Long term update: Can you tour on the Indian Scout?
The fork-mounted screen (mid-height model, £474) is one of best detachable cruiser screens I’ve used. I’m 6ft 4in and didn’t suffer lid buffeting or intrusive turbulence on the French autoroutes. Wind pressure affects the handling eventually, as it does with all fork/handlebar mounted screens but it’s only noticeable over 85mph.
The extended-reach leather seat (£274), bars (£164) and footpeg extensions (£164) provide extra inches of room for my long limbs but I find the feet-forward riding position (on any bike) uncomfortable on long trips. It’s not easy to move about with your legs outstretched so you’re forced to sit in one place, initiating bum ache in around 70 miles.
The thick leather on the seat absorbs water and takes hours to dry so removing waterproofs too early results in a damp backside. Vibes don’t intrude even at an 80mph cruising speed.
Keeping up with your mates
I travelled south with a wide variety of bike types, including a tuned Suzuki GSX1400, Kawasaki 1400GTR, Triumph Tiger 800 and an Aprilia Caponord (2015 model). The Scout didn’t slow the group down on either autoroute or the mountain roads. Ground clearance is good (especially with the extended-reach pegs as they raise your heels an inch), and the handling is surprisingly competent.
The engine produces a class-leading amount of grunt that builds all the way to 8000rpm. It’s a revelation in this type of bike and gives it the potential to outdrag sportier bikes away from hairpin bends. Don’t expect to dice with a well-ridden sportsbike though. Fuel economy is OK, averaging 56mpg on the trip and 140 miles to the fuel light.
Packing it in
At £1240 the leather-covered rigid panniers are expensive but nicely made and slot securely on the bike with neat and unobtrusive mounting lugs (included in above price). The bags claim only to be water-resistant but didn’t leak a drop despite very heavy sustained rainfall on the autoroutes.
The capacity isn’t huge and you have to squeeze your luggage into a letterbox shape to fit it in but there’s just enough space for a week’s lightweight touring. On the downside they’re a tricky shape to carry when off the bike. A simple fabric handle attached to the hidden, mudguard side of the bags would be an obvious hack.