First Impressions: Indian Scout

After test riding a couple of Indian’s full-dresser touring models at Bair’s Powersports on Aug. 23, I made sure to not leave the demo day event without accomplishing my second goal: Ride one of the Indian demo fleet’s Scout models. The experience didn’t disappoint. 

There were a couple drawbacks I noticed about Indian’s lightweight offering, but the handling, mid-range power and minimalist styling make for a package that’s fun to ride on back roads … and will turn heads all along the way. 

The submodel I rode was the Scout Rogue. Before I started the ride, the gentleman running the demo event told me the Scout’s powerband peaks between 4,500 and 7,000 RPM. I didn’t need any encouragement to open the Scout’s throttle up a bit. However, after receiving that information, it was up to me to verify it.

As I left the Bair’s parking lot, one of the first things I noticed was the low seat height. Compared to my sport tourer, I felt like I was practically sitting on the ground. It took a few minutes to get used to the seat height, as well as the Scout’s footpegs after having just test rode two touring bikes with floorboards.

The Scout’s light weight was a welcome change from the heavy touring bikes, and it was easy to flick the bike side to side through corners. Like the Indian touring bikes, the Scout was forgiving on gear selection and the transmission had a very positive feel.

I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the minimalist instrumentation, but it proved to be plenty adequate. The analog speedometer is easy to read, and I was surprised at how easily I could follow the four-digit digital tachometer.

One thing I didn’t care for was the seat. It was very hard. I may have sat on church pews inmy youth that were softer. I’m sure there are plenty of options to change that if you’re not a fan of a stiff saddle, but it was more stiff than I expected for a motorcycle in the Scout Rouge’s price range that starts at $11,499 MSRP.

The other issue I noted was a fair bit of vibration in the higher RPM range. The gentleman was right about the powerband, and the mid-range power comes on smooth and strong on corner exit. Overall, the 69 cubic inch twin-cylinder engine seemed to have good grunt throughout its rev range. As you climb to the bike’s upper RPM range though, a high-frequency vibration sets in. The vibration wasn’t unpleasant, but was more excessive than what I expected for a contemporary motorcycle engine.

Those two drawbacks didn’t diminish my impressions of the bike much, as it does a lot more well than not. It was what I expected it to be, and it’s a bike I could see myself owning as a weekend back road curve-carver. 

The Scout isn’t going to keep a sportbike guru happy with the low, forward pegs and limited lean angle. If you’re a cruiser rider who wants something that’s easy to ride at speed through sweepers and twisties and weighs a good bit less than your full dresser, this may well be the bike for you.


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