Victory Octane out-muscles Indian Scout

2016 Victory Octane

The Victory Octane is what the Indian Scout should have been with more power, upgraded suspension, shorter gearing and a cheaper price tag.

The power cruiser rides, handles and performs better than the Scout and costs $1000 less at $18,995 ride away.

In fact, the only thing holding it back is that it has a Victory badge instead of an Indian badge which has more street cred.

Except for the badge, they look almost identical in format, frame and engine.

And the quality of build is similarly very high with tidy and discreet plumbing and one of the neatest integrations of a radiator in the motorcycling world.

So how could something so similar in looks be so different in feel and ride?2016 Victory Octane

Victory tells us that only 30% of components are borrowed from the Scout.

The differences are many, including the wheels, tyres, fork rake, higher footpegs, frame design, rear shock, fork springs and engine internals.

Let’s start with the liquid-cooled powerplant which has been bored out 2mm to 1179cc from 1133cc in the Scout giving it a marginal power increase from 74.7kW to 77kW and torque up from 97.7Nm to 103Nm.2016 Victory Octane

The V-twin has dual overhead cams and four-valve heads to rev smoothly and quickly beyond 8000rpm.

But what really gives this bike urgency in the throttle is the lower gearing right through the six cogs.

It simply sprints off the line like there is no tomorrow with quick shifting producing rapid acceleration.

Victory claims that at 12 seconds, it is their quickest motorcycle down the quarter-mile and the fastest from 0-100km/h in less than four seconds.2016 Victory Octane

The Octane has a moderately heavy cable clutch, yet the relocated transmission feels smoother than in the Scout with neutral easier to find and no false “angel gears”.

You can quickly rip through the gears and slip it into sixth at 80km/h and about 2900 revs. Surprisingly, roll-on acceleration from there will see you challenging the speed limit in quick time without any pinging or labouring as you would expect on the Indian.

At idle and right through the revs and gears, the water-cooled engine feels smooth and refined with the mirrors showing little vibration or blur.

Running at highway speeds, it’s purring at 3600 revs, which would be good for all-day touring with no tingling in the fingers.2016 Victory Octane

One annoying characteristic that does remain from the Scout is the surge on constant throttle at low speeds.

Like the Scout, the Octane only has a single 298mm disc up front but it feels adequate for the job with a two-piston calliper and steel braided lines for good feel. The rear brake also has reasonable effect.

It comes standard with ABS which comes on fairly abruptly and stutters the bike to a solid stop.2016 Victory Octane

Riding position is very similar to the Scout, but you can feel the slightly higher and close footpegs which give marginally better cornering clearance (32-degree lean angle), although you will still scrape them quite easily.

The solo vinyl seat is more comfortable than the leather Scout seat, but not as cushy as the Scout Sixty vinyl seat.

Reach to the bars is the same and the bike feels similarly low and light, despite its 242kg dry weight.

Apart from the gearing, the biggest difference from the Scout is the handling and ride.2016 Victory Octane

It’s a result of different wheels, suspension and steering geometry.

The Octane turns sharper and more deliberately than the Scout which has a “round” feeling to the steering.

I still can’t work out why, because on paper it should steer slower thanks to the bigger wheels (18” front and 17” rear, up from 16” front and back on the Scout), the slightly raked-out forks and the wider 160mm rear tyre.

Maybe it’s the lower profile of the rubber and the upgraded suspension, but it now handles more nimbly and rides firmer.2016 Victory Octane

The Octane suspension has dual-spring-rate rings in the forks which cancel the jack-hammering effect of the Scout and the rear shock is more vertically positioned with better springs and damping.

Consequently, it doesn’t pogo, bottom out or bounce around like the Scout.

It feels more planted on the road, able to absorb the bigger hits and keep the front and back wheels in tune with each other so it doesn’t wallow in corners even over irregularities in the road surface.

The Octane has similar instrumentation to the Scout with a single pod showing analogue speed and a digital screen with odometer, tripmeter, clock, rev counter and engine temperature.2016 Victory Octane

You can toggle through these displays via a convenient switch on the back of the left handlebar switchblock.

However, neither the Octane nor Scout has a fuel gauge for the 12.5-litre tank or a range reading, only a low fuel light.

We achieved fuel economy better than 5L/100km which is good for more than 200km in normal riding before the fuel light comes on. About that time the seat will be forcing you to stop, anyway.

Accessories include a slip-on stage one muffler, adjustable piggy back shocks, tachometer with shift light and drag bars.

If you desire a power cruiser that feels nimble and powerful and you can get past the lack of an Indian or Harley badge (the new air-cooled Roadster costs $500 more), the Octane is a competent alternative.

2016 Victor Octane2016 Victory Octane

  • Price: $18,995 ride away
  • Warranty: 2 year, unlimited km
  • Engine: Liquid-cooled, 1179cc, 8-valve, 60° V-Twin
  • Bore x stroke: 101.0 x 73.6mm
  • Compression: 10.8:1
  • Power: 77kW (103hp) @ 8000rpm
  • Torque: 103Nm @ 6000rpm
  • transmission: 6-speed; wet, multi-plate clutch; belt drive
  • Fuel: 12.8 litres
  • Suspension: 41mm damper-tube forks with dual-rate springs, 11.9-cm travel; twin shocks with dual-rate springs, adjustable for preload, 7.6-cm travel
  • Frame: Cast-aluminium semi-double-cradle with tubular-steel backbones
  • Lean: 32°
  • Rake/trail: 29.0°/12.9 cm
  • Wheelbase: 157.7cm
  • Seat: 657mm
  • Dry weight: 242.2kg
  • Brakes: Two-piston calliper, 298mm disc; 1-piston calliper, 298mm disc, ABS
  • Tyres: 130/70-18 63H; 160/70-17 76H
  • Wheels: 18 X 3.5-in. cast, 10-spoke; 17 X 4.5-in. cast, 10-spoke
  • Colour: matte grey

6 Comments

  1. Here in Australia I placed a deposit on a Victory Octane but ultimately changed my mind and changed to the Indian Scout Sixty for a number of reasons. When I decided on the Octane I was taken by all the talk of the power and handling etc. I was told it was a long wait till they became available in Australia so impatience and my own bike running out of registration were things to consider. I was never completely taken with the look of the Octane, to me it looked liked it could of been another Japanese bike. The more I thought about it I realised the power thing was probably not a big deal to me. I have been riding since 1980 so the need for speed is not something I put at the top of the list and if it were there are plenty of seriously quick super sports bikes out there at fantastic prices. The other and most deciding factor was the look of the Scout and in my case I loved the Scout Sixty with that blacked out look. I thought the new Scout does well in capturing the uniqueness from a bygone era which characterised the Scout. So in the end I reverted back to what I really wanted in the first place which was a Scout Sixty adding factory upgrades of rear shocks, the stage one exhaust and the rear rack. I could not be happier with my choice of bike. My biggest criticism is the price of accessories and parts here in Australia. As an example the rear saddle bags are $1600 and the custom mounting bolts are $225. Granted the bags are nice and the mounting bolt system works but Harley Davidson Sportsters also have quality bags and mounting systems and are far cheaper than this outrageous price that Indian is slugging the Indian owners with. Anyway I hope all those who bought the brilliant Octane enjoy it and ride safe.

  2. Good review Mark, thanks. Any chance or a review pitting it against the HD Roadster which seems to be its natural competition? If you were going to buy either, which would it be and why. For mine, I prefer the look and details of the Roadster but would certainly throw a leg over the Victory (and Indian) to be sure.

    I’m still amazed that even though it is 2016, neither HD/Victory/Indian can find a way to put a decent size tank on their bikes, without sacrificing the look. I know range of circa 200 kms is ‘OK’ for plenty of riders but outside of town particularly if there are twisties involved, a bit more would be greatly appreciated I’m sure.

    Cheers

  3. Very interesting review, two things concern me regarding the Octane and the Indian Scout is the relatively small fuel tanks on both, maybe as part of the review you could include the expected range (approx. ) as it is nice to know how far you can ride between refueling and the other concern is only having one front disc brake. Yes I know it is probably a weight and cost issue but I like having two discs up front and it would also make the front look more balanced as well.
    Overall the Octane looks like a great value bike if you want to go with a water cooled bike.

    1. Hi Ian,

      You must have missed this paragraph: “We achieved fuel economy better than 5L/100km which is good for more than 200km in normal riding before the fuel light comes on. About that time the seat will be forcing you to stop, anyway.”

      I should note the tank is the same size as the Harley Roadster. These are really cruisers, not tourers.

      Cheers,

      Mark

      1. Mike,
        My apologies you are so correct I read the article twice and yet somehow still missed that paragraph (maybe it is old age). But there is also the problem, with a fuel range of 200 kms it is still a little short of being useful in country areas where fuel stations can be a bit light on.
        I find that with my Indian Chieftain I have a range of approx 320 km but because it has a “low fuel” warning when it gets down to 80 or so kms remaining it is just plain irritating. I actually think I could go another 50 kms beyond that but am not willing to walk either. To be honest I would like to run it right out sometime to really find out the extreme range but because it is fuel injected I know it isn’t recommended. What do you suggest?

        1. Hi na,
          I suggest you go for a ride with a friend and a 5-litre jerry can of fuel and ride until it runs out. Then you will know exactly how far you can get from the fuel light.
          My experience is that they give you 70-80km on most modern bikes.
          It doesn’t matter what you riding style, when you see that fuel light, everyone runs a little leaner and more carefully.
          There is nothing wrong with running out of fuel, either, so long as your tank is clean. With EFI, it will start up easily enough when it is filled again.
          Cheers,
          Mark

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