The Scout model from Indian carries a magnificent heritage. It has always been Indians’ performance model, taking the fight to Harley-Davidson. Well, nothing has changed! The Scout, in my opinion, is a real looker. My view was confirmed by all who laid eyes on it. The Bobber sports a tidy headlight cowl which adds to the muscular stance. This is further enhanced by the beautifully shaped 12,5 litre tank, the bottom of which curves gracefully to pick up the curve of the frame. “Bobbed” front and rear fenders add to the butch look. A 130/90-16 front tyre and a 150/80-16 rear keep the Indian low and purposeful.The bike is “blacked out” with the headlight cowl, frame, handlebars, mirrors, mag wheels, engine cases and exhausts all painted satin black. The cam covers and some Indian logos are highlighted in machined aluminium, making them really “pop” on the black background. The test bike was silver with quality Indian Scout badging. Stunning!
The Bobber is certainly not a sheep in wolfs clothing. With 100 horses and 97,7Nm of torque on tap from the 1133cc mill it doesn’t disappoint when you crack the throttle. It is not just the power that pleases, but the way the engine feels that makes the l’ll Injun such a hoot to ride. Perfect fuel injection delivers a velvet throb of surge from the moment you ease the clutch out. Refined and grunty. You know immediately from the sound and feel of the motor that it is a thoroughly modern motor. Vibes are muted and the bike only really has any semblance of vibration at really high revs. Thing is, you don’t have to rev it. The bike bounds from standstill on a whiff of throttle, and short shifting through the solid but smooth 6 speed tranny sees you at 130 and beyond with no effort at all.
The Bobber is super stable all the way to top whack of around 200, which is really academic on a bike of this ilk. Cruising at 130 to 140 is really effortless and almost surreal in its smoothness. At the best of times naked bikes are hard work at high speed. This is even more so with cruisers fitted with forward controls. The Bobber is surprisingly comfortable for a cruiser. The handlebar bend is perfect, as is the height. The seat shape and texture is also comfy. At speeds up to 130 the bike is really pretty ok. Anyone buying a cruiser is, or should be well aware of what they are signing up for. For once, function follows form.
Handling is good. The suspension does an admirable job, in fact, [considering the paltry travel of 50mm on the rear, and only 119mm upfront], an amazing job of keeping things tidy on the road. Smooth sweeps are a pleasure to ride, with the Indian prescribing perfect parabolas from apex to apex. Tighten up the bends and the mere 29 degrees of lean angle frustrates as the foot pegs ground out. This is the frustration common to almost all cruisers. Modern suspension technology allows robust riding which quickly overwhelms the available ground clearance. You soon learn to temper your enthusiasm to suitable levels, but it does somewhat put a damper on cornering proceedings. I must applaud Indian on how well damped the suspension is. Bumpy roads are bearable due to the quality of the damping, despite there being no adjustment to preload or damping. Two up riding could present some challenges to the standard suspension however.
A tidy speedo, with a housing that mimics the styling of the mag wheels, gives you all the info you really need to know. Digital tachometer, odo, tripmeter, engine temp and a low fuel lamp complement the analogue speedo to keep you informed. The beautiful simplicity of it all is hugely appealing to me. In fact, that is part of the appeal of this type of bike. Big motor with spade loads of soul in a decent frame and uber cool looks make for an intoxicating ride. You find yourself riding past shop windows to scope out how cool you look. There is a subtle element of rebel and bad ass that adds to the appeal. A sort of one percenter finger to the establishment feel that seems to come standard with the Bobber.
I surfed the net to see what guys have done to customize their Bobbers. Lets face it, these bikes are fiercely individualistic and buyers will want to put their own stamp on their rides. It is part of the appeal. I am sure that in the fullness of time you will see some amazing Bobber based beasts emerge. Indian offer a passenger seat with sissy bar, saddlebags and a throaty set of slip-on pipes ex factory. I am sure that other custom bits will soon be available too.
So, what is the bottom line on the Indian Scout Bobber then? If you want a power cruiser that is a little unique with a rich American iron heritage, look no further. It has real character without any irritating ways. The more you ride it, the more you enjoy it. It is the kind of bike that gets you up early to take for a scoot just after sunrise when the air, and all around you, is still deliciously fresh. You pull in to your favourite haunt for coffee and a croissant and sit back and simply ogle the bike. You kinda just get that feeling that all is well with your world! The Scout just seems to inject a bit more life into living. Pop into the Melrose Arch dealership, soak up the Indian vibe and check out the Bobber between sips of your cappuccino, you will see what i’m getting at.