Long-Term Indian Scout: Rear Fender Modification

The final installment of the Scout project gives the Indian cruiser a custom hot rod look.

Brian Hatano's Indian Scout long-term project at Motorcyclist magazine
Now that’s a much better profile, don’t you think? With relatively few mods, this Scout has a much more custom, even menacing look.Photo: Brian Hatano

Wrist: Brian Hatano
MSRP (2015): $11,299
Miles: 7,126
MPG: 39
Mods: Rear fender mod, Biltwell taillight and plate bracket, Rizoma Club rear turn indicators, CRG bar-end mirrors

Saving the best for last is certainly a cliche move but that's exactly what I did. The final modification for my long-term Scout is one that I planned on doing since day one when I saw the custom Wall of Death Scout. Since then I've had plenty of time to think about how much of the fender to cut and what other changes would be needed to achieve the look that I was going for.

And as more and more custom Scouts began to appear on the internet, I paid particularly close attention to what people were doing to the rear fender. I saw a couple of very nice hand-fabricated fenders but going full custom was not what I had in mind nor would it be a practical weekend mod for most Scout owners. I wanted to keep it simple and doable for anyone who liked the end result.

Indian Scout fender mods by Brian Hatano
The forward mounting bolt served as a perfect reference point for measuring the left and right side cuts.Photo: Brian Hatano

The problem that I was seeing with all of the Scout fender bobs was that regardless of how the tail section was trimmed, the profiles looked out of proportion. Too much side material left in relation to the length of the fender, and too much of the tire remained hidden. The solution was simple: A nice radius job on the left and right sides.

The first step of a bob job is to tape off the section of the tail that you want to remove. Once I determined the point where I wanted the cut to be, I used fixed reference points (in this case, the forward mounting bolts, which I knew would be equal on both sides) to make sure the cut would be symmetrical.

How to radius the Indian Scout fender
I used an engineer's square to measure and mark the fender opening so that both sides would be equal. If you don't have a square, get creative and improvise.Photo: Brian Hatano

With my cut line laid out with tape, it was time to pull the fender from the bike; an easy task once the taillight and turn signal assembly is removed.

My tool of choice for a cut like this is a saber saw with variable-speed trigger and a good metal-cutting blade. I lay out more tape on either side of the cut to protect the paint from scratches. I definitely don’t want to repaint the fender if I can avoid it. After bobbing the tail, I used an engineer’s square set at one inch to measure and mark the left and right radius. My eyeball said that removing a one-inch strip of material from the sides would look good and not expose the frame underneath. By running the square along the fender edge and marking the one-inch pattern along the way, I would keep the original radius of the fender but reveal the whole sidewall of the tire.

Long-term Indian Scout fender bob
There a several tools that you can use to cut a fender but nothing beats a good saber saw. I use a Bosch fitted with a plastic shoe on the base plate, and and a good metal-cutting blade.Photo: Brian Hatano
Scout fender modifications
Here you can see exactly how much material I removed from the fender. Opening up the radius reveals more tire and gets away from the stubby look that most of the bobbed Scout fenders have.Photo: Brian Hatano

The tip here is to avoid cutting too much material away. As you can see, removing a just a small strip from the radius not only reveals the whole sidewall of the tire, but it also prevents the fender from looking fat and stubby. Rounding off the corner also helps with the finished appearance. To do so, I used a one-quart painter’s cup for a pattern to round off the left and right corners evenly.

To compliment the hot rod look of the bobbed and radiused fender, I removed the front altogether, added CRG bar-end mirrors from a past project, and made it legal with Rizoma turn signals and Biltwell taillight/license plate bracket combo, painted black of course.

How to bob an Indian Scout fender
Taillight and plate bracket are Biltwell items. Rizoma Club turn signal lights match the fronts.Photo: Brian Hatano

Once I slipped that fender back into place, I fell in love with this bike all over again. As they say, you know you got the modification right when you park the bike and start to walk away, but then turn around to check it out again. The Scout was a stylish cruiser in stock form, but with the final mods in place, I can’t stop looking at it. I will definitely miss it.

CRG bar-end mirrors for the Indian Scout
CRG Arrow bar-end mirrors were scavenged from a past build. Installation required cutting about an inch off the end of the throttle tube and grip to expose the handlebar end.Photo: Brian Hatano
Custom Indian Scout modifications
And a parting shot from the left side.Photo: Brian Hatano