You don't need motorcycle goggles in the house

Indian motorcycles are easy to love, let’s face it.

And the Indian Scout motorcycle is no exception.

Glowing reviews have flowed in, as this beautiful, iconic motorcycle has been discussed from every possible angle.

Well, almost.
No-one has offered a view of the Indian Scout from the pillion seat.
Until now, that is…

The first time I saw an Indian Scout motorcycle in the flesh, I actually gasped. She was stunning. She was the distinctive red of vintage Indian Motorcycles, but was crafted with new technology, including ABS brakes.

Oh, honey, I murmured to Pat, I think we need one of these…

There was no answer.
He was already off talking to the salesman.

Turns out, this bike was so hot, there was a waiting list.
Delivery would take 6 months. At least.

Time passes slowly when you’re waiting for an Indian Scout

While we sulked and counted down the days, I found 2 things to worry about.

  1.  We hadn’t test ridden this bike.

Yes, we read every Indian Scout review we could get our hands on (which of course never mentioned the pillion experience).
But in 44 years, Pat had never bought a bike he hadn’t test ridden.
What if we hated it?

…and…

  1.  We’d ordered the pillion seat set-up on faith, too.

This seat was a cool $1,000 – and we’d never seen one in the flesh.
I’d already tangled with nightmare pillion seats which were like sitting on half a slice of day-old toast.
What if this one was terrible, too?

I’d have to shut up, and pretend everything was fine. I suck at doing that.

Good morning, sir, your Indian Scout Motorcycle is here…

When that truck full of Indian motorcycles eventually pulled up outside, Pat and I were like 5 year olds on Christmas morning. We dashed out to the driveway, where I almost hugged the poor delivery guy.

Our Indian Scout rolled down the ramp, and we grinned at her in delight. She gleamed back at us.

Indian Scout motorcycle in the house

Naturally, Pat rode her straight into the living room. She was already one of the family.
Being a brand new bike, there was the running in routine to consider. Pat did a few solo rides, and got to know her a little better. But eventually, I wore him down with my subtle habit of standing at the back door in my riding gear, looking hopeful.

Finally, I climbed aboard.
And right away, I feel a little deeper in love with this gorgeous looking bike.

What it’s like to ride pillion on an Indian Scout

The Pillion Seat

Let’s start with the most important factor first (well, as far as I’m concerned!) – the pillion seat.

Whew! What a relief.

Indian Scout motorcycle seat

The pillion seat is quite thick. It’s relatively soft. And it’s wide enough not to feel like a leather g-string.

That $1,000 investment wasn’t a waste of money.

If you’re wondering about the exact measurements, they are:

  • Width – 19 cm/7.5 inches
  • Length – 33 cm/13 inches
  • Thickness – 7 cm/3 inches.

All perfectly acceptable.

In fact, it’s a lot more comfortable than the rider’s seat! Pat needed to upgrade his own seat.

Pillion Seating Position

The pillion riding position is surprisingly comfortable, especially since the pegs are awkwardly placed.

Watch out for resting your right heel on the pipe – it’s very close to your foot.

Move your feet backwards when the rider is weaving through traffic, or parking – your feet will get tangled up with his legs.

Indian motorcyles seat

Comfort

The shocks on this bike are set at an odd, extreme angle. I wondered how that would pan out, comfort-wise. It’s a pretty mixed bag.

The bike bounces gently over a lightly uneven surface, but when you hit a larger bump, look out! The impact is – bang! – like a punch to the kidneys. We’ll have to look into that. In the meantime, we’ll stick to the smoother roads where possible.

Sound

The standard pipes weigh about 1,000 kg and make a polite throb; Pat fixed that little problem by fitting some fishtails. They look perfect on this retro-styled bike, and they’re about half the weight of the originals.

Indian Scout motorcycle with fishtails

They’ve transformed the Indian Scout’s quiet purr into a statement roar. The kind of roar that attracts unwanted attention, in fact – we spent a couple of fun afternoons in the shed on a fun little baffling project.

Speed & Handling

This bike can really move!

She overtakes huge trucks in mere seconds, with no hint of any strain. She’s faster than she looks – and that padded back rest means I don’t fall off when Pat gives her a squirt.

Good for threading through traffic, the Indian Scout is small, nimble and responsive. It makes for easy, confident trundling about town.

X Factor

An Indian Scout motorcycle is head-turningly gorgeous, and her coolness factor is way off the charts. Flying along on a re-born iconic bike like this is a real treat.

So what’s the verdict on the Indian Scout motorcycle?

The bike is not perfect, and we’ve spent more hours (and money) than we expected tinkering on it. She needs some mods, for sure (like the pipes, suspension and a better rider’s seat).

She’s not a long-distance two-up tourer. But she wasn’t designed to be.
So we won’t be taking her on any of our 4,000 km summer rides around New Zealand (there’s only about 170 km in the tank, anyway).

But for short runs (and now with our adjustments to comfort and handling) she’s hard to beat. I won’t be complaining about flying along on a beautiful roaring beast like this.

This is a bike that’s easy to love.
And she does look awesome in the living room when we’re not riding it.

I reckon our Indian Scout was worth the wait.

Have you ridden any of the new Indian motorcycles – what did you think?

Written by Liz Hardy