My passage into motorcycling was though Japanese bikes. I grew up with Suzukis, Kawasakis, Honda and Yamahas, and that was a far as my motorcycle knowledge went. It was only much later in my life, when I got acquainted with American motorcycles, that I had to learn a whole new vocabulary. Words like ‘Scrambler’, ‘Softail’ and ‘Bobber’.
Lately, these terms have started to creep back into modern motorcycles, with the Scrambler making a comeback in BMW, Triumph, and even Ducati. Triumph launched their Bobber last year, and now Indian have “Bobbed” their Scout. It is stripped down and blacked out.
I recently rode the Indian Scout Sixty and I was delighted by the simplicity of it. You could ride it like a sport-bike, so the Scout definitely has the dynamic ability. The Bobber, however, had received some other changes which I thought would change the character of the Scout. The rear shocks are now comically short, and the front wheel has now been beefed up and the tread is blocky. It sits on a blacked out rim, and it only has one disk up front. Although adequate, it does require a fair squeeze for it to have an effect. The rear brake is responsive, and of course ABS is standard.
The engine is an 1133cc V-twin mill, and I was surprised, even with the Sixty, at how smooth the engine is. Pushing out 100hp with 97Nm of torque, it makes for a delightful ride in any gear. It is water cooled, and Indian did a very good job of incorporating the radiator into the retro design.
Instrumentation is just a round speedometer with a small LCD screen for the other vital information.
The feet-controls are forward, the handlebars outstretched and the other end of the triangle is a plush looking seat. Sitting at a very low 65cm and covered in leather, it really is a comfortable seat, but you have no room to maneuver on the bike, and that slammed suspension means you feel every undulation, hole, rock or small pebble on the road vividly. Long distances might not be a good idea, unless you are traveling said distance to a physiotherapist.
Everywhere I went, the Indian drew attention, but the overwhelming response was more of “What is this?” With the Indian name generously sprinkled all over the bike, it was more the unfamiliarity with the brand that got most people. This is really a delightful bike, and if you fit the abbreviated pipes, rather than the oversized standard cans, it makes for a very cool bike.
You will have to live with the bone-crunching short suspension and the riding position that is less than perfect, but when you arrive anywhere with this, be ready to answer a lot of questions. And then you pull up where you can admire the bike, and just look at it while your backside recovers.
Words and Pictures: Brian Cheyne