Michael C. Wilson
Photos courtesy Indian Motorcycles
It’s a bit of fashion over function, but I am OK with that.
“Nice bike!” shouts a middle-aged man out of the window of his minivan. “Is that the new Indian?”
“Yeah!” I shout back through my helmet.
“Do you like it?” he asks. Or at least I think that’s what he asked–I have headphones in so I am sort of listening and reading lips.
“Yeah, but it’s really hot!” I shout back–and that’s true. I’ve been sweating my ass off on this thing for 30 minutes as I inch towards the toll booth to get into the Lincoln tunnel. The temperature today is just north of 60 degrees, but my right leg feels like it’s on fire. That’s what you get when you position the seat directly on top of a 69 cu inch engine.
Temperature aside, this bike is pretty comfortable. The seat could use a bit more padding, but it’s fine. I don’t foresee myself taking this bike out for a 400-mile day any time soon, but that’s not what this bike is for. Indian Motorcycles built this bike to check as many styling boxes as possible.
Big mean fat tires: Check.
Chunky tank badge: Check.
Low slung stance: Check.
Under mounted mirrors: Check.
Deep throaty exhaust sound: Check
All black everything: Check. Check. Check.
That doesn’t mean the Bobber is a poor performing bike, far from it. The low stance (seat height: 25.6 in.) and center of gravity make it surprisingly nimble. I feel in control even with the forward controls, which I normally despise. It weighs 554 pounds, but feels much lighter.
And then there is the power. Ohhh, the power. 100 hp and 72 lb-ft of torque leaves little to be desired. As I make my way home from work on a crowded New Jersey highway, I feel confident that I can put this bike exactly where I want at all times, in any gear.
The delivery of that power is generally very smooth. The one thing I noticed was a bit of transmission slippage between first and second gear if I revved too high. That might just be the loaner model I got from Rollin Fast Motorcycles in Lebanon, New Jersey. I’d have to ride another to see if it’s a consistent problem.
There’s a repair man at my building fixing a broken pipe in the garage when I get home. As I roll in, he stops what he’s doing and stares wide-eyed at me. Well, not me, the bike. He strikes up a conversation and starts asking questions, but I can tell his mind is already made up. He wants one.
I simply don’t get this kind of reaction on my Bonneville. No one looks twice, no one asks questions, in spite of the very tasteful custom work I’ve done and I think that’s the Scout’s main appeal. It’s not about performance, it’s not about technology (you’ll have to wait for the production model of the FTR1200 for that), it’s about looking cool. And if I’m being honest, that’s the whole reason I started riding in the first place.