Indian Scout Sixty Test

Excerpts from the Heavy Duty Scout Sixty Test:

Little Big Fun

Dave digs into his bag of Indian clich├ęs for the new Scout Sixty.

“What’s it like?” asked the bloke in the hardhat and hi-viz as he trotted across the road from the construction site with half-a-dozen of his cohorts leaning on the scaffolding three stories up and watching with interest.

“Fun” I said “a lot of fun” and launched into the standard factoid presentation given so frequently when a passer-by asks me about the Indian range.

No matter what model, location or time of day, the questions about the bike and brand are a constant. I’ve told the story so many times now I have it down pat. “Yes, they were relaunched in 2013 etc etc …”

The Scout Sixty isn’t exactly a new story in itself, but more of a re-telling of the re-released Scout first re-ported in Heavy Duty in 2014.

I wanted to write the ‘original Scout’ just there, but to do that I’d have to reference a machine first released in 1919 - and while there are some nice styling cues tipping their hat to past glories, this new unit is a thoroughly modern, post millennial affair.

“It sounds like a Ducati without the rattles,” announced my newfound pal after I booted it up for him. Which coincidently was exactly the same conclusion I had drawn on the ride immediately prior to our unexpected conference. “Dare I say Ducati-ish in the report” I had wondered as I had been cruising around the foreshore and Bay.

The beautiful noise comes partly from the modern V-twin engine - and partly from the great sounding stage 1 slip on mufflers adorning the local demo bike.

The engine is responsive, lively and very smooth for a V-twin. It tends to ‘pulse’ more than it vibrates. It’s also slung in one of the best fun chassis packages I’ve ridden since I sold my Buell. It’s not Buell-like, it lacks the cornering clearance for that kind of kudos, but there is real joy in pinning this baby.

It has an engine, clutch, gearbox, exhaust note and throttle response that beckoned “abuse me”. The brakes and chassis accommodate the abuse handily.

The package is long and low slung and minimal. It’s like attaching a motor to your butt and not letting anything get between you, the g-forces, wind in your face and bugs in your teeth. Perfect.

The bars are set low and pulled back, the single instrument dial is set similarly so, meaning the bike largely disappears beneath the rider and the experience becomes more about you and velocity than it does about the machine.

Give me five.

The main differences between the Indian Scout and the Indian Scout Sixty are the motor, gearbox and pricing.

The (standard) Scout runs a counterbalanced 69cu.i (1133cc), 96.0 x 73.6mm short stroke, liquid-cooled, 60 degree Vee-twin with DOHC, four valves per cylinder and a 10.7:1 compression ratio. It also has a semi-dry sump – the oil is contained in a tank cast in to the crankcases - and the design also features oil jets to cool the pistons. Like the old school Scouts it’s a ‘tightly wrapped’ engine, with the casting revealing the arcs of the cam drives and other internals.

The gear primary drive runs to a six-speed gearbox and Indian claims a maximum power output of 100 ponies and 72.2 ftlbs of torque.

Whereas the Scout Sixty is the same configuration but has been modified to make it more of an entry-level machine. The capacity has been reduced to 60cu.i (thus the name) via a narrower bore. 93mm x 73.6mm and it develops 78 horsepower and runs a 5 speed gearbox.

Of the two - I actually liked the engine and gearbox on the Sixty best. The lower power output is noticeable, but it meant that I could stay on the gas longer, pin it and flog it a bit harder without reaching the disqualification zone quite as quickly. It still blasts away from the lights faster than all but the super-cars and the lower outputs seemed better tuned to its cornering clearances.

With the Sixty’s two grand cheaper ride-away cost I’d invest in the ‘Indian Performance Shocks for Scout’ upgrade as fitted to the demo unit (made by Fox), as well as the slip-on stage 1 mufflers for their superb note - and that would bring the Sixty up to the same sort of vale from its $17,995 ride away as the Scout’s stock $19,995.

I also preferred the five-speed gearbox. It’s basically the six-speed unit without the fifth cog. The ratio in top is 4.034 : 1 on both the five and six speeds and the bike chugs along in top at 60kph without lugging. The five means you don’t have to row it up and down the ratios as often and it really has all the gears a cruiser style machine needs - probably more than.

On the Road the bike is sure footed, with fat 16” rubber front and rear: a 130/90 on the front and a 150/80 at back. It’s a well-balanced, rigid chassis and one that isn’t thrown off line by irregularities on the surface. For a 247kg (dry) unit (which surprisingly is 2kg more than the Scout) it’s nimble and chuck-able.

There is 3” of travel available from the rear suspension so it’s not what you would call a plush ride, but it fits with that minimalist ‘strap that motor to your butt’ feel of the bike.

Indian have a range of touring extras available in the accessory catalogue and if you can deal with the firmness of the ride then the ergos are plenty comfortable for a long day in the saddle.

That said, I thought the Scout Sixty was one of the best urban motorcycles I’ve ridden in a long time. It tears up the city, it’s narrow enough to lane split with confidence, powerful enough to carve up the back street or the freeways and does it with modern technology and performance wrapped in a styling exercise that pays homage to the Indian heritage –and it does it all with a dose of old fashioned fun.

Heap big fun in fact.