During the 74th Sturgis rally, the launch party and demo rides of the all-new 2015 Indian Scout have overshadowed all other manufacturer’s activities. To pull off that coup, as Indian did last year with the re-introduction of the Chief model, the company leveraged the Indian brand cachet, mixing the Scout’s rich heritage with up-to-date technology to produce a contemporary yet classic model destined to be the best in its mid-size motorcycle eclass.
Because it is the first truly new Indian Scout in more than 70 years, all industry professionals and bikers had high expectations and very strong ideas about the way the all-new Scout should look and perform. Since Polaris bought the Indian brand 3 years ago, Polaris designers and engineers have respectfully listened to all opinions to eventually lean deliberately toward a contemporary design with classic inspiration, privileging innovation for performance, exactly in the spirit of what made the Scout models (Scout 101 of 1928 to 1831, Scout 741 of 1943 and Sport and Junior Scout of 1934 to 1942) the most storied bikes of all time.
Is it the right approach? I think so, because if still active in 2014, the original Hendee Manufacturing Company – renamed later Indian Motorcycle Manufacruring company (1901-1953) -would certainly not reproduce its own pre-1953 designs, but would create very modern, fast, light, precise and nimble motorcycles, just incorporating some of their own iconic features to preserve the brand DNA.
So, what are these classic features that inspired the new Indian Scout clean sheet design? Just look at a 1920’s Scout. In case you didn’t notice at first glance, the new Scout incorporates a contemporary interpretation of some of the original v-twin engine,then the classic“triangle” frame geometry, the clutch cover design, the structural ribbing and finning, the parallel pushrod machining, the gear cluster, the front fender, the solo seat, the gas tank, the headlight, etc. But because we are in 2014, the new Scout got premium features designed for superb on-road performance. Among them, a brand new in-house designed proprietary 60-degree 69 ci, 100 hp, 72 ft-lbs torque, DOHC 4 valve, liquid cooled engine; a very light weight of 558 lbs (wet) thanks to a cast aluminum frame; a dual-shock suspension with extreme rake to imitate the 20’s Scout hard tail lines; a low seat position, the lowest in its class at 25.3” from ground.
As a rider, my comfort zone gravitates around the middle weight cruiser. So, I was excited at the idea to be one of the first journalists to road test what was promised to me as being a motorcycle offering a superior riding experience thanks to power, balance and comfort. First, let me say that the 2015 Scout is a small package, but not as small as it may look on pictures. Seen from the side or standing on it, shape means “time to go fast.” Seated, my 6ft frame’s reach to foot controls and handlebars felt right. Indian has conceived ergonomics in stock version for riders 5.4” to 6” and 5.0” to 6.4” when customizing with Scout after-market accessories.
What will strike all the new Indian Scout riders is how easy it is to handle the bike at low or high speed. The Scout is extremely responsive to any twist of the throttle and leads you smoothly to the next 5 gears without the shifting clunk noise you may be familiar with another American brand models. While buried in stop & go Sturgis rally traffic, finding the green light neutral never failed. Up the Black Hills the fun begins. You really enjoy the Scout’s unique combination of power, of immediate response to all your solicitations and instructions, the bike always providing a great and very unique sense of confidence, either shooting for the red line at 9000 rpm, taking curves at dragging pegs speed, (thanks to a generous 31-degree lean angle for this type of bike), or simply cruising.
The new Scout is a very versatile, multifaceted bike that will appeal to just about every rider of any experience and riding style. It offers a very unique riding experience not felt on other V-Twin bikes you may have ridden. Warning, accelerations are very exhilarating but you will find confident to know that at a light touch of the front brake lever you will get the job done to handle most of the unexpected braking situations. From this type of bike, you could expect long rides to be remembered by your behind. Incredibly, it’s never the case thanks to the right combination of a traditional 41 mm front end suspension, of dual shocks at the right rake angle and of a solo seat incredibly comfortable for being offered as a stock saddle. From a cosmetic (and custom builder) point of view, if I appreciated the large mirrors letting you see who you left behind, they could be scaled down somewhat without altering vision and and mounted lower to not distract from the bike overall great looking stance.
Those who are disappointed that Indian Motorcycle didn’t mimic outdated designs and technologies should ride a pre-1953 Scout. Those, beginners or experienced riders, wanting to experience the Scout spirit in a modern bike are going to be delighted. The all-new 2015 Indian Scout has already awakened some sort of motorcycle sleeper cell in the soul of many of my fellow journalists and of bikers present in Sturgis who already got a chance to demo ride it. I even bet that the next Burt Munro may use the new Scout as his preferred platform for a new land speed record. In only 3 years, Indian Motorcycle achieves an outstanding accomplishment, creating an all proprietary modern Scout with its own identity, avoiding the mistake of copying the past and instead building on its rich heritage without betraying it.
So, like me, you may wonder. Is the new Polaris Indian Scout able to take down the Harley-Davidson Sportster? For sure, the new Scout, with its power and agility, is perfect for the new target demographic that Harley is pursuing and it’s probable that Indian is going to give its American competitor a run for its money. Although the Scout is higher priced than the Sportster 1200, when you take in consideration performance and options, the Scout will look to many as a much better value. It is well known that the mid-segment motorcycle market is under-served in the domestic and international markets and I have no doubt that the new Scout could cause some positive disruption in the industry, easily taking the lead for performance and reliability and becoming the benchmark by which all its current, if any, and upcoming mid-size model competitors are going to be judged.
The 2015 Indian Scout is available for immediate ordering at a starting US MSRP of $10,999 with expected delivery in dealerships across North American in late 2014. Pre-orders may be placed on Indian Motorcycle. to receive one of the first Indian Scouts. Once you have reserved your bike, you will be directed to complete your bike reservation with your local dealer. Your reserved bike will arrive to your dealer in late 2014. You will also receive a “Special Commemorative First to Own Kit.” It is available in Thunder Black, Indian Motorcycle Red, Silver Smoke (matte finish) and Thunder Black Smoke (matte finish) and offered with an industry-leading 5 years of coverage
Numerous customization options are offered. 1- Reduced and extended reach accessories (seat, controls, and handlebars) 2- Windshields (different sizes), 3- Storage (saddlebags, tank pouches) 4- Comfort accessories (rider backrest, back seat) Photography Cyril Huze @ Barry Hathaway.
Engine Type: Liquid Cooled V-Twin
Displacement: 69 cu in
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 60 mm bore
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Horsepower (HP): 100 (74.7 kW)
Peak Torque (J1349 ft-lbs): 72.2 ft-lbs. (97.7 Nm)
Peak Torque RPM: 5900 rpm
Suspension: Front – Type/Travel: Telescopic Fork/4.7″ (120 mm)
Suspension: Rear – Type/Travel: Dual Shocks/3.0″ (76 mm)
Brakes/Front: Single / 298 mm Rotor / 2 Piston Caliper
Brakes/Rear: Single /298 mm Rotor / 1 Piston Caliper
Tires/Front: 130/90-16 72H
Tires/Rear: 150/80-16 71H
Wheels: Cast 16″ x 3.5″ Front and 16″ x 5″ Rear
Exhaust System: Split dual exhaust with crossover
Fuel Capacity (gallons/liters): 3.3 gallons
Ground Clearance: 5.3 in / 135 mm
Overall Height (in./cm.): 47.5 in / 1207 mm
Overall Width (in./cm.): 34.6 in / 880 mm
Seat Height: 25.3 in / 635 mm
Wheelbase: 61.5 in / 1562 mm
Overall Length (in./cm.): 91 in / 2311 mm
Lean Angle: 31 degrees
GVWR: 988 lbs / 449 kg
Trail: 4.7 in / 119.9 mm
Weight (Empty tank / full of fuel): 538 lbs / 558 lbs (244 kg / 253 kg)
Electric: Gauges, Digital tachometer, odometer, trip meter, engine temp, and low fuel lamp
Lights: Headlight, tail/brake light, turn signals, license plate light, and speedometer and indicator lights