One word. Iconic. No better title would suit this immaculate Indian Scout. As a hand in a glove, so fitting were we ahead of this year’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride. Nothing quite intrigues me more than riding modern motorbikes with a long-standing rich history and heritage. Indian Motorcycles are no exception.
As a youthful African rider, the gap to the motorcycling world was bridged by one name, Harley-Davidson. From my township of Mamelodi, that was the name that echoed through our humble streets. And yet, all this time, lay a sleeping giant that hadn’t roamed our homelands yet. A suitable and competitive brand name, one that had not yet met our utterances.
The history of Indian Motorcycles spans over a century. Originally known as the Hendee Manufacturing Company. In the year 1901, the first motorcycle was produced. That year now serves as a special date in the hearts of many Indian riders and even more so amongst the owners. The first Scout was birthed in 1920, equipped with a 600cc side-valve V-twin engine with the transmission securely bolted to the engine casing.
Fast forward to the present day, the Indian Scout maintains a sleek modern cruiser design that still accurately pays homage to the pilot model. This is visually evident by means of the curved rear and front fender, as well as the engine, elongated sculpted tank, headlights and stylish wheel components.
At first glance and feel, it can be described simply as ‘solid’. No part of this motorcycle felt ‘plasticky’. Every rider appreciates that reassurance, that what is under them is a machine that is reliable. The sort of reliability that aids a sound purchase decision even when considering the niche aspect of the Indian Motorcycle brand. Not only does the Indian Scout form the perfect intersection of old-school meeting new-school, but they have also adapted to the times and incorporated key technological features.
The Scout encompasses a 1100cc V-Twin engine which produces 100 horses of power (70Kw) and 97Nm of torque. It’s worth noting that irrespective of a slightly more relaxed throttle response, it certainly gives enough go from the crack of the throttle. It features modern elements such as electronic fuel injection, liquid cooling and ABS. It runs on a drive belt and hosts a smooth-shifting 6-speed gearbox ideal for both in-city or open highway cruising.
Aesthetically, one of the first things you will notice is the low seat height, pulled-back handlebars seating you more upright and of course the typical forward foot controls which position you in a stereotypical semi-aggressive cruiser riding position. The plush seat design comfortably contours to your rear, providing a snug and secure fit ideal for solo riding.
From afar, the matte white smoke colour scheme definitely catches the eye especially when you factor in the finer chrome and black design elements. With the Scout, the devil really is in the details. Carrying so much history it ensures that you not only look but really pay attention to the intricate detailing design.
It encapsulates an analogue speedo housing all the essential information, digital tachometer, odometer, trip meter, engine temperature as well as the low fuel lamp. The bike itself weighs a muscular 256kg and holds a 12.5L fuel capacity.
From the onset, with the above rider ergonomics in mind, the Scout lacks nothing in performance, accelerating gradually and swiftly up and out the lower to mid-rev range allowing you to enter into a comfortable cruising pace. It is only at much higher speeds when you feel unsteady, with unsettling vibrations felt through the handlebars. This however doesn’t take away from its overall well-established handling capabilities thanks to the lightweight aluminium cast frame and low seat height allowing easy accessibility and control.
The Scout’s suspension performed well across bumpy roads and made the ride sufficiently bearable. The Scout certainly sticks in and through the corners with riders having full confidence to commit, within Bobber lean angle stipulations of course. One thing is for sure, this is the sort of cruiser that is best suited for the long open road. For an even more enhanced riding experience, fitting a saddle bag or luggage rack would do the trick for really special and memorable road trips.
In recent years, it seems that the sleeping giant sleeps no more (since its rebirth with Polaris Industries in 2011). Indian Motorcycles has historically experienced various ups and downs over the years. Barring all such aside, no one can dispute the quality of motorcycles produced today by the Indian brand. A motorcycle brand that keeps the end user in mind right from the design process up until those rattling keys meet the owner’s hand. You don’t just ride an Indian, you embody it. You don’t just own an Indian, you own a piece of insurmountable history and heritage. And that my fellow rider, is my Scout’s Honour.
For more information on the bike featured in this article, click on the link below…