Indian’s Hooligan Scout
The first time I threw a leg over the 2023 Indian Scout Rogue and sat on the bike, gripped those 10” mini-ape bars and thumbed it to life, I’m not exaggerating when I say that the opening guitar riff of George Thorogood’s “Bad To The Bone” started playing in my head. The bar reach, the vibration, the low rumble of the twin exhaust, the somewhat forward footpegs, and the matte blacked-out everything save the chrome pipes just elicits a hooligan cruiser vibe. My voice dropped an octave and gained some gravel when riding the Rogue.
2023 Indian Scout Rogue, and an eager wrist.
Joshua spent some time with a Scout Bobber Sixty a couple of years back, and surprised himself with how much he enjoyed it. We’ve had the privilege of riding this Scout Rogue for about two months, and while Ted didn’t favor it, Dave got the bike’s vibe, Phil liked the rider triangle, and I just the loved everything about it. Well, not everything. More on that in a bit.
Sunset bursting over Georgia’s dairy country.
We’ve ridden the hooligan Scout for thousands of miles, deep into the South’s old farm and cattle country, up in the tight curves of the Appalachians, on long stretches of open highway, and around town to local moto shops and bike nights. The bike is a looker, even slathered in black, and I must be honest, of the three cruisers we’ve tested recently, this Scout Rogue became my favorite. I was actually the only one of the crew that did prefer it. The bike just fits my 5’8”, 150 lb frame, and though I haven’t owned a cruiser now for several years (I’m a standard and naked sport bike guy these days), its a motorcycle that could lure me back into the leather vest and patches cruiser scene. Well, almost. Maybe without the vest and patches.
For our full three-bike cruiser review, and how the Indian fared amongst our three riders, check it out here.
An iconic 1929 Indian Scout 101. Photo by Yesterday’s Antique Motorcycles.
The Indian Scout was a model introduced by the legendary brand way back in 1920. First produced as a 600 cc (37 c.i.) v-twin, the displacement was bumped to 745 cc in 1927, then Indian rolled out the Scout Series 101 in 1928, and many contend that model was the finest motorcycle Indian ever built. The iconic Scout underwent many iterations over the decades, and was revived by the new Polaris backed Indian Motorcycle Company in 2015. And they’ve been a hot seller for the brand ever since, a worthy carrier of the Scout moniker.
A cruising kind of day.
The 2023 Rogue sits low, really low, rolling with a slammed 25.6 in seat height. You’re sitting down in the bike, not on top of it. Shorter inseamed riders will appreciate this. At least until they try to lean deep into corners. There’s not a lot of ground clearance, just a tick over 5 inches, and with only 29” of lean angle, you’ll be scraping footpegs quickly. If you attempt to go deeper, the bottom pipe will touch pavement on the right side. Don’t ask how we know this. To be sure, the bike takes corners, but it’s a good reminder that this is not a naked sport or even a standard, it is solidly a cruiser. So cruise with it.
What it is most certainly not designed for- peg scraping (among other parts) on the Tail of the Dragon, thanks to Ted. Photo by Killboy.com
My only other beef with the Rogue is the rear suspension. Those shocks are jackhammers. Every road irregularity is transmitted right up through the spine into the cranium, rattling the teeth along the way. I picked up a spanner tool at my local Cycle Gear and dialed out as much stiffness as I could, to little avail. The best solution to the ride is a pair of Indian accessory or aftermarket shocks from Öhlins, Fox or Progressive, to name a few options.
Scouting for some outstanding burgers and fries with my friend Mike.
My friend Mike Hinton joined me for a day out riding, astride his Indian Scout Icon, which he has kitted out for touring. His sports a pair of 10” handlebars as well, but with a full windshield, saddlebags, engine guards and a passenger backrest. Mike loves his Scout, and rolls many miles with it. He rides it as the designers intended, rarely if ever scraping pegs, but admits “the rear suspension is a little stiff.” We rode for burgers and fries at a local fave called LR Burger in Monroe, Georgia, and chatted about the Indian Scout line. “I’ve owned a lot of motorcycles over the years,” Mike reflects, “but this Scout has to be one of my favorites. With all my health battles in recent years, this bike is perfect for the kind of riding I’m doing- day trips, out riding with friends, and the occasional road trip. I’m happy with it.”
A pause that refreshes. Somewhere outside Good Hope, GA.
Riding this Scout Rogue, with its bullet headlight cowling, mini-apes and forward pegs, and seated so low in the ride, it dawned on me why this bike resonates with me so much- I’m reminded of the Harley-Davidson Iron 1200 we rode a few years back, a bike I absolutely loved for its simplicity and elemental motorcycle feel. Ted was right about the Scout Rogue- “Indian built a better Harley.” I love how this bike feels (despite the rear shocks), but more, how it makes me feel. There are no ride modes, its got ham-fisted grips and clutch pull for its 6-speed gearbox, it shifts somewhat clunky, the throttle is a bit jumpy, and you’ve got about 150 miles of range on a full tank. But with an array of choices in the Road Dirt garage, I find myself regularly reaching for the Indian key, zipping up my REV’IT! Restless leather jacket, pulling on that retro-flamed Bell Eliminator Stockwell helmet, and throttling out on the Rogue.
And cranking up some George Thorogood in my earbuds.
Just a smidgen off the top and sides, Floyd.
I’m not looking forward to giving back this bike, I’ve enjoyed it so much. If this looks like a motorcycle that might suit your needs, tastes and riding style, get a test ride at your local Indian dealership. For more specs and details on the Scout Rogue, as well as the rest of the Indian lineup, click here:
*Featured Gear: REV’IT Restless jacket, Davis TF jeans, & Safeway 2 belt; Bell Helmets Stockwell Eliminator & Qualifier helmets; SA1NT gloves & boots.