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  • December 21, 2015
  • Dirck Edge
  • Chris Rubino
  • 76 Comments

2016 Indian Scout Sixty: MD Ride Review, Part 1

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When we tested the 2015 Indian Scout immediately after its unveiling in Sturgis, South Dakota back in August, 2014, we knew it was something special.  While Harley-Davidson had been cruising along (ahem) with no real competition for its American-made 1200cc Sportster, Indian had a rude wake-up call for its air-cooled, two-valve competitor. The Indian Scout featured less displacement (1133cc), but a modern, liquid-cooled twin with four-valve heads that could rev to 9,000 rpm (way beyond the Sportster’s redline). As a result of its more modern engine design, the Scout put out a claimed 100 hp and was both faster and smoother than the Sportster. With a price starting at $10,999, we expected the Scout to sell very well for Indian, and it has.

With the recent announcement of the Indian Scout Sixty, Indian is upping the ante with a base price of $8,999 for a smaller displacement Scout (999cc) with less chrome (a more “blacked out” look, if you will). The key here, besides the price point, lies in the style of the bike (maybe we prefer it to the Scout), and the fact that the 999cc engine is so potent. Indian claims 78 hp and 65 foot/pounds of torque passed through a five-speed transmission (the original Scout has a six speed).

For context, the brand new Triumph Bonneville 900 Street Twin (U.S. MSRP of $8,700) makes a claimed 55 hp at a lowly 5,900 rpm, and 59 pound/feet of torque at 3,230 rpm. A torquey little beast, undoubtedly, but the Scout Sixty will run away from it quickly in anything resembling a drag race, or a high gear roll-on. Indeed, the engine performance is the first thing that struck us about our Scout Sixty test unit.

For a low cost cruiser, this bike is fast! We believe the claim that it makes close to 80 horsepower, and the revvy, smooth engine makes it just plain fun to ride. No inching ahead when you hit the gas at freeway speeds … instead, the Scout Sixty pulls hard all the way to triple digits. Frankly, the engine performance of this “little brother” to the Scout was almost shocking (in a very pleasant way).

We didn’t miss the six-speed transmission, because the Scout Sixty pulls plenty hard at lower revs, as well. The flexibility of this engine is one of its hallmarks, and it definitely feels livelier (probably due to a lighter crank and pistons), and smoother, than the 1133cc Scout.

We are continuing to test the Scout Sixty and will report back in much greater detail in Part 2. The bike is not without fault, or quirks, but so far we are impressed and think Indian has another hit (particularly, in light of the price point). Stay tuned. In the meantime, you can check out further details and specifications at Indian’s web site.

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76 Comments

  1. Spike5519 says:

    It’s not an Indian. It’s a motorcycle made by Polaris. Indian (the original and the only) was manufactured in Massachusetts in the early to mid-20th Century.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Indian, like any brand, is a concept and identity. It isn’t a factory in Massachusetts. Never was. Brands get bought, sold, transformed, killed and revived all the time. Whether or not Polaris successfully connects their modern interpretation of the Indian brand with the historic one is a matter of opinion, but it is an Indian nonetheless as far as I am concerned.

    • mickey says:

      I understand where spike is coming from on this, I also understand what Jeremy is saying. I do have an issue with Polaris Indian claiming to be the oldest American motorcycle company and I have an issue with them stamping 1901 or 1902 whatever in the side casings. If it said Indian since 2012 I would be cool with that, since Polaris has ZERO blood lineage to the original Indian Motorcycle Company, they just purchased the right to the name after 6 or 7 others attempted and failed to resuurect it starting with Floyd Clymer I believe. IMO Triumph, Norton, Or Indian should not be able to claim heritage that isn’t theirs. Harley davidson is the only company that can claim heritage back to 1903 since there has not been one year since 1903 that new Harley Davidsons made by the Harley Davidson Motor Company have not rolled off the line. Claiming heritage for 100 years, after 60 years of not production, when you bought the name 5 years ago doesn’t count for me.

      Great bikes, good company, call them Indians if you want since you legally bought the naming rights, but don’t claim heritage that isn’t yours. To me it would be like me legally changing my last name to Washington and claiming I had lineage with the first President of the U.S. even though I don’t have one drop of his blood in my veins.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        ” I do have an issue with Polaris Indian claiming to be the oldest American motorcycle company and I have an issue with them stamping 1901 or 1902 whatever in the side casings.”

        I do agree with you there, except that I think the “1901” badge is cool and pays homage to the brand’s history. But it certainly isn’t proper to claim to be the original Indian. It is an old brand but a new company. I don’t mind that the new Indian is tapping into the roots of the Indian heritage for inspiration and even marketing reasons (that is why they bought the mark after all), but it would go to far to claim to be the original Indian Motorcycle Company.

        But is that what the new Indian is doing? I don’t really follow them or their press releases. Their website shows a timeline which includes every time operations flopped or changed hands. They don’t seem to be hiding that.

  2. I think he is a perfect!!!

  3. My2Cents says:

    I’m okay with forward controls, or rear sets, v twins, liquid cooled, air cooled, ape hangers. clubman’s , I’m flexible because I just like to ride. It is funny to see the groupings defend the positions. I like the 999 Scout true the front fender aint pretty, but like anything it can be changed to please or no fender at all. Polaris struggled in the early years of Victory with some truly od looking motorcycles, but people bought those and that allowed Victory to build, grow, and learn. Today Victory has some great motorcycles, Indian was great right out of the hole and will continue to develop and define its roll in the motorcycling community.

  4. Graham H says:

    Well, I enjoyed a test ride on a Scout Sixty so much that I now own one. It’s red, which I think is the best colour. It weighs about the same as the Guzzi Breva 1100 and Guzzi California 1100 I used to have, but feels much lighter because the centre of gravity is even lower. It rains a lot in the UK, so I’m delighted that here at last is a bike with proper mudguards, instead of the absurd tiny excuses for mudguards that have become fashionable. I had test ridded a Fat Bob but found the legs forward position intolerable at highway speeds; the Scout is fine because it’s nowhere near as extreme. I’ve ridden several hours on it and have yet to begin to feel uncomfortable. The engine doesn’t have quite as much character as the Guzzis, but is smooth, with plenty of torque, and is fast enough for me. There is something wonderfully understated about the Scout Sixty. It looks great without being showy – but what it delivers is very impressive indeed. I’d encourage anyone to ride one some distance before assuming it’s too heavy or uncomfortable. This is one great bike 🙂

  5. Crim says:

    Instead of complaining on an internet bulletin board, I shot off a letter to Victory. In it I let them know in no uncertain terms that forward controls SUCK.

    Is it asking too much for one (1) bike in the line up, their sporty bike too boot, to have under your azz footpegs? Looking at that frame, I’m not optimistic.

    • MGNorge says:

      One issue with controls brought rearward on this bike is its low seat height. That would put quite the bend in one’s legs and may not be comfortable for long periods. My 36″ inseam would object I’m sure, but I’m no fan of the feet forward controls either. For myself I could see the seat up a couple of ticks and then I’d be as happy as a clam with my feet under me.

  6. stephane says:

    I will go for the Guzzi V9 Bobber. The engine have soul and torque while the scout have power but lack feeling. And the V9 is a better looking bike.

    • Selecter says:

      I had a 2003 V11 LeMans at one point. Beautiful, and surprisingly well-built bike, but for a 2-valve, air-cooled twin, Guzzis have a big bore and a short stroke. They’re totally listless under 4000rpm; “torque” doesn’t enter the equation until you get to the 8-valve 1200s. I’ve had 600cc fours (actually, all of them I’ve owned…) that would drop my V11 like it was tied to a tree in top-gear roll-ons. Have no doubt, it was slow. So, if by “soul”, you mean “doesn’t make much power and vibrates too much”, then yes… they have soul.

      Doesn’t matter much what Polaris put in this bike, it’s definitely going to be better than whatever Guzzi uses!

      • MGNorge says:

        The manner in which you’ve generalized all Guzzi’s does not describe my 2-valve Norge. It pulls quite nicely below 4,000 rpm. You do feel the power pulses at lower rpm but it’s not objectionable to me at all.

        To each their own but don’t rain on someone else when they see things differently.

        • mickey says:

          I’ve actually found every European bike I’ve ever ridden from Guzzi’s to BMW’s to Ducati’s preferred to be run over 4000 rpms. They are not luggers for sure, whereas almost all of my J bikes have been quite happy to spend all day between 2500 and 3500 rpms even in top gear. I did ride a Suzuki Vstrom 1000 that preferred to be ridden over 4K, and of course my old RD 350 Yamaha prefered a few more rpms. I prefer luggers to revvers personally.

    • Dirty Bob says:

      While standing at Point Areana on PCH I heard something that sounded like two garbage can lids smashing together, it was a V7. Sorry no Guzzies for me.

  7. teelee says:

    The whole thing is just plain ugly,the lines of the bike just don’t work. After seeing it in person its ugly. The Victory bikes look better. Save money and buy a Vulcan 650 S.

  8. Bub says:

    Looks good to me. A different design to the traditional Harley type. More choice, what’s not to like?

  9. T says:

    Is it just me, or do you just look funny ridding the thing. Looks very uncomfortable!!!!

  10. Ed says:

    I love that Indian and Victory are stepping up and building competitive products to HD. If Indian continues this trend I’ll probably get back into the American V Twin Market. HD’s arrogance, primitive dealers, they way they treat independent shops ( won’t sell to them for resale or provide technical help ), and the expectation for consumers to simply pony up to the pricing HD deems is market vs reality has turned me away from HD. Sold my last Harley in 2012 and haven’t looked back. I would love to buy American, have in the past even though it wasn’t the best but I now have better financial sense and no testosterone deficiency so well mannered, low maintenance affordable metric cruisers appeal to me. HD already has the Vrod and Street line but dealers and the hard core don’t like them so they don’t sell well and average riders like myself just don’t have a need to hang out at a bar or dealer eyeballing the nasty girls or attempting to be someone we are not, I ride. Thank you Indian!

  11. Gentleman Rook says:

    It’s just not anything to look at. Plus, my ’06 Roadliner is gorgeous, comfortable, and paid for. Nice to see Indian giving Harley Ferguson a run for their money, but I’m not giving up my Japanese Art Deco Roadliner just so I can ride a homely ‘murican bike.

  12. mechanicus says:

    I am a member of the target audience; My repeated rants on this platform: Footpegs are too far forward. The headlight is mounted too low and the bars/risers are too low and swooped back too far. There is no pillion for your chick. And last but not least, it has the most nauseatingly ugly front fender ever put on a production motorcycle.

    Other than that I’m OK with it, meh. Probably wouldn’t ever buy one, but the engine & drive train have potential.

    • yellowhammer says:

      I sat on one this weekend. Agree with bars comment – it’s like you’re sitting up on a sawhorse looking down and forward, instead of like in a cockpit with it all up in front of you. Agree fender is fugly – who’s idea was THAT?

      • Snake says:

        The front fender was chosen as it resembles the original Indian Scout front fender

        • mickey says:

          Well, it sorta resembles the front fender from the ’28-’31 101 Scout. Doesn’t look anything like the ’20-’27 Scout other than being red.

    • stan says:

      Klock Werks is already offering several custom front fenders for the Scouts. They’ll probably do a brisk business lol.

  13. TexinOhio says:

    I’m not a cruiser guy, but the scouts and the Victory Gunner are 3 bikes that put my interest into the category. First off, they fit me well at 5’6″ with a 28″ inseam. The reach is really good to the bars and pegs in the stock setting, plus flat foot on both sides is bonus. The motor is no joke as it feels more like a sport bike engine rather than a traditional cruiser engine. Handles very very light and quick that the weight is negligible.

    Only complaint I have is the tires which are Kendas and I’m not a fan of them. They never seem to warm up enough or the bikes too light to bring them up to temp. So the back steps out a lot when I ridden the scouts. Lack of trust in your traction can be a problem.

  14. Denny says:

    “Feet under me” riding position, a bigger/flatter seat, 2into1 exhaust – THEN maybe a Scout could find a place in the garage. I rode several Indians at my local dealer’s “demo days” event and liked the Scout — except for the areas listed. If I wanted a 2nd bike for just local “putting” – and I am looking – the Yamaha Bolt is at the top of my list BECAUSE it has all the above listed items standard. Price is very competitive too.

    • Eric says:

      I’m with you. In need some mid controls with legroom and longer suspension to be interested. Love the v-twin 999 though. Let’s hope they put it in more of a roadster / tracker looking chassis.

  15. Tank says:

    “The Scout was both faster and smoother than a Sportster”. Most bikes over 500cc are.

  16. Grover says:

    Scout Sixty: Indian’s version of a girl’s bike.

    • KenHoward says:

      Comments like yours only reveal something not-too-complementary about your own self-image.

      • Grover says:

        Ken, I put 65,000 miles on a Sportster and am very familiar with my bike being called a “girls bike”. If I wasn’t “confident…” I would have sold it a lot sooner. Let’s not be so serious about a little ribbing as that’s what Indian riders will refer to the littlest Indian. Best get used to it.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          No, Indian riders will refer to the Sportster as a girl’s bike just like everyone else.

        • Dirty Bob says:

          Me too! Had a HD Sportster 1200 and it never performed like a girl bike. One man commented to me that I was riding a girls bike and I left him behind. This Indian looks funñy and the seat is wrong

          • todd says:

            The only thing a 1200 Sportster will leave behind is an 883 Sporster and any of the Harley “Big Twins.” What else could he have been riding?

    • Scotty says:

      Or for men who like a faster bike and are confident in thier sexuality. 🙂

  17. Just picked up a ’97 Ducati Monster 750, title weight is 511 lbs. and doubt that it makes more than 50 HP. Think the whole weight issue is way over blown.

    • Brian says:

      You and me both. I think there are just a lot of people who are either blinded by their disdain for anything “cruiser,” or who’ve seized on the convenient figure of 500 pounds as some magical dividing line beyond which a bike simply cannot handle well.

    • Scott says:

      What is “title weight”? How does a M750 arrive at 511 lbs.?

    • Larry K says:

      I think you meant “411 lbs”. Having weighed two air-cooled Ducatis (900SS/Sport Classic) that sounds about right.

      • Scott says:

        That’s why I was asking him that question. I don’t know what “title weight” refers to, but I figured it must be something like, the manufacturer’s claimed dry weight, plus a full tank of gas, plus a passenger on the back. Or something.

        But a Monster won’t weight anything near 511 lbs. on its own…

      • NY State Title, as for the extra 100 lbs. I weigh 300.

    • Randy in Ridgecrest says:

      The 2V Monsters are in the low 400’s wet. just for fun load another 100 pounds on it and see if the weight thing is “overblown”.

  18. beasty says:

    I generally like the blacked out look, but not on this bike. I’ve yet to see a pic of this Indian that didn’t make it look like the tarp had just been removed on a bike that sat outside for an entire Minnesota winter. It looks used even when new. Also still has the crap seating position and the crap seat. And fercrissakes Indian, put a 2-1 exhaust on that sucker so you don’t have to put that giant divot on the rightside saddlebag. Love the handling, the engine and the trans but……

    • Brian says:

      Like a bike that just had a tarp removed? Used even when new? I don’t get it…

      • beasty says:

        I’m talking about the photography. Every picture I’ve seen of this Indian makes it look worn, it doesn’t look new. It doesn’t look visually attractive.

        • Auphliam says:

          I agree. Looks like it’s been around the “First Ride” circuit a couple times. Rode hard and put away wet.

        • Tyg says:

          Have to agree; the funky reddish color looks like painted plastic in the pics.
          No offense to the photographer, I just haven’t seen these bikes photograph well for color.

          • Joe Bogusheimer says:

            To be exact, it looks like faded painted plastic. I’m sure this would look better in any number of other colors. The lack of chrome finishers on the engine also makes it look rather dull, I think.

    • mg3 says:

      I think the red paint, which was obviously an attempt to replicate the vintage look of the old Indians, just didn’t come out so well. The bigger Scouts looked great in their photos, and I am sure this one would look a lot better with an updated paint job. Too bad cause that is a fine looking motorcycle otherwise!

  19. Randy in Ridgecrest says:

    90 more pounds, if you trust the “specs rumors” for the 900 Street Twin. But besides that, the two bikes are worlds apart ergonomically. I doubt I could tolerate this Scout for more than an hour, the Triumph? Indefinitely.

    • saddlebag says:

      Have you ever ridden a cruiser any distance? Some suck, but others are the most comfortable things ever. I’d ridden primarily standards and sport tourers for the last 30 something years. Stopped into a Victory dealership and did a demo ride. Put over 30k mikes on it before I gave it to a deer. Up until that last second, it was the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden. And I’ve owned and rented Goldwings too.

      • KenHoward says:

        I’ve owned a couple of cruisers (before my current Bonneville); low-speed riding was enjoyable, with instant low-end torque, but I remember it taking continuous effort to keep my feet on the pegs at highway speeds, along with lots of effort required to hold on to the handlebar (the “parachute effect”). I’d like to try this engine, but I have zero interest in another cruiser.

      • Randy in Ridgecrest says:

        I have ridden a few, I can’t get off them fast enough! Aside from the curved lower back seating position (I have a pretty messed up lower back) I really find the feet forward thing ridiculous. Besides, anytime I go “any distance” I’ll end up doing at least several miles of dirt roads in the mountains and deserts. How do you stand up on a cruiser for the occasional rough spot? I have done such like on many streetbikes, even sportbikes.

  20. LarryC says:

    You didn’t mention that the Indian is 105 lbs. heavier than the Triumph (and that’s without a passenger seat). A lot of weight for a single disc up front. Maybe you better watch that throttle.

    • tuskerdu says:

      It is much too heavy.

    • Yoyodyne says:

      Indian lists the bike as 561 pounds wet weight, how is that 105 pounds more than the Triumph?

    • Neil says:

      I test rode the Scout and it didn’t feel heavy at all. Why are we bashing an AMERICAN MADE bike with OVERHEAD CAMS (finally!)? I had nothing bad to say from my test ride and I’m a standard rider. Had a slew of Japanese standards. Motor. Brakes. Clutch. Steering. It all worked well. It was really all about the motor. Cruising thru town, a cruiser, it was great. And with this motor, you can just rocket onto the highway.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        We are citizens of the world, here. It won’t get any slack just because it is American made!

        That said, the bike is both light and very powerful for its class. It definitely shouldn’t get bashed for its power or weight.

    • Snake says:

      But the Scout is much, much lower, therefore with a lower center of gravity, so it probably feels about the same in terms of “perceptible” weight

    • peter h says:

      A bonneville is over 500lbs and the engine is tuned similarly to a cruiser. The frame geometry is different but it’s essentially a similar type of thing. My guess – the Indian handles better.