Worthy addition to Indian line-up
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.