Indian Scout Sixty First Ride Review

25 October 2016, 12:01 AM Vikrant Singh

What is it?

The new Indian Scout Sixty is the cheaper, lesser powerful, smaller-engined variant of what has so far been the American bike maker’s most affordable offering, the Scout. So, yes, the Scout Sixty is now Indian’s cheapest offering, but to call it cheap would be wrong.

It is priced at a little over Rs 15 lakh on the road in Mumbai. And when you walk up to it, look at it carefully and work the controls, you instantly know, this is a bike that’s well engineered, well finished and well put together.

And that’s because compared to the Scout, very little has changed on the Sixty. It still uses the same frame; the same cycle parts down to the brakes and tyres; and the same body parts, controls and paint quality as the Scout. The only thing different is the reduced cylinder bore, a 5-speed gearbox instead of a 6-speed unit, and a hint of weight loss; the Sixty is two kilos lighter.

How does it ride?

On the road though – especially within our cities – you’d need the heightened senses of Spiderman to tell the difference between the Scout and Sixty. Agreed, there’s almost a 150cc difference in capacity between the two, and the Sixty is over 20bhp down on power. But, with less than 10Nm difference in the peak torque output and almost similar low and mid range punch, the Sixty feels just as gutsy and overflowing with torque as the Scout. And with it, is as much fun to filter through traffic and overtake with.

What’s more, the Sixty even with its long wheelbase and lazy steering geometry is surprisingly flickable and well balanced at slow speeds. And once you start rolling, the motorcycle seems to lose half of its near 250kg weight almost instantly. When it comes to cruisers or big bikes in general with poor turning radii, the Sixty, we believe, is by far the easiest to manoeuvre, even around U-turns.

Ex-showroom, Mumbai

 12,55,000

It also has a light, progressive and linear throttle response. Add to it the low seat height, an easy to reach handlebar and light steering, and you have a big, brawny bike that doesn’t require a club bouncer’s physique to wrestle around. Two things, however, do require effort. The clutch is heavy enough to leave you with an aching wrist and the gearshifts are clunky; the latter require brute force to go up and down the gearbox. And like most liquid cooled big capacity engines, the Scout Sixty’s 1000cc V Twin also gets hot when battling peak hour traffic.

On the highway however, the Sixty is many things. Want to take things easy? Then just short shift to 5th and you can rake in many a miles just cruising effortlessly at 100kmph with hardly a sound or vibration from the Sixty. The Indian is equally effortless to overtake with. Just roll the throttle to the stops from 100kmph in 5th and if you are looking far ahead into the horizon, you’d be doing close to 180kmph without breaking into a sweat. Only, the windblast might be a bit of a bother at this point.

But, it is the way the Scout Sixty handles, that’s most impressive. It is exactly like the Scout. So, the Sixty too loves fast flowing corners. It too dives into corners as if it were a much smaller and lighter bike. And it too has decent cornering clearance; at least around long sweepers. To boot, unlike most cruisers that feel lazy, bendy and disconnected around a series of corners, the Sixty feels alive, sharp (relatively) and way more sorted and stable compared to its brethren. 

Anything else I should know?

The Scout Sixty isn’t the most comfortable cruiser on the market, though. The single seat works well on short trips but spend over an hour in the saddle and you’ll start wishing for a chai-stop. The ride quality is a mixed bag too. The telescopic forks up front and regular twin coil-over dampers at the rear don’t have much travel. These are also setup on the softer side giving the Sixty a plush ride at speeds of under 50kmph and over mildly broken or uneven surfaces.

But once the surface gets worse – the bumps get higher, the potholes get deeper and the road undulations amplitude rise – the Sixty finds itself struggling. The front does a mild head shake every time it encounters a series of bumps; the rear-end springs up uncomfortably exiting troughs; and the Sixty loves tramlining at the slightest change in road camber including those unwanted ones caused by hasty road repairs.

Meanwhile for those who like to bling up their ride, the Sixty also comes with some factory-designed accessories. These include saddlebags and sissy bars like the ones you see on this press bike. In addition, one can also opt for different wheel, seat and handlebar styles, and decorative items like grips and some chromed out bits.

Should I buy one?

If I were in the market for a cruiser, I’d buy it. No question. The Indian Scout Sixty has traditional cruiser traits – the laid back seating, some bits of chrome, a decent pose value and clunky gear shifts. But, what I like more is that the Sixty has some modern touches that make it more desirable. The liquid cooled engine is quiet and vibe-free (only till around the 4000rpm mark, mind); the chassis and the cycle parts come together to make a dynamically able package (I would have liked better brakes, nonetheless); and it is beautifully built and finished. So, like I said, yes, if I were in the market for a cruiser and the Scout was a stretch, I’d buy the Sixty.

Where does it fit in?

As with the Scout, the only bike that truly compares with the Scout Sixty is the Harley-Davidson Fat Bob given that both belong to the same V-twin, belt driven, cruiser genre. But, compared to the Bob, the Sixty lags behind in the numbers game. It is lesser priced, has lesser engine capacity, lesser torque rating, and lesser weight. For similar money – if you aren’t completely sold on the cruiser talk and are in fact looking at something that’s just easy to mount and ride – you could look also at the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 and the Suzuki GSX-S1000F. Both are great at touring; come with some handy electronics; and though these aren’t as easy to swing a leg over as the Sixty, the Kawasaki and Suzuki are definitely way more fun when it’s time to stick that knee out.

Gear Check

1- Arai Vector helmet: Vector might be Arai’s entry-level helmet but it still has top notch fit, quality and safety. Wish it had a removal headliner though.

Price: Rs 30,000

2- Sena 20S Bluetooth set: Sena’s top of the line 20S is a one-stop solution for all one’s music and communication needs. It is expensive but I love it.

Price: Rs 20,000

3- Komine Vintage Mesh jacket: This Komine jacket has seen its share of crashes and it continues to soldier on. It also provides excellent protection and airflow.

Price: Rs 15,000

4- Ixon RS Circuit HP gloves: Not the best full-gauntlet gloves I have used but the Ixons do a fair job be it comfort or protection.

Price: Rs 8,000

5- Alpinestars AST pants: ASTs offer good fit and protection. But these are mostly rain pants and can get hot under the sun. It doesn’t get enough pockets either.

Price: Rs 12,500

6- Forma Adventure boots: Forma has got the touring, commuting and some bit of off-roading handiness bang on with the Adventure boots. I like them.

Price: Rs 16,000

Photography by Kapil Angane

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