Review: 2019 Indian Scout

Whoever said the days of cruisers are numbered?
by Aris Ilagan | Jul 11, 2019
PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

Whenever the government beats the drum for its ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, the loudest applause usually comes from the big bikers. They see that a big chunk of these infrastructure projects is focused on building more highways leading to the country’s far-flung areas that would otherwise not be accessible to motorcycles with big engines.

As more highways are built, Access Plus, the distributor of Indian Motorcycle in the Philippines, foresees an expanding market for premium cruisers in the near future, thus insipiring the company to introduce more of its products to the local market. Its latest addition to its local lineup is the 2019 Indian Scout, a classic upright cruiser with a powerful 1,136cc V-twin engine.

Moto Sapiens got to try out the bike recently. The original plan was just to meet up with other Indian motorcycle owners at Bonifacio Global City and ride around Metro Manila before proceeding to the historic Manila Hotel. Everyone was looking forward to a sumptuous breakfast at Café Ilang-Ilang courtesy of Ted Alberto of Access Plus.

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With the Scout under my command, I took a quick side trip to the South Luzon Expressway (SLEX) to get a better feel for the bike, knowing that it’s only on clear stretches like SLEX that I can use all its six gears. I’m sorry, Ted!

Here are my first impressions:

Styling

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It was love at first sight. When I picked up the Scout—sporting a Deep Water Metallic scheme—at Access Plus on P. Tuazon Boulevard in Quezon City, I felt butterflies in my stomach. That’s something that I hadn’t experienced for a long time. From the engine block and the exhaust to the handlebars and even the kickstand, every component was immaculately clean and shiny, as they should be on chrome-laced cruisers.

Before I threw my leg over the premium leather sport seat, I couldn’t help but circle the bike several times to take in every single detail. Classic styling is harmoniously mixed with a few modern amenities like alloy wheels, a belt-drive system, a USB port, and a semi-analog, circular gauge. Nevertheless, the Scout definitely exudes the retro spirit by retaining a circular headlight, a huge teardrop-shaped gas tank, a contoured seat, and large fenders. These elements are beautiful, not merely decorative.

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By the way, the headlight is not just an ordinary ‘circular’ component—it’s actually an original Scout Pathfinder LED headlight that provides much better illumination at nighttime.

The saddle

As mentioned, the quick Sunday ride was supposed to be confined wthin Metro Manila. Being an early bird, I found myself an opportunity to take this gorgeous beast for a quick jaunt to Santa Rosa, Laguna, before going to BGC where the boys were waiting. I had less than an hour to pull off the great escape.

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Although previous international reviews of the Scout say it offers an upright riding position, I found myself on a slightly forward riding stance since I have shorter arms compared to riders from other parts of the globe. The premium leather seat with thick cushioning was a big relief against the slits on the EDSA pavement that caused the bike to dribble whether at low or high speed. The contour on the sport seat served as a catch for my bum, giving me a firm perch and helping to ensure that I keep full control of the bike at all times.

The Scout was stable even at 150-160kph. I felt it begging for more speed, but I let self-control and calmness prevail.

Engine performance

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To hightail it from Quezon City to Santa Rosa, I made the most of the Scout’s 100hp engine. Peak torque is 97.7Nm at a low 5,900rpm.

The temperature on that day must have been around 37 degrees. With a motorbike powered by a huge V-twin, it was almost impossible not to be bugged by the Scout’s extreme engine heat. Not even the big water-cooling system could solve this issue.

The only recourse was to keep the cruiser running and avoiding long stops.

Off the line, the Scout showed smooth yet solid acceleration. It felt like a jumbo airliner taking off from the runway. It also exhibited less vibrations versus other full-size cruisers we had ridden in the past. Back from the expressway and on the short open stretches of Metro Manila, I found myself getting up to just fourth gear most of the time.

Ride and handling

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Despite having a relatively long wheelbase at 61.5 inches, the Scout is a breeze to ride in the Metro Manila traffic. I loved riding it on city streets—I could get the right engine response at any part of the rev range, and that’s something that’s very important. Also, I rode confidently knowing that stopping power was provided by a huge 298mm double-piston rotor up front and a 298mm single-piston rotor in the back.

At a standstill, the 449kg machine was easy to balance, thanks to a low center of gravity and a low seat height of only 25.3 inches. Add the properly tuned front (telescopic fork) and rear (dual shocks) suspension, and what you get is a blissful riding experience. There’s one downside of riding the Scout in traffic, though: the hard-to-press clutch lever. And that was on a Sunday ride.

Extra features

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Here’s what I like about classic cruisers like the Scout: There are no dysfunctional monstrosities, no fake plastic components. The only electronic safety feature you get is the standard ABS. Despite lacking technological features, it’s still very much fun to ride.

Come to think of it, there are plenty of opportunities to prime up this Scout. Check out the Indian Motorcycle website for a wide array of original accessories like low-fly windscreens, sport seats (in the photo), gas-tank pouches, and performance shock absorbers to personalize your ride. We bet that once you get hold of a Scout, it would soon end up at the Access Plus showroom to get fitted with authentic Indian aftermarket parts. Just make sure to keep the receipts away from the prying eyes of your wife.

The verdict

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Whoever said the days of cruisers are numbered? Members of the Indian Motorcycle Riders Group will attest that cruisers won’t only continue to exist, but will also grow in number despite the introduction of newer, more technologically advanced motorcycles.

The unrivaled fun and excitement classic bikes such as the Indian Scout offer make this species immortal in the motorcycle world. Still skeptical? You have to ride one to believe.

SPECS: 2019 Indian Scout

Price: P1,050,000 (saddle bag, sport seat not included)
Engine: 1,136cc liquid-cooled V-twin
Power: 100hp
Torque: 97.7Nm @ 5,900rpm
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Seat height: 25.3 inches
Score: 18/20

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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