Johannesburg - Although not quite as well-known as their compatriot from Milwaukee, Indian Motorcycles have a long and rich history. Not only is Indian the oldest still-active motorcycle brand in the world, but it also gained considerable recognition for being used in Burt Munroe’s world speed record attempts.
The Scout model name is no less distinguished, dating all the way back to 1920. We tested the latest iteration, the entry-level Scout Sixty.
The Sixty’s name is a reference to the bike’s engine capacity in cubic inches – 60 cu in is a whisker short of 1 000 cc, which is 130 cc less than its bigger and more expensive sibling.
Being an entry level bike, the obvious question is how much it loses from the bigger Scout. The answer is “not much, if anything” – the Sixty feels remarkably similar to the bigger Scout, which is forcing Indian to push the latter a little more up-market to justify the price difference.
The Sixty shares its sibling’s ECU hardware, but it has different programming. The 2kg added to the Sixty’s dry weight is the result of thicker-walled cylinder sleeves as a result of the smaller bore, which makes the 134cc difference – down from 1 133 cm³ to 999 cm³ – with the stroke unchanged for a bore and stroke of 93 x 73.6 mm. So, the engine is actually 61 cubic inches, not 60; it seems the marketing department overrode their technical colleagues in this instance.
The Scout Sixty is all cruiser with its laid-back, fists-punching-wind seating position. Visually it is a stunning study in Art Deco design, from its huge tail light to the saddle-type seat to the single-dial instrument panel – even the colours of the latter scream “1930s”. And as on its bigger sibling Indian let no opportunities pass to show of its branding with, by my count, no less than 15 Indian logos and icons on the bike.
But the retro-ness ends with the looks. Dynamically it is a thoroughly modern bike with lively performance and handling that seems almost unbecoming for a cruiser. The bike has oodles of low-end punch, which allows it to accelerate like a bat out of hell. And as long as you keep the speed within the legal limits, it is a pleasure to ride. Anything above that you have to hang onto the handlebars for dear life.
On the open road you never need to shift down – at anything over 50km/h, the Scout accelerates eagerly in top. Which is just as well, because the bike is marred with an exceptionally heavy gearbox. This, combines with the huge rake of the fork, makes it less than ideal for commuting.
The short-travel rear suspension is also a bit irksome on lesser road surfaces, which is especially obvious if you hit a bump in mid corner. But the Scout is not intended as a commuter, and in its natural environment it does what it says on the box.
Indian’s fortunes have been on a roller-coaster ride since the late fifties, but it its current iteration under the ownership of Polaris it seems to be going strong. The Sixty, as the brand’s entry-level bike, shoulders a heavy responsibility to help boost those fortunes, but in my opinion it is more than up to the task. If you’re in the market for a light cruiser, I don’t think you need to look any further than your local Indian dealership.
Model: Scout Sixty
Type: Four stroke, 60° V-Twin, DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder
Displacement: 999.6 cm³
Maximum Power: 56.9 kW @ 7 300 rpm
Maximum Torque: 88.8 Nm @ 5 600 rpm
Fuel supply system: Closed Loop Sequential Port Fuel Injection
Fuel type: Premium unleaded, 95 octane RON
Type: 5-speed sequential
Final drive: Belt
Overall length x width x height (mm): 2 311 X 880 x 1207
Wet weight: 256 kg
Fuel tank: 12.5 L
Front: Single 298 mm rotor with 2 piston caliper
Rear: Single 298 mm rotor with 1 piston caliper
Front: 41 mm telescopic fork
Rear: Dual shocks
WHEELS & TYRES
Wheel, front: Cast 16” x 3.5”
Wheel, rear: Cast 16” x 3.5”
Tyre, front: 130/90-16 72H
Tyre, rear: 150/80-16 71H
PRICE: R149 900