Pegasus trapped in a human body on a motorcycle
Today in Augusta, they had some demo Scouts, at the Polaris/Victory/Indian stealership. Pre-production jobs that they just rolled off of the truck this morning. Along with those, they brought out a few Chief Vintages and Chieftains, for those of us that wanted to take the full size bike for a spin.
Walking up to the Scout, I have to say that, while it looks small, the lines are still quite pleasing to the eye, overall. The overall fit and finish was outstanding, with the only areas of detail I think could be improved in the looks department would be the areas of the frame directly under the seat and behind the neck. I think some simple covers could have been made to make the areas appear smoother. Then again, it does match the looks of the engine nicely. The paintjob looked excellent, and the color choices all went well with the leather saddle and black engine and wheels. The chrome looked well done, too, and they had just enough to highlight things, but not so much that it became a distraction.
Sitting on the Scout, the very first thing I notice is how the saddle feels. It literally felt like the thing was molded just for my hind end. I think I could sit in this saddle all day long, and be comfortable. It felt supportive, but with enough give to not feel like it was carved from granite.
The reach to the bars was good, for shorter people like myself, Though the grips were further back than I normally like. Still, the grip angle felt really comfortable to me, and though the grips themselves felt small to me, (I'm used to Kuryakyn grips, which are a good deal thicker) they were still comfortable.
Bringing it off its sidestand left me very surprised. This is a 500lb bike, but the machine actually felt lighter than a Honda Rebel to me. And with it's low seat height, my knees even had some bend sitting there. It did have me wondering how well this ride would handle the typical Maine roads, though.
The reach to the pegs was longer than what I am used to. My legs were almost straight out in front of me. But even with the legs stretched as they were, the peg positioning was still reachable for me.
The helmet goes on, and now is the time to start it up. The bike starts up immediately after hitting the button, and settles into a nice, mellow idle around 1000rpm or so. There is a hit of roughness to it, but I was informed that they deliberately made the idle a bit rough to give the bike a certain feel.
The clutch is not heavy at all, and is quite smooth. No binding in it's cable actuated operation what-so-ever. The friction zone does seem a bit small, but still easy enough to feel. Snicking it into first, I wait for the small group to head out.
Yeah... them forward controls are not where I am used to. My feet wanted to go where they normally go when I am on the Vmax, but that only happened once, and I found that the forward placement was no hindrance to my riding. Once moving, my feet had no issues operating the shifter lever. Shifting action was VERY smooth through all six gears. Neutral was an easy find as well, telling me that the engineers did a good job designing this engine and tranny.
Traveling down the road, the engine feels smooth in its responses to throttle input. There seems to be plenty of torque, and even in sixth gear, she would pull easily enough from around 2800rpm on up. I did notice that below 2500rpm, she would seem to want to lug a bit in top gear, but getting the rpm's back up is just a snick of the shifter. Above 3500rpm, and the engine really seemed to wake up, but when you hit five grand on the tach, you will be feeling the vibes through the grips.
The brakes felt pretty good on this machine. The brakes, even with the single caliper and disk on the front, slowed the bike down pretty well for normal riding. I did not have any opportunity to practice emergency stops, but I feel confident that they would do surprisingly well. One of the things which helps here is the braided stainless lines.
Handling is really nimble on the Scout. More so than most cruisers. The steering feels light, but sure footed, and responds to whatever imputs you give. I can only imagine how she would feel with a really good set of Avons mounted.
Overall, I am quite impressed with the new Scout. Yes, I do see areas where I might make some changes. Fortunately, Indian is already on that. According to not only the reps I talked with, but the website, they will have different seats and kits, to move not only your butt but your feet forward or back as needed. They also have different bars available. I am hoping for drag bars, myself.
10/10 I would buy this bike.