When Indian revealed the 2015 Scout, yesterday, the company made a bold move that is sure to frustrate Indian traditionalists and pique the interest of riders who have wanted a smaller, lighter, less-expensive Indian. In the process, the design crew has shown that there is more than one way to interpret history.
Looking at the Scout’s engine, it’s hard to believe that it hails from the same gene pool as the Chiefs or Chieftain of Roadmaster.
Rather than make a cruiser that was tarted up to look like a modern recreation of a vintage bike, Indian’s engineers chose, instead, to focus on the spirit of the Scout as a performance-oriented motorcycle. True to that heritage, the 2015 Scout carries Indian’s second all-new engine in two years. With nary a fin in sight, the liquid-cooled (yes, liquid-cooled) 1133cc 60 degree V-Twin looks nothing like the air/oil-cooled Thunderstroke 111s powering the Chief Classic, the Vintage, the Chieftain, and the Roadmaster. (This is where the past-focused traditionalists will begin to feel their jaw muscles tightening.)
To deliver the performance portion of the equation, each cylinder carries dual overhead cams opening four valves. A ride-by-wire throttle controls the fuel metering in the 60mm throttle body while three way catalyst-equipped two-into-two exhausts handle the spent gasses. All of this combines to produce a claimed 100 hp and 72 ft.-lb. of motivation for the 558 lb. chassis. We can likely expect to see a similar liquid-cooled engine to appear on a new Victory model soon.
According to Indian, the engine’s power builds linearly, giving newer riders less intimidating acceleration in the bottom end while more experienced riders will have the top end power to play with as they move through the six-speed transmission. When it comes time to brake, a single 298 mm disc and a two-piston caliper takes care of the front while a single piston caliper on a similarly sized disk handles the rear. ABS will not be offered on the US model.
With a 26. 5 in. seat height, the Scout should find a niche with female riders.
While the lines of the Scout may be inspired by the “classic ’rigid triangle” design that is synonymous with original Scouts,” the construction is thoroughly modern. The cast aluminum frame hangs out in the open – even wrapping around the radiator. The twin shocks connect the swingarm directly to the frame just below the solo saddle. The fat 130/90–16 front tire and 150/80–16 rear give the Scout a purposeful look.
With a relatively short 61.5 in. wheelbase and a 26.5 in. seat height, the Scout should be easy to handle for smaller and less experienced riders. However, the rear suspension travel is limited to just 3 in. to keep that low seat. We’ll take special note of how the shocks handle the short travel during our test ride. The fork is a 41mm conventional unit.
The solo seat appears to be made of the same leather used on the Vintage and Roadmaster.
Indian says the on sale date for the 2015 Scout is late 2014. When the bikes do arrive in showrooms, the base Thunder Black color will retail for $10,999 while the optional colors, Indian Motorcycle Red, Silver Smoke, and Thunder Black Smoke, will raise the MSRP to $11,299.
We will be spending the day riding the Scout in the Black Hills of South Dakota in and around Sturgis. Check back soon for a full review of the 2015 Indian Scout.