We’re covering the 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally with our wheels on the ground here in South Dakota. Mount up for ongoing reports from the year’s biggest motorcycle event.
It was a savvy move for Indian Motorcycle to resurrect its legendary Scout model a couple years ago. Now, it’s 2017 Scout Sixty offering will make sure a larger potential pool of buyers have access to the bike.
The company had already made its comeback from limbo under its Polaris umbrella before the Scout debuted in 2014. Back then, Indian was bringing back independent minded buyers with big touring bikes — comfortable, impressive statement machines with price tags for riders of means.
When the Scout was formerly announced at the 74th edition of the Sturgis rally, Indian Motorcycle demonstrated its serious intent to draw in a wider range of buyers than just older classic motorcycle enthusiasts. Younger riders looking for smaller, sportier, more manageable and (most importantly) more affordable motorcycles were invited to consider Indian.
With the new Scout Sixty, proudly on display here in Sturgis, Indian might very well be showing off its most important motorcycle offering since the company returned to active duty with Polaris in 2011. With a base MSRP of $8,999, the Scout Sixty is Indian’s entry level bike and a young buyer’s introduction to the line — and the more young buyers the company has, the brighter its future appears.
To Indian’s credit, nothing about the Scout Sixty looks or feels “entry level.” The bike feels solid and well built, with surprisingly ample ergonomics. While it’s not necessarily designed for touring (without bags or an extended seat), the seat and peg positioning is comfortable and leaves your back (and backside) on friendly terms with you even after more than a hundred miles over the handlebars.
It’s powered by a 61 cubic-inch, liquid cooled V-Twin engine with Electronic Fuel Injection. While its exhaust note won’t rattle your neighborhood, the sound is satisfying enough. More importantly, the engine is just big enough to give the Scout Sixty enough quickness to get you out of ahead of traffic and enough overall speed to make freeway or highway cruising carefree.
The controls are stripped down and basic, still reminiscent of the Scout of old. There’s a simple speedometer and sport mirrors set up around self-canceling signal indicators and a menu toggle trigger that lets the rider cycle through a basic digital display of RPMs, miles and trip counter.
Beyond that, the styling is low, long and sleek — with echoes of the ancient Scout’s original shaping in the front and rear fenders. The flat tank is the most modern flare on the motorcycle. At 6’3″, I’m comfortable on the bike and don’t appear as silly as I might on a number of other bikes costing less than $10 grand.
The ride feel is grounded, but not harsh, thanks to front telescopic fork and rear dual shock suspension. The balance is outstanding and the controls responsive. The Scout Sixty is an all-around pleasure to ride.
Up until now, I rated the Yamaha Star Bolt as my favorite entry-level street cruiser. The Scout Sixty muscles itself right into that mix. Now the Indian prices out about $1K higher than the Bolt, so there is a little price to pay for the cool American badge. The Harley-Davidson’s entry-level Street 750 is the cheapest of the bunch at $7,549, but it also feels like it. For the devoted American rider looking for a mix of affordability, performance and heritage, the Scout Sixty is the perfect package.