit. And please notice the extreme rake of those shocks, to mimic the hard-tail lines of the 1920s’ Scouts.
For stopping, the Scout has a single 298 mm rotor at each end, with a two-piston caliper up front and a single piston out back. Other details of note include a super-low 25.3-inch seat height and a freakin’ leather seat (!). Color choices for the new Scout are red, black, smoke black, and smoke silver, the last two being matte finishes. Claimed dry weight is 538 lb.
The Scout’s overall package is one of the best-balanced shapes of any cruiser-type motorcycle ever made, sweetly carrying forward the proportions and triangle lines of the 1928 Scout. The headlight is basically off a pre-war Scout and the forward slanting front of the fuel tank maintains the Scout’s original go-fast look. If you don’t think this bike is great-looking, you’re just plain wrong. You probably still hate your fourth-grade art teacher for insisting that crayons weren’t just for eating.
We were given the chance to ride the Scout on the great roads of the Black Hills in South Dakota, where public demo rides continue until the end of the week. Cool, no? Anyway, the seating position was right-on for a 5-foot-10 rider, with a comfortable reach to the handlebars and forward foot controls. The non-adjustable hand levers are well placed, and the mirrors provide a good view, while the pull-back handlebar looks and feels right. As for the bad-ass seat, it works great; after a long day of riding, there was none of that burning-cheek feeling that some bikes deliver.
Although the Scout is geared tall, it never lugs, chugs or complains at even the lowest rpm. The EFI is crisp at every throttle setting in every rev range, smoothly transitioning from on-off changes without the slightest hesitation or glitch. At low rpm, which some riders always prefer, the vibrations were minimal if not completely unnoticeable. But from around 6,000 rpm on up, the engine did produce quite a bit of a buzz. While some might not like that, most won’t give a hoot because at that engine speed the bike is producing great power and the fun meter is whacking the high end. The Scout can be ridden as a comfortable cruiser, or it can be railed down a twisty highway as a low-slung performance bike, perfectly behaved at both ends of that scale. With the tall gearing, third is the central one for bombing corners, and 6,500 to 7,500 is the sweet rev range for instant-on power or prime engine braking.
The Scout’s transmission is just plain perfect. Never once was a shift missed, a false neutral found, or the real neutral hidden when desired. All shifts were easy, certain, and quick without thought or concern. This certainty of feel and feedback carries on throughout the Scout, and any complaints about the bike are relatively minor. These include a hard clutch pull (which gets to be too much in traffic), the aforementioned shock top-out thunk, wandering mirrors, and we have to wait until winter to get one.
For comfortable cruising, the Indian Scout is it. For carrying the Indian torch, the Scout is exactly what a modern Scout should be: a reflection of heritage, not an imitation of outdated technologies. For performance, the Scout delivers. Its rev range is wide, it’s easy to ride, its neutral steering feels spot-on, and its single front rotor gets the job done with great feel and a light touch. At peg-dragging speeds, the chassis feels solid and confident. We now know where the “sport” in Sportster disappeared to; it’s in the Scout. If you like motorcycles at all, the $10,999 Scout is the “it” bike of today.
|2015 Indian Scout|
|ENGINE||Liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin , dohc, four valves per cylinder|
|DISPLACEMENT||69 cubic in. / 1133cc|
|BORE & STROKE||99.0mm x 73.6mm|
|HORSEPOWER||100 hp at 8100 rpm|
|PEAK TORQUE||72.2 lb.-ft at 5900 rpm|
|FINAL DRIVE||belt drive, 141 tooth|
|RECOMMENDED FUEL||91 octane|
|FUEL CAPACITY||3.3 gal.|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||41mm fork, 4.7 in. of travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||dual shocks, 3.0 in. of travel|
|FRONT BRAKE||298mm rotor, 2-piston caliper|
|REAR BRAKE||298mm rotor, 1-piston caliper|
|CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT||538 lb.|
|CLAIMED WET WEIGHT||558 lb.|
|GROUND CLEARANCE||5.3 in.|
|SEAT HEIGHT (LADEN)||26.5 in.|
|FRONT TIRE||130/90-16 72H|
|FRONT WHEEL||cast alloy, 16 x 3.5|
|REAR TIRE||150/80-16 71H|
|REAR WHEEL||cast alloy, 16 x 3.5|