Coming into Sturgis the rumors were flying about what new Indian model they would be releasing. Finally, when the announcement was made that the Scout was being brought back, my first though was, “Awesome! It’s not just an old bike with BNGs (bold new graphics).” Thanks to my short pony legs, I tend to prefer mid-size bikes. After a quick check of the spec sheet—it revealed a new motor with 100 hp, 72 pound-feet of torque—I couldn’t wait to throw a leg over the all-new Scout.
You can lead a horse to water, and eventually it’ll drink. Okay, that might not be how the saying goes, but it appears that the way of the water-cooled motors is inevitable. With such being the way of today’s motorcycling world, a liquid-cooled 69 cubic-inch motor is what powers the little Indian. I’m not one to get all huffy about modern improvements when it comes to power plants, so that was not a game killer for me.
At first glance, the styling is a bit on the shocking side. With lack of traditional cooling fins, the motor almost resembles an expensive watch versus a traditional V-twin. Probably the biggest eyesore would have to be the radiator shroud that is built into the frame. This might not seem like a big deal for most, but I’m a fan of hacking and tacking and that’s going to seriously limit some customization options. The rest of the bodywork is pretty muscular with squared-off panels that flow from tip to tail. The flat silver and black finishes have a much nicer appearance than the gloss red and black and would be my first check in the options box. Finally a real leather solo seat with a slight up-kick rounds out the styling package.
For those that are looking for something between a beginner’s bike and a around town street-scoot, the Indian Scout might be the perfect blend of both. When we finally got a chance to throw a leg over the extremely low 25.3 inches seat height, the bike instantly became apparent whom it was built for. A flat-footed stance is a confidence builder and the small stature meant this bike would be a good choice for those vertically challenged. Should you find yourself on the tall or even shorter side, optional handlebar and controls are available to raise or lower the stock seating position.
When twisting the throttle on the bike, the motor revs much more like a two-stroke than a big lumpy V-twin. Drop the shifter into gear, let the clutch out and let the good times roll. Sounds so easy when stated like that, but one of the greatest attributes of the Scout is just that. From the initial turn of the tires, the first impression of the bike is ease-of-use. While it didn’t race off like a big-bore, it sprinted like a proper mid-size bike should. Much like Goldilocks and the three little bears, the Scout is the third bowl of porridge, it’s not too fast, it’s not too slow, it’s just right. One notable attribute of the DOHC, four-valves per cylinder motor is the lack of engine braking at low speeds. On a typical big-V, release the throttle and a good portion of the braking is taken care of for you. On the Scout, fancy footwork with the shifter is needed to achieve the same result. It actually provided a bit of fun reminiscent of a sportbike ride with multiple downshifts needed to stay within the useable engine braking.
The sound of the bike is lumpity lump albeit a bit muffled. While at the Indian compound in Sturgis, I spotted a set of factory Stage 1 Straight Exhaust being installed. The sound improvement was vastly noticeable. Let that Indian pipe breath I say.
Braking duties are taken care of thanks to a single 298mm disc brake both front and back. Using front, back or preferable both brakes is all the stopping power needed for this 558-pound wet weight machine. Again, the braking falls in line with the balance of just enough without too much, theme that carries throughout the bike.
Saving the best for last is the riding impression of the Scout.
Riding the Scout can be summed up in one word: fun. At the end of the day, scooting around the canyons, highways or city streets on the Scout is nothing short of a blast. The bike is lightweight, nimble, peppy and corners well. And the best part of all it comes with a base price just shy of eleven-large. Was history repeated? No. Was the lesson learned from history used to set the groundwork for the future? Absolutely. Nice work Indian. Nice work.
For more information on the 2015 Indian Scout head over to www.indianmotorcycle.com