First Ride: 2016 Indian Scout Sixty

If you can tell the Sixty apart from its larger brother we’ll buy you a beer. Okay, maybe not.

They say: Expertly balanced and lightweight. We say: The Sixty’s balance is more than just numbers.

2016 Indian Scout Sixty
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It's almost a rule of nature. Intentionally "down market" versions of motorcycles we admire are never as good as the originals. They often lack the vigor of the best, feel cheap, and sometimes put the cost-cutting measures on brutally honest display. The challenge of reducing manufacturing expenses typically leads to cheap shocks, cheap brakes, fewer amenities, plastic where there used to be metal…just to name a few of the atrocities committed in building a budget bike. There are more than few occasions when we say: Just save for another few months and get the more expensive model, you'll be happier in the long run.

This is not one of those occasions—your $8,999 is a safe investment in the Indian Scout Sixty. That's because Indian has taken the longer view. So, rather than de-content the hell out of the Scout, it has nipped a little here, trimmed a little there, but largely left the core of the motorcycle alone. You do need to pull back some features to justify a $2,000 MSRP drop, but here they're fairly minor. A reduction in engine bore results in a 134cc displacement drop, while an extra gear set remains in Polaris' inventory.

Everything else we love about the Scout remains: solid chassis, smooth and sophisticated liquid-cooled, four-cam engine, and compact riding position. Plus excellent fit and finish, from the innovative cast-aluminum frame to the depth of the paint—the three colors are Thunder Black, Indian Red (add $300) or a sweet Pearl White (also $300 more). In fact, Indian has intentionally limited the visual cues that your Scout is anything less than full strength. There are no badges to remind your friends of your fiscal caution. You have to know that the Scout’s engine has bright cam covers and “airbox” details where the Sixty’s are black, among other things.

2016 Indian Scout Sixty
©Motorcyclist

In motion, the Sixty does feel a little tamer than the full-strength model but it’s not a big gap. Indian has given the Sixty, like the large Scout, very progressive throttle action through the ride-by-wire system. Unless you’re just not paying attention, you won’t get caught out by the bike’s reactions to throttle and clutch takeup. It pulls off the line cleanly but needs a lot of throttle-grip movement to extract all it’s got. There are no lumps or bumps in the power delivery, either, just a nice, linear-feeling torque curve that tapers gently to the rev ceiling. This modern, counterbalanced engine is very smooth below 4,000 rpm, picking up a trace of high-rpm shimmer above that. Indian’s tactic for changing from a six-speed to a five-speed box involved simply removing fifth gear. The Sixty’s ratios in fifth are the same as the larger Scout’s in sixth, and while the ratio gap from fourth to fifth is noticeable, it’s not a practical issue. As before, you’ll be happy up to 75 mph and still unperturbed by 85 mph, but beyond that the Sixty’s engine starts to feel buzzy.

So the engine exceeds the class standards for smoothness, and so does the chassis. While 3 inches of rear-wheel travel isn’t much, the Scout Sixty does well with what it has, kicking you off the comfortable (if somewhat short, front to back) saddle only over really sharp-edged bumps. A running change for all Scouts is a softer top-out spring in the shocks; the Sixty and the standard Scout have exactly the same suspension. The non-adjustable fork is better. Brakes, with no ABS offered for the US market, are adequate. Up front, the single disc has good initial bite but goes numb pretty quickly, while the rear is powerful and just communicative enough that you can keep it on the verge of lockup without too much trouble. We’d guess, though, that American customers wouldn’t mind the option of paying for ABS.

2016 Indian Scout Sixty
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With better-than-expected cornering clearance, the Sixty carves smooth, open roads with aplomb. Steering effort is moderate but the bike’s responses are steady and predictable. After a day in the saddle, the over-riding impression is one of safe, easy-to-manage handling. The Sixty goes where you tell it even as you’re starting to nick the ends of the forward-set footpegs.

Indian’s assumption, one we happen to agree with, is that the target buyer for the Sixty isn’t going to be all-focused on performance, so the 12-hp drop with the displacement change won’t be a deal at all. (And the possible insurance savings are well worth it.) Same deal for missing transmission gear; there's not enough of a performance impact to really notice it. When you’re done, you’re left with a genuinely handsome motorcycle that’s very well put together and with a lot of mechanical sophistication for not a lot of money. The results go against nature, but we’re okay with that.

2016 Indian Scout Sixty
©Motorcyclist

TECH SPEC

EVOLUTION
Based on the Indian Scout that was new for 2015, the Sixty loses 134c and one gear. Not much else.
RIVALS
[Harley-Davidson][] Sportster 1200, [Honda][] Stateline, [Kawasaki][] Vulcan 900 Custom, [Star Bolt][], [Suzuki][] Boulevard C50 B.O.S.S., [Triumph][] America
TECH
PRICE $8999
ENGINE 999cc, liquid-cooled 60° V-twin
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/belt
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 78 @ n/a rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 65 lb.-ft @ n/a rpm
FRAME Cast-aluminum semi-double-cradle with tubular-steel backbones
FRONT SUSPENSION Indian 41mm fork; 4.7-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Indian shocks adjustable for spring preload; 3.0-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Indian two-piston caliper, 298mm disc
REAR BRAKE Indian one-piston caliper, 298mm disc
RAKE/TRAIL 29.0º/4.7 in.
WHEELBASE 61.5 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 25.3 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.3 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 561 lb. wet
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT [indianmotorcycles.com][]
VERDICT
Remarkably like its larger, more powerful, more expensive big-brother Scout, the Sixty gives up little for $2K on the MSRP.
DON'T MISS:
2016 Indian Scout Sixty
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2016 Indian Scout Sixty
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2016 Indian Scout Sixty
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2016 Indian Scout Sixty
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2016 Indian Scout Sixty
©Motorcyclist
2016 Indian Scout Sixty
©Motorcyclist
2016 Indian Scout Sixty
©Motorcyclist
2016 Indian Scout Sixty
©Motorcyclist
2016 Indian Scout Sixty
©Motorcyclist
2016 Indian Scout Sixty
©Motorcyclist