Although unusual at first (similar to Ducati’s Diavel, the Scout’s cruiser riding position is a little at odds with its willingness to sweep and scratch through the bends) The Scout has enough performance and handling to be a blast anyone can enjoy. Despite the fat, 130-section front tyre, the steering remains light and precise, the ride quality consistent and smooth. The twin pot single disc front brake is basic but braking power is more than adequate for this type of bike. Handling-wise, the Scout reminded me most of a Triumph, bikes renowned for their handling aplomb. Think of the Bonneville America but with extra oomph, style and substance, extra everything really. That’s praise indeed.
To meet performance targets, the all-new, V-twin had to be liquid-cooled. Yet the Scout doesn’t hide its water jacket with fake finning as so many do. Instead it revels in it with clever styling and tactile machining. It’s also decently brisk. From zero to four or five K the Scout just thumps along, happily, familiarly, like many other V-twin cruisers. Above that, however, the new Indian has an added dimension most of its rivals lack: a willingness to rev to eight thou. Cruising and ‘squirting’ has never blended so well…
Too early to say on reliability and, although some components are a tad basic and it nowhere near matches the luxury of the bigger Indians, the Scout’s largely good enough.
Our only doubt is the price which, we think, is a tad salty. It’s over a grand more than the closest Harley, the 48, which has far more proven residuals. It also puts it a full £3000 more than, say, Triumph’s America (which, admittedly, it both outguns and out-poses). In fact, that price puts it in Ducati Monster 1200 and Guzzi Griso LE territory which, while not strictly cruisers, both have justifiable performance and quality claims of their own.
Less lavish and extravagant than the £20K Indian Chief range but there’s still plenty of class. Paint and chrome are thick, clocks, mirrors, levers and more are decent, shocks (see above) better than most. Only slight disappointments are slightly basic switchgear and front brake performance. ‘Signature’ tan leather seat, meanwhile, according to lead project designer Rich Christophe, was “a no brainer”.
The 2019 version will have new paint options and a USB port added to the dash.