For the past couple of years, Indian’s Scout has been redefining what an American cruiser looks like. The liquid-cooled 69ci V-twin has proven itself a worthy opponent to the air-cooled Big Twins that have dominated the industry forever, and the cast-aluminum frame handles excellently and hides the oil cooler well. While we see a huge variety of factory customs from other manufacturers, Indian has only ever offered the Scout and its little brother the Scout Sixty. We wanted more, we wanted some style, and we got it in the form of the new Indian Scout Bobber—even if the name makes me feel like a salty old man every time I hear it.
To me, a bobber will always be a bike that’s stripped down and modified from stock. While I know there are many people who just think “I want a bobber” and mean this style, I can’t imagine a world where I’ll be totally cool with seeing a stocker rolled out of the factory under this name.
Now that I’ve gotten my petty and inconsequential complaints off of my chest, this bike is great. It’s Indian’s best mid-lightweight cruiser with a handful of wicked details and a lot more attitude. It’s time we start seeing some more styling options on this bike in the same vein as the Sportster or Scrambler Ducati lines, and the Scout Bobber is a great way to kick it off. Not too drastic, still a pretty pure cruiser, but a definite edge on the friendly blade of the base-model Scout.
The most drastic change I notice on the new Scout are the lowered rear shocks and lower bars which work with the large tires to help bring the Bobber into a more old-school stance and tie the whole straight, low line of the bike together. The lower and straighter bars come with bar-end mirrors dropped down for a more low-slung brawler look. The forward foot controls have been modified, though I didn't really notice a difference when riding; they still seemed to scrape in most deep turns. As a taller guy, at 6-foot-4, the mirrors and even the bars would hit my knees when I went into a hard turn at slow speeds, so I flipped them up and was much happier. The exhaust system remained the same but with new blacked-out, louver-cut covers.
When I said the engine had proved to be a worthy opponent, what I meant was: It can smoke most stock Big Twins. With the weight-to-power ratio of this bike, it rips. At 100 hp and 73 pound-feet of torque, it’s easy to spin some rear tire or quickly accelerate to pass a car on the freeway. The power is there when you want it, the vibrations aren’t bad, and the chassis handles it all very well. With the stock bars, however, I was just a little too folded over to be totally comfortable sending it on this thing.
The ergonomics of this bike is my only real issue with it, and while I recognize that it has at least something to do with my height, I also think it seems obvious they were designed for form first and function second. The Scout isn’t a large bike, which is one of the main things people love so much about it, but when you throw even lower bars farther forward, you end up with sort of a strange rider position. Even with the forward foot controls, my knees sit above the tank, which is fine on the base model where the bars have a little rise, yet on this one I found myself hitting my knees a bit.
The lower bars presented another challenge for shorter riders as well, as they were a little farther forward. I was lucky enough to hop onto one of the customized models for a bit of the riding and found that all of these issues were instantly fixed. My shoulders aligned better, and I was more confident throwing it into turns because I wouldn’t be hitting my knees. If I were on this bike for any length of time, I’d make sure to have the apes on there.
The new seat looks custom and is surprisingly comfortable. It’s a solo seat, so don’t expect a lot of support from your passenger if they help with your bike buying decision, but they do offer some pretty comfortable looking options as accessories. Riding for a few hours, I was surprised to find that my butt never went totally numb as it does on most stock seats, but I imagine that had a little to do with the suspension as well.
For only having 2 inches of travel, the rear shocks do a lot of work. The ride wasn’t bouncy at all but rather quite smooth. They ate up the small bumps pretty effectively and dampened well in the corners. The front suspension matched as well, without a ton of dive when braking, staying stable in the turns and not being too springy. With single discs front and rear, the brakes worked well but weren’t super impressive; they were definitely adequate but something I would consider upgrading if I were going to be doing some aggressive riding.
The Bobber is Indian’s first venture into the dealer custom market with the Scout, and it’s great because it’s built on a great platform. I love the styling, think it’s an awesome-looking bike, but it definitely has its ergonomic issues that need some sorting. It hits the market at $11,500, which is $200 more than an H-D Sportster Forty-Eight(with which I see the most styling parallels) and you get a lot more for your money. In my opinion, it still doesn't sound as good as an air cooled big twin or look as classic as a tubular framed bike but if you compare it to a Dyna, the Scout weighs 112 pounds less, puts out about 30 more ponies and costs $2,350 less. The Scout is coming into its own, is it bringing the American cruiser market with it?
|2018 Indian Scout Bobber||Engine|
|Engine Type||Liquid-Cooled V-Twin|
|Displacement||69 cu in|
|Electronic Fuel Injection System||Closed loop fuel injection / 60 mm bore|
|Horsepower||100 hp (74.7 kW)|
|Peak Torque||73 ft-lbs (97.7 Nm)|
|Peak Torque RPM||6000 rpm|
|2018 Indian Scout Bobber||Suspension|
|Suspension: Front - Type/Travel||Telescopic Fork/4.7" (120 mm) - Cartridge Type|
|Suspension: Rear - Type/Travel||Dual Shocks/2.0" (50 mm)|
|2018 Indian Scout Bobber||Chassis|
|Brakes/Front||Single / 298 mm Rotor / 2 Piston Caliper|
|Brakes/Rear||Single / 298 mm Rotor / 1 Piston Caliper|
|Wheels/Front||Cast|16 in x 3.5 in|
|Wheels/Rear||Cast|16 in x 3.5 in|
|Exhaust||Split Dual Exhaust w/ Crossover|
|2018 Indian Scout Bobber||Dimensions|
|Wheelbase||61.5 in (1562 mm)|
|Seat Height||25.6 in (649 mm)|
|Ground Clearance||4.8 in (123 mm)|
|Overall Height||45.4 in (1154 mm)|
|Overall Length||87.8 in (2229 mm)|
|Overall Width||36.5 in (926 mm)|
|Trail||4.7 in (119.9 mm)|
|Fuel Capacity||3.3 gal (12.5 l)|
|GVWR||988 lbs (449 kg)|
|Weight (Empty Tank / Full of Fuel)||533 lbs / 554 lbs (242 kg / 251 kg)|
|2018 Indian Scout Bobber||Pricing and features|
|Color / Graphics||Thunder Black|
|Lights||Headlight, tail/brake light, turn signals, license plate light, and speedometer and indicator lights|
|Gauges||Digital tachometer, odometer, trip meter, engine temp, and low fuel lamp|