Can you tour on an Indian Scout?
1958 miles in a week says you can. I took my Scout and a few optional Indian touring accessories on a trip to the Pyrenees.
The fork mounted screen (mid height model, £474) is one of the best detachable cruiser screens I’ve used. I’m 6’ 4” tall 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 noticeably over 85mph.
The extended reach leather seat (£274), bars (£164) and footpeg extensions (£164) provide extra inches of stretch room for my long limbs but personally 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. A couple of Ibuprofen in the morning helps with all day rides.
The thick leather on the seat absorbs water and takes hours to dry, removing waterproofs too early results in a damp backside. Vibes don’t intrude even at an 80mph cruising speed (4500rpm). Ride quality is typical cruiser, lazy and cushioning but bottoms out very easily on potholed roads.
Keeping up with your mates
I travelled south with a wide variety of bike types including a tuned Suzuki GSX1400, Kawasaki GTR1400, Triumph Tiger 800 and an Aprilia Caponord (2015 model). The Scout didn’t slow the group down on either Autoroute or the mountain roads. The 1133cc 60° V-twin produces a class leading amount of grunt that builds all the way to 8000rpm. It’s a revelation in this style of bike and has the potential to out-drag sportier bikes away from hairpin bends. Don’t expect to dice with a well ridden sportsbike though.
We tried a couple of 40mph third gear roll-on tests against the GSX1400, Tiger 955 and GTR on a clear section of Autoroute, the Scout pulled cleanly away from the Suzuki and Triumph but didn’t stand a chance against the GTR.
Ground clearance is good (especially with the extended reach pegs as they raise your heels an inch) and handling is surprisingly competent. The Indian branded Kenda tyres are fine in the dry but truly dreadful in the wet and will be changed at the earliest opportunity. Fuel economy is good, 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 cotton reel style mounting lugs (included in above price). The bags are only claimed to be water resistant but didn’t leak a drop despite some very heavy sustained rainfall on the Autoroutes. Capacity isn’t huge and you have to squeeze your luggage into a letter box 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.
2015 Indian Scout
Kerb weight: 258kg (claimed)
MPG: 48mpg (ave)
Mods to date: Extended range full grain leather seat unit £274, Extended range peg kit £164, Extended range bars £164, Touring screen (mid height) £474, Soft full grain leather panniers (include fitting kit) £1240, Stage 1 exhaust kit - £942. Prices correct in 2015.
Ped Baker, managing editor, digital and events
Height: 6ft 4in
His riding: 30 years experience. Currently owns a 1990 Harley Davidson FXR, 1972 Triumph X75 Hurricane and 1962 Vespa 125.