An Indian Summer Ep2: Scouting an American Idol

An Indian Summer Ep2: American Idol

An Indian Summer Ep2: American Idol

In this article we’ll answer some upfront questions about the new Indian Scout. After one week and about 300 miles, we have some first impressions to share. Some interstate superslab, some mountain twisties, some city traffic. We’ve only just started, but here’s a few things about the Scout that stood out. Presented in no particular order. With that in mind, on with An Indian Summer Ep2! (Episode 1)

2020 Indian Scout

Indian Motorcycle is America’s First Motorcycle Company and a true American Idol. Founded in 1901, Indian Motorcycle has won the hearts of motorcyclists around the world and earned distinction as one of America’s most legendary and iconic brands through unrivaled racing dominance, engineering prowess and countless innovations and industry firsts. Today that heritage and passion is reignited under new brand stewardship.

Before we get started, a qualifier. An Indian Summer Ep2 is just our first impressions of the Indian Scout. Consider it a virtual test-ride. We’re refraining from making any final conclusions until we’ve spent the full four weeks with the Scout.

Also, some things are easier to show rather than tell. After you’ve read the article, please scroll back up here and watch the YouTube video that goes with this article. All the same information, presented in beautiful living color!



Gettin’ Low

Whether we’re duck-walking out of our garage or holding the bike up at a red light, the Scout’s low seat height is a pleasure. Personally, I haven’t been able to flat-foot on my motorcycle since we traded my Ninja 500 for a motorhome. The Versys and the Concourse are both too tall and too wide for that. But the Scout is low-slung and narrow in the hips, so getting my soles down is easy. Of course, I’m 6′ tall, so maybe not such a big deal?

Carrie, on the other hand, is 5’6″ and a half. And flat-footing on the Indian Scout is just as easy for her. Around town in traffic, being able to get both feet down creates a ton of confidence, and even hill-holding is a simple prospect. It also makes acclimating to the bike fast and fun. You can spend some time in the friction zone, play with the weight of the bars, and just generally focus better.

Pair that with a trim 533 pound dry weight, and you’ve got a great package for confidence building. Truly, the Scout reminds me of the training bikes we use on our MSF range, in all the best ways. Everything’s an easy reach, you can hold it up all day, and the bike is never fighting you for control. All similarity to our training bikes disappears in a hurry though when your right hand gets in on the action.


“Click-vroom-click-vroom-click-vroom. The grin literally starts to hurt.”



It’s just got a ton of giddy-up. Twist the throttle and the Indian Scout rewards you with crisp, linear acceleration all the way through the rev range. For as small as the bike looks and feels, there’s more on tap than you expect there to be.

Whether you’re passing in 6th gear on the interstate, shooting a gap in traffic, or rolling on halfway through that perfect increasing-radius sweeper, the Indian Scout is a willing dance partner. And it delivers it’s power in a clean, predictable curve you could set your watch by.

What really makes the power so much fun though is the gearbox. The slick, precise shift lever ticks up through six forward gears like the speed dial of your kitchen mixer. Click-vroom-click-vroom-click-vroom. The grin literally starts to hurt. I have to stretch my cheeks. They say first impressions last a lifetime.

It’s even faster off the line than Carrie’s CTX 1300, at least in the highly unscientific throwdowns we’ve put them through. That’s saying something. We hope to take it to a nearby drag strip to get some solid numbers for you. We’ll see if that pans out.


2020 Indian Scout Sixty

Mind Your Manners

It’s a lot like 7th grade Algebra. A + B = X. Take a lightweight bike with a low seat height, give it linear power and a great gearbox, and you’ve got a machine with excellent manners. The Scout never gets out of hand or out of sorts. It carries its weight low and balanced. Tip-in is nice and smooth, and it’s easy to dial in a few degrees more or less lean as necessary.

Hand controls are easy to find and intuitive, and large enough to manipulate with gloves. Foot controls are chunky and also easy to find, and the pegs are so long that you can move your feet around a bit. They’re very far forward, enough that your heels will dangle if you’re not paying attention. The current model year has a lot of ergo kits available if that sounds like a challenge to you.

When you solve for X, what you’ve got is a competent and composed bike. The Scout does what you tell it to do. Nothing more and nothing less.


“…like getting your hotel room upgraded at check-in.”


Come With the Stiffness

Honestly I don’t know if this is such a big deal, but it surprised me, so I’m mentioning it. The Indian Scout comes with saddlebags, but really they’re more like hard cases. They have a rigid inner shell of molded plastic, wrapped in beautiful tanned leather, and they’re attached with sturdy posts bolted through to the fender. They don’t sag or shift or bounce.

A 2019 Indian Scout - An Indian Summer Ep2
Very stealthy, you’d never guess those bags are rigid.  – An Indian Summer Ep2


Maybe it’s because I never did get a set of hard cases for the Vulcan 800 I used to own. Or maybe it’s because wearing a backpack as an adult is just as bad as when you’re a kid. But for some reason, finding those molded shells under the leather was like getting your hotel room upgraded at check-in.


If You Ever Want to See a Rainbow…

Or maybe, ‘into every life a little rain must fall”? There are a handful of deltas we’ve logged about the Scout.

There are elements to the seat that can be a little uncomfortable. For me, the lumbar rise isn’t a steep enough angle. I end up sitting on the rise instead of ahead of it, and that gets uncomfortable in a hurry. For Carrie, the flares at the sides of the seat press into her thighs. Most bikes benefit from an aftermarket saddle, and the Scout is no exception.

Wind protection is also insufficient, at least for my 6′ frame. At freeway speeds I take a lot of buffeting in the shoulders and a little on the head, even with the 19″ windshield provided by Indian. Carrie has no such complaints about the bike though, so mileages vary.

Lastly, there’s no fuel gauge. I know that a fuel gauge isn’t really standard equipment on a retro cruiser, but the instrument cluster includes a bunch of other stuff. Voltmeter, coolant temp, compass, trip computer. But no fuel gauge and no range-to-empty. Just a low fuel idiot light. I’d much rather have an actual gas gauge and a temperature warning light than the other way around.


Next Week

We hope you enjoyed reading An Indian Summer Ep2, and in our next article, we’ll cover the fit, feel, and finish of the Indian Scout.


About Eric Leaverton 41 Articles
Eric Leaverton is a management and labor relations specialist from the city of Harrisville, Utah, United States. He is an avid reader of fiction and non-fiction, and in his spare time enjoys riding motorcycles with his wife and raising their three children. Eric is also a product reviewer and field correspondent for Total Motorcycle Web. For more pictures, stories, and background, you can read his blog in the Total Motorcycle forums here: To Ride An Iron Horse (link opens in new tab)