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Discussion Starter #1
Indian is offering to make a donation for veterans’ charities for each test tide this month, so I took a Scout for a 30 mile ride.

The demonstrator was a light mint and cream two-tone, with tan leather seats. It had been decked out with a windshield, engine guards (still known as crash guards amongst the cruiser set), passenger seat with rider and pillion backrests, floorboards, and smallish saddlebags in tan matching the seats. It took a little bit to readjust to the cruiser feet-forward position, but my first bike was a Honda cruiser, so it didn’t take long.

The day was cool, 60f, and spritzing light rain. Not ideal. And my initial impressions of heavy steering, a snatchy or uneven throttle, and squishy tires (they felt almost underinflated) need to be tempered by my finding out after I returned that I was only the second to take this bike out–I hadn’t looked at the odometer, but apparently the bike had less than 25 miles on it when I started. So the tires weren’t scrubbed in and the engine wasn’t broken in. The new tires and the rain combined to, perhaps, make the ride more slippery-ish than would have occurred with scrubbed in rubber. I’d like to take this same bike out after the tires have scrubbed in and the engine has broken in.

The steering was heavy, but it’s a cruiser and it has a big balloonish front tire, both of which are not Ninja like. In town, think of riding more like a car than a sportbike and you’ll do ok. The slippery tires combined with the rain to make me cautious on the two-lane sweeper highway that I chose for my route, and my caution was only enhanced by the love that the county highway department had recently shown for that road by freshening up the tar snakes ("tar snakes and rain" rhymes with "insurance claim"). So I didn’t push it. But the bike was easy to direct, not as easy as a sportbike, but easier than a heavy cruiser. I think it would do well everywhere except a true twisty like the Tail of the Dragon or the Black Hills. I returned to town via open interstate (posted 75mph) and the bike performed well.

The suspension was up to the job. The brakes were surprisingly good. And the instruments included an analog speedo with a digital tach, and a gear indicator. The digital tach was interesting, but I never knew how close I was to redline, so it seemed to be a waste. The exhaust note was a very nice low rumble, but as I wear hearing protection under my full-face helmet, the effect was lost on me while riding.

All told, a very good cruiser. Much better than larger cruisers I have ridden in terms of responding to rider input. I probably would never consider a heavier or slower turning bike than this one. But I have to acknowledge one glaring flaw that totally ruins this bike for me. It has a tiny gas tank, and using fuelly.com’s estimated mileage, it probably has a 150 mile to dry range under ideal circumstances and a gentle hand, and less than 130 with spirited riding.

This is simply not acceptable in the western US. It’s probably ok if you never ride out of town, or if you ride in the crowded eastern US or SoCal. But I would need to bring an extra gas can for the Plains and the West. The dealer had some for sale, but the tiny Indian branded saddlebags had such a small opening that the can wouldn’t fit. Aftermarket bags and an extra gas can would be the only way for me.

I took the same route with my Little Red Ninja 650R immediately afterwards. There might be some familiarity bias here, and sharper steering geometry combined with very well-scrubbed-in tires, but I’m certain that I won’t be trading for a Scout or other cruiser anytime soon. But when I’m ready to grow up and slow down (I’m only 53), the Scout might be a good choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Update: I notice that Indian had a demo days truck today, and I took a Scout bobber and a scout 60 for a demo ride. Both were broken in and had scrubbing in tires. Neither was squirmy, and the throttle snatchiness was less than I remembered from the above description. The Bobber was extreme clamshell ergos--feet far forward and bars front & low. Just not comfy for me. The 60 had the reduced reach footpegs, seat and bars. For me, at 5'7", I felt that the reduced reach pegs and seat were good, but I preferred the regular bars. Still, the fact that they provide extended reach and reduced reach ergo adjustments is a great thing and should be encouraged among all manufacturers. (Kawi does this for the Vulcan 650--yea!).

Some other comments I forgot in the first review: it's relatively easy to find neutral, the sidestand is easy to use and doesn't interfere with the pegs, and the bike has cast wheels, which means safe and pluggable tubeless tires.

But my word, this bike is pricey! (Yep, I can remember my Grandmother saying the same exact thing except for the bike part.) Doing the configurator program at the Indian website puts me about $15K as I would prefer to set it up. I can get something I'd like a lot more for less (Triumph Street Triple R, N1K, repeat on the N650 but with ABS, etc.).

If I were to purchase a cruiser style bike, the Scout would be toward the top of my list because it has easy, factory, ergonomic adjustments, plentiful power, easy breaking, and it seemed to be capable of handling tighter corners better than most cruisers I have ridden. But my range anxiety seems to be insurmountable. And I really find the feet-forward, butt-in-one-position ergonomics just doesn't seem to provide all-day comfort like a standard bike's ergos.

But if you are looking for a cruiser and do not mind the short range, then this may be the bike for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks, Triumph is about 200 miles away. I like that the Street Triple R now comes with a shortened suspension option. Its almost like they specifically want me to buy one.

But that reminds me of a funny story about why I like to buy vehicles from a local dealer. A friend and his wife are both big Triumph fans. At the time, he had a Rocket III and she had a Bonneville America. His Rocket developed an electrical fault, and without trying to check anything out himself or at a local shop, he took a day off from work to trailer it to the dealer. It was a blown fuse. All of the mechanically self-sufficient "exotic" bike owners remind him of this every time he buys another Triumph.

I like to try out different styles of bikes when there's an opportunity. It just seems so improbable that I found my Goldilocks with my second bike. But so long as nothing is calling out to me as really being better suited to my purposes than my Little Red Ninja, and she continues to be reliable, I may as well keep riding her.
 
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