We’re racking up the miles on our new long term Indian Scout cruiser! We’ve been up and down a dozen canyons, spent some time on the interstate slab, and driven in heavy city traffic. After all that, we’ve got a few things to tell you about how the fit, feel and finish of the Scout. Grab a coffee, send the kids outside, and let’s chat.
MAKE SURE TO WATCH THE VIDEO TOO!
“This all comes together to offer a supremely manageable, obedient motorcycle.”
Motorcycle fit can mean a lot of things. It’s not just whether or not you can reach the controls, it’s also about how much strain it takes to reach them. It’s about leverage, assuming you can still manipulate the controls once you get to them. And it’s about fatigue, how long you can maintain those reaches and manipulations without getting stiff or sore. We’ll try to address all those aspects.
First, let me give you some context. I’m 6′ tall and weigh about 190 pounds. My inseam is somewhere between 30 and 32 inches depending on how much sleep I’m getting. I’m also fairly limber. Take those data points into consideration as we continue.
My legs are pretty comfortable on the Scout. I can flat-foot all day long, and the forward controls are easy to reach with my feet. The foot pegs are chunky and have a lot of grip, and the shift and brake levers are steeply raked from the peg. My toes nicely fit under the shifter.
Also, the pegs are miles long! There’s plenty of room to move your foot back and forth sideways along the peg, so you can always find some relief for your feet and ankles. Angle them out, angle them in, or hang your heels down. At speed, though, the forward controls expose a LOT of your sole to the wind blast. You have to make a conscience effort to move your feet around if you’re moving faster than 60mph.
The handlebars are an easy reach, but I wouldn’t say no to an additional 2-4 inches of pullback. Some handlebar rise would also be welcome. Around town the standard reach and rise are not an issue, but after 100 miles on the slab I start to feel it. My shoulders get sore from being hunched over. Worse, reaching down to the bars means I have to tilt my head back a few extra degrees. Spending all day like that makes my neck really start to ache. Again, not an issue in short bursts, but on longer stretches it will take a toll.
The finer controls are all very suitable to the size of my hands. I’ve ridden some bikes where engaging the turn signal with the clutch pulled in is a real ordeal. Not so for the Scout. Signals, horn, brights, everything is the right size and position for my thumbs. Consider here that the switch gear is very minimal. Turn signals, brights, horn, and a mode select button on the left. To the right it’s just the cutoff, the start button, and the hazards.
Final point on uppers. The rear view mirrors are difficult for me to see out of because they are so low. I have to lean down and forward to get a clear view in them, especially if I’m wearing a full-face helmet with a chin bar. If you are a shorter rider you probably won’t have the same issue as I.
Carrie is 5’6″ and a half, with a 26″ inseam. She reports all the same positive feedback for fit I’ve just listed – flat footing, peg space, easy reach to the controls – and none of the negative points. Literally not a single complaint about fit or comfort on the Scout, not even the mirror height.
We have a friend who stands 5’2″, and she’s a huge fan of the Scout. When she tried sitting on it she was unable to reach the pegs comfortably, though. Another friend of ours had no problems with his 5’4″ height. (Ed. I myself can’t fit on the unmodified Scout with my 6’4″ height. I’m just too darn tall. If I was to consider the Scout I would need the Tall rider accessories they offer.)
Takeaways for Fit
This is all to say that the Scout offers optimal fit for riders between 5’5″ and 5’10”, which should come as no surprise. The average height of a healthy adult worldwide is about 5’7″ according to the WHO.
Fear not though, my extra small and extra tall friends! Indian offers ergonomic kits for the Scout, so even if you’re not in the “sweet spot” you can be accommodated.
How a bike feels can be a bit more subjective than how it fits. There’s a lot of variables. A quick example – someone who lives in a pretty flat region may have no complaints about a bike’s power and weight. But another person on the same bike in a region with a lot of hills and high winds might find it too heavy and underpowered. True story, I never had any complaints about the power of my Vulcan 800 until I tried to ride in a Wyoming headwind. So feel can be a lot more art and a lot less science than fit.
Let’s get a little bit spiritual and explore how the Scout feels under you.
Dry weight for the Indian Scout is 533 pounds. With service fluids and an 80% full tank of fuel it’s closer to 570. In the cruiser segment, especially among the liter+ crowd, that’s fairly trim.
You really notice the lighter weight. The Scout comes up off the kickstand with almost no effort, and it’s nothing to balance and hold up. It’s easy to walk the bike out of parking spots or into narrow spaces in your garage. Because of the lighter weight, hill holding is also easy to accomplish.
The Scout has plenty of power on tap. Twist the throttle and it will reward you with a predictable, linear surge of power all the way through the rev range, complimented with that V-Twin rumble we’re all accustomed to. It doesn’t get out of sorts though. It won’t slam you back in your seat or try to loft the front tire, at least, not unless you’re really trying. And the throttle isn’t so snappy that it requires supervision either.
Six gears manage that power very well. Cruising on the freeway is very relaxed, even as you reach the kind of higher speed limits we enjoy here in the western United States. At 80 MPH in sixth gear, the engine is running about 4,400 RPM with no buzz, and it’s got more to give. It wont “drop a gear and disappear”, but this bike will pull you through a high speed pass with calm, casual competence.
We’re going to take the Scout to our local shop and do some dyno runs, so if you’re interested in solid HP and torque numbers, catch our next article. For what it’s worth, Indian claims 100 hp@8,100 RPM.
“The power never gets out of sorts, and the weight is extremely manageable.”
This Means Manners
This all combines to make a very predictable, even-tempered machine. The Scout is happy burbling around town in third gear or charging down the interstate at 80 MPH. It climbs reliably – look at a topography map of northern Utah if you need to qualify that statement – and takes corners very nicely. The Tip-in is clean and relaxed, and it will hold up it’s end of a line if you’re holding yours. The wide bars give you plenty of leverage for countersteering, and site lines stay clear deep into a lean.
The Scout also soaks up road irregularities. Bumps and expansion joints just disappear beneath the compliant suspension, and that makes freeway cruising a pleasure. Rough roads translate to gentle, muted thumps. The rear suspension is fully adjustable if that sort of thing doesn’t appeal to you though.
This all comes together to offer a supremely manageable, obedient motorcycle. The Scout will happily play with a spirited rider, but it’s not going to unleash wrath and fire if you make a casual mistake. You’d have to do something really irresponsible before things got sideways.
A hallmark of the cruiser segment is style and attention to detail. I’m sure I can find people who will disagree, but for cruisers, looks really matter. Personality is performance for these kinds of machines.
Show Your Work
Indian knows this, and the Scout gets the same attention as all their bikes. We counted no less than 23 Indian emblems on the Scout, from obvious treatments like the figurehead on the gas tank to more subtle examples like the stylized “I” on the brake and clutch levers. Even the rear view mirrors feature the figurehead.
Admittedly, that’s not everyone’s cuppa. I cop to preferring the debadged look myself. I have been asked by a highway patrol officer “didn’t they used to put the names on these things?” while he looked over my debadged Versys. But it’s safe to say that on a bike with the kind of legacy and lineage as the Scout, and a brand with as much history as Indian, the emblems belong.
Class Is Definitely In Session
It’s more than just the branding though. Look closer and you’ll find all kinds of subtle cues. Paint-matched rivets on the fenders. Braided brake lines. Glossy black-chrome frame components like peg brackets and reservoir caps. An artfully concealed USB charging port underneath the retro speedometer. And if you’re having trouble seeing the forest for the trees, the two-tone red and black paint is your answer.
And, oh my, don’t forget that motor. Rich black, bright chrome, striking polished steel, the Scout motor really is one of the most beautiful motors of any production bike on the market today.
And that’s not all just subjective either. The Scout gets more compliments from public and passerby than any bike we’ve ever had. It’s almost guaranteed to receive a thumbs up and a nod in any parking lot at any time of day, from men, women, and children. Passing traffic will slow down to get a better look. This bike turns heads like a tennis match, and again, in this segment, that’s a genuine feature.
Move Along, There’s More to See Here
As I close out this article about the fit, feel and finish of our 2019 Indian Scout, I just want to reiterate the scope of this series. There’s still a TON of content we’ll be releasing about the Scout, everything from bare-knuckled performance to how it copes with a grocery run to long-distance day trips, and everything in-between. We’re still just getting started!
For that reason, we’re not offering any sort of rating for the Scout just yet. Please keep following us on this adventure!