America’s first motorcycle company played a key role in riding culture, particularly with motorcycle rallies. But in 1913, Indian Motorcycle shifted its focus from competitive racing to wartime efforts. It contributed some 50,000 bikes, mostly Powerplus models. In 1920, the company released the first Indian Scout motorcycle, a reliable and fast bike designed to attract people to start riding.
What Kind of Bike is the Indian Scout?
The Indian Scout is a bobber motorcycle, which is a kind of bike that’s been stripped down to just necessities and modified by the rider. Indian Motorcycle further classifies the Scout as a cruiser, designed with a low height for easy control and made for stylish, fun riding.
Because the motorcycle company is always coming up with new ideas, the Scout of the 1920s isn’t the same as the Indian Scout of the 21st century. The bike still has that iconic style distinct of the bobber, but technology has given it its modern performance.
Is the Indian Scout Fast?
Tech innovations on motorcycles have turned these two-wheeled vehicles into safer, faster and more comfortable rides. You’ll find fancy gauges with advanced user interface systems, electronic suspension, cruise control, IMUs and the like.
But what can you expect from an Indian Scout motorcycle?
The first Scouts were built with 37 cu. in. displaced at 606 cc. Today, The Indian Scout is made with a V-twin liquid cooled engine 69 cu. in. displaced at 1133 cc. What’s the horsepower on this thing? It’s 100 hp. Not much, but the modern Scout still goes pretty fast for a cruiser. In some reviews, it’s tested as having better acceleration than other American cruisers, from Harley and Triumph, of the same size.
Which is a Good Bike: Indian Scout or Indian Scout Bobber?
The Indian Scout goes for $13,249. Among the lineup, it’s the most expensive. The Indian Scout Bobber costs $12,249 and the Indian Scout Sixty is at the low-end of the price point at $11,749. In terms of engine power, the Scout and Scout Bobber are the same. But the former comes with better standard features: 2-up sport seat, passenger pegs, USB charging port; it also has a slightly higher ground clearance than the Bobber.
They also differ in style:
The Indian Scout motorcycle has a chrome finish with classic fleet-sided fenders and contrast-cut wheels whereas the Bobber is in a blacked-out finish with chopped fenders, lowered suspension and side-mounted license plate.
Whether the Indian Scout is the better bike depends on what you’re looking for in your motorcycle. In all, most reviews give it a thumbs up.
If you have more cash to spare, the Indian Chief closely resembles the Scout, but it’s equipped with tech: electronic speedometer with odometer; dual tripmeters; digital tachometer; ambient air temperature; trouble code readout; low engine oil pressure; and 9 LED telltale indicators: cruise control enabled and electronic fuel gauge with low fuel LED indicator.
And it’s more souped-up with a Thunderstroke air cooled 111 cu in (1811 cc) engine producing 108 ft. lbs. torque. It’s going to cost $14,999 though.
Are Indian Motorcycles Reliable?
Indian Motorcycle has been designing and making bikes in Spirit Lake, Iowa since 1901. America’s first motorcycle company has contributed to the war efforts in World War I and World War II, supplying the army with their bikes. After WW I, Indian became the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the US, producing some 20,ooo bikes. And with its participation in races, Indian has become part of America’s history.
But beyond Indian’s heritage, it’s continued commitment to innovation and design in motorcycles makes it a reliable brand. It’s not just distinctly stylish — motorcycles from Indian also perform well. As evidenced by its winning teams on motorcycle races, from the Indian Wrecking Crew topping major dirt and road course events in the ’50s to the new team dominating the American Flat Track with 5 straight championships.
The Indian Scout is but one of the company’s models that many riders want. If you’re a beginner rider, it could also be a good option. The Scout is comfortable, handles well since it’s light enough at 561 pounds and absolutely stylish.
Indian Motorcycle doesn’t have the big market share other motorcycle brands, like Harley-Davidson, Honda and Kawasaki, have. But the Spirit Lake-based motorcycle company still holds a special place in the hearts of many riders, especially those who are in love with the vintage look of an Indian motorcycle. And for them, the Indian Scout is the better bike versus a Harley or a Triumph.