Brilliant back to basics ride on the Indian Scout 60
SOMEWHERE amidst all the new biking technology and modern rider aids, many of us forgot about the basics.
Take a bike frame, drop in a nice motor, attach two wheels, handlebars, a seat and some brakes, and Bob’s your uncle.
My latest test bike was a no-nonsense cruiser from a marque dripping in biking history.
Indian Motorcycle Company was founded in 1901 and an Irishman, Dublin-born engineer Charles Bayly Franklin, emigrated to Springfield, Massachusetts, following the closure of his Indian motorcycle shop on 10 Wicklow Street in 1916, to become the company’s chief designer.
A hundred-odd years later, Indian is impressing the motorcycle world with its range of beautifully engineered bikes that have character in spades.
The Indian Scout Sixty is the entry-level model in the range, but boy does it pack a hell of a punch for the €12,990 asking price.
Powered with a 999cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine, it puts out 78bhp at 5,600rpm and 65.6 ft lbs of torque. It pulls well in any of the five gears from low, without you losing too many fillings in the process.
For a bike of this class, it’s immensely easy to manoeuvre, thanks in part to the low seat height of 643mm, but also by the forward pegs that give a nice riding position without making you feel like you’re lying down.
This machine is closely based on the 1,133cc Indian Scout, but with blackedout parts replacing much of the chrome of the bigger brother.
For me, this adds to the appeal, culminating in a sparse but distinctive cruiser in a world of chrome-or-bust American motorbikes.
Out on the open road, the Scout Sixty motors along beautifully, the V-twin exhaust note coming into its own the quicker the pace.
It’s a lovely, free-revving motor, reacting immediately to any twist or shut-off of the throttle.
The single seat rules out two-up travel, but to be honest this is a one-man (or woman) bike anyway.
The ABS works well without being too obtrusive. The 12.5-litre tank means you’ll be stopping regularly on longer runs, but that really suits the kind of riding most will be doing on this bike.
Wind blast is not as bad as many fairing-less bikes, but anything above 100kph will obviously start to strain the neck after a while. And that’s about it.
No rider modes, traction control, or electronic suspension – it’s simply a well-built, fun-toride American machine with mean looks and bags of character.
If you’re looking for something different, you van see the entire Indian range in the flesh at Franklin Motorcycles, G1 Swords Enterprise Park, Feltrim Road, Swords, Co. Dublin, call 01 5385005 or visit www. franklinmotorcycles.ie
They also have a workshop open for business and can arrange a test ride on a range of Indians, subject to the usual terms and conditions.