Contrary to popular belief, the Harley-Davidson Motor Company was not the first American motorcycle. They were late to the party, launching in 1903 with their first bike. Indian was actually the first motorcycle manufacturer, making their debut two years earlier in 1901. Indian Motorcycles, now owned by Polaris Industries, re-launched the iconic Scout, marking the return of the legendary small American cruiser in 2015. The original Indian Scout was a 1920 model, and was manufactured through the 1950 model year. Polaris was also the manufacturer of the popular Victory motorcycle brand. However, the company scrapped Victory production to focus entirely on an expanded Indian line, the latest of which is this: the Indian Scout Bobber.
Indian currently offers a stable of 16 motorcycle models. With so many to choose from, how do you go about making the best selection? The big question is…”What would Tonto ride?” The answer is obvious: “Get ‘em up Scout!”
For those of you who are too young to know who the heck Tonto is, he was the masked Lone Ranger’s Indian sidekick. If you don’t know who the Lone Ranger is, I’m so sorry. To seriously answer that question, I’d recommend going for what visually strikes your fancy first. Then determine if that choice meets your riding purposes and style, and it falls within your budget range.
Visually, the Indian Scout Series displays a retro flavor, but with a more modern flair. The chassis is a reflection of what the original 1920 Scout would probably have become over the years in order to satisfy today’s standards. In the past, there were several models or trim levels of the Scout. This latest iteration Scout offers only three model variations: Scout, Scout Sixty, and Scout Bobber. No more model 101s of different displacements, Scout Sports or Military and Military Juniors, or even the 648 Daytona Sport.
2018 Indian Scout Bobbers are liquid-cooled, which makes for a highly visible non-conventional departure from its predecessors. However, the suspension is pretty conventional fore and aft.
A two-up Indian Scout is available with optionally available accessories. Those include a chrome driver backrest, chrome highway bars, passenger pegs, a passenger pillion, a quick release mid-height windshield, Tan saddlebags and a Tan tank pouch.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
The new Indian Scout Bobber comes only as a solo bike, adding to its early heritage flavor. Foot controls are set forward and the handlebars are well positioned and reach back to the rider. It all makes for a comfortable riding position, unless you’re on the taller side. If you happen to be 6’4” or more, the foot pegs would benefit from being set further forward. The seat, albeit small, is surprisingly comfortable with its 25.6-inch height. A windshield, passenger pillion and pegs, and saddlebags would spoil the Bad Boy (or girl) look.
Okay, granted, added comfort, convenience and functionality may trump appearance and may not be a bad thing. That all comes down to whether you prefer form over function. Optional chrome crash bars, for instance, would provide relief for tall riders on long rides. But would tend to elevate the “bling” level, which doesn’t exactly fit this bike’s image or my personal tastes.
[Photos: Arv Voss]
The base Indian Scout and the new Scout Bobber share the same powertrain. The less expensive Scout Sixty is detuned and has one fewer gear.
Power for the Scout Bobber comes from a 1123 cc or 69 cubic inch, liquid-cooled Indian V-Twin. It features closed loop electronic fuel injection, a 60 mm bore and split dual right side exhaust with a crossover. Indian advertises the Scout Bobber with 100 horsepower and 72.2 lb-ft of torque at 5,900 rpm. A six-speed sequential manual transmission gears the engine’s output through a gear-drive wet clutch to the final left-side belt drive. Acceleration comes rapidly and torque is available on demand – a lot of it for a bike this size.
The suspension setup consists of 41 mm telescopic forks up front, with 4.7-inches of travel. Around the back, there’s rear dual adjustable coilover shock absorbers with 2.0 inches of travel. They’re set at an exaggerated rake, paying homage to the 1920 Scout’s hardtail look. The new Scout Bobber rolls on Kenda K761 tires, mounted on black-painted 5-tri-spoke alloy wheels.
The Indian Scout Bobber is exceptionally well-balanced with its low center of gravity, which allows for easy, fluid handling at all speeds. There’s enough lean angle to bolster confidence in high-speed cornering. Even better, the price is affordable and certainly as appealing as the bike’s appearance.
The inverted mirrors take a little getting used to at first. However, you can easily reverse them for a more conventional approach. Turn signals are not self-cancelling, and there is no fork lock, so I would recommend traveling with some kind of portable security.
My 2018 Indian Scout Bobber wore a matte Black finish on its bodywork, which featured hard edge lines on the fuel tank and front and rear fenders. Indian finished the solo “old school” low seat in durable, weather-resistant Desert Tan leather. All in, the Indian Scout Bobber costs $12,849. Dealer handling and prep fees may alter the final price slightly.
From a personal point of view, the base model Indian Scout best portrays the currently popular retro small cruiser trend. On the other hand, the Indian Scout Bobber depicts the increasingly popular, minimalist “Bobber” movement. It has very little bling, bobbed front and rear fenders, inverted rear view mirrors and a sinister blacked out persona. It’s also lower and is strictly a solo bike. My initial reaction to Indian’s Scout offerings is that they’re relatively small. They sit low and display a rather austere retro image. Indian didn’t install faux cooling fins on the engine. Rather, they installed structural ribbing that matches other aluminum-toned accents.
The 2018 Indian Scout Bobber is a lot of really cool bike for the money. If you’re planning extended cruises, you can always add some convenience accessories. As it sits, the Bobber is ideally suited for turning heads on shorter rides.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Indian Scout Bobber
|Price as Tested:||$12,849 (Dealer handling fees may vary)|
|Engine:||1,123 cc (69 cubic inch) liquid-cooled V-Twin w/ closed loop electronic fuel injection, 60mm bore and split dual right-side exhaust w/ crossover|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Primary drive – Gear drive wet clutch|
|Torque:||72.2 lb-ft @ 6,000 RPM|
|Transmission:||Six-speed sequential manual|
|Suspension:||Front: 41 mm inverted telescopic forks w/ 4.7 inches (120 mm) of travel Rear: Dual coilover shock absorbers w/ 2 inches (50 mm) of travel|
|Brakes:||Front: 298 mm front rotor with 2-piston caliper Rear: 298 mm rear rotor w/ single-piston caliper, ABS|
|Tires:||Front: Kenda K761 for Indian 130/90-16 73H
Rear: Kenda K761 for Indian 150/80-16 71H
|Fuel capacity:||3.3 gallons|
|Seat Height:||25.6 inches|
|Ground Clearance:||4.8 inches|
|Curb Weight:||554 pounds (w/ full fuel tank); GVWR: 988 pounds|