Indian Scout Bobber

The 2018 Indian Scout Bobber is a great example of how less can sometimes be more.

The new stripped-down and blacked-out Scout Bobber comes in Thunder Black, Star Silver Smoke, Bronze Smoke, Indian Motorcycle Red, and Thunder Black Smoke from $18,995 ride away. That’s $500 less than the Scout which still costs $19,495 despite adding a pillion seat, upgraded forks and both models shod with specially made Pirelli tyres rather than Kenda. The Bobber may be less, but it’s “more” than the standard Scout thanks to its upgraded suspension and slightly more aggressive riding position.

While both the Scout and Scout Bobber now come with cartridge forks instead of just damping rods, the Bobber gets 25mm lowered suspension. That means the rear shocks sit a little flatter and somehow it just works better. Perhaps it’s the decreased unsprung weight.

The rear shocks also now have rubber bushes top and bottom to absorb the hard hits when bottoming out and topping out. Even though the Bobber’s rear travel is reduced, it just works better with an improved ride and sharper handling.

It is powered by the same 1133cc V-twin as the Scout with the same six-speed transmission that is as slick as any Japanese gearbox. It’s a great mill for cruising through the countryside with plenty of torque through the lower and midrange revs. Neutral is very easy to find and you can slip through the gears easily, or just lazily roll around in a high gear and let the torque do the talking.

Even though the slightly knobby tread on the new Pirelli tyres looks like it might do some dirty work, this is really a stylish pavement pounder. The closer you look at the Bobber, the more fine details you notice such as the tidy cabling, the integrated stop light and rear indicators, and the Indian warhead logo stamped here and there, including on the sidewalls of the specially made tyres.

Riding position is substantially different to the standard Scout. The tracker handlebars entice the rider to lean into the wind for a more aggressive riding position. But it’s a bit of a reach and shorter riders may like to swap them for the Scout’s bars.

The Bobber foot pegs have also been moved 38mm closer to the rider so you are bent over in a windsock crouched position. It’s not the most comfortable riding position, but it makes you feel more aggressive and in control. Urban rides and short blasts through the hills are where the Bobber is best suited. Touring is out of the question with a firm leather two-tone solo seat.

There is a host of other accessories available including bar-end mirrors which are standard in the USA.

Fast facts

  • Engine: 1133cc liquid-cooled V-Twin
  • Power: 70kW (94hp)
  • Torque: 97Nm @ 5600rpm
  • Transmission: 6-speed, belt drive
  • Suspension: 120mm telescopic cartridge fork, 120mm travel; dual shocks, 50mm travel
  • Tyres:130/90-16 73H (front); 150/80-16 71H (rear)
  • Brakes: 298mm disc and two-piston calliper (front); 298mm disc, one-piston calliper (rear)
  • Wheels: 16 x 3.5in cast
  • Wheelbase: 1562mm
  • Seat: 649mm
  • Clearance: 123mm
  • Height: 1154mm
  • Length: 2276mm
  • Width: 926mm
  • Rake: 29°
  • Lean angle: 29°
  • Trail: 119.9mm
  • Fuel capacity: 12.5 litres
  • GVWR: 449kg
  • Wet weight: 255kg.

Story by Mark Hinchliffe.