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2016 Indian Scout Sixty: MD Ride Review, Part 2

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This is our second and final report on our test of the 2016 Indian Scout Sixty. You can find Part 1 here. The new Scout Sixty had a familiar feel after testing the standard Indian Scout model at the Sturgis launch a couple of years ago. With notable differences principally related to its smaller displacement engine (999cc vs. 1133cc). In some ways, we like the little brother Scout Sixty better than the standard Scout.  Read on.

The Scout Sixty has a rock-solid feel. The steel backbone frame is stiff, but provides a more “organic” feel than one gets from the typical aluminum frame. It feels like a cruiser in the sense that, while vibration is well controlled for the category, there is plenty of “feel” both from the chassis and the big engine pulses delivered by the v-twin.

Strangely enough, it also feels like an “American cruiser”, which is somewhat difficult to put into words. When you ride a Harley Sportster, for instance, it has an unmistakably old school, heavy feel about it. The Scout Sixty definitely has a stiffer, livelier feel than a Sportster, but it still has that “American Iron” vibe about  it … if that makes any sense.

That vibe, literally, includes a pretty good jolt when the suspension encounters anything remotely resembling a pothole. Mark this down to the cruiser-ish short suspension travel, particularly from the twin shocks out back (3.0″). Despite that, the Scout Sixty handles more common road conditions, including bumps and rollers, quite well for this class of motorcycle. Enough so that you can hustle the bike pretty well through twisty roads.

Excellent ground clearance helps (Indian claims “best in class” lean angles) and the Scout Sixty can encourage some frisky riding. Nevertheless, the stock tires (branded Indian, but made by Kenda) serve their purpose well, but don’t offer much feel. The tires seem to have a stiff carcass and aren’t really meant for sporty riding. Fine for most cruisers, but some riders would really appreciate sportier rubber on the Scout Sixty, which has cast wheels and can accept modern, tubeless radials. The tire sizes on the Scout Sixty, however, make finding alternative rubber difficult. The front is a 130/90 x 16 and the rear is a 150/80 x 16.

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As we reported in Part 1, the smaller v-twin in the Scout Sixty is plenty powerful. Indian also put a five-speed transmission in the Scout Sixty, while the standard Scout has a six-speed. Five speeds is plenty, and the gear spread works well both around town and on the highway. For the most part, the transmission shifts easily, and positively on our test unit, but we have occasionally missed the three-four upshift and caught a false neutral.

The seat on the Scout Sixty is very comfortable. On longer rides, the foot-forward ergonomics can place too much weight on the tailbone, however, but this is true of virtually any cruiser. Overall, the seat shape and padding is excellent. Indian has a number of accessories available that will allow you to add luggage and/or wind protection, for instance. Indian also has kits to change the ergonomics, such as by extending or reducing the reach to the bars and controls. Of course, passenger seat accommodations are available as well. You can see a picture of an accessorized Scout in this article.

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The Scout Sixty not only handles well, it stops well despite the use of a single disc brake in front. We did not test the bike with a passenger and/or luggage, however. We suspect the stock brakes could handle that extra weight adequately. The brakes not only have good power, they provide enough feel to modulate them even when stopping quickly.

The Scout Sixty is a blast to ride. We don’t think of this as a Harley Sportster competitor (although it is one to some extent). The Scout Sixty is really a do-it-all motorcycle with traditional American style and ergonomics. The chassis is good enough that it would work well as a sportier model with more upright, standard ergonomics and a shorter wheelbase. It would simply need longer suspension travel added to that equation.

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So the less expensive little brother to the Scout is, in our opinion, an excellent motorcycle offering good value. The bike is good enough, and inexpensive enough, that we could see riders buying one even though they typically shy away from the cruiser category. The Scout Sixty has a clean, minimalist style that appeals to us, together with that intangible “American character” so sought after in the cruiser category. It’s a winner.

The U.S. MSRP of the Indian Scout Sixty starts at $8,999 for the Thunder Black model. Add $300 for Indian Motorcycle Red (the model we tested) or Pearl White. Take a look at Indian’s web site for additional details and specifications or to check out some of the many accessories available for this model.


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51 Comments

  1. Tripletango says:

    Like this idea.
    The chassis is good enough that it would work well as a sportier model with more upright, standard ergonomics and a shorter wheelbase. It would simply need longer suspension travel added to that equation.

  2. Halfkidding says:

    By my recollection this Scout engine is the first modern motorcycle engine designed in America, ever. (I’m sure you get what modern is, let’s just say high HP potential per liter) Imagine,since the dawn of modern motorcycles lead by Japan in he early 60’s America had managed to design and produce not a single modern engine. Meanwhile the Japanese bigs have created dozens of engine families. Tiny Ducati has done several families, same for Triumph and BMW.

    I suppose it doesn’t really matter. On the other hand America is on the road to spending a trillion dollars on a plane, the F 35, that may not actually work.

  3. Moat says:

    Playing around with a photo in GIMP, I came up with what would be a few simple mods to the existing Scout that would IMO make it what it could have/should have been – raise the rear end roughly 2″, a thicker/taller and longer seat that moves the rider up and forward a few inches (bars moved forward about the same), moved those silly forward pegs back to where they belong, a slightly taller/larger tank (more fuel capacity), and fixed the puny headlight.

    The slight decrease in rake/trail and more weight over the front end would likely make for lighter, more responsive handling and better “feel”. Increased ground clearance along with a more forward, functionally superior “active” riding position… less cruiser, more “roadster” –

    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/20968723/scout_mod_comparison.jpg

    I maybe should have shrunk the rear fender (very) slightly…

    Bob

    • Moat says:

      A subtle re-shape/re-size of the rear fender to lighten up the look of the rear end, and voila –

      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/20968723/scout_mod_comparison2.jpg

      I think this is closer to the Scout that many (most?) here on this thread (me included) would have preferred. Bonus – retains the original’s (exceptionally nicely done) style/identity/lines, and frankly looks a whole lot better than those craptastically overdone/overstyled concepts that Victory has recently unveiled.

      Hey Polaris… drop me a line – I need some work!

  4. Bruce says:

    My wife loves the bike, and we both loved the test ride – of the bigger model. But the deal breaker is the 12 l tank. How far will this one go on a tank?

  5. Gham says:

    Nice bike,just not what I want right now.I’m 58 years old so I’ll probably be dead before Victory/Indian gets off their a$$ and builds a standard…and I’m not waiting

  6. Scottie says:

    Proprietary rubber can be a problem. Those of us with Yamaha Roadliners / Stratoliners have very few options when we shop for tires, which is often.

  7. Artem says:

    Looks cool. Like HD of Land Lease during WWII, but modern.

  8. Kent says:

    3″ of travel?
    I wish I lived where the potholes are less than 3″ deep.

  9. Larry K says:

    Waiting for the sporty standard version (the name “Octane” gets mentioned) but in the meanwhile had a sit on a Scout, and just bouncing sitting there I was really surprised at what seemed like zero rebound damping and too-soft springs. (I’m 200 lbs, might be OK for about a -160 lb rider) Like pogo-stick suspension. Aftermarket shock/spring companys are gonna love this bike.

  10. mickey says:

    Really nice bike as is.. However if they were to make it a standard and have it fly around here, they would have to lose 50 pounds, gain 20 or 30 HP, add a second front disc with ABS, make the suspension multi adjustable, gain at least 2 gallons of gas capacity, make the wheels 17″ to take advantage of better rubber and keep it under $10k

    Polaris could do that, but will they? We can only hope.

    • Don says:

      Since the bike already costs $9000-$9300 as is, I doubt that Polaris would be able to add ABS, fully adjustable suspension, lose 50lbs. and gain that much HP all for less than 1k more (even if they wanted to).

    • Tom R says:

      Why does it need to lose 50 pounds, and how is this possible while also adding another brake disc, caliper, ABS stuff, a larger fuel tank, and more fuel? How is it that “Polaris could do that…”? By changing Earth’s gravitational pull?

      • mickey says:

        Don and Tom, because people on this forum expect bikes to weight less than 500 punds, they expect them to produce at least 100 HP and 75 ft lbs of torque, they expect them to hold 5 gallons of gas, they expect them to come with adjustable suspension and tire sizes that will accept sporty rubber, they expect a 1000 cc motorcycle to come with dual disc brakes, and they don’t expect to pay more than $10K for it.

        If it doesn’t have all those features, it will get panned as an over weight, poor performing, poor handling effort that Polaris cheaped out on. Been on this forum for years. It’s what this forums readers expect and if they don’t get it, it will get criticised abundantly. Trust me on this.

        • ImNotxLaYN says:

          Comment of the year.

        • Tom R says:

          “an over weight, poor performing, poor handling effort that Polaris cheaped out on.”

          I do not see these sentiments described in the article above. So, is the reviewer of this bike lying or just incompetent?

          • mickey says:

            Tom again, the reviewer may find this bikes weight and performance etc acceptable..”I” find this bikes weight and performance acceptable … but if they make it into a standard by just putting on longer suspension and a different seat, the “readership” of this forum will NOT find it acceptable.

            Need an example? Read the comments on the CB1100..the rap from this croowd..too heavy (540 pounds in std trim 570 in dlx trim), not enough hp (87) and torque (65 ft lbs from 2500-5000 rpms), not enough gas capacity (3.9 std trim 4.7 in Dlx trim), not fast enough (11.87 in 1/4 mi) costs too much (around $10K in std trim 11K in dlx trim), Honda “cheaped out” (barely adjustable suspension), even though imo the CB1100 is a GREAT motorcycle. It is a common theme around here.

            If a new Polaris Standard doesn’t have better numbers than the CB1100, it will be panned by this crowd.

        • Scott says:

          These numbers are NOT hard to attain in the year 2016. If Polaris really has the intent to produce a performance standard, it must hit these numbers at the least, or it will be panned – not just here but everywhere.

          I don’t care if the Scout doesn’t perform. It’s a cruiser. And the CB1100? I don’t really get it, because way back in 1983 they got 108hp from the same bike. But again, I don’t care because I don’t have to buy one. And they seem to have a captive audience with that bike.

          But for Victory to under-achieve – if such a bike is in their future – they will doom it to failure. That’s just the reality of the situation.

          • mickey says:

            See what I mean?

            hey Scott (and not picking on you Scott…you agree with me lol)… for giggles, give me some proposed numbers that you would find acceptable in a new Polaris standard:

            Weight, hp, torque, fuel capacity, wheel sizes, suspension type, 1/4 mile performance, seat height, braking system, price

  11. beasty says:

    Hmmm. Seems like they cleaned and waxed the bike for this set of photos. Having test ridden a Scout, all this bike needs is a better seat and mid controls. Rearsets and all that other sportbike nonsense are not needed here. Plenty of other bikes for the boy racers.

  12. North of Missoula says:

    I am not a cruiser guy. Possibly I will consider one when I turn 80.

    Polaris would to well if they produced an XR1200’esque motorcycle based on this engine. I don’t think it would be appropriate to badge it as an Indian or a Victory. They should have a new line of reasonably priced standard bikes. I believe there is a market opportunity there.

    Obviously Polaris is not risk averse, if they were they would not have gotten into the motorcycle market in the first place. It makes one wonder what is going on in their marketing department these days.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      “It makes one wonder what is going on in their marketing department these days.”

      Maybe they all ride cruisers and therefore don’t really understand motorcycles.

      • Scott says:

        Like those people who believe that you can’t possibly be comfortable riding a bike with your feet under you and your body in a forward lean…

      • North of Missoula says:

        You are likely correct. I am sure there must be some employees of Polaris that do not ride cruisers who are hiding in the closet.

        Ducati, BMW, KTM, Triumph and Aprilia have taken a good bite out of the Japanese market with their sportier offerings. In fact they have been so successful the Japs are playing catch up with their sports bikes.

        Buell failed in the sports bike market mostly because they were slaves to HD, tried to over-innovate and there was that dog of a Sportster engine. By the time they threw the Rotax in the 1125R it was already too late.

        I wonder if Polaris has taken a good look at Buell, I recall there was speculation last year but it never went anywhere?

        • Dave says:

          Re: “Ducati, BMW, KTM, Triumph and Aprilia have taken a good bite out of the Japanese market with their sportier offerings. In fact they have been so successful the Japs are playing catch up with their sports bikes.”

          Another way to look at it is that the Japanese brands were just in decline. The stuff that the Euro’s brought to market were prices and segments that the Japanese brands were never strong in before the EU arrival in the US.

          Buell failed because of the HD dealer network. HD dealers didn’t want to sell them and the target Buell customer didn’t want to shop at an HD dealer.

  13. Vic Hedges says:

    I would like to know if the factory frame geometry could be modified for really sharp handling or is the bike locked in a box. What we need to do here is knock about 4.5 degrees out of the rake and reduce the trail to about 4.0 inches. Then provide mid controls and extend the shocks to give about 12.5 degrees of down angle to the swing arm and the rider has to be moved forward until the front to rear weight balance is correct.

    • Scott says:

      Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it? What’s to come of “Project 156”? I’m holding out hope that this is Polaris/Victory’s long-term goal. When I look at their “Ignition” concept from November, I can see them doing exactly that. Others aren’t so optimistic. We shall see…

      • Blackcayman says:

        “The chassis is good enough that it would work well as a sportier model with more upright, standard ergonomics and a shorter wheelbase.”

        It looks like we aren’t the only ones holding out some hope there will be a standard ^^^^^^^^

        Victory Street Tracker 156 (as in HP) please.

    • peter h says:

      see roland sands flattrackers. The rear subframe is bolted on, so with a new subframe the seat can be raise and moved forward and the shocks stood up. with standard mid controls it becomes a compelling sport package without welding etc..

      • Blackcayman says:

        the very first comment on this thread was links to them.

        • Vic Hedges says:

          While true I can’t find any basic numbers on the RSD site for either of the variations. Without giving away the business he can state what the weight was and the rake and trail numbers which are very easy to get off a Scheibner CMS especially as to needed changes.
          So a very easy start is to state how long the rear shocks are and how this worked out for rake and trail and are new triple clamps required to establish off set correctly.
          In other news this basic design came from Ricardo Motorcycles (www.ricardo.com) and commenced well before Polaris bought out the previous, failed Indian MC.

  14. Frank says:

    Looks like a nice bike. I would like to see an off-shoot standard version come along…foot pegs closer to the rider, and more suspension travel.

    • Sportourpa says:

      A standard version with decent suspension and ergonomics would be great.

    • Montana says:

      Yup, “standard” ergonomics with nimble handling, lots of suspension and ground clearance, tubeless tires, water cooling, a 6 gal. tank, and traditional Scout lines. Don’t need a 9200 RPM redline, give us a fat midrange and hydraulic valves instead. Keep the jugs a natural aluminum color to highlight the V-twin, and incorporate a small drum brake into the rear wheel — cleaner appearance and inherent anti-lock.

  15. Pacer says:

    It looks small. That might be good for some, but it looks small.

  16. tuskerdu says:

    Not my cup-of-tea, but it does appear to be a winner.

  17. clasqm says:

    “The chassis is good enough that it would work well as a sportier model with more upright, standard ergonomics and a shorter wheelbase. It would simply need longer suspension travel added to that equation.”

    Yup, and that’s the one I’m waiting for. A competitor to the upcoming Triumph T120. Better not take too long, Indian.

  18. TimC says:

    Who cares.

  19. todd says:

    It has potential
    http://www.rolandsands.com/blog/612/rsd-scout
    But still looking for a “standard” version like the CB1100 or Triumphs.
    Or perhaps
    http://www.rolandsands.com/blog/624/rsd-indian-hooligan-flat-trackers

    • Neal says:

      I’m pretty sure most of what RSD did to make those flat trackers is put a longer rear shock on and swap the bars, exhausts and fenders. It looks like the front suspension is the same and flush with the triple tree. For the difference between the 999 and 1133, you could probably build the 999 into one yourself.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I like those flat trackers.

    • cyclemotorist says:

      I love the look of those flat trackers!