Today I found myself stepping off of a plane in Minneapolis, MN, with a few other journalists. While the X Games are currently in full swing here in the “Twin Cities,” we were in town for the launch of a new Indian Scout. The 2018 Indian Scout Bobber is a minimalistic, low-slung, blacked-out version of its predecessor. Looking at the bike once the covers came off, the word muscle comes to mind. The kind of motorcycle that kicks sand in your face and takes your girlfriend. I like it.
The Indian executive team mentioned the word “badass” almost a few too many times, but after seeing the new bikes, it is the simplest way to describe them. And, of course, we get it. Indian is looking to attract a younger crowd with a visually more tough and custom look. Also, this explains why we are in town the same weekend as the X Games.
“We are trying to move the brand away from just being a heritage brand, expanding it a little further and to attract new customers,” Indian President Steve Menneto confirmed at the bike’s unveiling. Menneto then went on to address Polaris’ discontinuing the Victory product line.
“How does this decision impact Indian?” he asked rhetorically. “The impact for Indian is more investments and growing the business faster.”
The new Indian Scout Bobber has been blacked out from the new cast aluminum wheels to the headlight nacelle and everything in between. No, really: black frame, black exhaust, black handlebars, black drop down bar-end mirrors, black gauges, you get the idea. This leads me to believe a certain Stones song from the 60s was playing on repeat in the design offices of Indian’s HQ. We see minimalistic engine covers, and louvered heat shields on the all-black exhaust adding to the fit and feel.
Sticking with the less-is-more theme Indian has gotten rid of the Scout’s center brake light for an integrated LED stop/turn/tail light and offset the license plate holder to the left side (U.S. models only). Another styling change to note is the logo on the tank. The big block letters undeniably add to the strong styling elements.
In true “Bobber” form the fenders front and rear have been chopped. The rear suspension has lost an inch, which brings travel down from 3.0 inches to 2.0. The front fork now features cartridge internals, which is coupled with a handlebar 1.5-inches closer to the rider. Similarly, the footpegs are moved 1.5 inches rearward, which should help lend to a sportier-handling Scout. Other than the suspension changes, the bike remains mechanically unchanged. Indian says the Bobber’s seat is 25.6 inches, which is 0.3 inch taller than the older Scout, so we surmise that it’s thicker to make extra leg-room for the rear-set footpegs. Specs state a weight loss of five pounds to a 554-pound curb weight.
Even with all that black you still get four great looking color options: the cheapest option putting MSRP at $11,499 for Thunder Black, moving to $11,999 for Star Silver Smoke, Bronze Smoke, or Indian Motorcycle Red. Finally, the Thunder Black Smoke version at $12,499, which also includes ABS. Here, smoke means it comes with a flat finish.
While the bike appears to be mostly cosmetic changes, we will have to wait until tomorrow’s ride to report back on handling characteristics and overall thoughts. I can say with complete seriousness that I am already daydreaming about how “badass” I am going to look on it tomorrow.
Have any questions? Leave them in the comments below and I will do my best to get answers while we have the Indian staff here with us.