Indian rolls out more affordable Scout

Indian Motorcycle, stealing a march on its two-wheeled competitors, used the occasion of the Los Angeles Auto Show to unveil a new version of its successful Indian Scout.

The Indian Scout Sixty is being unwrapped during the auto show, rather than the upcoming Progressive International Motorcycle Show, which starts in Long Beach on Friday evening.

The littler Scout carries a 1,000cc engine (60 cubic inches, hence its name) compared to the 1200 cc full-size Scout. Its liquid-cooled V-twin  motor makes 78 horsepower and 65 pound-feet of torque, on a chassis that offers a very low 25.3" seat height.

It's not littler in every way, though. The Scout Sixty, despite its smaller motor, weights two pounds more than the more powerful Scout.

But Indian is quick to point out that it's 24 pounds lighter than a Harley-Davidson Iron 883, a comparable machine, and at 78 horsepower is 25% more powerful.

Priced at $8,999 -- nearly $2,000 cheaper than its bigger brother -- the bike is positioned as an answer to the often lower-priced Japanese competitors, as well as a U.S.-built alternative to the Harley-Davidson Sportster and Street models.

"We're gaining in market share," said Steve Menneto, vice president of motorcycles for Indian parent company Polaris Industries. "And you can see Harley is losing market share."

Menneto acknowledged that the Scout had suffered from some production problems -- issues at a paint shop, mostly -- but that in October had come up to full production and was meeting demand.

With a dealership network that now includes 330 outlets, in 44 countries -- and an increasingly robust group of 225 dealers in the U.S. -- Menneto said he expects the Scout line to become the company's best seller internationally.

"The Scout was always meant to be the global bike," he said. "We think the Scout Sixty will do great, too."

Twitter: @misterfleming

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