In the motorcycle world, the Indian Scout is a legend. Burt Munro’s ‘World’s fastest Indian’ was a Scout after all. Having disappeared from the company’s line-up for decades, it made a reappearance recently after the company’s revival. But for 2016, the motorcycle seems to be headed in a rather interesting direction. Called the Scout Sixty, it’s inherently the same bike that we rode and loved a couple of years back, but with a twist; it now packs 134cc less! So is this downsizing something to worry about and how much does it really change the Scout experience, if at all?
Let me just say right off the bat that the saddlebags, tail carrier, back rest and crash guard on this bike are accessories, and they really make a case against how good this bike looks. Seriously, without all the added bits, the clean, yet highly detail-oriented lines of the Scout look gorgeous but understated. Compared to its more powerful sibling, the Scout Sixty gets blacked-out treatment running across the cylinder heads and crank case cover. Even the chrome surround from the headlamp has been changed to black and the tan seat option is gone. This ‘blackening’ of the bike extends to the multi-spoke alloy wheels as well, which, on the original, had chrome accents around the rim and spokes. It’s not like the Scout Sixty isn’t a good-looking bike, but it seems to have lost some of the Scout’s visual pizzazz. Oh, and the ‘Scout’ badge is notably absent from the side of the fuel tank.
The switchgear and single-pod instrument cluster remains unchanged from the original Scout. The ergonomics too are untouched and the Sixty has a comfortable seat along with a relaxed riding position that should ensure comfort during long stints in the saddle. Even though the seat height has gone up by 8mm thanks to thicker foam, it’s still an incredibly low 643mm – that’s lower than any other bike in the market right now, and its easy to move the bike around with your feet.
At the heart of it all
The biggest difference between the Scout and the Scout Sixty has to be the engine. Sure, it might be the same 60-degree V-Twin, but on the inside, it’s a whole different ball game. The Sixty’s motor maintains the 73.4mm stroke of the Scout’s engine, but it’s bore has been dropped from 98.8mm to 92.7mm. This means that overall cubic capacity has gone down from 1,133cc to 999cc – or 61 cubic-inches, and hence the name. This has taken peak power down to 78hp (from the Scout’s 101hp). The reduction in peak torque isn’t so massive though, with the Sixty now making 88.8Nm as compared to the larger engine’s 97.7Nm.
But Indian hasn’t stopped there. Even though the gearbox and final drive ratio have been carried over from the Scout to the Scout Sixty, to convert the latter bike from six-speed to five-speed, Indian has simply removed the fifth gear cog from the gearbox, making the old sixth the new fifth. So, that means the top gear ratio for both bikes is identical. Barring these two major changes, the Sixty’s engine is unchanged, and features the same fuel injection as well as liquid-cooling system.
What does this mean?
When you first ride the Scout Sixty, it may not seem any different. But open the gas hard and you’ll notice that while the Sixty makes enough torque for some brisk acceleration, it simply does not have the neck-snapping power delivery the bigger engine gives you. That being said, the bike gets off the line quite smoothly and there’s enough poke from the motor for quick overtakes. However, the lesser power does mean that the Sixty misses out on some top-end performance. But again, that’s only really noticeable with small throttle openings at higher speeds. However, this being a cruiser, high-speed blasts are supposed to be a rarity, and the bike is quite content at 110kph with barely any vibes to speak of.
Even when it comes to gearing – with the ratios as they are – it might appear that now the ratio gap between fourth and fifth gear might be too large. But honestly, out on the road, you’d be hard- pressed to notice the difference. The ratios of this slick sifting gearbox feel perfectly spaced apart and it almost makes you wonder if the top three ratios on the standard Scout are too tightly packed.
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Issue: 212 | Autocar India: April 2017
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