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Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Last Cruiser Standing...

Indian Scout 
How many of you have heard the roar of an Indian with a Stage I exhaust? If you haven't, make this your primary agenda this weekend! This is what I did all of last lusty weekend. 250+ kilometres on an Indian with a Stage I exhaust on the 2015 Scout, a bike which as the name suggests is the youngest and smallest member of the Indian family and arguably with the most attitude. Yes, this is coming from a converted Harley fan. And you can fully experience the power and exuberance of youth that emanates from the free flowing veins of this wonderful piece of engineering.

Here we have the 2015 Indian Scout Ride Report.

Looks & First Impressions:

When you first look at it, apparently the design is seemingly not one of ultimate luxury as is evident on the Vintage and the Chieftain. The tank is linear and edgy not rounded which makes it (and you) look youthful, the lines are modern and aggressive not classic and laid back, the headlamp assembly is an independent unit and the switchgear is basic but highly utilitarian and very robust. The instrument cluster has all the information at one place. The rider's vision does not have to move up and down searching for information on the cluster while negotiating the stray dog that has suddenly entered your trajectory which is often the case in some high-end luxury cruisers! You can toggle between the options of trip meters, odometer, surprisingly a coolant temperature display in °C and an RPM indicator. The displays are bold, large and legible. 

As you settle yourself on the Scout, the feel of the handlebars, the positioning of the instrumentation cluster and the switchgear, all have a very ergonomic feel; this is something that Indian is getting its customers used to. Once you ride the Indian, it is difficult going back to anything else!

Indian Scout set to become a Legend!

Beautifully sculpted tank with the Indian marque!

The Bold progressive lines of the Scout.
Independent Headlamp assembly

Engine & Performance:

When you have 100Bhp and nearly 100Nm of torque, you have got enough power to make you want to overtake every moving vehicle in the vicinity. The deep bore 1130cc engine starts to propel you with a delightful thrust right from 1500 revs. The torque is powerful and linear all the way to the top of the rev range. It has a red line at 9000! Cruising at 170clicks, you barely break a sweat or feel a vibe. 

And when you have the Stage I exhaust added on, be prepared to take on a gym membership because you need power to hold on to the handlebars. Several times on the highway, I managed to go beyond the calibrations of the speedometer. The Scout carries a lot of speed for a cruiser! And guys, we have ridden big breathers, remapped ECUs, free flow exhausts in a lot of cruiser bikes in several countries. But this is one cruiser blasts off the blocks in a way no one can!

The 60° V-twin 1130 cc liquid cooled engine is an exciting piece of engineering. Surprisingly it is asking to be run hard. It runs smooth and easy till 7500 revs when some vibes creep in; we are looking at 200 clicks here! The EFI functions like the way it is supposed to. No glitches and no misses. The clutch is easy and very light for an engine of this size. The gearbox is excellent and they engage wonderfully. And throttle response is quick and sharp. 

Again coming back to the Stage I exhaust, you have a rough estimate of a whopping 150Nm of torque and about 20% extra power. For a 250 kilo motorcycle, we are no more looking at cruiser mode. The Scout rapidly moves on to Sports mode! It is important here to remember the legacy and that some of the first Scouts were used for the military by the Allied forces during WW II and had also a special racing version. Remember the World's fastest Indian? The original Scout was a sports bike! The all new Scout seems to carry forward this legacy, only in the form of a cruiser. 

I rode the bike for hours in heavy traffic during a hot afternoon of an approaching Indian summer. I daresay that for a new motorcycle, the heat management systems have been pretty well taken care of. The bike is India ready even during the summer months!

1130cc liquid cooled V-Twin engine fresh from the drawing board eager to be ridden hard!

The Scout comes with looks and attitude!

Stage I exhaust delivers sheer power to scorch the tarmac!
Suspension & Handling:

The chassis consists of multiple pieces of aluminium. In the front you have the steering head that goes down and bolts to the engine. This is connected to the tail section and the swingarm from above the engine. Thus the engine becomes a stressed member of the whole motorcycle making it a delightfully good handling motorcycle. I will come to that in a short bit. 

The centre of gravity is very low like most cruisers. But the ground clearance is surprisingly not iffy! I took several bad speed breakers with commendable ease. Suspension is soft and plush and good for what a cruiser is supposed to do. However unfortunately the suspension does not match up to the engine performance. It is made to devour good highways. The front end is a little too soft for my liking. It is not adjustable either. And it dives on heavy braking. And if you hit a pothole at a high speed, the feeling is not very pleasant. You come out with a loud jarring thud. And on the rear suspension you can just about adjust the preload. 

The bike comes shod with Indian branded tyres made by Kenda with 130 front and 150 rear. Nothing really to write home about concerning the rubber.

Braking is very good. But it is not outstanding. Remember however that we are riding a cruiser here and not a race replica. Stopping a 250 kilo piece of metal hurtling down the tarmac at 160kmph takes some doing to stop it. Thankfully there is ABS that does a neat job. However I would have preferred to have a double disc brake setup in front like the Nightrod.

Coming back to the handling, this bike is excellent at it. It is highly nimble through Indian traffic, at very slow and high speeds, cuts corners in a jiffy and lets you take late decisions in narrow traffic situations, though we would not advise it, and you get around to really enjoying the bike without having to think about the seeming cumbersomeness of a cruiser. The engine being a stressed member as we discussed earlier contributes largely to the superb handling. Taking a U-turn, an absolute necessity in India, is the easiest on this bike across all cruiser segments available in this country. Arguably. And again I daresay, for a cruiser, you can actually take this bike to scrape the canyons. If you are a true biker, you would want to lean the bike. And you would love doing this with the Scout on the way to Narkanda in the Himalayas till the cows go home!
Engine is a stressed member; final belt drive, conventional dual rear shocks

Our Verdict:

It is a superb motorcycle first and a good cruiser too. At 1200000INR ex-showroom, for the quality and performance that you get, this is a bargain. And this is just the first version of the freshly designed 2015 Scout. After a few improvements and the inevitable evolution over the years, it would not be difficult to extract 40% more juice out of this motorcycle without major changes to the basic engine design and configuration. This is not a beginner's cruiser as is one is oft wont to ascribe to this bike. It looks bold and modern, performs admirably well, goes fast, accelerates faster, build quality is solid and robust, the Scout has very little going against it. And we strongly recommend adding on the Stage I exhaust. This overall package is already an exciting proposition. And knowing Polaris, it promises to get even better with time.

Indian Scout Specifications:

Engine: 1130cc, V-twin 60°
Valves: 4 per cylinder
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Bhp: 100 @ 8100
Torque: 97.7Nm @ 5900
Bore: 99mm
Stroke: 73mm
Final Drive: Belt
Gears: 6 Manual
Front Suspension: Telescopic 120mm
Rear Suspension:  Dual 76mm
Front Tyre: 130/90-16
Rear Tyre;  150/90-16

You can check out our video here.

Ready to blast!

Modern, youthful yet aggressive.

And yet maintaining some Classical looks!
Throttle Quest wishes to thank Polaris India for providing us the motorcycle and the necessary infrastructure and help to conduct the testing of the Scout successfully.

Text and Photos: KEN (Krishnendu Kes)
The Author and his ride of the day!

Imp Note: We at Throttle Quest have carried out these tests in actual regular street conditions by professionals who are trained to conduct such tests. We at TQ do not support irregular, high speed, high risk and unsafe riding by anybody.
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Item Reviewed: The Last Cruiser Standing... Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Krishnendu, aka Ken.
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