First Ride: Indian Scout Bobber

This is a new, badass version of the famous Scout: welcome to the Indian Scout Bobber, a model designed for a younger and urban type of biker. We had a chance to ride this new motorcycle on the sunny French Riviera… WOW!

Indian is the fastest growing premium motorcycle brand at the moment: plus 15 % in the US, plus 29 % on the international markets, plus 44 % in Europe and a steady plus 23 % in Africa & Asia! Indian is doing very well and intends to produce and sell more motorcycles.

Talking about that, be prepared to discover a brand new 750 inspired by the US’s so popular, flat-track racing (a racing series that saw Indian winning the US championship this year), but this won’t be before the end of 2018. For now, the new model is the Scout Bobber, which is, as you might expect, derived from the Scout.

Black is the new black

Figuring out the new model is simple: just sit on it! If the speedo is designed over a black background, this is the Bobber. If it’s white, this is the Scout. Really easy, isn’t it? The speedo looks quite classic but figures some useful information such as, clock, tripmeter, rev counter and battery charge. A fuel range indication would have been welcomed, though.

Dark is the new trend, and if we were at Harley-Davidson, we’d call it “dark custom”. The expression is trademarked, so we just have to count where the Scout has been darkened. Engine covers, exhaust, wheels, frame and radiator covers: all are now dark. To stick to the bobber philosophy, the fenders have been chopped, the seat is now made with a new kind of leather and the riding ergonomics are slightly different, with new handlebars and the footpegs closer by 38 mm. To complete the picture, we need to mention the new lettering and logos on the fuel tank, as well as the new seat made with brown leather.

Red scheme aside, all the Bobbers are also on the dark side: olive green, grey and two shades of black.

Despite its mean attitude, the Indian Scout Bobber is also a fantastic bike for ladies, beginners and mid-framed bikers: the seat height is only at 649 mm and the weight is officially at 255 kilograms with a full tank, but the centre of gravity is so low that you barely feel it. With very good stability at low speed, a decent turning circle and a smooth engine at low revs: city cruising is just a peach.

The Bobber chassis comes from the Scout: 16 inches wheels and the very same geometry. Bad new: the ground clearance is lower, as it has been lowered from 31° to 29°. The engine was also detuned from 100 hp to 94 hp: making the Indian legal for the A2 regulation for beginner bikers in so many countries, and that will also be the spec sold in South Africa. Note, the US market keeps the 100 hp engine.

However, the engine is strong enough to deliver some great fun. The engine happily revs up to 8000 rpm and the torque is quite consistent, at 97 Nm @ 5000 rpm.

Whatever the spec, this V-twin is just excellent. It can city cruise at 2000 rpm in 4th gear (50 km/h) and, just a couple of seconds later, throttle wide opened, hit the rev-limiter. The acceleration is quite consistent and the sound note from the exhaust is deep enough to make the optional Remus (also dark, but with shorter muffler) not a compulsory expense. To personalise your bike, you can also go to a genuine passenger seat and sissy bar, light luggage bags, a lot of branded clothing and also an ape-hanger handlebar.

So light!

Once on board, 250 kilos has never felt so light! The Indian Scout Bobber is extremely easy to ride and everyone should instantly feel at home. When Indian launched the Scout, it was a big stone in Harley’s garden: basically, V-Rod kind of performance for the shape and price of a Sportster. The Bobber still follows this path, although the limited ground clearance won’t make it the best ‘corner carver’. The Scout Bobber is more of a relaxed Sunday bike: perfect for a breakfast run, where its attitude and strong acceleration will impress. Long distance runs are not its cup of tea, with the lack of wind protection and slightly cramped riding position.

On the other hand, the grip provided by the knobby Kenda tires is excellent, at least on a dry surface, and the cartridge front fork (travel: 120 mm) is faultless. Comfort is also not the Bobber’s main attribute, as the seat reveals itself to be slightly on the firm side, and the dual rear shock, with a travel of only 50 mm (25 mm less than the Scout) can’t provide much help. But if comfort is one of your major preoccupations, Indian can also sell you a Roadmaster.

My final image: I can just picture myself cruising along the Cape Coast on the Scout Bobber – Magnificent!

Specifications:

ENGINE
Engine Type Liquid cooled V-Twin (60 degrees)
Transmission 6-speed Constant Mesh
Displacement 1133 cc – (Same as Scout)
Bore 99 mm
Stroke 73.6 mm
Compression Ratio 10.7:1
Primary Drive Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Final Drive 2.357:1
Horsepower 70 kW
Peak Torque 97 Nm
Peak Torque RPM 5600 rpm
Exhaust Split Dual Exhaust with Crossover
WHEELS & BRAKES
Front Wheel Cast 16″ x 3.5″
Rear Wheel Cast 16″ x 3.5″
Tyre Size Front 130/90-16 73H
Tyre Size Rear 150/80-16 71H
Brakes/Front Single / 298 mm Rotor / 2 Piston Caliper
Brakes/Rear Single /298 mm Rotor / 1 Piston Caliper
SUSPENSION
Front – Type/Travel Telescopic Fork / 120 mm – Cartridge Type Suspension
Rear – Type/Travel Dual Shocks / 50 mm
DIMENSIONS
Wheelbase 1562 mm
Seat Height 649 mm
Ground Clearance 123 mm
Overall Height 1154 mm
Overall Length 2229 mm
Overall Width 926 mm
Rake 29°
Trail 119.9 mm
Fuel Capacity 12.5 litres
GVWR 449 kg
Weight with Empty Tank 245 kg
Weight with Full Tank 255 kg

Exciting news: Indian Motorcycle South Africa will be launching the Indian Bobber early in December 2017 – Keep an eye on ZA Bikers as we will keep you posted!

Frenchman Philippe Guillaume (locally known as “fearless Flippie” – a nickname given to him by oom Simon Fourie himself) has spent 8 years of his life living in Joburg. Phil is certainly the fastest geographer on earth: he holds a PhD in urban geography and a FIM Speed World record (5 135 km covered in 24 hours, at the Nardo oval track in Italy, on a Suzuki Hayabusa with the same set of Pirelli Angel ST tires).