SHOPE RACING SCOUTS
INDIAN GETS THE BIRD
What the hell’s your game, John Shope? After years of being one of the leaders in the custom bagger genre, you’ve started changing shit up on us. It’s as if you’ve seen that the big-wheel thing is over and it’s time to branch out into building other bikes. First it was your line of custom Scout accoutrements, then it was that green Softail you three-peated your way to victory with at last year’s GEICO Hot Bike Tour, followed by that new line of Dyna parts, and now you’ve gone full hooligan on us with these two 2016 Indian Scout tracker bikes. Not only are they excellent race- bikes, but they’re also textbook examples of what smart bike builders do: When a fad dies, branch out and make parts for all kinds of scoots.
Racing and customizing are both very competitive animals, often teaming hand in hand to make customers take notice. It’s a routine as old as motorcycling itself, with both Harley and Indian leading the way in the early days. You race, you get noticed, and people buy your parts for their bikes. That’s why Indian was eager to get involved when one of the best and brightest in the custom bike game got into racing.
John had already lined up Kuryakyn’s sponsorship for his racing effort when Indian reached out to get involved. Kuryakyn had told the folks at Indian what was up, and the story progressed from there. John already had a good relationship with the factory due to his line of custom Scout parts. Moving ahead with a new line of tracker stuff was win-win for everybody. “I saw those other guys doing it and figured, ‘You know what? I can do this,’ ” John says. “I’ve done motocross. It’s a good promotion. I want to make the parts for Scout owners. If I have to beat my body up to get them to notice them, so be it.”
John’s finished racers are what you see here.
His shop, Dirty Bird Concepts, made the top trees, mid- controls, the fork brace, and pipe, among other things: “We made that whole ass end for it,” he says. “It’s pretty crazy. It took forever. You gotta set these bikes up. There’s no front brake. A lot of changes have to be made to make them race ready. You can’t just take a Scout and go out there. Well, you can but not if you want to be competitive.”
Just look at the footpegs. The right one sits low while the left is positioned higher. It makes the continuous left turns on the flat-track easier. Also, Dirty Bird Concepts is actually making and selling said ass end for those who want the tracker look on their own Indians.
Indian kicked over two 2016 Scouts for the job. That way, when one is away or offline, John can still run the other for practice. Jeff Reynolds helped John put these machines together and races the other for the team. The hooligan game has changed since it heated up a few years ago though. “It’s tougher than I thought it would be,” John says. “Those guys are crazy— they’re pros. Hopefully I didn’t bite off more than I can chew.”
Given John’s previous experience racing motocross and his wealth of experience designing and fabricating parts, I’m sure he’ll work it out. Or maybe his son will pilot one of these Scouts for the team someday. John likes watching the other classes race, and his son is getting into it too. “I have a vintage 500 I race, and my son is starting to race,” John says. “It’s evolving into a cool family deal.” SC
“DIRTY BIRD CONCEPTS IS ACTUALLY MAKING AND SELLING SAID ASS END FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE TRACKER LOOK ON THEIR OWN INDIANS”