Indian Scout Spec Shootout

Kevin Duke
by Kevin Duke

New Scout compared with diverse cruiser rivals

Indian Motorcycles made a big splash in Sturgis this year with the introduction of its new Scout. The revival of a historic model is newsworthy on its own, but the larger take-away from the emergence of the Scout is that it doesn’t directly compare to any other cruiser.

2015 Indian Scout First Ride Review

Indian’s engineers surely benchmarked the products from the Harley-Davidson juggernaut, specifically the Sportster series. But the contemporary engine architecture (double-overhead cams, four valves per cylinder) of the 1133cc Scout V-Twin churns out a much bigger horsepower number (crank-rated at 100 hp and 72.2 ft-lb of torque) than that of Harley’s air-cooled, two-valve-per-cylinder motors. In addition, the Indian scales in with about 20 pounds less weight than a Sportster 1200, yielding an enviable power-to-weight ratio.

The 1200 Sportster comes in a variety of models: Custom, SuperLow, Forty-Eight, Seventy-Two. For now, there’s only one Scout.

Although we haven’t had the chance to dyno the Scout on our own, we can assume there’ll be, roughly, a 12% reduction in power numbers from the factory’s crankshaft ratings when tested at the rear wheel. This would translate to about 88 horsepower and 65 ft-lb of torque. Given the Scout’s 558-lb curb weight, the bike carries approximately 6.3 lbs per horsepower, a figure that wallops the 8.6 lbs/hp of a 1200 Sportster. The Harley compares more favorably in terms of torque: 8.0 lbs/ft-lb to the Scout’s 8.6 lbs per peak torque.

Yeah, but the M90 has inverted forks and dual front disc brakes. These and more differences we’ll suss out in the upcoming shootout.

So, let’s step up a class and compare the Scout to some of its bigger, more expensive rivals. For only $200 more, Suzuki’s 1462cc M90 boasts 329 more cubic centimeters, but producing 69 horsepower and weighing 723 pounds – 165 pounds more than the Scout – the M90’s pushing 10.4 pounds per horsepower, or, 4.1 pounds more per hp than the Scout. In the pounds per torque department the M90 is only fractionally better than the scout, 8.4 pounds per ft-lb vs the Scout’s 8.6 lb/ft-lb. A Star V-Star 1300 retails at a $291 premium over the $10,999 Scout, but its 1304cc motor cranks out a relatively paltry 67 hp to its wheel. The Star has a torque advantage (76 ft-lb) but scales in at more than 100 lbs heavier, so there’s no way it can run with the Scout.

At 1312cc, Honda’s Stateline measures only 8cc more displacement than the V-Star, is considerably smaller than the M90, but at $12,150 costs substantially more than both. In fact, the Stateline, at 57 hp, is the lowest horsepower bike here, giving it a lb/hp of 11.7 and lb/ft-lb of 9.2, both of which pale in comparison to the Indian’s figures.

Okay, so let’s go really big and compare the Scout’s second cousin, the Vegas 8-Ball, Victory’s lowest-priced model. With an extra 598cc of chugging motivation, its massive 1731cc motor twists out far more torque than the Scout: 89 ft-lb, but its horsepower output falls about a half-dozen ponies short of the little Indian’s. The Victory’s performance is also muted by carrying around 111 lbs more than the Scout, so its 8.2 lbs/hp pales next to the Scout’s 6.3 number. However, the Vic’s lbs/torque number (7.2) is much more flattering.

The Night Rod’s got it where it counts but is it worth paying $5250 more than the new Scout?

We’ll make one additional step up the food chain with a comparison to Harley’s V-Rod Night Rod Special (even if Indian reps say it’s not a direct competitor), which retails at a relatively breathtaking $16,249 in its base version. Both share higher-tech, liquid-cooled V-Twins with DOHC and four valves per cylinder. Also common is a 60-degree spread of their cylinders. A key difference is the V-Rod’s more oversquare bore/stroke ratio and an additional 114cc of engine displacement, which add up to peaks of 114 hp and 79 ft-lb of torque. So, in terms of outright power, H-D’s Revolution motor wins hands down. However, the Night Rod has to carry around an extra 108 lbs over the Scout, so its power-to-weight numbers aren’t far off the Scout’s. Torquewise, the Harley’s 8.4 lbs/ft-lb is similar to the Indian’s, but it has a fairly significant hp-to-weight advantage: 5.8 lbs/hp to the Scout’s 6.3.

So, Indian’s impressive new Scout seems to defy direct comparisons. Take a look at the chart below for a broader perspective, then weigh in with your suggestions in the comments section to share your thoughts on which bikes best matchup for comparison.

Indian ScoutH-D Sportster 1200 CustomHonda StatelineH-D Night Rod SpecialSuzuki M90Star V-Star 1300Victory Vegas 8-Ball
Engine Capacity1133cc1202cc1312cc1247cc1462cc1304cc1731cc
Engine Type60-degree, liquid-cooled, DOHC, V-Twin, 4 valves per cylinder45-degree, air-cooled, pushrod, V-Twin, 2-valve per cylinder52-degree, liquid-cooled, SOHC, V-Twin, 3-valves per cylinder60-degree, liquid-cooled, DOHC, V-Twin, 4-valves per cylinder54-degree, liquid-cooled, SOHC, V-Twin, 4 valves per cylinder60-degree, liquid-cooled, SOHC, V-Twin, 4 valves per cylinder50-degree, air-cooled, SOHC, V-Twin, 4 valves per cylinder
Bore x Stroke99mm x 73.6mm88.9mm x 96.5mm89.5mm x 104.3mm105mm x 72.0mm96.0mm x 101.0mm100.0mm x 83.0mm101mm x 108mm
Compression Ratio9.5:110.0:19.2:111.5:19.5:19.5:19.4:1
Horsepower100 (at crank); 88 (est. at rear wheel)6857114696778
Torque72.2 (at crank); 64.5 (est. at rear wheel)737379877689
Fuel SystemElectronic closed-loop fuel injection, 60mm throttle bodiesElectronic Sequential Port Fuel InjectionPGM-FI with automatic enrichment circuit, one 38mm throttle body, 2 spark plugs per cylinderElectronic Sequential Port Fuel InjectionElectronic Fuel Injection. Dual 42mm throttle bodiesElectronic Fuel Injection. Dual 40mm throttle bodiesElectronic Fuel Injection. 45mm throttle bodies
Transmission6-speed, wet clutch5-speed5-speed5-speed5-speed5-speed6-speed
Final DriveBeltBeltShaftBeltShaftBeltBelt
FrameCast aluminumSteelSteelSteelSteelSteelSteel
Front SuspensionTelescopic fork. 4.7 inches travel39mm telescopic fork. 4.12 inches travel.41mm telescopic fork. 4.0 inches travel.49mm inverted telescopic fork. 4.1 inches travel.43mm inverted telescopic KYB fork. 5.1 inches travel41mm telescopic fork. 5.3 inches travel43mm telescopic fork. 5.1 inches of travel
Rear SuspensionDual shocks. 3.0 inches travelDual shocks. 2.12 inches travel.Single shock. 3.9 inches travel.Dual shocks.2.9 inches travel.Single KYB shock. 4.3 inches travelSingle shock. 4.3 inches travelSingle shock with rising rate linkage. 3.0 inches of travel. Preload adjustable
Front BrakesSingle 298mm rotor. 2-piston caliperSingle 300mm rotor. 2-piston caliper. ABS optionalSingle 336mm rotor. 2-piston caliper. ABS optionalDual 300mm rotors. Twin 4-piston calipers. ABS standardDual 290mm rotors. Dual 2-piston calipersDual 298mm rotors. 2-piston calipersSingle 300mm rotor. 4-piston caliper
Rear BrakesSingle 298mm rotor. 1-piston caliperSingle 260mm rotor. 2-piston caliper. ABS optionalSingle 296mm rotor. 1-piston caliper. ABS optionalSingle 300mm rotor. 4-piston caliper. ABS standardSingle 275mm rotor. Single 2-piston caliperSingle 298mm rotor. 1-piston caliperSingle 300mm rotor. 2-piston caliper
Front Tire130/90-16130/90-16140/80-17120/70-19120/70-18130/90-1690/90-21
Rear Tire150/80-16150/80-16170/80-15240/40-18200/50-17170/70-16180/55-18
Seat Height25.3 in.28.0 in.26.7 in.26.6 in.28.2 in.27.2 in.25.2 in.
Wheelbase61.5 in.59.8 in.70.1 in.67.1 in.66.5 in.66.5 in.67.1 in.
Rake/Trail29 degree/4.7 in.30 degrees/4.2 in.33 degrees/4.6 in.34 degrees/5.6 in.32 degrees/5.08 in.32.7 degrees/5.7 in.33.0 degrees/5.0 in.
Curb Weight558 lbs.584 lbs.672 lbs.666 lbs.723 lbs.668 lbs.667 lbs wet
Fuel Capacity3.3 gal.4.5 gal.4.4 gal.5.0 gal.4.7 gal.4.9 gal.

4.5 gal.

Kevin Duke
Kevin Duke

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2 of 39 comments
  • Doc Robinson Doc Robinson on Aug 23, 2014

    I spent a full day riding the Scout in Sturgis. This bike rocks and was the most fun bike I have ridden (in its class) in the last 20 years as a motorcycle journalist. Go ride it! Doc Robinson

  • Mudgun Mudgun on Aug 25, 2014

    As a non-cruiser rider a few horses here or there don't matter to me. How it rides is # 1. How it looks is # 2. I can adapt to everything else.