One way to gauge success in this industry is through aftermarket support. If you create a production bike and no one believes in it enough to make custom parts for it, the writing is on the wall. Remember a decade back when everyone who could ignite a cutting torch thought they were Jesse James? A lot of those cats thought cobbling together choppers from catalog parts and calling them “production customs” was a ticket to fame and fortune. Even the “Indians” of that time practically started out as catalog iron.
Polaris knew better. They’d learned many a bitter lesson with Victory’s V92 series cruisers and reinvented itself with the Vegas in 2002. Not only that, but the company applied its hard-won knowledge to Indian when the manufacturer took it over a few years ago. Polaris didn’t buy a bunch of S&S motors, mount them into Daytec frames, slap on some swoopy fenders, and call that an Indian. The company had the good sense to look into the past to what made Indian, well, Indian, as the foundation for its new Chief and Scout lines.
The new Scouts were greeted with such enthusiasm that Dirty Bird Concepts, long known for its baggers, embraced the middleweight bikes and started a parts line around them. When a bagger maker pulls a 180 and starts making stuff for a stripped-down peppy bike like the new Scout, it’s kind of a big deal.
This particular 2016 Scout is just the second in a line of 20 limited-edition bikes John Shope and his shop are customizing even as we speak. You probably already guessed from the pics that he’s not giving them the bagger treatment either. John knows full well that the powerplant and light weight are what make Indian’s midsizers so fun to ride. Dirty Bird’s Scout parts embrace those concepts.
“Indian was around before Harley,” John explains. “It’s a no-brainer. Before anyone else got the Scouts, we got one from Indian. A Scout’ll burn tire for as long as you hold the throttle open. Guys are putting bags on ’em and shit like that. I think they need a race look myself.”
Bear in mind, this endorsement is coming from one of the premier baggersmiths in the country. Not only does this tell you he loves the Scout, but it says a lot about Shope that he’s open minded enough to stay true to the bike’s nature with his parts for it.
While Dirty Bird is in the business of making DIY parts for motorcycles, no one can accuse the new Scouts of being “production customs.” Thankfully, that oxymoron faded into obscurity 10 years ago. It’s easy to hindsight a fad like that, but John Shope has a prediction of his own for the near future: “The Scout’s gonna give Sportsters a hard time. It’s a barhopper from hell. The thing’s badass.”
|Dirty Bird Concepts|
|2016 Indian Scout
|Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
|Indian 16 x 3.5 in.|
|Indian 16 x 5 in.
|Legends Collision Center
|Wildfire Red and Beige|
|Legends Collision Center|
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