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Autos

First Ride: 2015 Indian Scout

2015 Indian Scout
Polaris-owned Indian Motorcycles is pressing its case against Harley-Davidson with the release of the Scout -- a direct assault on Harley’s market-leading Sportster
(Myung Chun)

The 2015 Indian is the reborn Native American brand’s fifth entry into the marketplace – after its three Indian Chief models last year and its Roadmaster earlier this year.

But this is the company’s first “small” bike – a lightweight, 1200cc, mid-size motorcycle aimed squarely at the Harley-Davidson Sportster.

Indian executives always praise their big bike competitor, and for now only claim a scant 3% share of the heavy cruiser motorcycle segment that Harley dominates.

But they are proud to compare their Scout with Harley’s traditional entry level bike, the Sportster.

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The Scout claims 100HP to the Sportster’s 68HP. The Scout has higher torque, a six-speed transmission to the Sportster’s five, lower weight, and a lower seat height. It also has a higher MSRP -- $10,999 to the Sportster’s $10,649.

It’s a really capable, easy to ride motorcycle -- so short, with such a low center of gravity, and so well-balanced, that despite its engine displacement it could easily be someone’s first motorcycle.

The power comes on firmly, but the power band is usable – torquey, down low, but also quite strong well through the higher RPMs.

On the other hand, it has no ABS, and not much travel on the rear end, and no windscreen. I felt the bumps, despite the lovely hand-tooled leather seat, and after about fifteen minutes on the freeway felt like I had done thirty minutes of an abs workout.

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This model is a return to glory for Polaris-owned Indian. The Scout was originally introduced in 1920, and ruled the road for the next 20 years. As many as 30,000 of them served in World War II, before the model was discontinued.

The new Indian Scout is supposed to be in dealerships by December. Based on the classic styling, attractive MSRP and the response I got riding this one around for a couple of weeks, you’re going to see a lot of them on the road soon after.

Follow me on Twitter: @misterfleming


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