Cycle Source Tries To Wear Out The New Indian Scout
Article By: Chris Callen
Photos By: Todd Williams
Originally Published In The February 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
This year the Cycle Source Readers have voted the 2015 Indian Scout as the Production Bike of the year. Indian has been making huge waves in the American Motorcycle scene with their revival of this brand under the guidance of Polaris Motorcycle Company so when I got the chance to go and do a test ride on their follow up act, the 2016 Scout 60, I jumped. The whole event started off in Long Beach California where we were first exposed to the Scout 60 model and treated to a sneak peak of the Super Hooligans. Roland Sands and a handful of modern-day motorcycle adventure riders would take a few laps inside an abandoned warehouse down on the piers in LA in celebration of their first race at the AMA SuperPrestigio of the Americas in Vegas a few nights later. The kicker is they were riding modified Scout 60’s that looked and sounded like badasses. We flew into Vegas on a whirlwind trip that found us flying the winged version of an early Indian Chief. A flying piece of avionics history, a DC3 provided to us by the good folks at Starklite Cycles. Gary and his crew were gracious hosts and gave us a complete history of this amazing machinery. Every attention was paid to the details of this plane’s time from the decor of the passenger cabin to the music that was playing as we entered, it was a true trip back in time.
I came into this with a raised eyebrow, T thinking that this might be a cheap entry level bike with a bunch of cheap feeling parts and lackluster performance that typically goes with any manufacturers attempt at ground floor marketing. After a near two hour ride I came away with a changed opinion that this is not in fact a cheap entry bike and in fact is quick and nimble, very well made and a nice change of pace compared to any it in the price range. The Scout Sixty weighs in at a comfortable $8,999.
Right off I was surprised with the 60 Cubic Inch motor that puts out a seemingly small 78hp. In a world where everything these days needs to be 100hp or better, I really didn’t find that it lacked any power through the range. It does however only have 5 speeds compared to the Scouts 6, which I thought might have been an issue when we got them out on the highway, but it was not. The bike doesn’t red line until 5800 rpm and cruising at just over 4000 I was at 70 plus mph so there was plenty of room to wind it out. I later found out that they have the performance end of this model dialed in with the 60mm closed loop fuel injection. This is an aspect we will talk more about in the aftermarket capacity towards the end of this article. The shifting is smooth on the five speed gear box and I couldn’t feel any short changing in the gear ratios that would suggest they sacrificed on one end or the other to get power, it was complete across the range. One thing is for sure, the gear driven primary has come a long way since Polaris started to put them on the older Victory models and on these Indians I didn’t feel any of the clunky shifting or off throttle jerking. The second day of riding we got to do some real evaluation of the suspension and handling of the Scout 60. We headed up to Lake Mead recreation area just outside of Las Vegas, and if you’ve never been in the canyons out that way it’s a thrill rider’s paradise. Riding with a pack of veteran journalists is even more invigorating and really put this thing to a test. While I heard some of the other reporters mention how stiff the suspension was, I found no real issue with it. It was stiff, but by no means did I feel it was sub-standard. There is room for slight improvement however, an issue that I feel the aftermarket is well equipped to satisfy. The lean angle of the Scout 60 is 31 degrees and with feeler tips on the foot pegs we were taking them over to the limit of that. It tracks true and didn’t once make me feel loose in the bends. The steering head does have a very small range of operation which is no big deal on the open road but takes a minute to adjust to. I’m not quite sure why it is limited, it seemed to have more room for turning than the engineers gave it.
While this is an entry level motorcycle that is in my opinion affordable for a wide range of first time buyers, it does have some inherent traits that you find in less expensive model motorcycles. There are some plastic pieces, European or Asian style controls, etc. These items are things that happen fast in the aftermarket anyway so I give Indian praise for not wasting money on them and giving the consumer a less expensive ticket to the show to begin with. Other attributes that they did manage to use in their favor was to cut out more expensive coatings in favor of flat black, but they used it in the design of what looks like a more raw, edgy, next generation style bike.
What I believe Indian’s strongest play in this model is the fact that they are giving the consumer a base model motorcycle and encouraging them to do their own thing with it. There’s plenty of room to do customizing and from the bikes we are just getting ready to feature in this magazine the results are incredible. There is an almost clean pallet on the 60 and the regular Scout and that leads to performance as well as design elements. You see, the beginning of the second day gave us an opportunity to ride the very bikes that Roland and his boys were racing in the AMA race just the night before. We were picked up at 6:30 am and hauled out to a dry lake bed outside of town and basically turned loose. Of course we were like little kids but the thrill of just sticking the throttle and hauling ass wide open across the lake bed was insane. These bikes were super-fast and throwing them around in the corners they were like you would expect race bikes to be. Here’s the surprising factor though: When I asked the Indian people what all was done to the Scout 60 to make them this fast, the answer was simply full mapping. That’s right, no big engine mods, just re-mapping. Now they had other mods too that made them look bad ass and had upgraded suspensions, but nothing the average consumer would struggle with. This perked my attention and makes me wonder just what we will see this coming year from the incredible base model Indian has brought to the public. By the end of our time on and off road with the Scout 60 I was sold. I actually found myself having a damn good time on this bike and was a little bummed when we had to park them for the trip back. We give it Five Stars and applaud Indian Motorcycles for truly learning about the market today and answering with the Scout 60.