2018 Indian Scout Bobber First Ride Review

22 February 2018, 11:26 AM Vikrant Singh

What is it?

Why would I buy the Indian Scout Bobber? 

It looks good, feels light on its feet, and has a good engine to boot.

Why won't I buy the Indian Scout Bobber?

If I had a bad back, I'd completely avoid the Bobber. The ride really needs looking into.

This is the Indian Scout Bobber. Based on the Scout, a motorcycle I quite like, the Bobber borrows its engine, frame, and features list from the former.

Now, according to Indian Motorcycles, the Bobber is all about 'stripping it down'. So, it gets shorter fenders over the front and rear wheels, and no rear seat. Everything else though is pretty much there.

Additionally, the chrome has been replaced by a matte black finish, and the conventional round headlamp makes way for a hoodie. And, though the tyres are exactly the same spec as the Scout's, the Bobber runs on a knobbier pattern. All in the name of higher street-cred, says Indian.

The end result - and this is our opinion - is a motorcycle that radiates youthful charm and boisterousness instead of old-school classic appeal.

How is to ride?

Now, the Scout might have classic appeal to its styling, but in terms of running gear, it has always been a modern motorcycle.

So, the Bobber borrowing its mechanicals can only be a good thing. The engine, the gearbox, the gear ratios, as well as the final drive is identical on both bikes. As are the brakes, the steering geometry, and the suspension.

Indian Scout Bobber

Indian Scout Bobber

  • Displacement1,133 cc
  • Kerb Weight255 kg
  • ;

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 13,15,000

Actually, the latter isn't completely true. Yes, the front end is identical, but to give the Bobber a more custom look, its rear sits lower. And that comes with a caveat, which we will get to later.

So, like the Scout, the Bobber is beautifully balanced on the move making filtering through traffic surprisingly easy. One has to ride it to believe that a 1000cc-plus cruiser can feel this light and nimble.

It also sounds and feels refined and eager, especially in the mid-range. That makes easy work of quick overtakes while also turning a 100kmph cruise into a relaxed, effortless, and agreeable activity.

And if you want to go rogue, the Bobber will oblige. Nearly 100Nm of torque at your disposal means, with the throttle to the stops, you can cover ground very quickly. And these will most certainly be grin inducing miles.

Our only suggestion would be to short shift and avoid getting close to 7,000rpm. Because once you do, the Bobber does live up to the 'loosening of the fillings' automotive cliche. Yes, it vibrates like a tuning fork.

But, when the corners come calling, the Bobber feels alright. The brakes feel up to the job, and the bike changes directions with no fuss at all. That's, of course, till you lean left and go kharrrrrrrrrrr. Then you lean right and go kharrrrrrrrrrr. And then you make a  U-Turn and go kharrrrr; but this time with less 'r's.

The Bobber might like to lean, but its footpegs - and those long feeler bolts -  don't allow it. It has lesser cornering clearance than the stock Scout, which wasn't great to begin with. And that's quite a shame because the chassis clearly seems to have more potential.

Ah, and since we are in the fault-finding mood and making strange sounds, it's time to bring up the caveat.

We mentioned earlier that the Bobber's rear rides lower. And that means, its ride can best be described in one sound. 

Oww! 

Oww, Oww, Oww!

Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww, Oww!

In case you are wondering, that's me inside my helmet, first going through a pothole on the Bobber, then over a rumbler strip, and finally over severely broken tarmac.

As you would have figured already, on anything but the smoothest tarmac, the Bobber's rear suspension can be quite hard on the back. And it's mainly down to the travel; or the lackthereof. It gets just 50mm of movement, which also feels as small as it reads.

I also didn't like the inconsistent throttle response at low revs. And the heavy clutch pull. Both, make for awful partners to commute with in the city.

Anything else should I know?

The seating triangle on the Bobber is slightly different from the Scout. It is a little more aggressive. And that means, it is easier to tuck-in and ride when you decide to chase the horizon with those 100 horses galloping at full chat.

The Bobber also has a fair number of readouts on its single pod clock. There's the analogue speedo, the digital gear indicator and a clock, which are permanently displaced. But, toggle through what looks like a pass-by switch and you get readouts for engine rpm and temperature, besides trip settings.

And lest we forget, as with every other Indian we have ridden, the Scout Bobber too scores high for the level of quality and fit and finish it brings to this class of bikes.

Should I buy one?

Apart from that jarring rear-end ride quality, there's actually lots to like about the Scout Bobber. You can ride it in the city. You can go touring on it. You can also go ride up your favourite switchback if you don't mind decimating those feeler bolts. What's more, it looks fantastic. You could buy this one for its looks alone and no one will judge you.

Where does it fit in?

The Bobber goes up head-on against the Harley-Davidson Street Bob. The latter ticks the same boxes - stripped down, chopped fenders, and the appeal of a custom motorcycle. It is priced similar to the Scout Bobber as well, with both bikes retailing for around Rs 13 lakhs, ex-showroom in Mumbai.

Gear Check

1- Shoei X-Fourteen Helmet : Rs 50,000

Meant essentially for track use, it does have good ventilation. Comfort levels though, aren't very high. 

2- Helstons Sonny Mesh Jacket : Rs 15,990

A little heavy for mesh jackets, the Sonny with its CE Level 2 protection does score high for safety, style and quality. 

3- Helstons Wind Mesh Gloves : Rs 5,990

A blend of leather and mesh and light in weight, these fit well and have enough ventilation to keep hands cool even on the hottest days.   

4- Helstons Corden Stone Riding Jeans : Rs 17,990

These armoured denims come with CE Level 2 protection and offer daily wearability and high resistance to impact and abrasion.

5- Daytona AC Pro Boots : Rs 19,990

Short riding boots for everyday wear, these use a mix of authentic leather and of the perforated PU variety. Titanium toe sliders are standard. 

Photography by Kapil Angane

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