Long-Term Indian Scout: Trask Handlebars

Trask V-Line bars for less pull-back, more style.

Brian Hatano's project Indian Scout
The new Trask V-Line handlebars feel as good as they look with slightly less pull-back putting the rider in a more standard position.Photo: Brian Hatano

WRIST: Brian Hatano
MSRP (2015): $11,299
MILES: 5,920
MPG: 40
MODS: Trask V-Line Handlebar

How to install Indian Scout handlebars
A good quality tank cover will stay in place and allow you to remove metal items like the brake and clutch levers and rest them on the tank without fear of damaging the finish. Sure you can use a blanket, but cloth slips. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!Photo: Brian Hatano

Have you ever tried to bend your own set of handlebars? It’s not as easy as it seems, or perhaps I’m just not as good with making multiple symmetrical left-and-right bends and contours in tubing as I am with shaping sheetmetal. Even using the best Mittler Bros. electric-hydraulic bender and calculating the project with Bend Tech software, I sent three 10-foot sticks of steel tubing into the dumpster (that’s three tries) before I succeeded in making my first set of apehangers for a custom build I was working on. The only thing simpler than apes would be to put four even 90-degree bends on a flat plane (no contour or pull-back) and call it a day.

Installing Scout handlebars
Pay attention to how the control housing comes apart and you won’t have any issues putting it back together. Once you separate the right-side control housing, the throttle tube slides off the bar end. Next, remove the riser clamp (the speedo is part of the clamp assembly) and hold onto the handlebar so that it doesn’t drop. Then slide the throttle actuator off the end.Photo: Brian Hatano

My skills improved over time thanks to more mistakes and practice, but the lesson here is that there is nothing like discovering how difficult a fabrication task is before you can truly appreciate a good quality aftermarket product.

Stock Indian Scout bars vs Trask bars
The Trask bar has less pullback, is shorter and the grips are angled outward for a more conventional feel.Photo: Brian Hatano

Welding bars together is less complicated; however, other factors such as welding skill and equipment come into play. And the finished product will have angles and gussets rather than smooth bends. Not a bad thing. It’s just a matter of preference.

As comfortable as they are, I desperately wanted to get away from the pull-back style of the OEM bars. Making my own set of bars for the Scout would require both bending and welding since the one-inch-diameter Scout bars reduce to ⅞-inch at the hand controls. I considered it for a split-second but the moment quickly passed when I saw a handlebar made by Trask Performance, the company that makes the 2-1 exhaust pipe that is currently on my long-term bike.

Indian Scout throttle
This photo shows the Trask V-Line Handlebar in place (riser clamp snug but not fully tightened). The throttle actuator and bottom half of the control housing slides onto the bar end. The throttle tube then slides into place. The keyway in the plastic throttle tube assures that the grip locks into place once the top control housing is reinstalled.Photo: Brian Hatano

The Trask V-Line Handlebar for the Indian Scout ($309.95 in chrome or black; $279.95 for raw finish) is made from one-inch-OD seamless DOM (drawn over mandrel) steel tubing with ends that reduce to ⅞-inch just like the stock bars. According to the Trask website (traskperformance.com), the V-Line is a "direct bolt-on replacement" designed to use the OEM controls.

Trask bars for Scout
The Trask bar is drilled for internal wiring but I chose to keep it simple. The small gusset adds style points as well as strength. And yes, I did zip-tie the harness up!Photo: Brian Hatano

The change-out process is the same as if you were swapping the stock bar for one of Indian’s extended- or reduced-reach options. As with any modification, a service manual is a valuable tool to help you through the process. If you can’t find a manual it’s a doable mod for all but the most hamfisted DIYer; easier than a comparable swap on a Harley-Davidson thanks to a thoughtful ride-by-wire throttle assembly. No cables to loosen and readjust. As long as you map the removal of each control (remember how you took it apart), you’ll have no problem reversing the process. Tools needed: a fitted tank cover is optional but so much better than a blanket for protecting the finish. I used my Snap-on cover designed for Harley fat bob tanks and the fit on the Scout tank was almost perfect. Compressed air is nice to have for removing and reinstalling the left grip (the right-side grip slides off and on with the throttle tube). I also suggest a set of good T-handle Torx wrenches and ¼-inch or ⅜-inch drive Allen sockets with ratchet and short extension.

Trask handlebars for Indian Scout
Here's what the V-Line looks like from the rider's perspective. You have a choice of chrome, gloss black or raw steel if you have some other treatment in mind.Photo: Brian Hatano

I’m extremely pleased with all aspects of the Trask handlebar installation. Not only do they add a more aggressive look that I’m after, but they’re also just as comfortable (to me) as the excellent ergos of the stock Scout setup. Combined with the reduced-reach seat’s extra rear support that pushes me up towards the tank, the Trask bars put me in a more sporting position with a slight forward lean, just enough to bring the controls closer. I’ll be keeping these bars on the Scout until it’s time to go back to Indian.

If you’re a new Scout owner with plans to perform your first handlebar swap, don’t be intimidated by the unknown. The Trask V-Line Handlebar is a perfect fit with no hidden surprises waiting for you during this installation. Just take your time, use the right tools and allow yourself a few hours to complete the job.