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An Indian with Aladdin's magic carpet

By Kunal Kelkar
February 15, 2015 10:29 IST
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The re-imagined Indian Scout is a motorcycle that captures the magic of the Indian spirit, filters it through some modern technology and allows for a unique riding experience.

If one was to experience a ride on Aladdin's magic carpet, the Scout will be the ideal vehicle closest to that feeling. It whooshes down the road and gets the rider intoxicated with its movements, says Kunal Kelkar.

Indian Scout

According to Hugo Wilson, author of The A-Z of Motorcycles, the 101 Scout is the Best motorcycle Indian ever made. That was what he wrote in his book that was published in 1995. The comment was also about the original Scout that was produced from 1919 till 1949. It's been two decades since that comment was published and at least seven decades since the Indian Scout was updated.

The 2015 Indian Scout is an all-new product and is as important a product as it was back in the 1920s. Here's what I have to say about it.

This bike has a presence. No doubt it has that unmistakable cruiser look but in no way does this bike feel aged. People may relate it to the looks of the Harley-Davidson Forty-Eight but in my opinion it looks outstandingly better. It has a distinct bad boy look that yells, 'I care about myself, the rest can go to hell.' That is reiterated by the fact that the Scout has a beautifully designed and comfortable single saddle.

Indian Scout

The cast aluminium frame in matte black is visible at the neck of the bike and below the seat. The huge radiator is integrated well into the frame and sits at the front of the bike behind the forks. It is meant to make the bike look beefy.

The swept tank, bobber style fenders and a single round headlight add a lot to the bike's badass presence. There is no shortage of chrome on the Scout and the engine, though it is sand blasted black, gets chrome highlights mimicking the push rods and intricate engravings of 'I' for Indian.

It looks raw and yet has a certain finesse to it. I will say that I do like the looks of the bike a lot. In a country like India it is bound to turn heads. In my opinion the Matte Grey is the best colour option, though black and red are not far from prize winners too.

The Indian Scout is a simple bike in many ways but it is packed with a lot of modern technology. The most obvious advancement is the new motor from Polaris. The Scout gets an 1133cc liquid cooled 49-degree V-twin that produces 100bhp or power and 98Nm of torque. That is more than enough for anyone to get a move on.

Indian Scout

Fuel injection and throttle-by-wire monitors the gas delivery and there are six gears in the transmission in a one down and five up sequence.

My first reaction to sitting on the Scout was how low it was. You definitely do not sit in the seat, you sit on it. The low handlebars are easy and comfortable to hold and the seating position is ideal for long distance riding, relaxed and easy-going.

The single display unit is conveniently out of view while riding. You have to look down at it if you want to see what it reads, that doesn't matter though because apart from the low fuel gauge the rest isn't too important, yes that is including the speed as well. I'll get to that in a bit. The handlebar controls are ergonomically placed and can be controlled without any excessive stretching of the fingers etc.

Indian Scout

Riding this bike around the city was not the best experience I have had. It is definitely not meant for stop-go traffic that we constantly see in the Indian metros. During such situations the bike does seem to heat up which can make the area around your thighs quite uncomfortable. That is honestly one of the biggest issues an owner of an Indian Scout would be facing in India, but that is it! Once you get this bike moving it is surreal.

If one was to experience a ride on Aladdin's magic carpet, the Scout will be the ideal vehicle closest to that feeling. It whooshes down the road and gets the rider intoxicated with its movements.

The Scout is at ease while moving along the highway between 80-100km/h, but twist the throttle anywhere from the 2000-8000 rpm mark and this engine comes to life throwing the speedometer needle to the end of the dial. The ability of the engine to pick up speed is phenomenal. It does so immediately. This also depends on the gear you are in but second and third gear will take you all the way to 120km/hr in a matter of seconds.

The higher you rev the bike, the more you seem to notice that the Scout doesn't like to cross the 7000rpm mark. That's when the bike starts to vibrate a lot and close to the 9000rpm mark it gets really uncomfortable.

To tell you the truth, you never need to get that high up in the rev range with this engine. The Scout's 1133cc V-twin has enough of a grunt to help you overtake any vehicle on the highway without having to downshift.

Riding at 70km/hr in sixth gear, twist the throttle and watch the speedo climb to a 100km/hr in no time.

Indian Scout

Unlike the regular cruisers that can be annoying to handle in packed traffic, the Scout is extremely easy to maneuver. Due to its low-slung handlebars and high torque, quick movements in traffic are a delight and the bike handles its 244kg extremely well.

The low stance of the bike and the 31-degree lean angle allows for some great carving on winding roads and making U-turns are no issue in this mid-sized cruiser. The single disc brakes in the front and rear have enough of a bite to bring this relatively big bike to a stand still and my favourite part is that the power is delivered to the rear wheel through the means of a fat belt.

Yep, the Indian Scout is belt driven! How awesome is that!

To sum it up, the re-imagined Indian Scout is a motorcycle that captures the magic of the Indian spirit, filters it through some modern technology and allows for a unique riding experience. Priced at Rs 13.5 lakh (on-road, Delhi) Indian has certainly got an ace up it's sleeve with the Scout.

If I were in the market for a bike that looks like a cruiser but handles better than one then the Scout would definitely be at the top of my list. I love the looks of this bike, the engine is phenomenal and more than anything I would be buying a brand that has had my attention ever since I sat on two wheels.

There is something about the name Indian that really vibes with me. All Polaris and Indian have to do now is market their product well and the Scout will have a large fan following in no time.

Photographs: Courtesy, Indian Motorcycles

 

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Kunal Kelkar