The 2018 Indian Scout Bobber is our pick of the Scouts and a great example of how less can sometimes be more.
Bobber has a solo seat instead of the double seat which now comes standard on the Scout, chopped fenders and costs $500 less.
It may be less, but it’s “more” than the standard Scout thanks to its upgraded suspension and slightly more aggressive riding position.
While both the Scout and Scout Bobber now come with cartridge forks instead of just damping rods, the Bobber gets 25mm lowered suspension.
That means the rear shocks sit a little flatter and somehow it just works better. Perhaps it’s the decreased unsprung weight.
The rear shocks also now have rubber bushes top and bottom to absorb the hard hits when bottoming out and topping out.
Even though the Bobber’s rear travel is reduced, it just works better with an improved ride and sharper handling.
Indian Motorcycle Australia and New Zealand boss Peter Harvey reckons the Bobber will be the pick of the Scouts, representing 60% of their Scout sales.
It’s already been a roaring success with the first two shipments sold out, delaying the media launch last week in Brisbane by a couple of months.
Peter says they still don’t have all the colours available in all the stores, but will have plenty of stock by the new year.
The new stripped-down and blacked-out Scout Bobber will come in Thunder Black, Star Silver Smoke, Bronze Smoke, Indian Motorcycle Red, and Thunder Black Smoke from $18,995 ride away.
That’s $500 less than the Scout which still costs $19,495 despite adding a pillion seat, upgraded forks and both models shod with specially made Pirelli tyres rather than Kenda.
Road grip on the Bobber is greatly improved not only by the superior tyres, but also the increased mechanical grip front and rear from the upgraded suspension.
The Bobber has a more connected feeling to the road, sharper steering and an improved ride over our rough roads.
Our 120km launch ride was held over a loop north of Brisbane to Dayboro and Redcliffe with a combination of suburban streets, highways and bumpy country roads.
Bobber is powered by the same 1133cc V-twin as the Scout with the same six-speed transmission that is as slick as any Japanese gearbox.
It’s a great mill for rushing through the countryside with plenty of torque through the lower and midrange revs.
Neutral is very easy to find and you can slip through the gears easily, or just lazily roll around in a high gear and let the torque do the talking.
Even though the slightly knobby tread on the new Pirelli tyres looks like it might do some dirty work, this is really a stylish pavement pounder.
The closer you look at the Bobber, the more fine details you notice such as the tidy cabling, the integrated stop light and rear indicators, and the Indian warhead logo stamped here and there, including on the sidewalls of the specially made tyres.
The rather unsightly bit of scaffolding behind the bobbed rear looks like scaffolding. It’s there to hold the number plate in its legal position.
But since it’s only held on by some bolts, we think many riders will do their bit of customising. Less is more!
The only other unsightly thing is perhaps the double-barrel blackened exhausts. They seem to go on forever and dominate the silhouette.
Riding position is substantially different to the standard Scout. They could be another victim of the customiser’s hacksaw! Remember, less is more!
The tracker handlebars entice the rider to lean into the wind for a more aggressive riding position. But it’s a bit of a reach and shorter riders may like to swap them for the Scout’s bars.
The Bobber footpegs have also been moved 38mm closer to the rider so you are bent over in a windsock crouched position.
It’s not the most comfortable riding position, but it makes you feel more aggressive and in control.
Urban rides and short blasts through the hills are where the Bobber is best suited.
Touring is out of the question with a firm leather two-tone solo seat.
Indian Motorcycle recognises that and only supplies a single-sided saddlebag so the rider has no misconceptions about the intent of this bike.
It looks awkward, but kinda hipster. Once again less is more!
Less may be more, but you can also opt for an accessory pillion seat and leather padded sissy bar to enjoy a ride with your pillion-in-a-million.
There is a host of other accessories available including a stage 1 exhaust system.
The American PR shots showed bar-end mirrors, but Australian Design Rules knocked that back and it comes with standard mirrors.
However, you could always add them later.
Instead of touring, this is a bike for the urban crawl and turning heads at your local mountain coffee stop.
It will turn heads wherever it goes with its chopped fenders, black headlight nacelle, black instrument gauge, minimal engine covers, vented black exhaust and block letter logo on the tank.
2018 Indian Scout Bobber
- Price: $18,995 rideaway (standard Scout $19,495)
- Engine: 1133cc liquid-cooled V-Twin
- Power: 70kW (94hp)
- Torque: 97Nm @ 5600rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed, belt drive
- Suspension: 120mm telescopic cartridge fork, 120mm travel; dual shocks, 50mm travel
- Tyres:130/90-16 73H (front); 150/80-16 71H (rear)
- Brakes: 298mm disc and two-piston caliper (front); 298mm disc, one-piston caliper (rear)
- Wheels: 16 x 3.5in cast
- Wheelbase: 1562mm
- Seat: 649mm
- Clearance: 123mm
- Height: 1154mm
- Length: 2276mm
- Width: 926mm
- Rake: 29°
- Lean angle: 29°
- Trail: 119.9mm
- Fuel capacity: 12.5 litres
- GVWR: 449kg
- Wet weight: 255kg