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Indian Motorcycles

Discussion in 'R1200RS Versus The Competition' started by Aussie Import, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Aussie Import

    Aussie Import Well-Known Member

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    Once upon a time there was no doubt about what an "Indian" motorcycle was. Now:
    a) it could be the 500 / 750 Harley Davidson V twins
    b) it could be the "Indian" Enfield (now with the right to call itself the "Royal Enfield")
    c) it could be some Yamaha and Honda models actually made in India
    d) it could be the US Indian made somewhere other than India.

    This review is for "(d)".

    The US Indian distributor was at the "Motorclassica" auto show a couple of weeks ago, with an impressive selection upstairs in the pavilion and a good selection of Chiefs and a Scout outside.

    I was invited to ride both of these, very cordially, by the rep "Steve".

    He says that the "Scout" is selling well, particularly to women because of its comparatively low weight and very low seat (and the feeling of the small size and weight). Well, he was right. The bike is not challenging to ride. It reminded me of my former brother in law's Yamaha Virago 535, but it was obviously a much better machine.
    The motor is torquey but not anywhere near the power of the RS. Its riding position is "strange" with the forward controls. In the minutes I had on it, I could not form any opinion on comfort, save that my lower legs were too long and my knees rested against the "scallop" in the petrol tank, rather than in the flatter part that seemed to be designed for them.
    It has an odd speedometer which provides the "12 o'clock" position at "60" which gave me the impression it was a MPH speedo. It turns out it is a "feature" that the speedo is most accurate a low speed with lots of room between the numbers. Over 110 kph, the numbers are very close together. I guess that if you have one of these things moving along above 110, your attention will be on things other than the speedo.
    This particular bike had straight through pipes, and provided the throttle was treated with respect, it was not loud. Rev it, well that is another story.
    The Chief was a different bike (obviously). The one I rode was the "bottom of the range". Two toned paint, burgundy and black, with the mudguards having the "Indian" valances in black. It is a larger, heavier bike than the Scout. It has (like the Scout) good low speed (parking lot) handling and, of course, the forward controls. The speedo is also the same non-linear set up. The torque is better, but I still think the RS is much stronger.
    These bikes are quite modern, they seem to be well made, and they exude quality. IMO to the non-motorcycling public, and to riders, they do look "the goods".
    When the "Nanny State" makes it virtually impossible to ride a bike that has a lot of performance, and country roads are zoned at 80 kph and below, this "cruiser" type of bike may be the only type that can live with that environment comfortably.
  2. Grumpy Goat

    Grumpy Goat Well-Known Member Contributor

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    Nice commentary. Confirms my lack of desire to ride any of these bikes. I like where you said "Its riding position is "strange" with the forward controls." Seems like I would feel disconnected, as in not in control, in that position. Some of them are nice to look at though.
    Jim Evans likes this.
  3. Mr. 36654

    Mr. 36654 Well-Known Member

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    My father rode an Indian Scout during the WW-II gas rationing to his defense plant job. According to Dad, it had "Bonneville" heads just like PA State Police Indians.

    Yes, I was raised knowing that my Father had the good sense to ride an Indian instead of that lesser brand and I was really excited about the Scout. But, just setting on the seat, with my knees poking above the tank, said this wasn't of interest to me.

    Forget about the nanny state, the continuing fixation on 1955 is what's killing the American motorcycle. We went to the Moon, but dream of a life without plumbing.
    Michael James likes this.

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