It’s A Bare-Bones Bike; Just You And The Machine

Indian Motorcycle has certainly called some attention to its mid-size bikes this year through its success on the flat track, and the Scout Bobber looks to capitalize on that by garnering some of the factory-custom business. The “Bobber” brings modern performance to the table along with an overall look that is rather unique, yet fits in well with the rest of the made-for-the-US market, foreign and domestic built. An 1,133 cc plant delivers the power, and this year, the Bobber rocks improved electronics plus a USB charging port, regardless of which color you choose. I’ve been a fan of the new Scouts since day one, so let’s dig into the nuts and bolts of the thing and see what all there is to love.

Continue reading for my review of the Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber.

  • 2018 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
  • Year:
    2018- 2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    1133 L
  • Price:
    11999
  • Price:

Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber Design

2018 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
- image 794296
The Scout Bobber doesn't hit a specific historical model, but it certainly adopts the spirit of an era.

I say “new” because the Scout moniker has been used in association with the Indian marque since 1920, and this is the first iteration under the Polaris umbrella. The factory took its popular Scout and beat it with the “custom stick” to give it a flavor not unlike what was coming out of shops and home garages back in the day. To call it “blackout” doesn’t do it justice; aside from the sheet metal, everything that can be black, is black, and of course, the Thunder Black models carry that achromatic finish all over.

All models come with polished elements on the engine that mimic the exposed pushrod tubes of old and a bit of bright badging on the engine as the only bits of bling. Both the front- and rear-fenders are chopped, or “bobbed,” to their minimum effective size to create the bulk of the homejob-custom vibe the factory was going for. Of course, the rear suspension setup that mimics the geometry of the old rigid frames helps with that antique-custom look quite a bit, as do the side-mount tagholder and the bar-end mirrors. A headlight nacelle dresses up the front end with a radiator grille below that, admittedly, is fairly unobtrusive when viewed from the front, and all but disappears when viewed in profile, so I can’t really complain about aesthetics as far as the rad is concerned.

The 3.3-gallon, teardrop fuel tank makes a long, gentle slope down to the two-tone solo saddle that cups and supports your butt at a mere 25.6 inches off the ground and makes its own contribution to the classic-custom panache. Even the exhaust system does its bit with a blackout finish and shotgun-muffler arrangement that fits right in with the other elements. You can take the look even further with a trip through the accessories catalog where the laced wheels, mini-apes and antique-style seats live. Again, you won’t be able to hit a specific historical model, but you can certainly adopt the spirit of an era.

Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber Chassis

2018 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
- image 794309
The most interesting thing about the frame is how it seems to mimic the hardtail geometry without going as far as Harley-Davidson does with its Softails.

The most interesting thing about the frame is how it seems to mimic the hardtail geometry without going as far as Harley-Davidson does with its Softails and their triangular swingarms to sell the look. A coil-over shock lays over at a rather extreme angle to form the upper line of the Bobber’s open triangle. They work with a fairly standard, yoke-style swingarm to complete the assembly and articulate the rear wheel on two inches (50 mm) of travel.

Standard, 41 mm forks buoy the front end on 4.7 inches (120 mm) of travel, and they push the front wheel for a 61.5-inch wheelbase with a 29-degree rake and 4.7 inches of trail. Those steering figures are indicative of better-than-average tracking at speed with a 29-degree maximum lean angle and enough agility so that it doesn’t turn into a wrestling match in the corners.

Stopping duties fall to 298 mm rotors with a dual-piston anchor up front and single-pot caliper out back, and for the first time, ABS coverage is available on all colors as standard equipment and only the Thunder Black model comes with a non-ABS variant. Gotta’ say, I like that way of doing it better than the way the factory used to mix and match ABS and palette packages. The Bobber rocks some fat rubber with a 130/90 up front, a 150/80 out back and a 16-inch blackout rim all around to finish out the rolling chassis.

Front Suspension/Travel: 41 mm Telescopic Fork - Cartridge Type/4.7 in (120 mm)
Rear Suspension/Travel: Dual Shocks/2.0 in (50 mm)
Rake/Trail: 29.0° / 4.7 in (120 mm)
Lean Angle: 29°
Front Brakes: Single / 298 mm Rotor / 2 Piston Caliper
Rear Brakes: Single / 298 mm Rotor / 1 Piston Caliper
Front Wheel/Tire: Cast 16 in x 3.5 in/ 130/90-16 73H
Rear Wheel/Tire: Cast 16 in x 3.5 in/ 150/80-16 71H

Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber Drivetrain

2018 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
- image 794294
The factory limited its devotion to historical engines to the configuration and visual details on the Scout's 60-degree powerplant 'cause this is a thoroughly modern powerplant.

American-made bikes typically run a V-twin engine, and the Bobber toes the line with its water-cooled mill. The factory limited its devotion to historical engines to the configuration and visual details on the Scout’s 60-degree powerplant ’cause this is a thoroughly modern powerplant. Unlike its main competitor (H-D Sportster) that uses an engine design that first saw light of day back in 1986, the Scout’s mill is of a more recent vintage and seems to be disinclined to sacrifice much in the name of vanity.

Unlike many V-twins right now, the Bobber runs with an undersquare layout that has a 99 mm bore and 73.6 mm stroke with a total displacement of 1,133 cc and compression ratio of 10.7-to-1. A 60 mm throttle body feeds the beast, but so far there doesn’t seem to be any sort of rider mode or traction control development at Indian, at least, none that are ready for market, so engine management and control is relatively uncomplicated. To date, that’s not a huge hit, but domestic foe Harley-Davidson is already market-testing its proprietary traction control and backtorque-defeating technology on its trikes so the pressure is really on Polaris/Indian to catch up.

Power output is respectable with 100 ponies on tap, and the grunt numbers ain’t bad either at 72 pound-feet of torque that peaks at six grand even. One thing I am definitely feeling is the gear-type primary drive that carries power from the engine to the six-speed transmission; that’s a definite improvement over the chain-drive primary.

Engine: Liquid Cooled V-Twin
Bore x Stroke: 3.898 in x 2.898 in (99 mm x 73.6 mm)
Displacement: 69 cu in (1,133 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Horsepower: 100 HP (74.7 kW)
Peak Torque: 72 ft-lbs (97.7 Nm) @ 6,000 rpm
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 60 mm bore
Exhaust: Split Dual Exhaust w/ Cross-over
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Gear Ratios: (1st) 10.926:1, (2nd) 7.427:1, (3rd) 5.918:1, (4th) 5.022:1, (5th) 4.439:1, (6th) 4.087:1
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.357:1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch

Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber Pricing

2018 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
- image 794311
You can get Thunder Black with or without, but all colors come standard with ABS.

For 2019, Indian lets go of the Scout Bobber starting at $11,999 for the non-ABS Thunder Black. The same color with ABS will set you back another grand at $12,799. For 2019, Indian offers Thunder Black Smoke, White Smoke, or Bronze Smoke for $13,299.

Gauges: Digital tachometer, odometer, trip meter, engine temp, and low fuel lamp
Infotainment: N/A
Colors:
2018: Thunder Black, Bronze Smoke, Star Silver Smoke, Indian Motorcycle Red, Thunder Black Smoke
2019: Thunder Black, Thunder Black Smoke, White Smoke, Bronze Smoke
Price:
2018: Thunder Black: $11.499, Colors : $11,999, Thunder Black Smoke w/ABS: $12,499
2019: Thunder Black: $11,999, Thunder Black w/ABS: $12,799, Colors: $13,299

Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber Competitor

2015 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom
- image 766934
2018 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
- image 794316
If you're looking for something closer to an actual historical ride, the Sporty is your Huckleberry, but if you're more interested in the here-and-now, Indian is where it's at.

One American-made ride deserves another, so I went with the obvious choice, Harley-Davidson, and the 1200 Custom from its Sportster lineup. The Sportster’s roots are on prominent display from the teardrop tank to the air-cooled engine, but there’s plenty of custom flavor from the blackout touches, shorty exhaust and slammed suspension. If you’re looking for something closer to an actual historical ride, the Sporty is your Huckleberry, but if you’re more interested in the now, Indian is where it’s at.

The Sportster runs a 1,202 cc engine for a slight edge in displacement and Harley converts that into a single pound-foot advantage with 73 pounds o’ grunt at 3,750 rpm. As with the Bobber, the 1200 Custom’s brakes are adequate at best with only a single front disc, and H-D makes the ABS a $795 option across the board. That’s unfortunate since at $11,899 for the most expensive color package, Harley had a chance to have the less-expensive sticker on an equivalent product, but so much for that idea.

He Said

“There’s a special place in my heart for Sportsters, but in this matchup I gotta’ say the Indian makes an interesting alternative. Old-but-new looks and solid performance are nice to have, and of course, the fact that it comes from the oldest American manufacturer has to count for something.

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I like the black-out look; very slick and sinister. The seat isn’t as comfortable as I would like and I’m kinda glad I don’t have anything down there that would get pinched on a bump ’cause I can see that happening. The center of gravity is low, so maneuvering is very balanced. The seat height is super low; those of us height-challenged folks will flat-foot it, no problem, but taller folks might feel a bit clam-shelled. It’s quite lightweight, of course, since it is a bobber. The engine has plenty of get-up-and-go and you will definitely feel the low-down grunt. I like it. It’s a bare-bones bike, which means when you ride, it’s just you and the machine. That can be a very nice feeling.”

Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Liquid Cooled V-Twin
Bore x Stroke: 3.898 in x 2.898 in (99 mm x 73.6 mm)
Displacement: 69 cu in (1,133 cc)
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Horsepower: 100 HP (74.7 kW)
Peak Torque: 72 ft-lbs (97.7 Nm) @ 6,000 rpm
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 60 mm bore
Exhaust: Split Dual Exhaust w/ Cross-over
Drive/Driven Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Gear Ratios: (1st) 10.926:1, (2nd) 7.427:1, (3rd) 5.918:1, (4th) 5.022:1, (5th) 4.439:1, (6th) 4.087:1
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.357:1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Chassis:
Front Suspension/Travel: 41 mm Telescopic Fork - Cartridge Type/4.7 in (120 mm)
Rear Suspension/Travel: Dual Shocks/2.0 in (50 mm)
Rake/Trail: 29.0° / 4.7 in (120 mm)
Lean Angle: 29°
Front Brakes: Single / 298 mm Rotor / 2 Piston Caliper
Rear Brakes: Single / 298 mm Rotor / 1 Piston Caliper
Front Wheel/Tire: Cast 16 in x 3.5 in/ 130/90-16 73H
Rear Wheel/Tire: Cast 16 in x 3.5 in/ 150/80-16 71H
Dimensions & Capacities:
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gal (12.5 L)
Ground Clearance: 4.8 in (123 mm)
GVWR: 988 lb (449 kg)
Overall Height: 45.4 in (1,154 mm)
Overall Length: 87.5 in (2222 mm)
Overall Width: 36.5 in (926 mm)
Seat Height: 25.6 in (649 mm)
Weight (Empty Tank / Full of Fuel): 537 lb (244 kg) / 554 lb (251 kg)
Wheelbase: 61.5 in (1,562 mm)
Details:
Gauges: Digital tachometer, odometer, trip meter, engine temp, and low fuel lamp
Infotainment: N/A
Lights: Headlight, tail/brake light, turn signals, license plate light, speedometer and indicator lights
Colors:
2018: Thunder Black, Bronze Smoke, Star Silver Smoke, Indian Motorcycle Red, Thunder Black Smoke
2019: Thunder Black, Thunder Black Smoke, White Smoke, Bronze Smoke
Price:
2018: Thunder Black: $11.499, Colors : $11,999, Thunder Black Smoke w/ABS: $12,499
2019: Thunder Black: $11,999, Thunder Black w/ABS: $12,799, Colors: $13,299

Further Reading

Harley-Davidson 1200 Custom

2015 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom
- image 767127

See our review of the Harley-Davidson 1200 Custom.

Indian Motorcycle Scout

2016 - 2019 Indian Motorcycle Scout / Scout Sixty
- image 730658

See our review of the Indian Motorcycle Scout.

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- image 793795

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All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: indianmotorcycle.com, harley-davidson.com

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