2015 Indian Scout: Expert Review
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The pros: Super comfortable, powerful engine, silky smooth ride.
The cons: Absence of fuel gauge and gear indicator.
The crux: Gorgeous, powerful, comfortable cruiser, if you love riding and price is not an issue , then this beautiful machine is for you.
The Indian Scout quite simply carried “the best motorcycle ever made by Indian” moniker for ages rivalling its own big brother, the Chief. With its birth back in 1919, Polaris gave the designers a clean sheet of paper and asked them to go absolutely free hand with no boundaries.
The result is brand new classic motorcycle that laughs, not aggressively, in the face of competition suggesting it is not grounded anymore. The hairy chest backdoor barnstormer is back to bring romance and passion through a motorcyclists saddle. A lazy V-Twin singing on an open road for miles and miles is the perfect definition for a cruiser, which the Indian Scout is about to change.
It is very safe to state that this motorcycle could very well be the nicest looking motorcycle by Indian yet. The dimensions are so perfect that you would never ask for anything else on it. The designers had to keep two crucial parameters in mind while designing it.
First was to keep the brand’s heritage intact, and second is to create a product that sells. This blend of the old and new in accurate proportions has given birth to a retro-futuristic design that will be loved by everybody, age no bound. The original designer, Charles B. Franklin, would be thoroughly pleased with the new effort.
The most important element of the design is the new liquid cooled engine, first and very much needed on any Indian motorcycle, doing away with cooling fins and replaced by smooth metal cut ribs on the block. The engine alone exudes that this is a modern bike with a modern 21st century engineered engine. The front is dominated by a fat 130mm tyre with 15 spoke alloy.
The correct amount of chrome on the engine and exhaust system is pleasing indeed and matches the appeal. Another catchy design feature is the dual rear shock absorbers with 3 inch travel mounted at a shallow angle. The solo seat is gorgeous sitting low and stitched in the best leather around. Overall, no other motorcycle in its class can trump the attention to detail on the new Indian Scout.
Settling in the saddle is easy as the seats are low and you sit upright holding the bars at the most comfortable angle. Usually sitting on a cruiser makes you curve your back, but not on the Scout. The seat is just about 2 feet off the ground making it super comfortable for riders of any height and size to land their feet on the ground. Sitting ‘on the saddle’, than ‘in the saddle’, all the controls are forward biased.
You place your feet on the forward placed foot pegs and hold the handle bars set at a comfortable position, enabling you to rake hundreds of miles. The switchgear has sturdy plastics and the controls are easy to reach. The low beam of the headlight stays on with the ignition allowing other motorists to notice you in their rear view mirror.
The minimalist instrument cluster is legible to read but is angled very low; hence I had to look down upon it to check the speed. The instrumentation includes a digital rev-counter, ODO metre, trip computer, engine temperature. The absence of a fuel gauge is not much of a problem at all, but a gear indicator could have been useful. There is a fuel low warning telltale that notifies you to refuel the tank. One annoying niggle is that the rear view mirrors vibrate and shift from the position you set them into showing you nothing but grey tarmac.
Engine and Performance
The V-Twin engine sitting low down is a piece of art, tower of power and a sonorous musical instrument. The 1,133cc engine develops 100bhp of maximum power and a peak torque of 97.7Nm at 5,900rpm. The first thing I noticed was that how effortless it feels at any gear, any rpm and any speed. The heavy flywheel enables extremely easy take-off from a standstill without drama.
The power delivery is linear in the beginning but absolutely goes mental when you give it the beans, try not to smile and snicker too much in your helmet. The strength of that engine gives you a feeling of limitless surge, in fact it feels like it is about to power wheelie in the first two gears, which it cannot because of the dimensions. And then is the tractable nature of the engine, which means it can potter along at 60kmph with ease the whole day, or blast away to glory at above 180kmph. And the V-Twin is so strong that you may ride it every day without a pinch of complaint.
Ride and Handling
You may question that at 253 kilograms the Indian Scout is bulky, but I got the shock my life as it felt so so nimble at taking corners. Ride it once and you’ll stand wondering how engineers managed such nimble handling from a heavyweight. The front forks have 4.7 inches of travel and the rear springs provide 3 inches of travel. The ride quality is silky smooth on highways. Also when the going gets tough, the suspension setup absorbs substantial undulations on the road, keeping you comfortable and in control.
The engine has been placed fairly low to the ground, so low in fact that the ground clearance is 5.3 inches off the ground. This ensures a low centre of gravity enhancing sure footed handling characteristics so you can have fun with it carving corners. The 6-speed transmission is precise and obliges as per your demands once the engine oil temperature has risen to apt levels.
It is extremely difficult to fault the Scout. It has a beautiful V-Twin engine that can keep pulling you the whole day in comfort, a gorgeous looking body and carries the legend of ‘Burt Munro’ on its shoulders. The only price you pay is...well the price, at Rs 11.99lakh (ex-showroom Delhi) it stands on the expensive side of the weigh scale.
Though you get what you pay for the Scout, but the competition offers you a bit more for your money which becomes troublesome to justify. If you judge a motorcycle by sheer numbers, you are rider but not a motorcyclist. But if you have knowledge about ‘Burt Munro’, you will understand the spirit of the Scout. Remember, the Indian Scout is not a machine, but an organic extension of its rider, which the competition isn’t!