Wor­thy ad­di­tion to In­dian line-up

Geraldton Guardian - - Motoring - Peter Thoem­ing

I re­mem­ber an is­sue of MAD Mag­a­zine where the Lone Ranger was lam­pooned. His In­dian scout side­kick Tonto kept want­ing to go and spy in bar rooms. That ef­fec­tively sums up the In­dian Scout Bob­ber.

Where the stan­dard Scout is kind of a sen­si­ble, mid-sized cruiser with an out­stand­ing en­gine and driv­e­train, the Bob­ber adds a bit of at­ti­tude that is likely to see you head­ing for more than one bar room. It’s just that kind of bike.

Let me qual­ify that in three ways. The first is the tyres. If you in­tend to ride, er, en­thu­si­as­ti­cally then you will want to change them for con­ven­tional road tyres. Oth­er­wise, leave them alone be­cause they ac­tu­ally do look good and suit the ap­pear­ance of the bike.

Then there’s that pe­cu­liar en­clo­sure around the head­light. Memo to In­dian de­sign engi­neers: bob­bers are about tak­ing stuff off, not putting stuff on. The third is the puz­zling bit of metal frame­work that holds the num­ber plate.

I know Oz de­sign rules are silly, but this is an al­most equally silly way of get­ting around them. The rest of the world gets a proper bobbed tail, but Can­berra in­sists our cops can’t read the num­ber plate ei­ther at the side or at a flat­ter an­gle. That’s what the rest of the world gets and that’s what they make do with.

Why can’t the folk who are too lazy to check their na­tion­al­ity just do us all a favour and dump the dumb reg­u­la­tions that sep­a­rate us from the slightly more sen­si­ble world off our shores? Euro­pean stan­dards, which are ac­tu­ally more sen­si­ble than ours (lighter hel­mets, for a start) are now ad­mis­si­ble. What about the lo­ca­tion and an­gle of num­ber plates, eh?

Europe has pros­pered for decades with slanted or off­set plates. So any­body with the least bit of com­mon sense and re­bel­lion in their blood will re­move that frame­work and break the law.You may be fined but you’ll have struck a blow for free­dom and com­mon sense.

Back to the Bob­ber. It looks the goods, es­pe­cially in ei­ther the Thun­der Black Smoke or Bronze Smoke. I like its ducked, mus­cu­lar pres­ence and the way it punches off the lights. For a cruiser, han­dling and ground clear­ance are fine and the ac­ces­sory pas­sen­ger seat with its sissy bar looks the goods as well.

There’s also a smart-look­ing sad­dle­bag which will hold your stuff if you are mod­est.

You can get a wire wheel for the front, which en­hances the im­age. For­get the ac­ces­sory Ape Hanger han­dle­bar. Apes suit some bikes but the Scout is de­signed to be cool with its street tracker bars.

The tech­ni­cal de­tails of the reg­u­lar Scout are the same for the Bob­ber. Its liq­uid-cooled V twin of­fers 70kW and 97Nm at 5600rpm, which heads for the rear wheel by way of a six-speed gear­box.

The seat is nice and low at 648mm and sur­pris­ingly com­fort­able. The weight is ac­cept­able at 649mm. So is the 12.5-litre tank.

The rear sus­pen­sion was a bit of a worry when it emerged that its travel was all of two inches, one less than the stan­dard bike’s.

That also changes the rake a lit­tle. But on the road it seemed fine, and sam­pling the up­graded shocks which are avail­able as ac­ces­sories didn’t ap­pear to make much dif­fer­ence.

Now here comes the crunch. Would I buy one? Yes, I would; if I didn’t have the Sport­ster.

The Bob­ber puts out 22kW more from 68cc less, but of­fers about the same torque. Other specs are sim­i­lar, in­clud­ing six-speed boxes, so the num­bers would seem to favour the Bob­ber, but power isn’t ev­ery­thing and I love the ap­pear­ance and feel­ing of the Sport­ster 72.

De­spite the small changes from the stan­dard bike the Bob­ber adds a lot of fun, and at $18,995 is a wor­thy ad­di­tion to the In­dian line-up.

The Bob­ber looks the goods and has that bit of ex­tra at­ti­tude com­pared to the stan­dard Scout.

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