Indian Motorcycle has taken the fight straight to its main competitor, Harley-Davidson, with a bored-down version of the Scout model. The Scout Sixty trades some power for a big chunk off its retail price, while retaining the same sporty character that made for a worldwide success story.
Named after the pre-war model that is considered to be one of the best Indian motorcycles ever made, the modern Scout debuted at Sturgis in 2014. Awarded with the prestigious title Cruiser of the Year, it became an overnight success and has since become one of the fastest selling bikes in Indian’s history. The second model of the Scout family has just been unveiled at EICMA in Milan, Italy, as a more affordable version of Indian’s best seller.
The Sixty looks identical to the basic Scout, as the few differences that separate the two versions are hidden deep inside the engine. The 60-degree V-twin of the new model uses pistons with smaller diameter (93 mm over the Scout’s 96) resulting in a 61 cu in (999 cc) displacement. With the same 73.6 mm cylinder stroke, the engine is expected to retain its over-square rev-happy character.
The other key difference between the two is the drivetrain, as the Sixty opts for a five-speed gearbox, instead of the Scout’s six-speed. In terms of power the Sixty outputs 78 hp (22 down from the 69 cu in/1,130 cc Scout) but as far as torque is concerned, 65 lb-ft is a minimal loss to the bigger model’s 75. Oddly enough the smaller model manages to weigh 4 lb (1.8 kg) more.
Apart from that, the two Scouts are exactly the same, sharing the same frame, suspension and brakes.
The biggest news though concerns pricing. Indian is selling the Scout Sixty for US$8,999 price tag – that’s two grand south of the bigger Scout. At this price the new entry-level Indian sees eye to eye with Harley-Davidson’s base model, the $8,499 SuperLow 883, while offering more cubic inches, more power and more torque.
Indian Motorcycle’s sales have been in an upward spiral during the last two years and apparently this new model is intended as a direct punch at its most important rival – the company that has been dominating the US cruiser market for many years. But Indian is also looking further afield.
“Our goal is to have 30 percent of our revenue from outside the US,” said Gary Gray, Product Director for Indian Motorcycle, when we talked to him at EICMA 2015. “We are growing so fast in the US that it’s hard for other groups to keep up.
“We have a strong presence here at EICMA and a good distribution all over the world. We sell a lot of motorcycles in Australia, Japan, New Zealand, China, we recently announced expansion in Brazil and we’re growing in Mexico as well. Also in India we have our own distribution, we are pushing hard on all four corners of the globe.
“Displacement is a big deal. If we want to sell in Brazil or India, they’re not going to buy 1,000 cc plus bikes, so we have to work our way down in displacement and at the same time bring costs down.
“Our plan is to design motorcycles with smaller capacities. We have great teams around the world that help us understand what people in each market want. I don’t know when we will design bikes for these markets but I can confirm that it’s part of our strategy. We may even design them there, I don’t know, we haven’t decided on this yet.”
Indian has enjoyed good results in some wealthy North European markets like Norway, UK and Germany, yet there is ample room for improvement in several other European countries as well. Offering an affordable model such as the Scout Sixty is without a doubt a step in this direction, a fact underlined by the strategic decision to host its global debut in EICMA.