Indian Motorcycle Riders Group Inaugural Ride | Scouting for BBQ

Scouting for BBQ on the Indian Scout
Scouting for BBQ on the Indian Scout

Indian Riders Group Debut Ride Recap / 2015 Indian Scout Review

Indian Motorcycle Company’s star is in its ascendency since its 2011 revival and the 2013 introduction of the new generation bikes. To celebrate the arrival of the 2015 models, including the new Scout, Indian had decided to organize a ride for owners and fans.

When the planning was complete, Indian had joined with an old and a new partner to make this ride one to remember. Jack Daniels Old No. 7, a long-time partner, came on board along with Mike Wolfe, star of History Channel’s American Pickers and a huge fan of Indian. The brands would combine to entertain and satisfy the appetites of the hungry hoard.

This became the Inaugural Indian Motorcycle Riders Group ride from Nashville to the Jack Daniels Distillery in Lynchburg, Tenn. The route we took was about 125 miles, and the good folks at Old No. 7 threw a barbecue – one like many on the ride have never experienced.

About 175 bikes and 250 participants arrived for the event that oversubscribed almost immediately after its invitation went out. We all met the night before the ride at a hotel in downtown Nashville for drinks, gift bags and hours of talking with old and new friends and like-minded riders.

The next morning was chilly when we rolled into our morning meeting and starting point at Mike Wolfe’s American Archeology, his retail outlet in Nashville. It was bristling to the ceiling with the accumulated cast-offs of so many lifetimes. Wolfe is a friendly and gregarious fellow, and he cheerfully chatted and stood for photos with countless fans. He then addressed the multitude with words of praise for Indian and a welcome to town.

That was our cue to saddle up for the ride. By then the sun had come out and temperatures raised to better support our comfort. I was issued a black 2015 Indian Scout, the brand new water-cooled, V-Twin, 69 ci (1130 cc), 6-speed cruiser that produces 100 horsepower and 72 ft/lbs. of torque.

With forward controls and a relaxed seating position this was a perfect companion for the part-highway, part-country road jaunt to lunch. I think the bike is stunning and it received a whole lot of attention from riders of other Indians, many twice the price or more.

The new engine in the Scout looks nothing like the Thunderstroke 111 used throughout the Polaris-owned company’s existing Chief range. Other than its V-Twin layout it take takes few, if any, design cues from other bikes. I like the look of the plain black cylinder cases with bright accents going up into the polished-looking heads with round camshaft ends. I wanted to throw a leg over the minute I saw it – and it didn’t disappoint.

The police escorted us out of town, as befits this outlaw group, and we headed to Sloan’s Motorcycle/ATV store in Murfreesboro for a snack and an opportunity to demo other Indian models.

Sloan’s is an enormous shop that is chock full of more bikes, ATVs and related gear and apparel then even this jaded Californian is accustomed to seeing under one roof. It’s a nice confirmation of the continued recovery of our industry. I’d bet they sold an awful lot of t-shirts that day.

The Scout asks little of the rider. Its 100 horsepower allows brisk acceleration and plenty of cruising power. This was an escorted ride so normal moto-journo hijinks were kept to a minimum, although there was a five-minute window in which I found that the Scout is well-mannered all the way until the forward pegs, or my boot heels, touched down.

It keeps its line and does not wallow over fast and uneven surfaces. The Scout rolls on a slightly large front at 130/90-16 and 150/80-16 at the rear. I like how this combination gives some extra width to the front for smoother cruising and the rear is not over-ambitious in size, yielding good, crisp handling.

It’s got enough torque to satisfy and races ahead whether you have the engine on the boil or are just grunting from low revs in too high a gear. It weighs 558 pounds, including a full 3.3 gallons of fuel, which is a nice power to weight ratio for its class. But fuel stops will be in the 120-130 mile range.

The seat height is 25.3 inches, and this 6-footer was quite comfortable in the ergonomic triangle of the Scout. The stock seat is most-of-the-day comfortable, and the controls are well-placed and smooth to operate. Accessories for less reach, extra reach, wind protection, storage and seating are available. This Scout rates excellent in overall build quality and, even up close, welds are nice and finish is as you would hope and expect from Indian.

There’s no fuel level or gear position indicator on the simple speedometer gauge, but the menu selector allows a small LED display to show the odometer, trip, engine temperature and tach. There is a low fuel light, too.

Braking duties were performed adequately by single discs front and rear, 2-pots and 1-pot respectively. Nothing to brag about, but braking performance was certainly commensurate with the bike’s overall abilities.

I can’t help feeling that the Scout is more the Sportster that many riders wish Harley-Davidson would build, and believe it to have a strong future. I asked about the possibility of a version with foot pegs under the rider’s hips, like the old H-D Street Rod had. For now, what you see is what you get, and management is watching trends carefully.

Given the quick sellout, the number of participants could have been much greater but for the space limitations in Jack Daniels VIP tent. We were served BBQ ribs, three inch thick chops, pulled-pork, beans, coleslaw and all the trimmings with bread pudding and ice cream in JD sauce for dessert. Portions were enormous and the volume of meat that kept coming was dizzying.

Riding in Tennessee was a first for me and, for what little I saw, I was enchanted and captivated by the rolling farmland that swept by us to the south and southeast of Nashville. The roads were clean and the pavement was about blemish free. The leaves were turning and falling and the feeling of bombing through these back roads while leaving a trail of blown leaves in one’s wake is exhilarating and so much fun.

We rolled through so many towns with cute names, like Bell Buckle, and the atmosphere was peaceful and serene. Tennessee drivers, from what I experienced, are calm and courteous.

When we stopped along the road for photos drivers would slow down and pass slowly, unlike what I’m accustomed to in the big city. On these roads, with this gang, the 2015 Indian Scout was the perfect ride and made my Tennessee experience one to always remember.

Riding Style:

  • Helmet: Shoei GT-Air Wanderer TC-6
  • Eyewear: Persol PO3021S
  • Jacket: River Road Scout
  • Gloves Dainese Veleta X Trafit GTX
  • Jeans: Orange County Chopper Defender V2
  • Boots: River Road Turnpike Cruiser