Article and Photos: Brian Cheyne
It is widely accepted that Harley-Davidson is the oldest American brand of motorcycle. Fact is, that title goes to Indian. Since the start of the 20th century there has been a fierce rivalry between these two companies. Unfortunately, Indian’s production was interrupted a few times due to bad decision or bad timing. In 2011, the American company Polaris acquired the naming rights Indian and Polaris do not intend for the production to be interrupted again. Their product line-up includes big touring bikes with names like Chief and Springfield, and at the lower end, we have the object of my attention, the Scout Sixty.
Built as a smaller version of the Indian Scout, the Sixty points to the 61 cubic inch engine. The V-twin engine is water-cooled and develops 78hp, and the whole design has an old fashioned look to it. A fine touch is the ignition, that sits on the left, under the tank, just like the bikes of yesteryear.
Classic flowing lines makes the Indian look longer and lower than it already is. With the seat not even 65cm off the ground, this bike will be an ideal match with shorter riders. With the feet-forward seating position and swept handlebars, the Scout forces you into a relaxed cruising position.
The round instrument binnacle shows speed and on the LCD part you can choose between total distance, one trip meter, engine temperature or rpm. There is a gear indicator and a clock, but omitting a fuel gauge on a bike that is supposed to be a cruiser is a bit of an oversight.
The engine is smooth and the gearbox feels modern. Even though it only has 5 cogs, you will never notice it. To me, the Scout is an anomaly. The lines and the seating position says cruiser, but on the road, this bike is just so much fun that you want to wring the throttle wide open at every opportunity. It is such a confidence inspiring bike, and for beginner riders it has features like ABS and self-cancelling indicators. The view in the teardrop-shaped mirrors is good and finding fault with the Indian is difficult.
As is the norm with American motorcycles, you will be hard pressed to find any plastic bits on this Indian. Even the swooping tail fender is metal. It does add weight to the motorcycle, but because everything is so low the weight is not a factor.
This bike wants you to ride it, all day, all week, until you run out of road. And you will enjoy every second of it. Your journey can start from as little as R149 900.