Doin' Time on the Indian Scout: Update 1

Long-Term Update: Indian's 2015 Scout joins the Motorcyclist test fleet!

Indian Scout
The Indian Scout joins the Motorcyclist long-term fleet.Photo: Brian Hatano

WRIST: Brian Hatano
MSRP (2014): $10,999
MILES: 956
MPG: 42
MODS: None

Every bike or car I own eventually gets lowered and modified to a point beyond what most people consider practical. Slowing to a crawl over speed bumps, getting crappy mileage, and tensing up my gut muscles whenever I see an oncoming pothole lined up with my front tire… Hey, those things are just normal parts of the ride for me, and I keep telling myself how much I love it. Well, maybe not the mileage part, but even that’s a fair trade for the type of performance I like. I don’t think anybody will deny that my bikes look sweet. They’re just not suitable for the daily commute like they were before I put my wrenches on them.

Indian Scout
Almost 1,000 miles and still stock. Of course, we’ve only just gotten started.Photo: Brian Hatano

Maybe if Editor-In-Chief Cook realized how much of a form-over-function kind of guy I really am, he would not have tossed me the keys to this new Indian Scout long-termer. But he did, and what's done is done! I will, however, try very hard not to do to the new Scout what I've managed to do to all of my personal bikes.

When he suggested I take on the Scout, I was excited. While it falls into the midsize cruiser category because of its displacement, the Scout hits me visually with more big-bike appeal than a Sportster or a Bolt . And when that new water-cooled engine comes into focus, there's a modern V-Rod-ish appeal that promises fun times ahead, yet Indian kept its V-twin very retro in styling to match the angular-yet-classic lines.

My passion for motorcycles is deeply entrenched in the customizing side, whether it’s a light aesthetic mod, a basic performance bolt-on, or a full-on custom paint job. Tweaking ergos to better suit my comfort needs is standard procedure. And I see every bike from a need-to-personalize perspective. So getting this “new wrist” gig in the Doin’ Time section is right in line with things I love to do with motorcycles: Ride every day and see how I can enhance that ride through modern mechanics and parts.

My personal stable of bikes will tell you what I like: everything. But if there is one genre I gravitate to more than others, it's cruisers. Stretched sportbikes and nitrous-boosted streetfighters have come and gone, but my '97 Harley-Davidson FXSTSB—one of the coolest retro-style cruisers on the planet and the precursor to modern-era blacked-out big twin bikes—is with its final owner.

So it made perfect sense for my first long-term assignment to be on a cruiser. As mileage shows, I’ve barely gotten acquainted with my new ride. But what I’ve discovered so far is that this is one of the best all-arounders there is. In factory trim, the Scout is a perfect fit for my 5-foot-9 size, and the low-slung 25.3-inch seat will surely accommodate both shorter and slightly taller riders without the need to accessorize with Indian’s optional reduced- or extended-reach controls, handlebars, or seats. And accessories there are, but we’ll explore those later on.

I did an admirable job of sticking to the rider’s manual schedule for engine break-in, consisting of the usual agonizing 1/3-, 1/2-, and 3/4-throttle limits during the first 500 miles. Never fun but good for peace of mind over the long haul.

Of course I’m making the rounds at my favorite bike hangouts where, like any pre-production model, the Scout draws big attention. The top two questions are: “What size is that engine?” and, “How much is it?” I tell ’em 1,133cc or 69 inches in Harley-speak. But what stirs up the most bug-eyed reaction has been the $10,999 price. There hasn’t been one person who didn’t say, “You’re kidding!” or, “Are you serious?” These are good signs.

I’m not thinking of what to modify or bolt on to this baby just yet; I’m actually waiting for a lull in my online workflow to take off and log some miles. Wish me luck on that.