Review: 2018 Indian Scout Bobber

Beginner bike feel; middleweight motorcycle performance

By Genevieve Schmitt, photos by Jack McIntyre

I recently had the opportunity to spend some seat time on the exciting new addition to the Indian Motorcycle Scout family, the Bobber, but the two hours I was limited to only whet my appetite for more. The moment I threw my leg over the compact sized motorcycle, I knew I was in for one fun ride.

review 2018 indian scout bobber riding left
The Indian Scout Bobber’s power-to-weight ratio is what makes the motorcycle so exciting to ride. Lots of power, 100 horsepower to be exact, packed into a diminutive motorcycle that’s easy to maneuver in all situations.
review 2018 indian scout bobber riding right
The Bobber is a redesigned version of its cousin, the Scout, with rear suspension that’s 1 inch lower, and footpegs that are 1.5 inches closer to the rider.

Coming from my regular ride of a large touring motorcycle, it’s a breath of fresh air to straddle a motorcycle that not only is super low, super light, and super narrow, but pulsates with 1100cc of “command-the-roadway” power. You see, usually when a motorcycle features these qualities—super low, super light, and super narrow—it’s some version of a beginner motorcycle. The cool thing about the Bobber is that while it possesses all those confidence-inspiring physical attributes of being low, light, and easy to handle, it performs like nothing less than a capable strong middleweight cruiser. The Bobber, therefore, opens up a world of possibilities for riders, mainly women, who want a bike that’s easy to maneuver in all situations without sacrificing power.

review 2018 indian scout bobber engine
The 2018 Indian Scout Bobber packs 1100cc of power in its liquid cooled V-twin engine.

Here’s an example of what I mean. A rider learns on a 250cc beginner motorcycle. She loves how she’s become comfortable on the motorcycle’s size and is now confident in all situations handling the motorcycle. The only drawback as she sharpens her riding abilities is that the bike is now “too slow” for her. Time to upgrade.

A lot of riders in this scenario would like to simply drop a bigger engine into their beginner bike and continue on their way still comfortable with the motorcycle’s small-ish size. Unfortunately, in our two-wheeled world, the only way to a more powerful engine means getting a physically bigger motorcycle.

The Bobber, however, is the answer for those riders who want a still-small-ish size motorcycle, but with bigtime motorcycle riding power.

review 2018 indian scout bobber his and hers
His and hers Indians! The Bobber has no problem keeping up with its Indian sibling, the Chieftain, which thunders along using 1800ccs of power packed in its V-twin engine. Once up to speed, in sixth gear, I never felt the Bobber “screaming” for more power. There was always enough.
review 2018 indian scout bobber seat height
Seat height on the Indian Scout Bobber is a ground-hugging 25.6 inches. While I stand 5-feet-7, you can see, by how much bend there is in my knee and by how much I “overtake” the motorcycle, that there is plenty of room for riders much shorter than me to comfortably handle this bike and be flat-footed.
review 2018 indian scout bobber seat
The brown solo seat is good looking, but after two hours, I was moving around to get rid of a few hot spots. The Bobber is set up for half-day rides at best.
review 2018 indian scout bobber tire
The knobby tire tread is part of the motorcycle’s “aggressive” image.
review 2018 indian scout bobber static right
The concept behind the Bobber’s styling is a stripped down minimalist motorcycle, so notice the chopped fenders and blacked out components.
review 2018 indian scout bobber riding right 2
The Bobber’s ride is solid, responding to rider input on a dime. It almost feels like a sportbike in that way. Light, maneuverable, and fast! I am wearing Worse for Wear riding jeans reviewed here on WRN, along with the Shoei RF-SR review coming soon.

In the photo above I’m also wearing some older pieces of riding gear from my motorcycle closet including: Alpinestars Paddock jacket reviewed here on WRN, Icon Catwalk gloves reviewed here, and Red Wing boots.

The only thing I’m not a fan of that I think other riders may also be considering as a downside is the aggressive legs forward, arms flat-out-in-front riding position. Here’s what I’ll say about it. I gladly will put up with this aggressive stance as this bike is such a blast to ride. Plus, since the reach of the controls is within my comfort zone, I’m OK to ride like this.

This minimalist motorcycle makes a great starting point for customization. Fortunately, Indian has thought of just about everything you might need to take this motorcycle on longer jaunts including an aftermarket windshield and saddlebags. Take a look at my story 5 Must Have Accessories for Your Indian Motorcycle.

Hopefully, my mini-review of the Bobber is enough to encourage you to get out and test ride one. Beginner riders looking to trade up owe it to themselves to try one out. Even riders downsizing from their big monstrosity of a motorcycle may very well end up wanting a Bobber after taking a spin on one. I know I do.

Specs At A Glance: 2018 Indian Motorcycle Scout Bobber
Engine Size: 69ci (1130cc)
Seat height: 25.6 inches
Weight: 554 pounds
Fuel capacity: 3.3 gallons
Colors: Thunder Black, Star Silver Smoke, Bronze Smoke, Indian Motorcycle Red, Thunder Black Smoke (ABS)
Price: starts at $11,499

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2 thoughts on Review: 2018 Indian Scout Bobber

  1. I test rode the 2017 Indian Bobber and the Scout. I loved the Bobber but I purchased the 2017 Scout. It is a bit more practical and comfortable for longer rides. I love my Scout!

  2. I got to ride a Bobber while having some upgrades done to my Scout 60. “Wow!” is all I can say. Talk about a kick ass ride! It took me a few minutes to realize I better hold on tight. So much power compared to my baby. I was flying past other bikes. I rode it over to show some of my buddies. These guys loved it. One guy so much he is buying one now. If I were to recommend a bike, it would be a Bobber!

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