2018 Indian Scout & Bobber Ride Review
Finally able to ride after recovering from a wreck in June that totaled my ’05 Suzuki Boulevard, I am on the search for a new motorcycle to fill the empty spot in my garage. The Indian Scout was already on my wishlist of bikes, and when Indian expanded their offerings in July with the brutal stunner that is the Scout Bobber, it catapulted Spirit Lake, Iowa’s line of sporty midsize cruisers ever higher on my list. While the Bobber naming my come across as cynical; an eyeroll-inducing cash-in on an Instagram scenester trend; when you put the name aside, the idea of a stripped-down, blacked-out, and lowered Indian Scout with a tighter, more-aggressive rider triangle, in practice is anything but cynical. When my local Indian dealer (who is not only great, but less than five miles from my house) called to give me a heads up that they’d have a fleet of demo machines on hand in a few days, I cleared my schedule to make time to ride the latest Scouts.
The Bobber makes a strong first impression. It’s a menacing beauty; industrially raw, dripping with a low, mean, blacked-out style and attitude. The Bobber eschews much of the Scout’s streamlined blend of modern and Art Deco cues in favor of a more contemporary, rugged, and mechanical appearance. The combination of slammed tracker-style handlebars fitted with bar-end mirrors, dropped rear suspension, chunky tires clawing at the road from under chopped fenders, and thick headlight nacelle give it a low muscular stance, and aggressive look of a predator crouched in wait of prey..
It’s minimalistic, yet with thorough attention to detail. Premium finishes dress the Bobber in rich blacks and grays. The paint used throughout is predominantly matte with a few gloss accents providing contrast. There’s very little bright silver metal or chrome to be found, other than the brake and clutch levers, fork tubes, and machined details on the engine. Indian’s adherence to the stripped down, garage-built bobber ethos extends to removing items like the chrome ignition and thermostat covers from each side of the engine, leaving the black powder-coated underpinnings and brackets exposed.
It may not seem like much to remove existing components and leave nothing in their place; however, it contributes to the Bobber’s raw aesthetic, and gives one the sense that Indian’s release of this motorcycle may not be as cynical as its trendy name may seem; that perhaps their designers and marketers actually understand and take the idea of garage-built bobbers at least somewhat seriously. The entire package is tight, with every component hugging the ones next to it or being chopped backed or removed altogether to reveal as much raw mechanical fury as possible.