Indian Scout Slip-On Exhaust Sound Clip

Long-Term Update: Straights slip-ons installation

Motorcyclist dyno test
Project Scout on the Motorcyclist dyno.Photo: Brian Hatano

WRIST: Brian Hatano
MSRP (2015): $11,299
MILES: 4,216
MPG: 43
MODS: Slip-on mufflers

That saying "because stock sucks" just doesn't apply to the Indian Scout—for me at least—and the proof is right there on the odometer. More than 4,000 miles into "ownership" of the Scout and here I am, just now slipping into a new pair of mufflers.

When it comes to a friendly, easy-to-ride cruiser, the Scout designers did their homework. Aside from the short windshield that I installed last month, I’ve been rolling bone stock and not really feeling the need to change anything to improve the ride. Sure, there’s room for improvement, but I love it as is! And about that windshield… Yes, it’s a proper fit, it does an adequate job of deflecting wind, and doesn’t take away from the styling too much, but I had to ask myself: Would I part with $450 if I were a Scout owner? My answer was no for a couple reasons. Not only is it pricey, but it also doesn’t quite fit my plan for how I want the bike to look. Your answer may vary, especially if your pockets are a little deeper and you spend a lot of time on the highway. For now, I’ve shelved the screen. So on to the exhaust mod.

Scout pipes
Without the ECU reflash (a "Calibration Card" is included with the purchase of the Straights slip-ons), performance between stock pipes and Straights slip-ons was unchanged. We'll recalibrate the Scout and re-dyno next month to see what improvement, if any, the new exhaust delivers.Photo: Brian Hatano

I’d say there are quite a few Sportys, Dynas, and Softails that don’t even make it out of the dealer showroom without a slip-on exhaust installed. I think Scout owners might not be so quick to alter what is essentially a classy-looking OEM system that delivers a pleasant, albeit sedate, sound.

If you have not yet heard the new Scout engine, it has a subtle but very pleasing gear whine that rises in pitch when you rev it, and the sound out of the stock cans is distinctly late-model Indian V-twin: All meat, no “potatoes.” I think the Scout owner who will fork out 800 bills for the Indian Stage 1 Straights is someone who 1) wants to hear a throatier rumble; 2) insists on keeping everything 100-percent Indian; 3) really loves the look of the factory over-and-under shotgun pipes; and 4) can’t wait for more budget-friendly alternatives from the aftermarket.

Indian Scout slip=ons
The visual improvement that the Indian Straights slip-ons provide over the stock cans is subtle but one that Scout owners will appreciate. The top muffler is engraved with the Indian Motorcycle logo, the stock black end caps are gone, and the Straights cans are slimmer while still retaining the classic dual-shotgun look that compliments the bike design.Photo: Brian Hatano

The Indian Stage 1 Straights are SAE J2825-compliant and meet EPA and CARB emissions limits in all 50 states (and, yes, I know the website says 49). Such compliance means that, out of the box, these pipes will not be obnoxiously loud, and with a factory look and added Indian logo on the top can, it’ll pass the occasional visual inspection by “the man.”

Indian states that the Straights will allow the 69ci engine to “breathe more freely and unleash additional power; especially enhanced midrange torque and crisp throttle response.” Each set of slip-ons comes with a Calibration Card with a registration number for EFI calibration by an authorized Indian Motorcycle dealer.

I didn’t go that route yet because the registration number is a one-time deal, and I might be adding a performance air filter in the future that and could affect the calibration. (I’m told that K&N should have a part number available by the time this issue drops in March).

But I did put the Scout up on our in-house Dynojet 250i for some numbers. With OEM exhaust, the Scout was good for 88 hp and 64.8 pound-feet of torque. The Straights actually cost 1.6 hp at the peak and gained a fraction in torque. Basically a wash, but remember this is without the recalibration. The Scout was due to go back to Indian’s fleet center for some other updates at our deadline, and should come back with the performance tune installed. We’ll lash it to the dyno and try again. Play the video below for a quick sound clip of the Straights.

Even if the results aren’t there, at least the installation is do-it-yourself simple. Indian suggests allotting the project 40 minutes start to finish. I say that includes a 10-minute break. The Straights are a tad slimmer than the stockers, which is definitely a plus. No more black end caps, another plus. And the Indian logo on the top tube makes the slip-ons look more factory than the originals. On the shop scale there was less than a pound of difference between the two sets. And the sound? Well, I find myself revving the engine for no reason but to hear it. Yeah, that’s just the cruiser in me I guess, until the novelty wears off.

So what’s next for the Scout? Well, I still have a couple unopened boxes from Indian that contain more bits from the exhaustive accessories catalog. I plan to try them out before stepping a little farther out of the box. Stock may not suck, but I’d still rather be modded!