Motorcycle Review: 2015 Indian Scout

The Sportster killer?

By Sash Walker, photos by Steve Johnson, and courtesy of Indian Motorcycles

After lying dormant for 70 years, Indian Motorcycle has revived the Scout. At the Indian reveal party at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in August, amid resounding cheers from the press in attendance, as well as fans around the world, the 2015 Indian Scout did not disappoint with the most anticipated motorcycle re-launch in years.

motorcycle review 2015 Indian Scout Mark Walberg Mike Wolfe
Indian used celebrities Mark Wahlberg and Mike Wolfe (from American Pickers), both fans of the brand, to bring attention to its newest model, the Scout, at a VIP party in Sturgis. This is the first truly new Indian Scout to be introduced in more than 70 years. It had to make a big splash.

I believe we all hoped the Scout would be a motorcycle that was not just aesthetically pleasing and well performing, but one that would carry the heritage of its predecessor forward. After test riding this tiny beast, I believe Indian has done just that.

motorcycle review Indian Scout 2015 sash walker
Sash Walker rides the Indian Scout in the Black Hills. “Setting my journalistic reviewer’s eye aside, I must tell you that I’m in love with this motorcycle,” she says.

Indian designed a completely new engine for the Scout, powered by a 69ci (cubic inches), or 1133cc (cubic centimeters), water cooled V-twin with a retro-styled look branded with the iconic letter I. This dual overhead cam, four valves per cylinder powerplant cranks out a powerful 100 horsepower at 8,100 rpm, and 72.2 ft-lbs. of torque at 5,900 rpm. Throw that into a very light cast aluminum frame, and you have an American muscle machine destined to move to the front of the pack.

Just to illustrate how powerful those torque and horsepower numbers are, I took the Scout on Interstate 90 heading east from Sturgis and brought it up to a casual 65 mph in 6th gear. Once the lane opened up, I gave a quick crank on the throttle, leaned myself forward into the wind, and soon after I was doing 120 mph in no time, still in 6th gear, still with more throttle left to twist, and with a half-dozen Sportster riders eating dust.

motorcycle review indian scout black hills
Sash gives a thumbs up at the amount of power the Scout has available.
motorcycle review 2015 indian scout engine
The visual design of the Scout’s V-twin engine is stunning with the Indian branded letter “I” etched on the cylinders, and 1901 on the air cleaner cover, the year the nostalgic motorcycle company began.

But Indian blessed the new Scout with grace and forgiveness. Closed loop fuel injection and the drive-by-wire throttle (where the external throttle cable is replaced with a computer sensor) is smooth and tactile, allowing me to accelerate slow and gentle, or quick and aggressive. The ride is incredibly solid and steady, with no wobbliness that can plague smaller-sized motorcycles at high speeds, and no shaking in the turns. The Scout is planted, and strikes a balance that gives confidence to a new motorcyclist, and a toothy grin to experienced riders.

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout red and silver
His and hers! The Scout, shown here in red, and silver, has universal appeal and fit. Why buy one when you can buy two!

The heat from the engine was no more noticeable than most other motorcycles except under one condition. It came when I was riding in rain and my jeans got soaked. I came to a stop and put my feet on the ground. The wet denim came into contact with the section of cast aluminum frame below the seat and conducted the heat much more intensely than when my jeans were dry. It actually became a problem for me. Solutions for this is to get the more padded seat offered by Indian, wear chaps, or just not ride in the rain.

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout rain
Fortunately for us, Sash got to test ride the Scout in the rain and says the 130mm tire in the front and the 150mm in the back kept the motorcycle planted and stable.

Weight, Seat Height and Maneuverability
Indian’s promise: “A 25.3-inch seat height, 61.5-inch wheelbase and 5.3-inch ground clearance, delivers a confidence-inspiring 31 degrees of lean angle and low center of gravity, along with exceptional high and low speed maneuverability.”

Did Indian deliver? Yes. As a 4-foot 11-inch woman, I was able to straddle, flatfoot, stop, and ride with great ease. The Scout’s 558 pounds is the lightest in its class, but feels even lighter thanks to its low center of gravity and balance. It feels so light, that I could straddle the bike and stand it up using only my legs, never touching the handlebars.

Motorcycle Review 2015 Indian Scoutsash left seated
Sash has a 28-inch inseam and stands a diminutive 4-feet-11. She can easily flat foot the Scout because of its narrow profile and low 25.3-inch seat height.

The low speed maneuverability is remarkable as well. I was able to make tight U-turns, navigate traffic, and weave in and out of other bikes on the streets of Sturgis during peak rally hours with confidence.

Look and Ride
Another Indian promise: “The look of a classic rigid triangle design that is synonymous with original Scouts, coupled with a set of premium coil over monotube rear shocks that deliver exceptional ride, handling and comfort.”

motorcycle review 2015 Indian Scout tan leather seat
Fans of brown will love the brown leather covered saddle that comes stock on all Scouts.

Once I sat myself into the Scout’s tan leather solo seat, grabbed the handlebars and put my feet on the pegs, it felt as if human and machine had just married into one. The Scout isn’t just transportation or a recreational two-wheeler to me; it seemed designed to intuitively interface with ones heart, mind and body, encouraging and motivating a rider to want to discover new lands and seek out new adventures on it.

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout brown leather jacket
The Scout is so fun to ride you’ll want to get busy discovering new and exciting places with it! The rider is wearing the Benjamin jacket, part of Indian Motorcycles apparel collection.

This unique feel of this motorcycle comes from the “rigid triangle” design created when a rider sits on the Scout. The weight of the engine up front is offset by the weight of the rider at the rear, making the bike incredibly easy to maneuver. I was able to steer it just by putting pressure on the footpegs. It’s no wonder the Scout was the preferred motorcycle of stunt riders and racers of the 20th century.

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout wall of death
The crowd at the VIP party in Sturgis was treated to the inaugural run of a customized version of the new 2015 Indian Scout on the Wall of Death, showing the superior balance and maneuverability of Indian Motorcycle’s newest bike.

The stock solo seat works well for short hops around town while preserving the vintage look of the Scout. But for longer rides, Indian offers extended and reduced reach seat options, a backrest, a passenger pillion, longer handlebars, a windshield, and saddlebags. The stock seating position is perfect for me.

The Scout felt comfortable to me on rough pavement, in the rain, and in traffic, as well as long stretches of interstate. The easy, effortless riding brings on a definite relaxation with the Scout ultimately leading to that feeling of freedom. 

Handlebars and Forward Controls
The stock handlebars, in conjunction with my short height, had me leaning slightly forward, which took some pressure off the tailbone. Taller riders with a longer reach would likely experience an upright or leaned-back position. 

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout red male rider
This rider, taller than Sash, sits in a more upright position on a stock Scout.

The forward controls, at first, seemed like it would be a stretch to reach with my short inseam, but I was able to adjust my seating position to reach the footpegs easily. 

I found the clutch handle rather stiff to pull in. According to representatives at Indian, it’s not adjustable and meant to be that way to create the high level of response and tactile feel. Albeit, my short stature leaves me with small hands; larger riders may not find the clutch pull an issue. However, stop-and-go traffic left my hand and fingers aching.

motorcycle review 2015 Indian Scout short rider
Sash’s smaller stature has her leaning in slightly on the stock Scout.

The 6th gear on the Scout is an overdrive gear, which lowers rpms at highway cruising speeds. I found that 5th gear felt just fine at 80 mph, and even though I was around 6,000 rpm, the bike wasn’t really begging for 6th.

The 72.2 ft-lbs of torque generated by this engine at 5,900 rpm can throw the head back with a quick twist of the wrist. So even when I put the Scout into 6th at a rather hoggish 65 mph, we took off like a rocket when I gave a throttle a jerk. 

Otherwise, the gears feel long with the Scout compared to other bikes. Whereas with other motorcycles, 1st, 2nd and 3rd gears are often cycled through quickly just to get to a comfortable speed, I could actually use any one of the gears on the Scout and stay in it for a lot longer.

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout black
Favorable rider ergonomics on the Scout allow for a wide variety of riders to be comfortable.

The new Scout does not come with anti-lock braking (ABS), although I’m not sure it’s necessary. The single disc up front and single disc on back did a remarkable job of stopping me without skidding.

The higher 10.7:1 engine compression ratio, combined with the low weight of the Scout, creates very effective engine braking, probably better than competing motorcycles in its class. Oftentimes, just easing off the throttle was all the braking I needed to do.

But if anti-lock brakes are important to you, new requirements in Europe will force Indian to offer ABS on the Scout and likely create the option in the United States in the future.

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout speedometer
The uncomplicated speedometer and indicator lights are designed with nostalgia in mind; the fuel tank below it carries 3.3 gallons of fuel.

The 2015 Indian Scout starts at decent price point, $10,999 for the Thunder Black color, and $11,999 for the Red, Sliver, and Black Smoke versions. Considering the bike’s impressive horsepower and superior handling and response, it’s no wonder why many people are already calling the Scout the “Sportster killer.”

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout rustic background
We love this photo of the Indian against the wood and rusty background. Everything about the styling screams original.

Specs At A Glance: 2015 Indian Motorcycle Scout
Engine Size: 69ci (1133cc)
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Weight: 558 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 3.3 gallons
Price: $10,999 Thunder Black; $11,999 Red, Silver, Black Smoke

The Cost of Touring Accessories Purchased from an Indian Dealer:
– Quick Release Windshield (tall, short, mid): $449.99
– Extended Reach Solo Seat, or Reduced Reach Seat:  $249.99
– Extended Reach Handlebars or Pullback Bars: $149.99
– Tan Leather Saddlebags: $999.99 (Yikes! You’re paying for the uber authentic brown leather; keep an eye out for aftermarket saddlebags to fit the Scout that will be much cheaper.)

motorcycle review 2015 indian scout leather saddlebags
We just had to show you the $1,000 Scout saddlebags because they’re probably the most expensive set ever offered by a manufacturer.

WRN Recommendation
The Indian Scout appears to be a motorcycle that was designed with female riders in mind as it has many of the features women say they want in a motorcycle: low, light, easy to handle, yet has lots and lots of power. One could outfit this motorcycle for touring and easily keep up with the more powerful touring motorcycles. If size is an issue for you, but power is not, check out the new Indian Scout.

Related Articles
Significant Upgrades for 2014 Sportster Models
The Lowest of the Low Seat Height Motorcycles
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2014 Wrap-up
New Motorcycles for 2012 Including New Indians

30 thoughts on Motorcycle Review: 2015 Indian Scout

  1. I bought the 2016 Scout, Indian Red and I absolutely love it! I’m 5 feet 6 inches and got the reduced reach package and mini apes. So with a few tweaks, I got the perfect fit. This bike is very maneuverable, lightweight, and it scoots! I went from a Kawasaki Vulcan 500 as a starter bike to this little Indian and it gave me exactly what I was looking for. I highly recommend it. It will amaze you!

  2. Thank you for this article. I have been researching what bike to buy for myself after 20 years of not riding. I took the Harley-Davidson Riding Academy as a refresher and really thought I wanted a Harley Sportster or Dyna until I saw the Scout! After reading the reviews I made a very long drive to a dealership and took a test ride. This article gave me the motivation to call around and find the dealership that will do me right. I will pick up my new Scout next week in Auburn, California! I am so excited for the new bike, the new adventure, and for finding this site. Y’all inspire me!

  3. I just picked my Scout up today and so far I love it!This is a re-entry bike for me after eight years of not riding. My last bike was Triumph. The bike before that was a Yamaha.The Scout is balanced and comfortable. Very approachable and easy to move around. I am 5 feet 10 inches with short legs the seat height works great for me.

  4. Purchased an Indian Scout this summer. My first bike in 40 years! Wasn’t sure I would enjoy driving, after being a passenger on my husband’s various motorcycles. I can tell you that I absolutely love my Scout! I feel that it is a part of me when I ride. I totally related to Sash’s statement; the Scout “seemed designed to intuitively interface with one’s heart, mind and body, encouraging and motivating a rider to want to discover new lands and seek out new adventures on it.”I was able to quickly gain confidence on the Scout. I am 63 years old, my husband is 70 and just bought a Indian Vintage. I am thinking that without having to balance my weight on his bike, we should be able to ride for many more years.

  5. I fell in love with the Scout over the weekend, when I demo’d it at Delmarva Bikefest in Maryland. I’m 5-feet-4 with a 26-inch inseam and had no problems reaching anything. This bike was a total blast to ride and friends who followed me in the demo group said it appeared I was having the time of my life, leaning into turns.I’ve been riding an H-D Ultra Low that I purchased last fall when they came out. I’ve dropped it several times in parking lots and I find its size and weight intimidating – not so with the Scout! It made riding fun and stress-free for me.

  6. New rider and only 4 foot 11 and 130 pounds. Riding (learning still in parking lots) a 1998 Honda Shadow VLX 600. Had the seat redone / lower and push me up 3 inches towards the bars and still on my toes. Not a great way to learn how to ride. I was going to give up due to being to short and no bike would fit. Thanks to Sash I will visit the Indian dealer and pray I can fit.Thanks for the hope.

  7. Thank you for all of the wonderful comments. To Christopher in Chicago, I’m incredibly pleased the review helped you make your choice. I also wrote more indepth reviews on my site, about my four months with the Scout. Lastly, Christopher, I’m so deeply flattered! Such a kind thought! If we ever meet on the road, I’ll smooch you just for writing that!

  8. I found this article by iPad Safari search of the Indian Scout. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole article with its awesome pictures. I was shocked that Sash was under 5 feet. I was so glad a short rider had reviewed the Scout because I’m a male of 5 feet 2 inches have been shopping for an upgrade from my Honda Rebel. I have demo’d the HD Sportster Low, Iron 883, and 1200 Custom. They were all very nice ride, but I wasn’t convinced; the bikes didn’t speak to me. When I saw the Scout, she sang to me and I knew I wanted one, but I have yet to ride one since all the dealers can’t keep them in stock. They been selling like hot cakes. I put a deposit down and hope I will like the bike once I receive it. However, I’m more confident now that I will be able to handle the Scout after reading Sash’s article. I was already prepared to get the short reach seat and short reach pegs. Now, maybe I can save the extra expense. I’m very excited and now just have to wait to receive my motorcycle. I may even name her Sash!

    1. Christopher, Sash responded to your comment on the Indian Scout story. You might want to check it out. She provides more info that might be helpful to you.

  9. I had the opportunity to see the Scout up close at the Progressive NYC Motorcycle Show in December. I had already been hearing really good things. I got my M endorsement last August after taking the MSF course. I currently ride a 2003 Honda Shadow 750 ACE. But the Scout will definitely be the highest on my list of what I’ll be eyeing when I’m ready to move on to my next ride. Everything about it just felt right, the engine sounded beautiful when they demo’d it on the showroom floor and every review I’ve read has been stellar and filled with excitement for this reborn classic brand.

  10. I have only been riding about five years. In 2013 I attended a demo ride session and rode an Indian Vintage which is bigger than the Scout, but the Scout had not been announced yet. It was the easiest handling bike I have ever ridden. Oh, and beyond comfortable too. I now own a 2014 Indian Chieftain and absolutely love it. I think the Scout is a great starter bike for folks, especially women, but don’t be afraid to try the others in the Indian line. They are a dream to drive, exceptionally well balanced, and a low center of gravity. My only disagreement with the article is that I think people over 5-feet-11 would not find them as comfortable. My two neighbors rode with me. One of them is 6 feet and rode a Chieftain and was OK. My other neighbor is 6-feet-4 and road a Chieftain and was incredibly uncomfortable. So I find it hard to believe that either of them could ride a Scout without feeling like an adult riding a little kids bike.Indian is making some fantastic bikes, so ride one, get one, and enjoy!

  11. I currently ride a Yamaha V Star 650 and am about ready for a trade up. I test drove a 2014 Indian Vintage and fell in love! However I think I like the price point of the Scout better so I will have to test that out on the spring. My one observation is, why did they leave the classic brand Indian headpiece off the front fender? I wonder of that could be added? To me, it just isn’t an Indian without that.

  12. The Scout looks like it has everything I’m looking for in an upgrade from my Yamaha V Star 650. The only thing that makes me hesitate is the size of the gas tank (smaller than my V Star). Besides short day trips and commuting, I like to be able to do a couple weeks of touring on my bike. Gas stations aren’t as plentiful out West as they are here in Wisconsin. What kind of mileage does the Scout get?

    1. We reached out to an Indian rep as we could not find the estimated gas mileage anywhere on the Scout website. He responded that the mpg is not a figure that Indian quotes in its specs. I think the best thing for you to do is to visit an Indian dealer and ask a sales rep. I’m sure he or she will know since they’re probably riding the Scounts on a regular basis.

  13. Interesting article. The Scout comes with ABS in Aussie as standard, the acessories are double the price, i.e.: saddlebags $1,820. Polaris also charges $18,000 ride-away price for the Scout. You’re lucky that they are so cheap in the States.

  14. I was researching bikes that I thought my boyfriend might like. He is a newbie, but he he has a natural talent. I was trying to find something that would work for him being about 6 feet and 175 pounds. I read this review. I was intrigued and showed it to my boyfriend. So, today, we went to an Indian dealership in our neighborhood to take a look. He thinks this is the bike for him.Indian kept in mind persons between 5-feet-4 and 6-feet-4 just as the bike is as stock from what I read. He sat on it and really liked it. I sat on it as well. Very nice. We were not able to test drive it. We will take another look at the show in February 2015, but I think my boyfriend is hooked. From what I have read, this bike is light, nimble and has a “kick” to it. I am not sure that is is really for “beginners” given the specs I read, however I think it may be a good mid-line bike for him given what it offers and its price point compared to other bikes it challenges in the market. We will test drive it in the spring and see what he thinks.

  15. I test rode the Scout last week. I found it to be quick, light weight and low to the ground. The only dislikes were no windshield (fixable), no saddlebags (fixable) and harder feeling suspension than what I am used to riding. I think it would be great around town, short trips but in the long haul, I prefer the Vintage, the other model I tested that day. I like that women are now being taken seriously as owners and test riders. I have been riding my own since the 90s and have put on thousands of miles on the different bikes I have owned. Keep going and keep us women in mind. We love the improved Indians.

  16. Good article. To the point and covered items that are important without a lot of fluff in the article. Good job!

  17. Thanks to Women Riders Now for the opportunity to review the Indian Scout and attend the Indian reveal party. What a phenomenal experience for a relatively new rider.I have since read other reviews of the Scout and see so many wonderful things written. I was sincerely astonished by the roaring cheers when the Scout was revealed to the press. It was so enthusiastic, which I didn’t expect.I’d like to note that Cyril Huze wrote in his blog, “Seated, my 6-foot frame’s reach to the foot controls and handlebars felt right.” So if a woman of less than 5 feet tall and a man of 6 feet tall can both feel comfortable on the same bike, then Indian has achieved something quite special.Cyril, whom I met at the Indian party, and was just a dear to me, simply raved about the Scout. I’ve looked far and wide for the right motorcycle for me, and I feel so good about this Scout that I am organizing my finances to buy one as soon as possible.

  18. Well done article. This shorty woman dreams all things Indian Scout and will realize it when the time is right.

  19. Great article and very informative. I love the looks of the whole line and because of the great balance of this motorcycle line, I think women should give any bike in the line up a look before they purchase something else. I have demo’d the Chieftain twice and look forward to giving the Scout a ride. However I have already made the decision that my next bike will be the Indian Chieftain in Black with lots of chrome. Thank you Sash!

  20. Loved the review of this bike. Makes me want to test ride one if possible. I currently ride a 2008 HD Nightster 1200 which HD doesn’t make anymore. Been looking for an alternative bike because of my height.

  21. Thank-you for a great review! I was thinking next year I would buy the Triumph Bonneville but now this new Scout might be the one! I love the tan leather bags and would, for sure, pay the price. I hate boring black bags so these would be worth it.

  22. What a great and thorough article. It looks like you really enjoyed yourself!

  23. Thanks for the input! I’ve been considering a new bike. I currently ride a 2009 1300 Brass Balls Bobber Model 1, which is a rigid. While I love my Iron Baby Boy, he was never intended to be a highway cruiser, and I do mostly highway miles on him. I’ll have to test ride the Scout. The price seems reasonable and quite a bit less than I paid for my Model 1 back several years ago. I’m only 5 feet-even myself, but don’t want to give up the power of a V-twin. Again, thanks for the detailed review!

  24. I hope to check out the new Scout, but it’s been a lot less than 70 years since the last one. I owned a 2001, one of the first ones on the east coast.

  25. Great write up on the Scout! Do you know if those “most expensive” saddle bagslock?

    1. These saddlebags do not lock. They are designed for removal from the motorcycle when you get to your destination.

  26. I had the opportunity to demo ride the Scout a week ago. It was quite a pleasant surprise! I currently ride a Yamaha V Star 650 and the Scout made that one feel heavy! Loved the way it handles, the available power and the nimbleness of the bike. The center of gravity on this bike is SPOT ON! Even going slow in stop and go traffic I didn’t feel that I needed to put my feet down at all. Nice!At 4 feet 11 inches myself, the same height as Sash, I have to agree with the fact that this bike is PERFECT for us shorter statured gals. The only drawback was the fact that with shorter legs, when I put my feet down at a stop my right calf rested right against the hot exhaust pipes. I recommend to the Indian rep. that they might want to think about adding a heat shield there. I am also an MSF Rider Coach and for those who are just starting out and want a bike with more power this would be the choice. Forget those top heavy 883 Sportsters ladies! Sit your ass on this class instead! You won’t be sorry!

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