Long term update: Unlocking Scout's promise
Without doubt, the Scout’s eight-valve V-twin motor is one of the best engines in any cruiser. It revs freely with gobs of power all the way to the 8000rpm limiter and gives just enough mechanical feedback (vibes) to make it feel like a proper V-twin. The trouble is, it also encourages you to use more of the engine for more of the time and that can leave the suspension in catch-up mode, especially down a bumpy back lane.
With short travel rear shocks and softly sprung and damped forks, the bike has a tendency to pitch back and forth over large bumps, the rear shocks occasionally bottoming out and pushing the bike off line, sometimes with alarming consequences.
It’s true, the Scout isn’t designed as a sportsbike and for 95% of the time the suspension is fine but now and again it would be nice not to roll off the throttle quite as much, and that’s where Ikon fork springs and shocks come in.
The Ikon 7610-1674 SP9 rear shocks (£446.88) and 500-931 progressive fork springs (£94.80) are direct replacement units. Both shocks and fork springs were installed in an afternoon, a 3/4 inch Allen key (for the front axle) and an under-engine hydraulic lift are the only specialised items needed. Ikon also advise that the forks are refilled with heavier 15-weight fork oil to improve damping.
Frustratingly only the front axle torque settings are listed in the owner’s handbook, but a Google search found the rest. I left the rear shock’s preload adjusters on the softest of their three settings.I could feel an improvement before I reached the end of my street. The rear damping felt slightly plusher, and the front didn’t dive so much on the brakes. Overall it felt like any slop had been tightened up.
I then used my familiar commute into the office to directly compare the new suspension against the old. Down country lanes and over familiar bumps there was far less bottoming out, and the pitching I’d experienced before had almost been eliminated.
OK, the new shocks and springs haven’t turned the Scout into a sportsbike and the cruiser design geometry of short-travel, raked-out forks doesn’t help, but I’d say the Ikon units have improved the suspension by 20% and that’s enough to allow me to use a little more of that glorious engine!