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Indian Scout Celebrates Century, Gets Sexy

Host of accessories help make Scout line-up sexier and more useful

Indian Motorcycle has unveiled two very sexy Scout models to celebrate 100 years since its most iconic bike first arrived on the motorcycling scene. In addition – and perhaps of greater interest to the majority of us who will not be buying a limited-edition Scout – the company has come out with a number of new accessories to dramatically alter the look and application of the Scout platform.

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Haters will find all kinds of ways to shoot holes in Indian’s hoopla here, but the brand’s tumultuous ownership history* doesn’t change the fact that way back in 1920 the original Scout began rolling off the production line. Designed by Ireland-born Charles B. Franklin, the Scout and latter derivative Scout 101, would go on to have a profound effect on the world of motorcycling.

Am I the only one who feels the model astride this bike looks like a Nicolas Cage deepfake?

Honoring that bike, Indian has revealed a limited-edition Scout 100th Anniversary model that harkens to the original’s aesthetic with an “Indian Motorcycle Red with Anniversary Gold trim” paint scheme. Other features differentiating it from a standard modern Scout include a “Scout 100th Anniversary badge” ignition cover, as well as “Desert Tan Genuine Leather Solo Saddle Seat, Black Wire Wheels, Beach Bars, Luggage Rack and chrome finishes to complete the heritage-inspired throwback styling.” 

Just 750 of the bikes will be produced globally, offered up at starting price of US $15,999. That’s $4,500 more than the MSRP of a standard Scout and Indian’s limited edition bikes have a history of selling out incredibly quickly (usually within a few hours), so you might as well just forget about the thing now.

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Focus instead on the not-limited Scout Bobber Twenty. Unlike the Scout Sixty, where the number in the model name refers to the bike’s engine size in cubic inches, the “Twenty” here is, of course, in reference to the distance in miles between the headquarters of Indian’s parent company, Polaris, and Paisley Park, where Prince lived. All distances in Minnesota are calculated this way.

No, I’m kidding. It’s in reference to the year 1920.

The Indian Scout Bobber Twenty is soooooo gorgeous

This is the ” very cool-looking beast” that I misidentified three weeks ago as being something other than an accessorized Scout Bobber. It is a Scout Bobber bedecked in most of the exact same accessories of which I sang the praises two years ago when I first test rode the bike. I mean, for the love of Pete, look at this photo. That’s me on a Scout Bobber with the 10-inch ape hanger ‘bars and old-school seat found on the Scout Bobber Twenty. I’m a buffoon.

Not to digress too much here, but let this be a lesson that you should always take the advice of other motorcyclists with a grain of salt. If ever you find yourself reading The Motorcycle Obsession and thinking, “Hmm, I’m not sure this guy’s assessment is 100-percent correct,” you are almost certainly right. Because I’m the damned fool who couldn’t identify a bike that he’s ridden because it has a different paint scheme.

I was wrong. The Scout Bobber Twenty is not really a new bike. But, my goodness, it is a sexy bike

2020 Scout Line-Up Tweaked

But what a fantastic paint scheme. I mean, dang. Apparently it’s called Sagebrush Smoke. Frustratingly, it’s only available on the Scout Bobber Twenty, along with an equally gorgeous scheme that Indian called “Burnished Metallic,” or, in normal-people speak: red.  

The standard Scout Bobber (which, as I say, can otherwise be fully transformed into the Scout Bobber Twenty by diving into the accessories catalog) continues to be offered in Thunder Black, Thunder Black Smoke, Bronze Smoke and White Smoke. For 2020, it will also be offered in Deepwater Metallic, which most of us would call “blue.”

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The most exciting thing about the 2020 Scout Bobber however, is the fact that Indian is lowering the starting price by a considerable amount. In the United States, the bike now starts at $10,999 – a solid $1,000 less than it cost a week ago. The bikes will also now be equipped with better tires, replacing its famously awful Indian-branded Kendas** with Pirelli MT60RS tires, which have a four-star rating on Revzilla.

I’m really hoping the Scout Bobber’s price drop will also show up in its UK pricing. I spend a lot of time daydreaming about getting one.

These manly men are having a very good time chatting about the Indian Scout Sixty

Meanwhile, the Scout Bobber’s US price is also $500 less than that of a Scout, despite sharing the same engine and chassis. Perhaps to vindicate that difference, the Scout’s look has been tweaked via the presence of a new (though not fully new because it was already available as an accessory) “sport” seat.

In the United States, all Scout, Scout Sixty and Scout Bobber models now come standard with ABS (something that’s been the case in Europe for a while). Sadly, the cruise control option that I was hoping to see added to the Scout has not materialized. But a number of new accessories are set to make the bike even more tour-worthy.

It’s surprising how much cooler the Scout looks when you simply change the seat


I know a number of people who have criss-crossed the United States and elsewhere on an Indian Scout (for example: Leah Misch), so we know the bike already has touring ability despite its not-exactly-voluminous 12.5-liter tank. To add to this, Indian has created a cool, color-matched quick-release batwing fairing that mimics the look seen on the recently restyled Chieftain. It slots on to either the Scout or Scout Sixty and comes with the option to switch to either a 5-inch or 7-inch windscreen. I don’t yet know how the fairing attaches (I’m sure Indian will release an explainer video soon enough), but I’d hope that it will function similarly to the mini batwing fairing found on the Harley-Davidson Sport Glide. If you watch the video I did for that bike you’ll see the fairing pops on or off with in seconds (and makes a great hat). 

Following the Sport Glide theme, Indian is also offering semi-rigid quick-release panniers. I’m less impressed by the idea of these and would probably choose to spend my money on Kriega bags, which are almost certainly more affordable, more functional, more weatherproof, and better looking on the bike. Personally, I have never liked the look of semi-rigid panniers on any bike ever. Whether they’re on the Victory Judge (I still miss that bike), Yamaha MT-09, Ducati Hypermotard, or whatever, they always look terrible. They always look half-hearted, as if some marketing guy suggested them long after the rest of the project had been signed off: “Guys, why don’t we add these things? It’s such an easy win.”

I like the look of this fairing. Sadly, Indian has not provided many pictures of the Scout with this fairing. Ill be on the lookout for more

So, uh, yeah. I wouldn’t have those. I would, however, be up for adding one of the new two-into-one exhausts. Available for the Scout, Scout Sixty and Scout Bobber, Indian says the “Stage 1 2-into-1 Full Exhaust System” offers a deep exhaust note and increases horsepower by more than 10 percent. So, uhm, potentially boosting the Scout/Scout Bobber to 110 horsepower? Not too shabby if true. Putting the Scout Sixty’s peak horsepower to 85+ hp is equally appealing.

Looks like I’ll be doing a lot of daydreaming…

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* One of the things I absolutely hate is when internet trolls claim that the Indian Motorcycle we know today isn’t ‘real‘ because there’s no obvious, direct link between today’s ownership and George Hendee or Oscar Hedstrom, as if a motorcycle brand were the same thing as Aaronic priesthood. This is bullshit. Hell, Hendee and Hedstrom had both left the company by the time it was officially calling itself Indian Motocycle (before then, it was a case of Indian bikes being the main product of the Hendee Manufacturing Company).