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Review: Indian Scout

Driven November 2014

Review: Indian Scout

After acquiring the famed American motorcycle brand Indian, Polaris didn't waste any time getting the company up and running. What’s more surprising is that the Chief series of bikes was launched in India soon after its international debut. If 2014 started with a bang for this American legend, Polaris has made sure it ends it with one, too.

It has brought back another name from the past with the new Scout. The Scout became one of Indian's most popular motorcycle when it was on sale in 1919, and was sold till 1945. It was the stunt man's trusty steed at the Wall of Death shows that were in full swing back then.

It also gained a prominent place in the history books thanks to a crazy Kiwi named Burt Munro. Mr. Munro’s modified 1920 Indian Scout held the land speed record after it did 295.4kph at the Bonneville salt flats in 1967. The Fastest Indian, anyone?

The idea behind building the Scout back in the 1920s was that motorcycles back then, like motorcycles of today, had become too bulky. The solution? Build something light and nimble. A century later, where Indian’s own Chief series weigh in at 380 kilos, the Scout comes as a breath of fresh air.

Though the Scout takes inspiration from its revered predecessor, it leans more towards the middleweight cruiser end of the market. So, you get the long-ish cruiser looks with a chassis that is exposed in places, which looks quite cool. The two chrome-heavy exhaust pipes aside, chrome is used scarcely and tastefully all over the motorcycle. One thing that looks really impressive is how the blacked-out engine gets a dash of chrome to highlight its structure.

See more pictures of the Indian Scout here

Indian has decided to do things a bit differently. Instead of a long-stoke twin, the engineers have opted for a liquid-cooled, high compression, short stroke, 1,133cc V-twin motor. It makes 99.6bhp and 97.7Nm of torque. So, what you get is performance all through the rev range, especially at the higher end of the spectrum. It gets a smooth 6-speed transmission that sends power to the belt-driven rear wheel.

You are seated fairly low, with the seat height coming in at 25.3 inches. The handlebar is pulled back, and the overall seating position is relaxed. One thing that you notice is, unlike many cruisers that can be painful to manoeuvre at lower speeds, the Scout manages its 244kg heft well. The light handlebar aids riding in city traffic, and we could manage it in and around small streets with ease.

On the highway is where the motor really shines. All the 97.7Nm of torque is available from 2000rpm all the way to 8000rpm. If you are in that part of the rev range and are looking to overtake, forget downshifting. The engine has enough grunt to pull up to speed without any effort. With such a versatile engine, it is easy to forget that the Scout is a cruiser and you will rev it harder. Once past the 7000rpm mark, things start getting a bit vibey, and by the time you are around the 9000rpm redline, the engine makes its discomfort known.

The Scout changes direction with ease, and this nature of the motorcycle makes it fun to ride it in the city and on the highway. With the agility that the Scout has to offer, you tend to push the bike harder into corners. This is when the foot pegs scrape the tarmac, and you quickly start riding the motorcycle in a laid-back fashion, just like it is supposed to be ridden. We only wish the rear suspension had a bit more travel for a better ride.

Though the overall performance is impressive, the one place we feel the Scout needs improvement is in the brake feel department. The Scout is equipped with a 298mm disc upfront and 298mm rear disc brakes, and ABS comes standard. They do the job of stopping the bike safely, but lack feel.

To sum it up, the Indian Scout is a fresh take on the middleweight cruiser. The engine is a gem, the styling is distinctive, so your Scout stands out in the sea of "me too" cruisers. And to top it off, the Scout comes at a price of Rs 12 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which will make this middleweight all the more appealing.

The numbers

Liquid cooled V-twin 1,133cc, 99.6bhp, 97.7Nm, 6M, Fuel tank 12.5 litre, KPL: 18.2, Weight: 244kg, Rs 12 lakh ex-Delhi

The verdict
Priced well, and with good performance to back it up, this motorcycle will develop a steady fan following in the coming years.

Abhinav Mishra

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