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Indian Scout 1200 Review

Let me begin by telling you that I am not a cruiser man. I have never owned one. Personally my love of bikes comes from their performance and handling. I can appreciate the looks of beautiful cruisers, but it is not my prime consideration when choosing a bike.

That said, I decided it was time to break my cruiser cherry and rather than starting with the more common Harley Davidson, I went for an Indian (no pun intended).

This particular Scout was lent to me by Prime Factors Motorcycle of Redhill Surrey.

It is a beautiful looking bike, the Burgundy red colour being the nicest colour in my opinion. Lots of shiny chrome with big chrome twin silencers. The fuel tank sweeps downwards to give the bike very nice lines and the polished ally on the engine together with the “I” logo on the cylinder heads completes the stylish picture.

Swing your leg over the bike and it feels very low and long so absolutely no problem for shorties.

The weight is around the 250kg mark, so it’s not light, but the centre of gravity is nice and low, so you don’t feel it too much.

 

The engine is a liquid cooled 60 degree V-twin with a capacity of 1133cc or 69 cubic inches in American money. Rated power is around 100bhp (74.7kw) with 72 Ft-lbs (97.7 Newton Meters) of torque. 100 bhp is not really that much from a 1200cc V- twin, so I suspect that the engine is in a mild state of tune and potentially has much more to give.

The instrument panel is a traditional looking single dial unit with speed being displayed by an old fashioned needle (thank god), so you can see your speed with a glance (I don’t like digital speedos). It is a little optimistic with the numbers ending at 200mph!

There is an LCD window showing gear position and the rest of the LCD can be switched to several modes including trip meters and digital rev counter.

It’s a very narrow bike and the radiator at the front does not really widen the bike or spoil the looks.

The ignition key is located on the left side of the bike in-between the cylinders, but you soon get used to this. Turn the key and fire it up and the exhaust note is quite subdued for the Euro regs. However, Prime Factors had a Scout Bobber with aftermarket pipes and that was considerably more interesting soundwise.

The engine has quite a lot of cam whine compared to many bikes, but if you fit loud pipes you won’t hear it.

Time to get moving, into first! Eek, where is the footpeg and gear lever? Oh yes, not where I would usually find them, but all the way up there at the front! Ok, stretch that leg forwards. Cable clutch is nice and light, clunk, first selected, off we go. As soon as we are moving, my right foot is up and due to habit looking for the foot peg in the wrong place! After a little searching, I find it. This feels weird, there is a lot of weight on my lower back due to sitting so upright, after a lot of miles this could be a problem, but maybe the price you pay for looking cool.

The forward position of my feet makes me feel like I have lost a big part of subtle control of the bike. I would usually carry some weight on the footpegs for cornering and to even out the bike on bumpy roads, but with the forward pegs this is not possible. You feel that you are sitting on the bike rather than being part of it. I am sure this is par for the course with cruisers, but I am just not used to it.

The bike rides well with the engine being very strong. It’s long and low, the steering is smooth, but due to the long wheelbase and laid back head-angle much more lazy than the bikes I am used to. The handling is completely acceptable, but the laid back steering and low cornering ground clearance means you won’t be chasing any sports bikes through the twisties, which of course is not the point of bikes like this.

The motor has plenty of power for overtakes, but to be honest, you ride this bike in a totally different way. You don’t really feel the need to whizz past cars, it’s much nicer just to cruise along admiring the scenery.

 

The gearbox is a little clunky but does its job well. The brakes are more than adequate with the rear disc being much bigger than on a standard bike as much more braking can be done with the rear due to the long wheelbase and weight distribution. They did squeak quite a bit at very low speeds, possibly different pads would cure this.

I had a pillion on the back, but didn’t really notice her there at all as the pillion seat is quite a way behind the rider seat. She said it was comfortable especially with the back rest but that she felt a little detached and isolated from the rider. She described the ride as like being on a flying chair, which sounds nice to me.

It’s a totally different experience for me to ride a cruiser and while I did enjoy it, I think it has confirmed that I am still not a cruiser man. It’s not that there is anything wrong with the Indian Scout. It’s a great cruiser with a very nice engine and stunning looks. I think it’s just me and cruisers, but each to their own and I will certainly try more.

I am looking forward to trying the Indian FTR1200 with a similar V-twin engine but more power and flat track styling that sounds right up my street.

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain

Bore x Stroke3.898 in x 2.898 in (99 mm x 73.6 mm)

Compression Ratio10.7:1

Displacement69 cu in (1,133 cc)

Drive/Driven ClutchWet, Multi-Plate

Electronic Fuel Injection SystemClosed Loop Fuel Injection / 60 mm Bore

Engine TypeLiquid Cooled V-Twin

ExhaustSplit Dual Exhaust w/ Cross-over

Horsepower100 HP (74.7 kW)

Peak Torque72 ft-lbs (97.7 Nm)

Peak Torque RPM6,000 rpm

Transmission/Primary DriveGear Drive Wet Clutch

Dimensions

Fuel Capacity3.3 gal (12.5 L)

Ground Clearance5.3 in (135 mm)

Lean Angle31°

Overall Height47.5 in (1,207 mm)

Overall Length87.5 in (2222 mm)

Overall Width34.6 in (880 mm)

Seat Height25.8 in (656 mm)

Weight (Empty Tank / Full of Fuel)533 lb (242 kg) / 550 lb (249 kg)

Wheelbase61.5 in (1,562 mm)