“1901” is written boldly on the small lamp mask and is immediately engraved again on the chrome cover between the two cylinders. It is the birth year of Indian Motorcycles. The number is important for the image, because Indian is one year older than the eternal competitor Harley-Davidson. Well, Indian went bankrupt in 1953 and then the rights to the name passed through various hands, while Harley-Davidson continued to exist, but now Polaris Industries, a financially strong group, is behind it and is again building motorcycles with the Indian head on the tank. At the plant in Spirit Lake, Iowa, Polaris let its other motorcycle brand Victory go. Two brands were too much for the management and they decided on the more famous name, which is easier to market.
The first Indian Scout appeared back in 1920, and of course the latest edition has little in common with the model from almost a century ago, except that it is powered by a V2. Today it is 1133 cm3 in size and spread at an angle of 60 degrees to accommodate the injection system in between, has four valves per cylinder, two overhead camshafts and is liquid-cooled. Many traditionalists have their problems with the latter, but Indian has managed to pack the radiator as discreetly as possible so that it is far out of sight. The result of the elaborate technology: 102 hp. Since the beginning of the year, the Scout has also been Euro4-approved, which means that the engineers had to go back to work last year and make the Indian fit for the future. We were able to put the result to the acid test for two weeks.
Flat and elongated
Interestingly, the Indian brand is still familiar to many people. People who ride the Scout are regularly asked about Indian, usually with the astonished question, “That brand still exists?” Only a few people fall for the old-school design with the baroque fenders, however; it’s obvious that the Scout is not a classic car. It probably doesn’t want to be, but it still looks cool from every angle. Flat and elongated, the Scout offers a degree of nonchalance that is not embarrassing but self-confident. The typical curved mudguards and the small round headlamp had to be retained, of course, and the very long twin-tube exhaust underscores the concept. The wire wheels installed on our test specimen cost an extra 1340 euros, but are the more stylish choice compared to the standard cast wheels. The cylinder heads gleam in silver and blatantly flaunt the fact that they have dual camshafts. For the tank, the designers deviated from the conventional line. Even though it takes on the sweep of the front fender, they dared to add an edge to the tank. The line drops far down to the saddle and only ends at the light alloy casting that forms the composite frame together with steel tubes.
Relatively manageable, despite long wheelbase
The Scout is a motorcycle for singles, a pillion seat is not provided as standard, but can be ordered at extra cost (267.74 euros) together with pillion footrests (227.57 euros), but spoils the look. The driver sits low, very low on the Scout, just 643 mm above the asphalt. Even a dachshund could still peek over the seat without having to hop. The saddle, covered in light leather, looks inviting and is actually still comfortable for the first few kilometers. After an hour, however, you start sliding back and forth in the vain search for a more comfortable seating position. The typical cruiser problem: The tailbone is loaded selectively by the legs stretched forward and starts to hurt after some time. Small breaks are welcome … The Scout proves to be surprisingly manageable for a cruiser, despite the long wheelbase of 1562 mm and the steering head angle of 61 degrees. The 257 kg vehicle weight with a full 12.5-liter tank is hardly noticeable. Indian specifies the maximum lean angle with 33 degrees, then the footpegs put an abrupt end to the drive on winding roads. But an Indian doesn’t want to be driven, it wants to be enjoyed. Even when stationary, the Scout can be easily maneuvered, and the low center of gravity has a positive effect here. The chrome-plated handlebars reach far out towards the rider, and thanks to the width of 880 mm, they make it easier to turn in.
The clutch requires gratifyingly low operating forces. The first gear can be engaged without a shuddering noise, and now comes the great moment of the V2 with fuel injection: the engine takes up the throttle absolutely smoothly, and pulls through from idle speed. Big surprise: Vibrations are a foreign word for the Scout – you’re used to something completely different from some competitor models. The balancer shaft does an excellent job on the Indian. Of course, you expect large-volume V2 engines in cruisers to shovel massive torque onto the belt drive at minimum revs. The Scout can do that, too, and produces a maximum of 98 Nm at 5900 rpm. At 100 km/h, just 3300 rpm are available in sixth gear and it can be driven in a wonderfully lazy manner. But its V2 still holds a secret: It is rev-happy! The Scout can cruise casually through the city, but if you open the throttle on the highway at the right speed, you will experience the unexpected: The Indian marches off as if the cavalry were after it. If need be, it will run 193 km/h – and without oscillating or becoming even slightly restless. With a bore of 99 mm and a stroke of 73.6, its V2 is rather short-stroked and produces an impressive 102 hp at 8000 rpm even with the Euro4 standard. Only the sound has fallen victim to the strict regulations. We are generally against loud exhaust systems in road traffic, but on the Scout it sounds stuffed. But good sound is not a question of volume, but of tuning.
Chassis for American highways
So the engine has become a real cream of the crop, but the chassis is designed for leisurely gliding. On even asphalt surfaces it still works well, the non-adjustable telescopic fork with 120 mm travel and the two shocks with 76 mm travel do their job perfectly. However, the Scout does not particularly like bumpy roads and holes in the asphalt. The tightly tuned chassis passes bumps on to the rider pretty much unfiltered. The Indian’s ride comfort is clearly designed for American highways. Why cruisers almost always only have a single disc brake on the front wheel remains the secret of the manufacturer. The braking system on the Scout still works relatively well, it can be reliably decelerated, albeit without a clearly perceptible pressure point. At least Indian gave it a steel braided brake line. The ABS works reliably, but unfortunately the Scout does not have traction control. With the powerful torque, this would be a definite advantage, at least in wet weather.
The workmanship is of a very high standard, and even a quality-loving German can only nod in approval. Everything fits perfectly, nothing wobbles or is sloppily attached. The multicolor paint and the chrome parts are flawless. The brand has allowed itself a nice gag on the tires: there is an Indian lettering. Of course, Indian does not have its own tire factory, the tires come as a special edition from Dunlop. The grip of the voluminous tires is good, at least as long as the temperature is not close to freezing point. We did find one small flaw: The rubber footrests are a style breach, a monument of cruiser like the Scout simply deserves metal footrests.
Indian is back
For the Scout, Indian is asking 13,690 euros and offers a five-year warranty. In return, the buyer gets a modern, very powerful and rev-happy engine as well as a motorcycle design that is refreshingly different from the usual retro track. It will probably take some time until the word gets out in Germany that Indian exists again and builds excellent bikes. Of course, they want to compete with Harley-Davidson, and with a financially strong group like Polaris in the background, that can definitely work. After all, 564 buyers in Germany took up the Indian Scout in 2016, and the trend is rising. (fpi) In addition to Harley-Davidson and Victory, Indian is another brand from the U.S. that appeals especially to cruising fans. Here are Jogi’s impressions of the Indian Scout … from Kradblatt 10/15 Text: Jogi, penta-media.de Photos: Tine, Sandra, Jogi Driving report: Indian Scout The currently smallest Indian could succeed in doing what numerous Japanese choppers and cruisers have so far failed to do. The Scout appeals to customers who are otherwise interested in Harley-Davidson’s Sportster. Japanese bikes, although not infrequently technically superior, are often unable to convey the American lifestyle credibly enough and are therefore out of the question for many chopper and cruiser riders, as they always somehow have a whiff of Harley plagiarism attached to them. This is guaranteed not to happen to the exclusive Scout, because it too is an original. Like the Sportster, it is a genuine American and is finally assembled in Spirit Lake in Iowa/USA. The tradition and company history of Indian goes back to the year 1901, when the first Indian Motorcycle was presented in Springfield/ Massachusetts. Earlier Scouts proved themselves as light and reliable motorcycles in war and on race tracks. Since 2011, the Indian brand has belonged to the Polaris Industries Group, which has also been able to successfully place the Viktory brand on the market in recent years. Indian thus has a strong partner with over US$3 billion in annual sales behind it. Unlike the Sportster, the Scout uses a water-cooled V2 engine with a balancer shaft for smooth running. Each cylinder is filled and vented by 4 valves controlled by two camshafts (DOHC = Double Over Head Camshaft). With 1,133 cc and 100 hp at 8,000 rpm, the Scout has the edge in engine performance. The ratio of 99 mm bore to 73.6 mm stroke is designed to be quite short-stroking, allowing the 60-degree V2 to do its work with enormous revving and elasticity. Between 2,000 and 8,000 rpm, practically anything goes. The engine presses 98 Nm at 5,900 rpm. This allows the Indian Scout to cruise along the country roads with wonderful laziness when shifting gears. Not that shifting gears is an unpleasant act. The transmission shifts wonderfully precisely and, apart from the first gear, which makes a typical clacking noise when engaged, almost noiselessly. 4,000 rpm proved to be the ideal shift point. The gear ratios connect well, so it’s easy to tap-dance through all six gears in a relaxed manner. The idle speed is 1,100 rpm. To start off, you only have to let the clutch come in sensitively. Rich torque already in the lower rpm range makes it possible. I maintain that motorcycles can talk. Sometimes it’s terrible when I visit a dealer and all the machines in the showroom are babbling away. Some shout “Buy me!” at the top of their voices, while others just mumble around like Till Schweiger or shyly say nothing at all at first. But if you listen to them carefully, they all tell you how they prefer to be moved and what speeds and revs they love. While some sport bikes whisper “Give me everything,” the Scout mumbles “Do an easy 80 in sixth gear” in my ear. At this speed, the engine revs at a relaxed 2,600 rpm and is content with around 4 liters per 100 kilometers. There is hardly any wind pressure and you sit comfortably on the single, thickly padded leather saddle. If you don’t pay attention to your speed on the country road for a longer time, you’ll find yourself constantly in sixth gear at 80 mph, as if by magic. The chassis irons out almost all jolts. Only on really bad terrain is there the occasional bump in the back, namely when the rear 76 mm of suspension travel are exhausted. That happens only rarely. One hand on the handlebar is quite sufficient. Yes – I know – actually both hands belong on the handlebars. The Scout runs all by itself like a steam locomotive stoically straight ahead. If the throttle would stop, you could ride it hands-free. The legs stretched slightly forward, the feet rest casually on the rests. The engine runs smoothly, without excessive vibrations and at a pleasant volume. The vibrations only increase above 6,000 rpm. In practical driving, however, you rarely need more than 5,500 rpm. The exhaust system was also not designed for ruckus. The sound is present, but always unobtrusive and moderate. If you twist the throttle harder at low revs, you can at best elicit a sonorous extra growl from the Scout. As the engine speed increases, the growl quickly disappears. Tine and I liked it a lot, because a too loud exhaust can be a huge pain when you have to endure it for hours on end while traveling or for a driving test over several days. The right measure was taken very well. The engine power unfolds in an easily controllable and linear manner. The “ride-by-wire” throttle grip feels like a conventional grip with cable winding. If I hadn’t found the hint by chance in the data collection, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it at all. With more revs also more power ignites, completely without surprises, power holes or turbo effects. Overtaking is a breeze from 4,000 rpm. When accelerating and also at top speed, the Scout can credibly bring its 100 horsepower to the asphalt. The fact that it can run over 200 km/h is something we just assumed and didn’t even test. Acceleration up to 180 km/h was brute, unstressed and still far from the end. Who would want to ride a naked motorcycle for longer than 120 km/h? The brakes handle the 258-kilogram lady with the same ease, even though she weighs 258 kilograms with a full tank. Despite the fact that only one disc is used at the front and rear, the brakes provide good deceleration for a cruiser. The standard ABS prevents unintentional blocking. The 40 mm front fork proved torsionally stiff and completely unimpressed by our braking tests. Although it has a suspension travel of 120 mm, it does not dive excessively low even under sharper braking, so the Scout always keeps its composure. Although neither the brake nor clutch levers are adjustable, they feel great in the hand because they are positioned relatively close to the grip. Even Tine, with her somewhat smaller hands, managed just fine with them. Excessive hand force is not necessary to operate the multi-disc oil bath clutch anyway. That’s a good thing, too, because we think the flat and stretched Scout suits people between 1.65 m and 1.75 m best. With my 1.83 m it already looks not quite so aesthetic, although everything fits. It even fits my 1.95 m friend Tom still everything, but it just looks disproportionate when he sits on the machine. Apart from the fact that even his shorts look completely uncool when riding a motorcycle. So please don’t send any admonishing letters to the editor. His wife has already impressively reprimanded him for riding around the yard in circles just once without protective gear for the photo. Taking long curves is a lot of fun with the Scout. Tighter curves, on the other hand, require physical effort and leaning. The long wheelbase of 1565 mm naturally not only provides wonderful straight-line stability, but also affects cornering agility. With a little practice, however, this is no problem. Up to 31 degrees the Scout is to be put into the curve, then only the footrests remind that one does not move it straight kind. This automatically leaves enough safety reserves for the Kenda K673 tires, which are specially produced for Indian in Taiwan. A 130 tire rotates at the front, and a 150 tire with decorative Indian lettering rotates at the rear on black 16-inch aluminum rims. The handlebars of the Scout can’t be turned in very far. Very early it comes to its stops. Turning without having to maneuver is not possible on single-lane roads. In practical driving, however, this is meaningless. All important information can be read on the classic, round speedometer instrument. The pointer marks the current speed and on the LCD field you can alternately call up mileage, rpm, time and coolant temperature. Switching is done with a small switch on the left of the handlebar. There are additional lights for the turn signal, the ABS, the electrics, high beam and when the tank content is slowly running low. A fuel gauge is missing. Those who simply fill up every 250 kilometers will never have any problems with the tank capacity of 12.5 liters. The coolant temperature fluctuates between 80 and 90 degrees Celsius while driving. Above 95 degrees, the electric fan helps stabilize the temperature. At stoplights and in traffic jams, the temperature rises quickly because the engine is very closed and compact. The air has little room to sweep between the hot engine parts for cooling, so the designers have relied fully on water cooling. This works excellently. The coolant temperature of the idling engine settles at a maximum of 98 degrees Celsius. However, the rear exhaust manifold also gets very hot and even the chromed heat shield could not prevent Tine from slightly burning her Gore-Tex pants when turning. The seat height is with only 643 mm very low, but the machine is so wide that you can get with a height of 1.65 m already a little contact with the legs to it, if one footed around to maneuver. It’s best to reach for pants made of heat-resistant material or leather in style right away. The radiator has been nicely integrated into the Scout’s aluminum frame and is barely visible when viewed from the side. The frame essentially consists of five cast aluminum parts. The three main parts are connected above the engine with bolted steel tubes. The engine serves as a load-bearing part in the lower section. This design looks quite unconventional, but effectively hides cables, hoses and Bowden cables for a clean look. The battery is also invisible. It is under the easily removable saddle. Still, you can’t get to the battery terminals very well if you want to connect a charger. The company Viking Cycles from Lübeck, which thankfully provided us with this Scout for the ride test, therefore equips each machine with charging plugs free of charge before handing it over to the customer. Information is available from Viking Cycles at Taschenmacherstraße 1 – 5, 23556 Lübeck. Phone 0451/400700, www.vikingcycles.de. The workmanship of the Indian Scout is exemplary. We could not find any defects. Fits and surfaces were all flawless. The materials used leave a very high-quality impression. The tail light surround, mirrors and turn signal housings are made of chrome-plated plastic. All other chromed parts are made of solid metal. Indian gives a 5-year warranty on each of their 2015 machines. After the 800 km break-in inspection, the Scout wants to be serviced at 4,000 km and only once a year or every 8,000 km thereafter. The machine can be ordered in four different paint finishes. In addition to the classic Indian red, there is the Scout in black, smoke black or smoke silver. Prices start at 12,900 euros. For accessories and individual equipment there is a separate catalog, in which saddlebags, luggage racks, various stainless steel handlebars, pillion seat cushions, crash bars, windows and much more can be found. For a stylish appearance, there is a wide selection of original Indian clothing and accessories to match the machine. At the beginning, we asked ourselves whether the Scout has what it takes to compete with Harley’s Sporty. The answer to this question is a resounding “yes”, even though both machines have seemingly contradictory images. Whereas the Sporty is considered rebellious, uncouth and has a disreputable bad-boy image, the Indian embodies the more emotionally stable, confident and conservative type with a touch of exclusivity. What the “HOG” (Harley Owners Group) represents for Harley, the official “IMRG” (Indian Motorcycle Riders Group) represents for Indian. In the end, it’s not the mind but the heart that makes us choose a motorcycle anyway, depending on what the candidates have whispered in our ears beforehand. – Gfx Nulled.
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