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2015 Indian Scout: MD First Ride

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I was sitting in a conference room in Sturgis, South Dakota last year while Greg Brew, chief designer for Indian, was answering questions from a large group of journalists about the first all-new Indian models developed under Polaris Industries ownership of the brand. A somewhat cocky journalist challenged Mr. Brew by asking whether he had ever designed any other products nearly as significant as the new Indian Chiefs. Mr. Brew didn’t skip a beat when he immediately responded that, while at BMW, he was asked to design the first Rolls Royce after BMW acquired that brand.

I will never forget that exchange for a couple of reasons. First of all, that journalist visibly bowed his head and never asked another question that evening. More significantly, I took Mr. Brew’s response as convincing evidence Polaris was taking every step necessary to achieve its stated goal to develop motorcycles worthy of the most premium brand in the motorcycle segment.

As a performance enthusiast, I expressed my initial disappointment that Indian’s first models were heavyweight cruisers, rather than sportier bikes that paid homage to Indian’s racing heritage. In the end, I understood the business reasons Polaris led with the Chief models, and MD found them excellent motorcycles for the category in which they compete.

Nevertheless, I anticipated higher performance models and technical innovation from Indian as it moved forward from the Chief models. As an enthusiast, I wanted “Indian to be Indian” and break away from targeting Harley’s huge market share with bikes designed to out-Harley Harley. I wanted Indian to do more than make a better Harley heavyweight cruiser or a better Sportster.  I wanted a modern, technologically advanced kick-ass Indian.

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The new Indian Scout unveiled on the streets of Sturgis last Saturday evening is a modern, technologically advanced kick-ass Indian. This is no Sportster wannabe. Comparing the performance and handling of the new Scout with any stock Sportster is literally comparing apples to oranges … the bikes are in two different leagues.

Harley-Davidson has been massaging the Sportster motor for decades, and even incorporated many of the high performance tricks learned from Eric Buell. Nevertheless, the stock Scout, with slightly less displacement at 1133 cc, makes factory horsepower numbers dramatically higher than a 1200 cc Sportster can from its air-cooled, two-valve engine.

To a great extent, this is controlled by the laws of physics. The Harley Sportster is simply incapable of revving as high as the Scout. Not even close. Indian claims to get 100 hp at the crank (at 8100 rpm) from this modern, narrow angle (60 degrees) v-twin, together with 72 foot/pounds of torque (at 5,900 rpm). The Sportster, on the other hand, reaches its torque peak at a lowly 3,500 rpm, and dyno charts show horsepower peaks at or below 6,000 rpm. The Scout also has a higher compression ratio, another common benefit of liquid cooling.

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On the road at Sturgis this last weekend, I can tell you that the stock Scout seemed to easily power past most air-cooled, pushrod, two-valve motors it encountered, stock or modified. In short, the average guy at Sturgis had absolutely nothing for the Scout with its fuel injected, DOHC, liquid-cooled, four-valve per cylinder engine. From a performance perspective, it generally felt like the Scout was a modern motorcycle toying with antiques.

But don’t think for a minute that the Scout’s new v-twin is tuned to maximize peak horsepower. I suspect this will be a great “blank canvas” for tuners. This engine is extremely flexible. It pulls as well off idle as any motorcycle I can recall riding … you can simply let the clutch out and pull forward without giving the bike any gas. Throttle response is essentially perfect.  Ride as low in the rev range as you like (and choose from among several gears in most situations).

The amazing thing is that the Scout also likes to rev. The engine pulls smartly from low rpm (even spinning up the rear tire on occasion), but just keeps pulling all the way up to its rev limit (9,000 rpm according to Indian).

The motor is also quite smooth, at least until you get above 6,500 rpm (an educated guess … although the Scout has a digital tachometer that you can scroll to in the small LED window, we did not use this feature) where, despite the existence of a balance shaft, you really start to feel the heavy vibes coming off that narrow angle v-twin. On the other hand, this is the rev range where the Scout really boogies … separating itself from the air-cooled crowd.

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As the day wore on, and the miles piled up, I got used to that high rpm vibration, and even began to enjoy it. It seemed to fit the character of the bike, and was never annoying.

The transmission is quite slick, with no clunk or judder when selecting first gear, and easy, almost sportbike-like snicks between higher gears.

The simple, cable-actuated clutch is not the easiest pull, but in typical Indian fashion appears to be overbuilt, and performed well (and consistently) despite the usual journalist thrashing laid out in those glorious Black Hills.

The short suspension travel, front and rear, is actually dialed in pretty well for most bumps. Even medium pot holes, and some railroad track crossings, will immediately bottom both ends, however, so avoid those or lift your butt off the seat on this bike.

The Scout is extremely nimble. Compared to the typical “cruiser”, it has a normal wheelbase  length and relatively standard steering geometry. Those unique tire sizes (both 16 inchers, with a 130 wide front and a 150 wide rear) seemed to contribute to the light, but stable handling. This bike really inspires confidence.

We had no problems with the braking performance during spirited riding, although don’t expect sportbike levels of bite and power.

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The ergonomics seem to work well for test riders of all sizes (including a 6’2″ journalist I spoke with), although Indian offers optional seats and bars, as well as both shorter and longer reach foot controls, to change reach for both shorter and taller riders.

This is a physically small motorcycle in the sense that an older Triumph Bonneville is physically small. Easy to throw a leg over and lift off its side stand, this only adds to the sense of confidence and control.

The feet-forward foot controls are an easy reach, and offer something closer to a standard position than they initially appear to.  We didn’t find this an issue during performance riding, and it undoubtedly increases the lean angle available during cornering (something Indian boasted about). We never worried about dragging parts.

The somewhat boldly contoured seat was surprisingly supportive and comfortable, although it tends to lock you in position. On longer stints, I found myself occasionally stretching my legs and putting my butt up on the back end of the seat for momentary relief.

Gas mileage among the various journalists I spoke with at the press event varied from roughly 40 mpg to 45 mpg. The 3.3 gallon tank therefore will run dry after approximately 130 to 150 miles. A small warning light on the instrument face comes on with approximately 20 miles left to empty (according to a journalist who ran out of gas during the event).

Those oddly sized tires, as I found out, are branded Indian, but manufactured by Kenda. I was not impressed with grip from the rear, although I suspect Indian was running higher tire pressures than I am used to. We will have to investigate this more when we get a longer term test unit here in Southern California.

So the Scout may be telling us where Indian is headed. Gaining confidence, and market share, Indian is becoming Indian and worrying less about confining itself to the elements typically available on other cruisers. We expect other versions of the Scout to come along, perhaps with different ergonomics and engine tuning. In the meantime, this Scout blurs the lines between cruiser and standard. It offers the kind of performance, styling and value that may substantially build the Indian customer base without having to draw too much from the Harley faithful. We see the Scout purchased by plenty of experienced riders that never considered a cruiser previously, as well as entirely new riders who want performance, light weight, styling and easy handling from a single package.

In our opinion, Indian also nailed the styling on the Scout. It looks industrial and purposeful, yet with a refined elegance that is hard to define. You have to see the bike in person.

Take a look at Indian’s web site for all of the details and specifications. U.S. MSRP is $10,999 for the Thunder Black edition, while the other three colors (Indian Motorcycle Red, Silver Smoke and Thunder Black Smoke) are priced at $11,299. Indian will offer several accessories at launch which are described on the website, including saddlebags, passenger seats and wind screens, among others.

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184 Comments

  1. johnny says:

    Ready to trade my 2001 Fatboy for the Scout. Sick of the solid wheels letting me blow from side to side in a crosswind. Plus, at 63 YO & having owned 33 MC’s (so far) , I test rode the Scout at the Victory/Indian dealer & was instantly impressed by it’s agility, lightness, & power. Just what the doctor ordered.i will be scootin’ around on a wheel that weighs @ 200 less than the fattie…can’t wait & excellent job Polaris !!

  2. RideAlive says:

    It’s good to see Indian back in the game and, through Polaris, will continue it’s comeback by being sensitive to it’s enthusiasts desires. To come back at top tier at a time when money really does talk, Polaris will continue to take it’s share of the market. As for Harley, well, they already monopolize the American market, so it’s up to the competition to motivate them through losses, which has already begun. Credit to HD for playing the game well.

  3. Clearwater says:

    I would love to see one of these with some tasteful pinstriping work. The rear fender especially has a big area of unutilized space that would look better if broken up. That and a better looking exhaust. Overall, I really like it; it is a cruiser I would be proud to own.

  4. Dave L says:

    Good on Polaris (Indian). Harley will not change the product they currently have because sales are really good for them. This is the kind of competition that will improve motorcycles for years to come. Look for new Sportsters when this new Scout starts selling like hotcakes and Sportster sales decline. I like it and applaud Indian for their innovation.

  5. Shavuotis says:

    By the way Stuki. Harley already makes a bike that outperforms their other TC bikes by a long shot. It’s called the Sportster. I ride a 1200 Sportster with my nephew who rides a Fat Boy. It can’t even come close performance wise. Sportster smokes it every time. Bigger motors don’t necessarily mean more useable power.

  6. Shavuotis says:

    HD is by no means incapable of better designs. Just unconcerned about providing them to the public. Fact: All of HD big twin motors suffer from plastic cam chain tensioners which sooner or later will fail and their dealerships are very quiet about it. Fact: The flywheels on their big twins are pressed on and can slip. The crank pin shaft is too thin and can also twist. Harley really should think about discontinuing their TC 103 and think seriously about scaling up their 1200 Evolution engine for those whose hormones tell them they need a bigger motor. The 1200 Evolution motor is definitive proof that HD can do better. They just choose not to with their other bikes.

  7. Shavuotis says:

    I like the new Scout. It shows that Polaris/Indian is not afraid to break new ground. Technology wise, one doesn’t have to try too hard to one up HD on their bikes. With all but their Sportster and V-rod running extremely outdated and poorly engineered motors with issues that should have been fixed a long time ago. The V-rod really doesn’t count as an HD design since Porsche designed it. Don’t think for a minute that HD bikes are “American Made). 80-90% of their components are made in Asia and merely assembled in the USA. To me, the 1200 Sportster is the best bike HD ever put their name on and the only one I would spend my money on. Targeting the V-Rod? Laughable. IMHO Indian is doing a great job out of the gate with their motorcycle designs and showing they can make old school and modern styled bikes that still move forward tech wise. Yes, they are competing with HD as well as all other bike manufacturers. Good Job Indian.

  8. A few weeks back I went to the local (Fort Worth) Indian motorcycle boutique. All I saw were some big-fat old bikes with a lot of chrome and fringe. Not much new there. Thankfully, the new Indian Scout looks like a lot more fun and easier to handle. Congrats Indian for creating a more resonable bike. I am sure there will be more versions of the Scout soon.

  9. Pat says:

    The Scout targeting the VRod? That’s simply ridiculous. This is NOT a VRod competitor. It’s a small bike designed to go after an audience who WANTS a smaller, light weight bike. Not everyone wants or needs a big ass cruiser. That’s why they make Sportsters, the Triumph 865 range of bikes, the Yamaha Bolt, etc… And it’s not just for women either. Stickers on the radiator? Come on, pull them off! I rode the thing in Sturgis, and came away mighty impressed, it’s got it all. And priced right to boot. It’s gonna be like ANY other bike out there, you are drawn to it’s looks, or put off by them.

  10. Don M. says:

    V-Rods are hardly popular, who would target them? Polaris/Indian, is gonna’ eat HD for lunch. And, rightfully so. HD is always so far behind the tech curve.I won’t pay for an image!

  11. Skizick says:

    Just another fat cruiser. Scouts were at home on the track. They raced along side the other flat head bikes of their ilk. This looks like any other gizmo ladened, techno device that the average joe hasn’t got a prayer of taking care of or hopping up in his garage. The Indian Spirit of strip down the Scout and race it seems as far fetched as the new 111 engine with the silly flathead looking fins on top. Are they selling Indians or Images.

    • Scotty says:

      Images of course, and bikes second. The last time Indians were at the cutting edge of racing on the road was before WW1!

      • Stuki Moi says:

        And while being at the cutting edge of roadracing may have had some positive carryover for street riding a bit longer than that, by the late 60s that was over as well.

        While the world may not need “just another fat cruiser”, neither does it need another 200hp rocket with handlebars attached to the front axle and pegs to the top of the rear fender.

        A standard that is lightweight enough to be easy to use around town, yet substantial enough for American highway travel in comfort, with handling and power sufficient to be comfortable and fun at a pace somewhere between holding up traffic and getting it’s rider arrested; may however be just what the world does need…..

        The combination of light weight, feet forward, short travel suspension and my achy lower back does concern me a bit, though…….

        I’d honestly like to see this thing compared side by side with the new 6 speed CB1100. Although very different in execution and lineage, they seem to have arrived at something serving a remarkably similar riding purpose.

  12. Bill L. says:

    The Sportster is one of Harley’s best selling bikes. The V-Rod one of the worst. Where do you think Indian is aiming at? This is clearly Indians Sportster in high tech fashion. I’m glad Indian has stepped out of the air cooled push rod box. I think we’re going to see some very interesting Indians in the future.

  13. boscoe says:

    Styling is a half-beat off. And the stickers on the radiators are ugly and cringe-worthy. At first, I thought they were scratches.
    I agree with JVLIV that this Indian is taking aim at the V-Rod, which is faster and better looking.
    Polaris still hasn’t one-upped Harley.
    I rode the touring rigs and came away disappointed by comparison.
    And for the record, I’m not a H-D cheerleader.
    I’m rooting for Polaris to make a GREAT motorcycle. From what I’ve seen and driven, not there…. yet

    • todd says:

      It could be a toss up. It’s only speculation right now that the V-Rod is faster. I’d say it’ll be close with the Scout taking it off the line (unless first gear is super tall) with the heavier yet slightly more powerful V-Rod catching up and overtaking it around 70mph…

      • Blackcayman says:

        “IF”… they go after the V-Rod, it will be obvious – it isn’t much of a sales target

        the very next post on this site speaks to the fact that the motor has a lot more capability…If this was aimed at thr V-Rod, it would at least match the HP#

        • todd says:

          Adding lightness is more effective. No need to match the power if you are already out-accelerating it…

          • Dave says:

            Why is anyone concerned with high HP on a bike like this? Fast cruisers are as purposeful as fast pickup trucks or SUV’s.

          • Tank says:

            Cruisers are like high heel shoes, they look good but aren’t really made for speed.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I’d much rather have a fast pickup than a slow one. But that’s just me.

  14. Johnny Smokestack says:

    This is the kind of engineering you would expect from HD by now. But NOOOOOOO! It is the same marginally performing product, year after year. I hope Polaris sells a ton of these!

  15. Magnus says:

    My only question, will the big chief girder front end bolt right on? A stripped down version of the girder would be awesome. Hey Polaris, please look at the Britten and the old Scout to see if you can merge them to beat KTM, Aprilia, Triumph, Ducati, and BMW with a true American style naked. I love my Moto Guzzi Griso but I would trade it in a second for a sportier Indian with a girder front end.

  16. gary ritts says:

    Harley should file for bankruptcy now before their losses increase, the Scout is a beautiful and functional motorcycle, everything Harley failed to engineer.

    • Stuki Moi says:

      More like didn’t see a reason to build.

      HD dipped their toes in higher performance bikes with the VRod, and was in no uncertain terms told by sales that performance wasn’t what their current and prospective customers with actual dollars wanted to spend it on.

      If Harley built a 11K bike that outperformed their various 30K+ CVO offerings, it would likely be a disaster for their brand and product line. Indian, having everything to gain and nothing to lose, is in a different position.

      I’m no HD fanboi, but the idea that they are somehow incompetent at designing, engineering and building motorcycles is just plain silly. As is the notion that technology is necessarily synonymous with going as fast as possible through a twisty canyon. HD was one of the first to offer ABS brakes on bikes. And FI. And belt drive, which has subsequently been copied all over. And air suspension, which makes a fair amount of sense on touring models facing highly variable rear weight. And air cooling in the age of emissions controls, require the application of more advanced technological knowhow than achieving similar results with liquid cooling. HD is not technological laggards. Just unconcerned about how fast their bikes can be ridden through twisty canyons. For better or for worse. Those claiming otherwise remind me of the legions of drones who just KNOW the ‘Vette engine is somehow technologically inferior to some OHC mill, simply by virtue of being OHV.

      • todd says:

        Let’s see, H-D is not in the business of developing ABS modules. I think one needs to pay Bosch or the likes to come up with a working system for your bikes. You can probably Google who Harley buys their fuel injection unit from. Pretty sure Bates designed their belts. It’s hard, really, to think of anything that Harley has really done in the last 30-odd years.

        • Stuki Moi says:

          And Bosch doon’t build them either. Just slap together some pressure vfalves from one supplier, some chips from another, some sensors from a third and pumps from a yet someone else……

          Pretty much no bike maker has done much over the past thirty years, other than piece together componentry sourced from others.

          It’s the purposing and tweaking of existing components into what we recognize as a motorcycle that constitutes motorcycle engineering. Not harvesting rubber that will eventually be put into the bikes tires.

  17. motowarrior says:

    This bike will be a kick to the stomach of H-D, but it will be an absolute kick to the stones of metric cruisers. I can’t see any reason why Indian won’t sell all they can possibly make.

  18. Don G says:

    I agree with jvliv – the Indian motor does remind me of the V-Rod – a bike that leaves the new Scount behind when it comes to overall looks and design…(in my humble opinion)

  19. paleozed says:

    “To give Harley some credit, this bike and it’s motor seem more like competition for the V-Rod than a Sportster. If I remember correctly, the V-Rod’s engine is about the same size and makes a bit more power.”

    Yeah but the VRod weighs 100 lbs more and has a six inch longer wheelbase.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Yeah but the VRod weighs 100 lbs more and has a six inch longer wheelbase…”

      …and is also a premium bike with 2 front discs costing $17 grand.

      guys, where’s your moto-IQ’s…? water cooling does not AUTOMATICALLY a competitor make. that’s the disease of “consumerism” creeping in, so stay vigilant. it should be noted, this “plague” is #2 on the CDC’s top-10 list. what’s #1 you ask…? you guessed it, EBOLA.

      • paleozed says:

        Norm G.—>”water cooling does not AUTOMATICALLY a competitor make”

        That was exactly my point.

  20. Richard C Autorina says:

    The New Indian Scout is a fantastic Bike as well as its bigger siblings the Chief line .
    The rear fender and Front Fender resemble the old scouts and I am not referring the Power Plus 100 Gilroy Indians and Spirit Lake Indians either. I worked for a dealer on Long Island Ny AND i HAD A CHIEF with the Power Plus 100 engine and I loved it. When Indian folded I was heartbroken and traded her in for a Harley. I love the new POLARIS INDIANS and the new Scout blows me away. I am a big guy and one day will own a Chieftain but I have to rave about this new Scout and I am looking forward to seeing Scouts and Chiefs on the roads. I hope people will really love the new Indians, they are works of art and the new
    thunder stroke 111 engine is beautiful. The new Scout Liquid cooled engine looks like a winner to me. I am smitten by the new indians and I hope more and more riders will share my love affair with this brand!

    • Scotty says:

      Joing us John and you will be welcome in the Guzzi Borg 🙂 There ain’t nothing like them.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      You’ll man down as soon as you twist the throttle on a V7. What a pathetic joke for a power plant. Completely unworthy of such a beautiful bike.

  21. Stan S says:

    Is this solo only? I don’t see any passenger pegs…

    the Indian site has 1 pic showing a pad on the fender – supported by the fender only?

  22. gaham mccullough says:

    the new scout looks great, and so do the power numbers. I can’t for the demo truck to show up at the local dealer!

  23. Artem says:

    Nice. But there is something strange with rear fender. Sorry, but do not like it. Fat.

    • lynchenstein says:

      Agreed. It’s a little strange in the same way as the Victory wheel-to-fender ratio is a little strange. I’m sure there will be a myriad of custom farkles available any moment though, so…

  24. jvliv says:

    To give Harley some credit, this bike and it’s motor seem more like competition for the V-Rod than a Sportster. If I remember correctly, the V-Rod’s engine is about the same size and makes a bit more power.

  25. Chris says:

    No Provologna you are quite wrong and sadly misled by your statement a buell xb DOES have over 100 horse power at the crank I own one and have worked at a HD Buell dealership with a dyno and stock they would be averaging about 89 horsepower and 72 lbs. ft. of torque at the back wheel,and I still have fun embarrassing my friends with their litre bikes especially around the corners with my 2009 XB12R Fire bolt.

  26. Cyclemotorist says:

    Interesting. I’m waiting to see the actual real wheel horsepower and torque figures. I also wonder if the low weight figure are somewhat exaggerated. I’m not making any accusations, understand.

    Anyone seen a second online test anywhere?

  27. yamasarus says:

    This great looking bike just screams “Personalize to your liking”. “Make me yours!”
    Well done Indian. A home run!

  28. MGNorge says:

    Not to take anything away from the Scout but the very quick positive responses from so many, even by admitted non-cruiser types, does say something. I do believe that these responses come because here is a bike with all the qualities that the other well known American brand has plus it’s got motor. Instantly it’s become a finger in the air to the established faithful with nothing to be ashamed of or hide. I mean, you just don’t hear sport bike people saying things like they might add a cruiser to the stable or maybe even trade theirs in for a cruiser. Latent desires?

    Not trying to psychoanalyze, just sitting back reading the many responses. This bike has surely brought something out in a lot here. Will be interesting to see if interest pours over into the general public as well?

    • John says:

      I think the media wants Indian to succeed. And I do too, though it would helpt o build something besides cruisers. Indian wasn’t really a cruiser company except maybe towards the very end. They sold practical upright standards.

    • John says:

      The big thing it’s got going is the price, though I don’t expect the price will survive the end of the year.

  29. Rod says:

    Hey Dirck,

    Nice review. Any issue with heat from the exhaust and/or engine roasting the rider? If this bike had been available a few months ago in May when I picked up my new CB1100, I would have had a tough choice to make. WTG Indian, beautiful line up of machines you are producing.

  30. Provologna says:

    Wow. Huge number of comments, and huge ratio positive.

    Indian/Polaris execs popping champagne me thinks, or at least chilling the good stuff.

  31. Austin ZZR 1200 says:

    I cant..believe…I am lusting after….a cruiser!! I may have to re-think my one-bike-at a-time policy

  32. Troy says:

    ya, great bike will be parked next to my victory cross country( another great bike) next year.
    Thanks Victory, Indian and Polaris for producing american made bad ass bikes.

  33. Mark says:

    How long until Indian is asked to change its name to Aboriginal?
    Gotta be politically correct these days don’t cha know? It is that just for sports teams?

    • KenHoward says:

      As opposed to the sports teams, I don’t see anything disrespectful about this particular usage of the name or symbol; here, it’s dignified.

  34. Tank says:

    Cylinders look like they were designed by George Brough.

  35. Ron says:

    They should have put the Thunder Stroke engine in it. That, or made this engine look similar to the Thunder Stroke. This reminds me of a VMax or Vrod.

    • todd says:

      Putting the Thunderstroke motor in it would make the bike accelerate slower. I don’t think that is the point of this bike. The gratuitious design and lavish chrome are for big, slow bikes.

  36. Buzz says:

    I really like the looks of this but come on folks.

    H-D came out with a 60 degree liquid-cooled Vtwin of the exact same displacement in 1999.

    It made about 107 hp at the rear wheel.

    This is a nice bike but not exactly earth-shattering.

  37. Gham says:

    It’s not ugly but it’s not at all what I thought the scout would look like.Still a little stunned I guess.

  38. Motorico says:

    I am very much a fan of the looks of this motorcycle. One look and it was apparent that Indian was onto something.

    Are the covers on the radiator plastic or metal? Also at the back of the frame, it looks like a cast piece, but could also be a cover? Do you know which is the case?

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Radiator sides are metal beam frame members. I believe the other piece you are referring to is cast metal.

      • Motorico says:

        Thanks. I was hoping that were the case.

        The other part to which I was referring is located directly under the seat. I had assumed it was cast as it looks like the shocks bolt to it. However the bolts could just pass through a plastic veneer.

  39. MG3 says:

    This Scout is a winner. I have been considering a Harley Street 750, but for another 3 grand this looks like a whole lot more motorcycle. Maybe I can reach that price point, maybe not, time and reviews (and other more critical expenses) will determine the outcome. But it really is great to have two American made v-twins that are not so heavy, and not so expensive. Awesome job Indian. Bravo!

  40. George Boutilier says:

    Whats with the Chinese made(Indian brand) tires?

    • Blackcayman says:

      Just like Triumph brought back the Bonneville, Indian could make a “Modern Classic”.

      I predict they could sell them like “hotcakes”.

      • John says:

        I just realized that the V7 Stone in khaki is impressively similar to an old Indian, especially since the 841 had a transverse engine and shaft drive. I truly need to get one of those. Just….need to make more money first.

    • Jim says:

      Amen to that! I’ll take a REAL Indian thank you.

  41. richard says:

    now thats Fugly

  42. rider33 says:

    it would have been very easy for them to clone something. This, however, is another original done in record time yet seems very well thought out. These guys are on their game if you ask me. Like the Chief, I expect the full reviews/test rides to bare that out too.

  43. Randy in Nebraska says:

    The lack of an ABS option is a deal killer for me. Sorry, Indian, but until that life-saving technology is available you won’t see me buying what is otherwise a fine looking piece of machinery.

    • Tom Shields says:

      Really? I’ve been riding comfortably and safely for years without ABS, as have the vast majority of riders.

    • jim says:

      I guess ABS is a take it or leave it for me. It’s too bad you don’t feel you’re able to handle braking on your own.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Everyone feels they are able to handle braking until they can’t. It wouldn’t be a deal killer for me either, but I don’t knock anyone that regards ABS as a qualifier for purchase.

        • kent_skinner says:

          Comments like that tend to keep me away from bike forums. Some guy in Texas who has *no idea* what somebody else’s riding conditions are like has to act like a dick, just because somebody else wants a feature. “If you want ABS, you must be a pussy”.

          Jeremy in Texas; you’re an ass.

          My commute is on a 5 lane bridge, 5 miles long. Lane splitting. It rains a lot. Traffic is stop and go, so there’s oil on the surface from time to time. The conditions suck. If I want ABS, it’s not because my skills suck; it’s because I want to make it home every day.

          On a track bike? Vintage bike where I’m riding at 6/10 on empty back roads? I don’t feel the need for ABS. Hectic city traffic with hundreds of thousands of inattentive drivers? Bring it.

          And try some civility; it’ll go a long ways.

    • brian says:

      How will ABS save you when you get T-boned in an intersection? Learn how to brake and you won’t need the ABS.

      • motowarrior says:

        I don’t know how else to put this. You have no idea what you are taking about.

      • fast2win says:

        Good luck with that on an oil slicked wet road with tar strips dim wit

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Auto-deploying, T-bone seeking missile systems haven’t been successfully fitted to bikes yet. But when BMW or some other forward-thinking company gets it sorted, I’ll order it along with their ABS option.

  44. Blackcayman says:

    “We expect other versions of the Scout to come along, perhaps with different ergonomics and engine tuning.”

    As soon as I first heard the news that Polaris had bought Indian I started hoping that they would follow a path similar to or why not exceeding that of what Triumph managed to do. I postulated that if Indian had stayed in business through the interim, it would be impossible that they too would slavishly pump out only heavy cruisers that only harken back to America’s motorcycling’s past.

    I agree with Dirck that this motor could power multiple bikes – not just copies of different Sportster models. This motor deserves a “sport-standard” configuration with twin discs, inverted forks, premium adjustable supension and a higher compression tune pumping out 120 HP.

    • clasqm says:

      100hp from a 1100cc 60-degree watercooled v-twin is no big deal: Aprilia got 123 out of the Tuono mill and that gave away 100cc.

      And that rear subframe bolts right off to make way for something more advanced. I predict a Sport Scout this time next year. Followed by a (sport-)touring model.

      Forget about the Chiefs. THIS is the rebirth of Indian.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        100hp pushing 550 lbs is a bid deal in Cruiser world, especially if they still managed to keep the bottom end pretty fat. Other cruisers at that displacement are putting out what, 65 – 70 hp at the crank tops on average?

        And I think you said it best: “THIS is the rebirth of Indian.”

  45. sbrock says:

    I am not sure why you are comparing the Scout to Sportsters. I think the bike should be compared to the V-rod. The engine looks almost identical to the V-rod’s.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I am not sure why you are comparing the Scout to Sportsters. I think the bike should be compared to the V-rod.”

      the V-rod’s not positioned as entry-level, the Scout is.

      • Blackcayman says:

        I believe this Scout was sent to obliterate everything form any manufacturer in the midsized cruiser market. It was a torpedo amidships, not a shot across the bow.

        With these specs and the first initial feedback – looks like target neutralized.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      The price looks almost identical to a Sportster.

  46. Dale says:

    Once again, Dirck writes an excellent review ahead of his competitors.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Thanks, Dale.

    • Provologna says:

      Ditto. I’m reminded of the old Cycle Magazine reviews, written to adults by someone who knows how to write and doesn’t think of himself as a know it all. Kudos.

    • Montana says:

      Yup, well written and answering many questions before they needed to be asked.
      I especially appreciated inclusion of other journalist’s thoughts.
      I’m not a cruiser rider, but this bike could sway me.

  47. Frank says:

    Uh-Oh….I like it in all the colors.

  48. Chris says:

    Great first effort. I like how the editor said with the modern power it was toying with the antiques,Now lets see Indian continue to grow in a direction away from heavy weight antique style bikes and make something more sport oriented.which it seems that Harley has absolutely no interest in doing and that in light of what Indian is doing will surely hurt Harley’s business, H.D. had a very good bike in the XR1200X I own one, but they should have made it lighter and tried to market it better,the only accessories they made for it was a windshield and saddle bags, and the pirate crowd had no clue what they were looking at . Bravo Indian keep them coming!

    • Matric says:

      The XR1200X would be the only Harley that i could buy. Sad thing that they didn’t follow this route. I hope that Indian will.

      • Don Fraser says:

        you do know that they had a hard time giving those away

        • clasqm says:

          Only in America. It was supposed to be a Europe-only model in the first place.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I wonder if that would have been the case had they put forth a genuine effort actually make a modern interpretation of the bike the XR emulated rather than just slap some decent brakes and sticks on a Sportster and decorate it like one.

          Meh, they probably still wouldn’t have sold well.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Now lets see Indian continue to grow in a direction away from heavy weight antique style bikes and make something more sport oriented. Which it seems that Harley has absolutely no interest in doing”

      you want that they (Harley) should be interested in NOT making money…?

      the Japanese have been doing the “bigger, better, faster” Metric cruiser and sport thing for some time, yet on this segment HD still dominates. hey, people want what they want. gotta understand, Milwaukee doesn’t sell bikes, they sell “Americana” (rhymes with Sarah Connor).

      in fact, in a country that’s seen it’s manufacturing base reduced to “f###all”…? it’s one of it’s LAST outposts (bloody miracle they even exist). plus, this gives the states something else to EXPORT… it can’t all be HIGH TECH WEAPONRY. granted it’s a crazy idea, but we might wanna just go with it…?

  49. Chris says:

    Didn’t Erik get over 100 hp out of the 1200 engine?? Obviously HD isn’t, but despite the ‘laws of physics’ it sure seems possible. Probably I’m just bitter about selling my Uly…

    This does seem like a nice bike! Looking forward to seeing it in person.

    • Provologna says:

      Air cooled 2-valve 45 degree decades old design vs. liquid cooled 4-v 60 degree modern design….no matter what you do to the former to mod it, by comparison it’s an antique farm implement vs. a modern engine, sorry.

      Besides peak power, modern bikes have other hurdles: noise emissions, exhaust emissions, longevity, driving dynamics, torque curve, comfort, vibration, etc, etc, etc.

      It’s virtually impossible for the former motor to pass emissions making 100hp. I’d bet money no OEM Buel made 100hp even at the crank, no way.

      • Provologna says:

        Last sentence refers only to the a/c 1200.

        I bought a Ulysses and sold it several weeks later. The motor is just plain antiquated, especially vs. the ’00 BMW R1150GS I rode prior. Also, I could not get used to increased vibration at lower RPM, the opposite of most ICEs.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        The XB12’s regularly dynoed at 85-ish hp out of the box, so that would roughly be 100hp at the crank.

  50. GT08 says:

    Is this the reason there no more Victory Judge on the Victory web site for 2015 ???
    I hope not. As i like this new indian. I prefer the look of the Judge, specialy in the orange of it first year.
    Hope they keep the 2 models together. That way they will bring (never Harley) guy like me toward something American.
    Keep the good work Polaris, you mostly have a new customer !!!

    • TexinOhio says:

      I understood that the Gunner was kind of the Judge replacement.

    • cthuskie says:

      I should have never sold my model year 2000 H-D FXDX Super Glide Sport.
      ( the sportiest H-D of recent years :
      adjustable front & rear suspension
      true mid-mount pegs/controls
      handlebars closer to a dirt bike than a cruiser )
      THEN,
      just when I had enough money saved to buy a H-D XR1200R , it was discontinued
      over the Spring this year , I was starting to think the Victory Judge would be my next ride
      and now , it looks like it has been discontinued.
      Damn ! the kind of big bike I love , I guess , most people don’t !
      or maybe , manufacturers have just not been good at ,
      matching a great engine to that style of looks and ergonomics ???
      a great handling
      sporty performance
      v-twin cruiser
      Come On Indian – Give Us One !

  51. Tom Shields says:

    Here’s a little detail that I really like: The area of the frame just forward of the gas tank looks like an engineered piece rather than a crudely welded convergence of metal tubes and gussets. That’s an area that no one – till now – has managed to make look like something other than an afterthought.

  52. Gronde says:

    I would like to know if the vibration he mentions shows up at high-speed cruise. That would be a deal killer for anyone considering this bike for going long distances. So would a seat that “locks you into one position”, a smallish gas tank, and a suspension that bottoms over medium potholes and railroad tracks. What would it be like with a passenger? Seems like it’s set up more for bar hopping or commuting with no passenger. If that’s your mission profile, then this bike is for you.

    • Dirck Edge says:

      Vibration was not a comfort issue for me while cruising on the freeway at high speeds. RPM levels are still below that vibration zone at 80mph or so.

    • panthalassa says:

      another review mentioned 70 mph @ 3800 rpm in 6th, so 80 or 85 mph should be well below the threshold where the vibrations get unduly assertive.

  53. David Duarte says:

    that tank is beautiful, but it should have at least another gallon. It would be great if Indian offered a larger capacity tank as an option.

    • Rick says:

      Apparently there is a large airbox under the tank, thus limiting the tank’s size.
      When I’m touring , I tend to stop about once every 90 minutes or so to stretch my legs and fuel up, so 3.3 gallons wouldn’t hold me back. However, I’ve noticed one of the most common negative comments about the bike is the limited tank size.

  54. cmc1891 says:

    In UK and elsewhere in Europe they are selling the Scout with ABS (ABS is mandatory in the EU soon). It seems to keep the price down Indian is saying no ABS in the US. Any indication of it at least being an option later after the initial launch?

    Any word on accessories beyond the saddle bags and shield in the press photos? Like a tachometer kit, cruise control, led headlight (Chief line has this now), led turn signals…? Do the saddlebags lock shut and are they waterproof?

  55. Eric says:

    I like it but IMHO, you should sit ON a Scout, not in it. Seat is too low and where are the mid-mounted controls? Perhaps the accessory market will provide those and if so, I’ll need to figure out how to convice my wife I need another bike…

  56. Matric says:

    I’m definitely not a cruiser type. But i have to say, the Scout is beautiful and would be a decent bike if the suspension wasn’t an issue. How about a Burt Monro’s edition?

  57. David Duarte says:

    “As an enthusiast, I wanted “Indian to be Indian” and break away from targeting Harley’s huge market share with bikes designed to out-Harley Harley. I wanted Indian to do more than make a better Harley heavyweight cruiser or a better Sportster. I wanted a modern, technologically advanced kick-ass Indian.”

    ^This! I’d love to see Indian go in a similar direction as Triumph: with retro looking bikes with modern engine/transmission architecture and modern suspension (like the Bonneville models), as well as more technically advanced, sportier models like the Street/Speed Triple and Daytona. If they also started making bikes in the 500 cc and below range for the beginner (or the experienced rider who wants something small and light), that would be even better.

    • KenHoward says:

      I believe a company can overly-dilute its image by trying to make something-for-everyone, rather than products people actually aspire to own. The Japanese and Korean brands do well with small/beginner models.

  58. Double-O G says:

    Dirck,
    How tall are you?

  59. Denny says:

    Couple observations:

    First, several times is emphasised that this is “narrow V” engine…. what would HD be then? Aprilia uses 60deg twin fro sport bikes.

    Second: ratio of rear and front sprockets seem to imply torque to the road. Does it mean that bike is intended to be operating at lowish road speeds. It does not go with such competent engine (if frame and suspension are matched).

    Third: is it chain what I see there? Why not more customary belt?

    Fourth: yes, this may be interesting option for ‘close to retired’ standard riders.

  60. Tank says:

    I like this bike. I never liked the V-Rod.

    • Denny says:

      V-rod is overpriced nonsense. This is well priced, well executed and ‘light’ bike. Far cry from v-prod.

  61. Biker_911 says:

    I can see one of these following me home. Looks like Indian has ,again, slapped one out of the park.

  62. ABQ says:

    Sounds like it was a real fun ride. How many times did you have to stop and refill the gas tank during your test? How many miles did you go?

  63. Wendy says:

    Nice sounding review, I may be interested in this bike.

  64. John Bryan says:

    Still not quite the bike I was wishing for but getting closer – mount that engine in some slightly more “standard-ish” running gear and raise the seating position a bit, enlarge the tank about a gallon and that’ll about do. Question: Indian’s website lists a digital tach as standard equipment – does it not have that feature?

  65. mugwump58 says:

    I look forward to their 750.

  66. Stan S says:

    Man, that’s a narrow angle between the swingarm and the coil-over shocks… Hard to believe they can make the rear suspension work properly.

    I know horizontal, link-less suspensions are all the rage in new design, but this seems more apt to buckle than compress..

    • Denny says:

      Exactly, it is made for visual effect – obviously. I also question longevity of this arrangement; not the smartest thing around. Of course, operating range is thus limited.

      • KenHoward says:

        I noticed that narrow angle, too, and figured that’s a good reason for the fat, 16″ tires – to absorb some of the impact.

    • YellowDuck says:

      The angle between the swingarm and the shock doesn’t look anymore extreme than several other linkage-less designs I can think of on sportbikes – for example, the current Kawasaki EX650 or the old injected Ducati Supersports. It’s a design that can work quite well and is fairly rate-progressive despite the straight-rate spring. As the swingarm rises the spring / shock must compress progressively more per unit of wheel travel, thus increasing the effective spring rate.

      • Stan S says:

        Yep, you’re right.. No more extreme than some other designs. Guess it just stands out when mounted outside the fender.

        Also, although progressive in action, it seems to reason that the base spring rate would have to be greater when mounted like this in order to prevent off-axis deformation.

  67. Skif says:

    I think the bike would look better with cylinder head covers. Chromed, color matched or whatever. Perhaps the aftermarket. Looks like they could snap fit right on.

    • MGNorge says:

      The cruiser market as a whole has never much cared for snap-on anything. Notice that Polaris (Indian) didn’t make the gaff of having tank seams visible. But who’s to say, one day it may become cool to do just that?

  68. Aussie Mike says:

    Really? If the performance is superior to a Sportster, why not twin discs up front? Have test ridden the Sporty 1200 & decided not to buy purely on the grounds of inadequate braking. Won’t consider most of HD’s lineup (NOTE I just think the Breakout is gorgeous)because of the absence of twin discs up front. The same applies to Victory’s lineup. The Boardwalk, Judge & Gunner (again I love their aesthetics) have single discs & consequently I will not buy. Had a number of close situations with my old Suzuki Intruder VL1500 cause of its useless brakes. That’s why I sold it and bought a XJR1300 whose braking is excellent (current bike is a 2012 DL1000 – braking is very ordinary.)
    Why can’t Victory, Indian & Harley at least provide the option of adding a second front disc? Safety is paramount especially when doing high speeds on country roads & wildlife suddenly appears out of nowhere. Let me tell you, it isn’t a pleasant situation.
    Personally, I like the Scout. Looks like their future is secured already in such a short time.
    Question to be asked is if Victory are also going to bring out a smaller, high tech engine? Interesting times indeed.

    • Rick says:

      I have to agree. One of the major areas of improvement that a modern sportbike has over bikes of yesterday is phenomenal braking.

      I get that these bikes have a single front brake to save costs, but you should be able to get dual disc brakes as a factory option.

      And apparently Europe will eventually get the Scout with ABS included due to regulations there, but it’s not even an option in North America..?

    • jim says:

      Throw a GSXR front end on it. Ta-daa! Awesome brakes. Don’t any of you guys tinker with your bikes?

  69. Scotty says:

    Looks like a sure fire winner and I would love one in my (non-existant garage) to go next to the Guzzi.

  70. Terpinator says:

    Dirck,

    You mentioned in the article that “Indian offers optional seats and bars to change reach for both shorter and taller riders.” On the web page it also mentions “controls” for “riders who would feel more comfortable and confident when seated closer to the foot pegs and lower controls.” Does the Scout have an option to move the foot controls further to the rear? If so, are you able to get any pictures of the motorcycle in that configuration?

    Great article. Thx.

    • David Duarte says:

      according to Indian’s website, they have both extended and reduced reach controls available. Any chance MD can retest this bike with both sets? With the reduced reach, I imagine the handlebars would come back further, and the pegs and foot controls also set further back. I would think this would give the bike a more standard bike riding position.

      • clasqm says:

        I’m actual;ly thinking the pegs should be further back, the seat a little higher, but the bars should be flatter. Will they allow a mix-and-match from the extended and reduced control kits? If not, the aftermarket almost certainly will.

  71. Provologna says:

    Superb performance for its market niche. Superb value. Looks killer. What’s not to like?

    I’ll take mine in matte black, please.

    You think H-D will sneak one into their technical design center (especially the engine lab), possibly under cover of night, hidden in a closed trailer? The V-Rod should have had more of this bike’s DNA, especially the super low weight for this genre of bike.

    I really have to ride this thing.

    I almost feel sorry for persons stuck with an XR1200 or (non) “Sportster” in their garage.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I’ll take mine in matte black, please. ”

      gloss black above. sold American…!!! fit an earls front end and you’d have a modern R69…? LOL 🙂

  72. Norm G. says:

    re: “the stock Scout seemed to easily power past most air-cooled, pushrod, two-valve motors it encountered, stock or modified. In short, the average guy at Sturgis had absolutely nothing for the Scout with its fuel injected, DOHC, liquid-cooled, four-valve per cylinder engine. From a performance perspective, it generally felt like the Scout was a modern motorcycle toying with antiques.”

    right then, that’s confirmation enough. ladies and gentlemen, people of the press, and all the ships at sea. behold…

    THE WORLDS FASTEST INDIAN.

  73. gah says:

    The front fender looks backwards. I need to test ride one.