2016 Indian Scout Sixty Review |
Smaller Is Better
While rival Harley-Davidson has been busy putting larger motors in various cruisers—check our review of the Low Rider S last issue for an example—Indian has chosen the opposite tack to expand the popularity of the Scout introduced last year. The Scout Sixty removes some cosmetic and chrome bobbles from the standard Scout, along with reducing the bore by three millimeters and, oddly, absconding with the Scout’s fifth cog (of six).
With an identical chassis, save for a slight mod to the shock springs, hopping on the Scout Sixty is a familiar experience if you have ridden the standard Scout. What you might not expect is that the functionality of the Scout Sixty is very much the same as the Scout, despite the loss of fifth gear and eight cubic inches.
Indian claims the Scout Sixty is down 22 horses on the Scout. That may very well be, but the loss of torque is just seven ft/lbs, and the Scout Sixty hits its pulling peak in just a few fewer spins of the crank than the Scout.
Without riding them back-to-back, the Scout Sixty gives up nothing around town to its eight-cubic-inch-larger-displacement brother. You will still be able to bend traffic to your will, as you can aggressively move between and around cars as needed. If anything, the decrease in power makes the Sixty less fatiguing to ride in urban areas—there’s a reason high-horsepower bikes have Urban power modes that pad down the output.
All of the advantages of the agile chassis remain, along with the less-than-satisfactory rear shocks. They should be upgraded before rolling the bike off the showroom floor as the low, firm seat amplifies their harsh shortcomings.
Like the standard Scout, the ergonomics of the Sixty make it a great city bike, and the handling works well in the canyons—it even has decent cornering clearance. The wide bars and fat tires provide a confident ride, and the Sixty goes where you point it.
The Scout Sixty’s least favorite riding location is the freeway. The upright seating and the spread-out handlebars turn you into something of a sail, so consider the freeway to just be a way to quickly scoot between desired roads.
Given the Sixty’s antipathy for open highway riding, the loss of fifth gear from the standard Scout is not an issue. It means you have a nicely spaced five-speed for the city environment, and then an overdrive gear for when you want the engine to relax at higher speeds.
For me, the Indian Scout Sixty is about riding through town, acknowledging the appreciative glances and gawking, and simply enjoying the fun of taking a spin on a cool bike. With the smaller 61 cubic inch engine, it turns out the lesser-powered Scout is easier to ride in traffic and on streets with urban speed limits, leaving you fresher when you meet up with friends for food and drink. I never once felt engine-deprived, and I prefer the more-black/less-chrome appearance of the Sixty.
Did Indian make a better Scout and charge $2300 less for it? I would say so.
Photography by Kelly Callan
Sunglasses: Revision Hellfly Ballistic
Jacket: Rev’It Flatbush Vintage
Gloves: Dainese 1972
Jeans: AGV Sport Malibu Kevlar
Boots: TCX Heritage Waterproof