Bikes we love The Journey

What I want: Indian Scout

The new Indian Scout, bedecked with accessories
Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to introduce you to my next bike. I don’t know when it will be available in the United Kingdom, nor how the hell I’m going to pay for it (a), but genuinely: this is the bike I want. This is the bike I need. As I said on Twitter, when I woke up on Sunday to learn of the existence of the new Indian Scout, I felt like Ralphie in A Christmas Story. It’s as if Indian pulled this motorcycle from my feverish, wishful mind.
Those of you playing along in the United States will see the Scout arrive in dealerships in time for Christmas, according to Indian. So, you might want to make use of the interim time to ensure you’ve been extra good this year. And if Santa does roll up at your house with one of these, you will have in your possession a bike that is unquestionably the best in its class.
I say that with a caveat, of course. As of this writing, no actual ride reviews of the bike have hit the web. Expect to see them popping up over the next week or so, including a report from fellow blogateers Tina and Steve. But, based on how well received were the Chief and Chieftain (the former earning Cycle World‘s Best Cruiser of 2014 accolade), it’s a fair guess that this thing will tick a lot of boxes.
In its own promotional material, Indian is pitching the Scout as “mid-size,” which, in light of the amazing bike it’s produced, is possibly a definition that is too confining. But, as I say, within such a class (mid-size cruiser/standard) it is unquestionably the best.
“I think it’s f*ckin’ sweet,” said Rich Christoph, lead designer on the Scout.
The new Scout has a water-cooled, V-twin engine that houses 69 cubic inches of power — or 1133 cc for those of us living in NotAmericastan. Keen eyes will note that the numbers “1200” are branded on the Scout’s engine cover, which helps you to guess the bike most people see as the Scout’s primary target in terms of competition: the Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200.
I’m not sure Indian really sees it that way, though. If it does, it’s brought a rocket launcher to a knife fight, because the Scout’s water-cooled engine allows it to produce 100 horsepower. Whereas the Sportster’s air-cooled V twin produces 67 horsepower. Indeed, using horsepower as a metric, the Scout even outclasses larger bikes. For example, the nearly 1800-cc Victory Judge (rest in peace) produced 95 horsepower.
  • The Scout out muscles the Yamaha XVS1300 (aka Star Stryker) by 28 horsepower.
  • It beats the much larger Kawasaki Vulcan 1700 by 27 horsepower. 
  • It beats the the Suzuki Intruder 1500 by 22 horsepower. 
  • It beats the Triumph Thunderbird by 14 horsepower. 
  • It tops the Honda CB1100 EX by 12 horsepower. 
  • And it even manages to churn out 4 horsepower more than the much-heralded Moto Guzzi California, a model that landed on a number of publications’ best-of lists when it was re-launched a few years ago.

Meanwhile, the Scout produces 72 lb. ft. of torque, which is the same as the Sportster. It seems the only place Harley-Davidson has the edge is in price. In the United States, a standard Sportster costs $350 less than a Scout. Here in the UK, the price disparity is greater, with the Harley-Davidson managing to come in at £1,200 less than the Indian (b).
I love the look of the exhaust.
My guess is that the price difference is so much greater in Her Majesty’s United Kingdom because our versions will come with anti-lock brakes. Or so it would seem if you look at the specs sheet on Indian’s UK site. It lists ABS as standard (c). That makes sense; from 1 January 2016, anti-lock brakes will be required on all new bikes sold in the European Union.
This feature is not standard on the U.S. versions, however. Probably because Indian is keen to compete on price point. To that end, I’m very much looking forward to the ride report from Bryan Harley of Motorcycle USA, who told me on Twitter (d) that he would find out whether ABS will be offered as an option. I hope it will be. In everything else, I feel Indian has produced a bike that easily vindicates the steeper price tag. It is faster, it is lighter and, in my opinion, it is better looking.
Six speed, belt-driven, and offering an upright riding position on par with the Sportster, Bonneville or XV950, the Scout weighs in just shy of 550 lbs. No, that’s not exactly scooter territory but it’s still lighter than any comparable bike I can find. And it’s just so much better than those bikes. I really can see this being the bike I’ve hoped for, especially when bedecked in the accessories you see in the picture at the very top of this post. I mean, can we just take a moment to appreciate how cool that bike looks? Click on that picture for a better view.
I think it’s the woollen blanket that serves as the cherry on top for me. It’s like when Lucky went into full geek mode for a Ural that was sold with a Pendleton blanket. Except, in this case Indian don’t sell blankets (maybe it’s a Fairbault Woolen Mill blanket), and the bike isn’t woefully outdated.
I imagine those bags would look pretty cool after being distressed by British weather.
Not too long ago, I was lamenting the divide between my desire for a bike that I think looks cool and my desire for a bike that can function according to my existing environment and needs. On the face of it, the Scout (with accessories) is the bike to bridge that divide. The bike that can take me to Scotland and Ireland, etc., and the bike I want to be seen on.
I have already e-mailed the folks at Blade Motorcycles in Swindon to ask that they get in touch as soon as they know of the Scout’s arrival in Blighty. I am desperate to test ride the thing and thereafter (most likely) hand over all my money to them. Though, there are a few things that I’ll be paying particular attention to on that test ride:
Firstly, are those rear shocks sufficient? The same sort of question applies to the Scout’s 3.3-gallon fuel tank: is the fuel consumption stingy enough to milk, say, 180 miles from a fill-up? And lastly, is that single front brake enough? It seems to me that 100 horsepower is a lot of “go” which really should have the additional “whoa” of two discs up front. 
Nothing, it seems, is perfect. The Scout, however, feels pretty close. I can’t wait to learn more about its ride and performance in the coming weeks, and can’t wait to test the bike for myself. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, I will be the proud owner of one. I certainly like the idea of such a thing: of being one of the first to take part in this reinvigoration of history.
The more I look at it, the more I love it.

(a) The longer it takes for the former to occur the more it will aid the latter, giving me time to save money.

(b) Typically, the numbers for dollars and pounds match up. That is to say, if something costs $100 in the United States it will cost £100 in the United Kingdom. That’s somewhat unfair to us because the pound is actually worth more than the dollar. So, that $100 item is costing us $160. 

(c) I have a rumbling fear of this being a mistake. It seems to me the standard equipment blurb was cut and paste from that of the Chief Classic, because it also lists as standard a light bar and keyless start — two things the Scout most obviously does not have.  

(d) Humblebrag