What is it?
A no-frills take on Indian’s beloved Scout Bobber that sheds a bit of engine size and horsepower — but also weight and price. The latter two tweaks target greater approachability and affordability, combining with fierce, streamlined good looks to make this ride the brand’s gateway drug.
Is it new?
Indian announced the Scout Bobber Sixty and began shipping to dealers in the spring. I’ve been drooling over it ever since, and hopped on board for some test riding in October.
What makes it special?
First off, here’s the nitty gritty on the spec differences with this bike’s bigger older brother: the Sixty comes in with slightly less displacement and horsepower than the original Bobber — 999 ccs making 78 ponies, versus 1,133 and 100. Those concessions naturally translate to a lower weight (548 pounds wet, versus 572) and knock a healthy two grand off the price ($8,999 versus $10,999).
One thing this bike doesn’t sacrifice, though, is totally badass looks. The one I ripped around could be nicknamed 50 Shades of Black (All of Them Gorgeous). You've just gotta love the curvaceous tank, scooped seat, chopped fenders and blacked-out engine and pipes. Not unlike a sweet seafoam-hued Scout I rode around South Dakota a few years back, the Sixty manages to seem kinda custom even though it’s not, and I heard compliments on it everywhere I rode. (I’ve been told it’s not the worst bike for impromptu photo shoots, either.)
Nothing feels out of place on this bike; and from the moment I swung my leg over the relatively low 25.6-inch seat, I knew I had everything I needed to get where I wanted to go... and truly not a single thing more. That's the basis of this review’s title: the Sixty harkens back to motorcycling’s primitive, all-killer-no-filler roots. Hell, it doesn’t even have a gas gauge — just a little light that comes on when you’re running low.
How does it ride?
Oh, I’ve been itching to get to this question, because hot damn, this bike is fun. Coming off seat time on some much bigger, cushier Indian bikes like the Chieftain Limited and Chieftain Elite, the Sixty felt almost like a toy.
The light weight combined with a low center of gravity translates to truly joyous handling, encouraging the rider to lean into turns and scrape the pegs even just tooling around town. The hassle-free clutch and shifter make it easy to click through the bike’s five speeds. The pickup is fairly snappy, the brakes are smooth and responsive — and unlike some clunkier cruisers I’ve ridden, the Sixty doesn’t put up a fight about going into neutral. (Note: all those factors add up to a borderline perfect first bike for a new rider.)
I had such a blast riding around New York City, I had trouble wiping the smile off my face. I made up errands to run just so I could take it out, and when I returned home, I almost invariably “missed” the turn for my street just so I could savor one more quick lap.
That being said, a line in my original piece about this bike proved rather prophetic: “If you’re a regular highway cruiser who craves amenities like cruise control and heated handgrips, look elsewhere.” You’d think that having written such a sentence, I wouldn’t pick up the bike and almost immediately embark on a nearly 100-mile road trip to the outskirts of Philadelphia. You'd be wrong.
The journey was actually pretty smooth — the bike is heavy and low enough to feel quite stable on fast, busy roads — but it wasn’t exactly a pleasure cruise. A little breeze in your face when you don’t have a windshield is lovely on a sunny two-lane road...but it was overcast, the wind was whipping and I was hitting 90 on I-95, so I was grateful for my full-face helmet.
I was also cursing the forward-positioned pegs and lack of a backseat upon which to tie things down, as I had to strain a bit while lugging a pack full of camp gear the whole way. Pro tip: In such situations, loosen the backpack straps and just kinda let the bag sit on the fender to lighten your load.
Anything else stand out?
As a true bobber, the Sixty comes with just one seat, though a color-matched pillion and set of passenger pegs are just two of more than 140 branded accessories with which you can upgrade. Pro tip two: In a pinch, a $16 suction cup seat from Amazon will do — just make sure your passenger is relatively small and affable, and you're not going too far, as they’ll have to be creative with where they rest their feet.
In fairness, the highway is not really where Indian intends for you to spend most of your time on this bike. All the marketing materials and website images position it as an overqualified urban ride, perfect for coffee runs and leaf peeping and short joy rides and such.
And that’s where another line from my original story resounds: “if you’re looking for a cool around-town bike — at an even cooler price — it might be time to saddle up a Sixty.” My precious few weeks with this bike only reinforced that sentiment as well as this one: if you give it a test ride, you sure as hell won’t be in any rush to bring it back.
What's it cost?
The base price for the Scout Bobber Sixty with Thunder Black paint job is $8,999. Adding ABS raises that number to $9,799. And for ABS and one of three other colors (Thunder Black Smoke, Blue Slate Smoke and Titanium Metallic), the price is $10,299.