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Camping on an Indian Scout / Scout 60:

If you read the comments about the Scout, you can be struck by the conflicting perceptions of what a Scout is. What is its place in the Universe? Is it a Light Cruiser? Is it a Mid Size Sport shaped like a Cruiser? Is it a Heavyweight first bike? Is it a kinda' new category (accepting that some preceding bikes were similar, but I can't think of what they are in totality).

Yes. Yes it is.

I could list a half dozen bikes in each of those categories that was better than the Scout individually in their category (except mythical). The thing about the Scout is that on a top 10 list of recent bikes it shows up all over the place.

Human's senses aren't the best at vision, hearing, smell, taste, pressure change, touch, EM, direction or pretty much anything else for senses. As far as our physical profile, we aren't the biggest, fastest, most maneuverable, dexterous, most limber, most nimble, tallest, shortest, best armored, lightest or toughest of the species we share the blue marble with.

That is the Scout. It isn't a fantastic motorcycle because it is the best at anything. It is a fantastic motorcycle because it is really, really good at just about everything. Now, there is a fine line between being average because you're good at several things, and being exceptional because you're good at <i> most </i> things.

I see it so often, quotes on the forums that say something like "if you want to get out of town and seriously cruise, the Scout is not the bike" or "A great little city cruiser, but not for the open road".

They may be absolutely right from their perspective, but since I (and lots of others) don't see it that way, they aren't definitively correct. People camp with nothing but a backpack. People camp with bicycles.

But... I told you that story so I could tell you this one...

THE INDIAN SCOUT / SCOUT 60 as a Camping/Touring rig.

So, what about camping on the Scout? Well... The Scout can be a great touring rig! Depending on what you are looking for.

I bought my Scout 60 in February 2016 and got lucky with a warm and dry summer in the Pacific Northwest. I went camping 11 times this last summer on the Scout. Trips ranging from 100-600 miles from home. The Scout and I have crossed 4 mountain passes in a day and 8 on a trip. I've never wanted for anything and I've spent some phenomenal nights under the stars.

My rig has next to nothing. A buddy of mine bought a single right side saddle bag at a thrift store and sold it to me at cost ($30) and I went to a good hardware store and grabbed a little piece of sheet metal for backing and picked the mounting bolts out of the trays ($15) including adding bungee/strap points to the left side. So, the sum total of my additions to the bike itself is about $45. With that small investment in rig, I was able to go from Seattle to: Lake Chelan, Whidbey Island, the Yakima River Canyon, Lopez Island, Lake Shasta, Verlot and more in just 5 months.

In some ways the argument comes down to what experience you're looking for. If you want music, cruise control, heated stuff, fancy electronics, integrated luggage and decent fuel management; than no, the Scout isn't what you are looking for, not out of the box anyway. But if you are just looking to go; go with nothing but the gear you can strap on and your wallet, the Scout may be your horse.



This shows the basic setup.

For my first camping trip on the Scout I was pretty minimal: tent, sleeping bag, tiny stove kit. That was about it. I wanted to build my kit based on needs discovered on the road, not just go to REI and buy a bunch of stuff that cost me a ton and I might not find I actually need. And my kit has grown a few pieces at a time, with only a few more little things on my want list.

My camping kit currently includes:

tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, 2 blankets, cooler, stove and cooking kit, 2 combination lantern / flashlights, cell phone battery, large inner-tube (River Rat), buck knife, "Swiss Army" style knife, tire gauge, tire plug and tube patch kit, monocular, 3 empty kitchen garbage bags spare earplugs, an old smart phone with no service provider loaded with camping apps and games and a couple movies for rainy days (and, at least in the US, all cell phones can dial 911 as long as they can get a signal).

All that with one saddle bag, a fork bag and no luggage rack. If you had a more complete setup, you could pack on more.


lopex\DSCF6672 shows the new setup.

So I've got shelter and comfort. Those self inflating sleeping pads are decent and with a couple of blankets positioned one under and one over the pad it's pretty good sleeping. My little cookstove is plenty to heat some soup, Indian MRE's or water for coffee. The inner-tube lets me float rivers and lakes and my cooler will keep the beer cold. Cooler capacity is limited, so depending on the distance to the nearest supplies, I'll often make a second "cooler" out of grocery bags and put it in the shadiest spot I can find.

While it will get me to the campground just fine, there are capacity issues with my setup. It requires that I go unload and make camp, then run into the closest town or village for more supplies like groceries, ice, firewood and beer. But hey, I'm out enjoying the ride anyway. What it does mean is that I try to camp no farther than 15-20 minutes from the nearest grocery store / mini mart, not counting quick nights on the way out or home; when I might just pull over into a campground and quickly stay the night.

I try to always carry just a meal or two and some snacks. Usually a can or two of soup, some crackers, fruit rollups and instant oatmeal. This is just enough that if I were to choose, or be forced, to hunker down for a day or two, I can. This happened once in the Cascade Mountains when the deer got so thick at dusk I just couldn't justify going on. I was less than an hour from my destination and supplies, but it just made no sense. I saw 15 deer in a 3 mile stretch and decided to pull into the next campground. It just wasn't worth the risk to go on. But, this left me stuck at a high enough altitude that it was very cold overnight. Since there was no host I couldn't buy firewood and having some hot soup before bed was really nice.

This also happened at Lake Shasta when I decided I was having such a good time that I didn't want to leave. Having enough food to carry me over saved me a trip I didn't want to make. This is also why I like to carry a couple of those little airline bottles of Whisky. Beer is bulky and I get it on the supply run. But if you get stuck, it can be really nice to have a little something to keep the chill off or let you skip a beer run.

But, with all those basic supplies; you have to be diligent about replacing them! If I burn any of that basic kit, I replace it at the first opportunity.

Since the Scout is smaller, and you are likely to have less gear than a giant bagger, you also want to think about what you DON'T HAVE. If I look at my kit on the Scout compared to my kit when I'm in my truck, what I don't have is tarps, extra rope, extra blankets, extra changes (and more options) of clothing and a larger cooler. I also don't have the ability to just crawl in the truck if the weather turns really bad.

So, a little discretion is in order. I'm out there to have fun, to camp and swim and see the scenery and float on my innertube. I am not there for an endurance test or to suffer to prove I can. I do a lot of weather planning and work hard to pick my route and destination to avoid trouble. Several times I changed either the route or the destination last minute to stay dry and happy. Be willing to be flexible. If you spend all week planning on seeing town X and it will be rainy, learn to live with town Y.

But yes. You can certainly camp on the Scout. People have camped on mopeds.

But that doesn't mean it is ideal. But is any bike ideal for touring and camping for all riders? Baggers have the capacity, but can be rough on dirt roads (especially for smaller riders); even on small runs from Asphalt to campground over little washouts. Adventure bikes and dual sports are ideal for the rougher roads, but some riders don't care for their freeway characteristics. So called Standards are pretty good at all that stuff, but kind of "uninspired" to some. If you are going to ride in varied environments; there is no way a bike is going to be perfect for all of them.

But the Scout has it's own limitations. I've gotten used to them and allow for them, but they are there. In my mind the first is fuel management. Combine the limited tank capacity and the lack of a gauge and you do need to watch your fuel situation. Especially when the distance between stations starts to get long. This is certainly not a deal-breaker by any means; but you do have to be a little more fuel aware.

My other issue is security. The Scout doesn't have a helmet lock, fork lock or "glove box" (locking toolbox etc...), or seat lock. These issues can be overcome with some added gear, but I find it missing all four to be a bit annoying. I go to some fairly remote places and the convenience of an integrated helmet lock is important. I also like to know that one person with a truck and a ramp can't just take the bikes since if your steering is locked, loading a bike becomes a two or three person job. Of course a chain will help and has the advantage that you can chain it to something, but only if there is something to chain it to.

The glove/toolbox issue is mostly related to storing a few documents like registration etc... My normal routine is to carry a copy (not the original) of my registration and insurance docs with my address blacked out. The reason is that if someone got my bike because they got my keys, I don't want them to know where my house is. I wrap them in a baggie and either tape them under the seat or put them in the toolbox. But with no seat lock and no toolbox, where the hell do you put your docs on the bike? And no, no police officer has ever given me grief after giving them the copy docs. Most didn't even ask me to explain.

But all that can be overcome. Hey, people have done some impressive stuff on 50cc bikes (India to England for example, Michigan to California etc...).

And that brings up another point about camping on the Scout. I am very comfortable on the bike and even after 600 miles in one day I wasn't in bad shape muscle wise. I don't run a windscreen, but my tent across the handlebars gives me some coverage. But the smaller tank forces you to stop often. So go with it. Don't plan 3 hour runs, knowing you can only go 2 before fueling. Embrace that the Scout is a short range recon vehicle and you are going long. Get off the Interstate and onto some highways. Stop more. Drive through Main Street. Take old farm roads. For as much as I believe the Scout is a perfectly fine touring and camping bike, I recognize that it has limitations and I choose to make those limitations work for me.




Finally, for those who haven't motorcycle camped before, my advice is start small. I see these posts from mostly new riders that say something like "I'm planning my first road trip, Boston to Tampa, to Phoenix, to LA; then up through Canada to Saskatoon and over to Toronto and home. In 10 days. What do you think?".

Well, I think you should slow your roll a little. Yes, I think you could do that. You can get coast to coast in 50 hours if you try. But, will you enjoy yourself? Did you just add up 8 hours of riding per day and multiply it by 80 to see your max range?

There are a couple of factors this person should think about. The first is what kind of experience do you want to have? My best times on the road are both on and off the bike. I love the scenery and dynamic that you only get in the saddle, but I also love the people. The coffee shops and bars, the people I meet at gas stations and little shops. I also love the things people built. Their little farms and houses.

So, my rule number one is: Stay off the Interstate whenever possible. I mean it. Addmittedly, I have to use it to get out of town; but I get off the big slab as soon as I can. This has a ton of benefits; it breaks your pace, it gets you to ground level, it lets you see the people, it puts you driving right by the gas station (instead of just getting off the Freeway to 'hit it').

Getting off the Freeway also shortens your range/time equation a bit. Yes, you can do 600 in a day to cover territory. But you can also have a good damn time 120 miles or less from home and I bet every single person reading this has a place 2 hours('ish) from home they have either never seen or haven't seen since they were a kid.

So go. And yes, you can go on a Scout, if that is what you want to do.
 

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Great summary. I love the bike, good at everything, perfect at nothing except getting you on the road enjoying the view (provided you aren't in the city). Still waiting to save a few $$ to buy one.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Thank you for the write up, I love it.
 
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Camping on an Indian Scout / Scout 60:

If you read the comments about the Scout, you can be struck by the conflicting perceptions of what a Scout is. What is its place in the Universe? Is it a Light Cruiser? Is it a Mid Size Sport shaped like a Cruiser? Is it a Heavyweight first bike? Is it a kinda' new category (accepting that some preceding bikes were similar, but I can't think of what they are in totality).

Yes. Yes it is.

I could list a half dozen bikes in each of those categories that was better than the Scout individually in their category (except mythical). The thing about the Scout is that on a top 10 list of recent bikes it shows up all over the place.

Human's senses aren't the best at vision, hearing, smell, taste, pressure change, touch, EM, direction or pretty much anything else for senses. As far as our physical profile, we aren't the biggest, fastest, most maneuverable, dexterous, most limber, most nimble, tallest, shortest, best armored, lightest or toughest of the species we share the blue marble with.

That is the Scout. It isn't a fantastic motorcycle because it is the best at anything. It is a fantastic motorcycle because it is really, really good at just about everything. Now, there is a fine line between being average because you're good at several things, and being exceptional because you're good at <i> most </i> things.

I see it so often, quotes on the forums that say something like "if you want to get out of town and seriously cruise, the Scout is not the bike" or "A great little city cruiser, but not for the open road".

They may be absolutely right from their perspective, but since I (and lots of others) don't see it that way, they aren't definitively correct. People camp with nothing but a backpack. People camp with bicycles.

But... I told you that story so I could tell you this one...

THE INDIAN SCOUT / SCOUT 60 as a Camping/Touring rig.

So, what about camping on the Scout? Well... The Scout can be a great touring rig! Depending on what you are looking for.

I bought my Scout 60 in February 2016 and got lucky with a warm and dry summer in the Pacific Northwest. I went camping 11 times this last summer on the Scout. Trips ranging from 100-600 miles from home. The Scout and I have crossed 4 mountain passes in a day and 8 on a trip. I've never wanted for anything and I've spent some phenomenal nights under the stars.

My rig has next to nothing. A buddy of mine bought a single right side saddle bag at a thrift store and sold it to me at cost ($30) and I went to a good hardware store and grabbed a little piece of sheet metal for backing and picked the mounting bolts out of the trays ($15) including adding bungee/strap points to the left side. So, the sum total of my additions to the bike itself is about $45. With that small investment in rig, I was able to go from Seattle to: Lake Chelan, Whidbey Island, the Yakima River Canyon, Lopez Island, Lake Shasta, Verlot and more in just 5 months.

In some ways the argument comes down to what experience you're looking for. If you want music, cruise control, heated stuff, fancy electronics, integrated luggage and decent fuel management; than no, the Scout isn't what you are looking for, not out of the box anyway. But if you are just looking to go; go with nothing but the gear you can strap on and your wallet, the Scout may be your horse.



This shows the basic setup.

For my first camping trip on the Scout I was pretty minimal: tent, sleeping bag, tiny stove kit. That was about it. I wanted to build my kit based on needs discovered on the road, not just go to REI and buy a bunch of stuff that cost me a ton and I might not find I actually need. And my kit has grown a few pieces at a time, with only a few more little things on my want list.

My camping kit currently includes:

tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, 2 blankets, cooler, stove and cooking kit, 2 combination lantern / flashlights, cell phone battery, large inner-tube (River Rat), buck knife, "Swiss Army" style knife, tire gauge, tire plug and tube patch kit, monocular, 3 empty kitchen garbage bags spare earplugs, an old smart phone with no service provider loaded with camping apps and games and a couple movies for rainy days (and, at least in the US, all cell phones can dial 911 as long as they can get a signal).

All that with one saddle bag, a fork bag and no luggage rack. If you had a more complete setup, you could pack on more.


lopex\DSCF6672 shows the new setup.

So I've got shelter and comfort. Those self inflating sleeping pads are decent and with a couple of blankets positioned one under and one over the pad it's pretty good sleeping. My little cookstove is plenty to heat some soup, Indian MRE's or water for coffee. The inner-tube lets me float rivers and lakes and my cooler will keep the beer cold. Cooler capacity is limited, so depending on the distance to the nearest supplies, I'll often make a second "cooler" out of grocery bags and put it in the shadiest spot I can find.

While it will get me to the campground just fine, there are capacity issues with my setup. It requires that I go unload and make camp, then run into the closest town or village for more supplies like groceries, ice, firewood and beer. But hey, I'm out enjoying the ride anyway. What it does mean is that I try to camp no farther than 15-20 minutes from the nearest grocery store / mini mart, not counting quick nights on the way out or home; when I might just pull over into a campground and quickly stay the night.

I try to always carry just a meal or two and some snacks. Usually a can or two of soup, some crackers, fruit rollups and instant oatmeal. This is just enough that if I were to choose, or be forced, to hunker down for a day or two, I can. This happened once in the Cascade Mountains when the deer got so thick at dusk I just couldn't justify going on. I was less than an hour from my destination and supplies, but it just made no sense. I saw 15 deer in a 3 mile stretch and decided to pull into the next campground. It just wasn't worth the risk to go on. But, this left me stuck at a high enough altitude that it was very cold overnight. Since there was no host I couldn't buy firewood and having some hot soup before bed was really nice.

This also happened at Lake Shasta when I decided I was having such a good time that I didn't want to leave. Having enough food to carry me over saved me a trip I didn't want to make. This is also why I like to carry a couple of those little airline bottles of Whisky. Beer is bulky and I get it on the supply run. But if you get stuck, it can be really nice to have a little something to keep the chill off or let you skip a beer run.

But, with all those basic supplies; you have to be diligent about replacing them! If I burn any of that basic kit, I replace it at the first opportunity.

Since the Scout is smaller, and you are likely to have less gear than a giant bagger, you also want to think about what you DON'T HAVE. If I look at my kit on the Scout compared to my kit when I'm in my truck, what I don't have is tarps, extra rope, extra blankets, extra changes (and more options) of clothing and a larger cooler. I also don't have the ability to just crawl in the truck if the weather turns really bad.

So, a little discretion is in order. I'm out there to have fun, to camp and swim and see the scenery and float on my innertube. I am not there for an endurance test or to suffer to prove I can. I do a lot of weather planning and work hard to pick my route and destination to avoid trouble. Several times I changed either the route or the destination last minute to stay dry and happy. Be willing to be flexible. If you spend all week planning on seeing town X and it will be rainy, learn to live with town Y.

But yes. You can certainly camp on the Scout. People have camped on mopeds.

But that doesn't mean it is ideal. But is any bike ideal for touring and camping for all riders? Baggers have the capacity, but can be rough on dirt roads (especially for smaller riders); even on small runs from Asphalt to campground over little washouts. Adventure bikes and dual sports are ideal for the rougher roads, but some riders don't care for their freeway characteristics. So called Standards are pretty good at all that stuff, but kind of "uninspired" to some. If you are going to ride in varied environments; there is no way a bike is going to be perfect for all of them.

But the Scout has it's own limitations. I've gotten used to them and allow for them, but they are there. In my mind the first is fuel management. Combine the limited tank capacity and the lack of a gauge and you do need to watch your fuel situation. Especially when the distance between stations starts to get long. This is certainly not a deal-breaker by any means; but you do have to be a little more fuel aware.

My other issue is security. The Scout doesn't have a helmet lock, fork lock or "glove box" (locking toolbox etc...), or seat lock. These issues can be overcome with some added gear, but I find it missing all four to be a bit annoying. I go to some fairly remote places and the convenience of an integrated helmet lock is important. I also like to know that one person with a truck and a ramp can't just take the bikes since if your steering is locked, loading a bike becomes a two or three person job. Of course a chain will help and has the advantage that you can chain it to something, but only if there is something to chain it to.

The glove/toolbox issue is mostly related to storing a few documents like registration etc... My normal routine is to carry a copy (not the original) of my registration and insurance docs with my address blacked out. The reason is that if someone got my bike because they got my keys, I don't want them to know where my house is. I wrap them in a baggie and either tape them under the seat or put them in the toolbox. But with no seat lock and no toolbox, where the hell do you put your docs on the bike? And no, no police officer has ever given me grief after giving them the copy docs. Most didn't even ask me to explain.

But all that can be overcome. Hey, people have done some impressive stuff on 50cc bikes (India to England for example, Michigan to California etc...).

And that brings up another point about camping on the Scout. I am very comfortable on the bike and even after 600 miles in one day I wasn't in bad shape muscle wise. I don't run a windscreen, but my tent across the handlebars gives me some coverage. But the smaller tank forces you to stop often. So go with it. Don't plan 3 hour runs, knowing you can only go 2 before fueling. Embrace that the Scout is a short range recon vehicle and you are going long. Get off the Interstate and onto some highways. Stop more. Drive through Main Street. Take old farm roads. For as much as I believe the Scout is a perfectly fine touring and camping bike, I recognize that it has limitations and I choose to make those limitations work for me.




Finally, for those who haven't motorcycle camped before, my advice is start small. I see these posts from mostly new riders that say something like "I'm planning my first road trip, Boston to Tampa, to Phoenix, to LA; then up through Canada to Saskatoon and over to Toronto and home. In 10 days. What do you think?".

Well, I think you should slow your roll a little. Yes, I think you could do that. You can get coast to coast in 50 hours if you try. But, will you enjoy yourself? Did you just add up 8 hours of riding per day and multiply it by 80 to see your max range?

There are a couple of factors this person should think about. The first is what kind of experience do you want to have? My best times on the road are both on and off the bike. I love the scenery and dynamic that you only get in the saddle, but I also love the people. The coffee shops and bars, the people I meet at gas stations and little shops. I also love the things people built. Their little farms and houses.

So, my rule number one is: Stay off the Interstate whenever possible. I mean it. Addmittedly, I have to use it to get out of town; but I get off the big slab as soon as I can. This has a ton of benefits; it breaks your pace, it gets you to ground level, it lets you see the people, it puts you driving right by the gas station (instead of just getting off the Freeway to 'hit it').

Getting off the Freeway also shortens your range/time equation a bit. Yes, you can do 600 in a day to cover territory. But you can also have a good damn time 120 miles or less from home and I bet every single person reading this has a place 2 hours('ish) from home they have either never seen or haven't seen since they were a kid.

So go. And yes, you can go on a Scout, if that is what you want to do.
Now that you send to some of those bike mags and have it published. You have a second calling my friend,......
 

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Its the superbike of superbikes. The 60 has shamed my lowly 2015 Scout 69 into the classified ads as there is no way I can keep up with one if I tried. I wanted an Octane but realized thru friendly forum members advice that the 60 trumps even that ! So I stupidly thought I would try ( again ) a crotch rocket and now I find out that the 60 eats Hyabusa's alive ! I am selling my 2014 Chief also and buying 2 60's. One for normal driving and the other to clean up on Victory Hammers, VRODS, and Dodge Challenger hemi's. Long live the king ! 60's forever ! Wish I had know all of this before I foolishly bought the other bikes. Thank you forum members for telling me of your 60 triumphs on the street and strip and the fact that Indian made the 60 FIRST and then threw in the 69 and Octane as tamer bikes for us weaker and timid road racers. Too many 60 riders with their testimonials of never being beaten have convinced me. I will give away at a brother - in - law price my 2015 Scout 69. I must.............not having the beast called the 60 haunts me
 

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Its the superbike of superbikes. The 60 has shamed my lowly 2015 Scout 69 into the classified ads as there is no way I can keep up with one if I tried. I wanted an Octane but realized thru friendly forum members advice that the 60 trumps even that ! So I stupidly thought I would try ( again ) a crotch rocket and now I find out that the 60 eats Hyabusa's alive ! I am selling my 2014 Chief also and buying 2 60's. One for normal driving and the other to clean up on Victory Hammers, VRODS, and Dodge Challenger hemi's. Long live the king ! 60's forever ! Wish I had know all of this before I foolishly bought the other bikes. Thank you forum members for telling me of your 60 triumphs on the street and strip and the fact that Indian made the 60 FIRST and then threw in the 69 and Octane as tamer bikes for us weaker and timid road racers. Too many 60 riders with their testimonials of never being beaten have convinced me. I will give away at a brother - in - law price my 2015 Scout 69. I must.............not having the beast called the 60 haunts me
I'll pm you my address. I wouldn't mind trying some of whatever it is you're on;):p:rolleyes: I reckon they'll work for me too!:) And as I ride a 69, I wonder if half a pill in the tank will work like it did for Burt? It could transform it into a 60!!
Alpal
 

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Awesome write up ... makes me want to park the RV and go grab a frigg'n tent and disappear for a long weekend ..
 

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Great write up, thank you for sharing.

The last time I took an extended trip, I went on a vehicle that was more similar to that Nordhavn in the background in the first pic. The next time....it will be on my Scout....with a couple credit cards :). All you need :) [I have spent more than enough time sleeping on the ground]

*I* think you really *get* the Scout. When I first saw it, it struck me as a bike you could cheaply and easily make into ANY bike you wanted....and that is its secret. It can be a café racer, roadster, cruiser, bagger, tourer. And....to me....that is an amazing attribute, since I can only afford ONE bike.

I would LOVE to have several different bikes. Would be great to have a sport bike or café racer for buzzing around town, a roadster for all around, a bagger/tourer for long weekend trips, a big cruiser for the highway. But...I can only have one. So....to me....the Scout can be all those bikes. Over the course of my ownership, I may make it into any one of those types of bikes, as it suits me at the time.

Right now, mine is a roadster. But, as I mentioned above, if I want to get out of town, the addition of a credit card would be that is needed. Maybe bags...but those are a simple add.

Good riding.
 

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I haven't finished reading yet, but I wanted to be one of the first to comment...

THANK YOU!

I knew from the first paragraph I was going to like this. I'm also disappointed every time I see someone rip on the Scout because of it's shortcomings in touring. As you pointed out in just the first couple paragraphs, what I love about the Scout is it's hybrid nature. I didn't have a billion dollars to spend on a big cruiser - nor did I want one since I was coming from a sport bike; I did not want to jump from a 409lbs twisty demon to a 700+lb barge (albeit nimble). The Scout is awesome for people like me who are just entering the cruising world but don't want to completely give up the fun of a small bike.

EDIT: Your write-up also appeals to me because what you have been doing is what I plan on doing with mine. I'd like to start small with some 3 hour trips to some lakes on the west side of the state or down toward Maryland, but want to experience traveling on the bike - I just can't think of a better adventure than going with nothing but what you have on your back and meeting people along the way. I have a couple army buddies who are going to join me - should make for some good stories.
 
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I haven't finished reading yet, but I wanted to be one of the first to comment...

THANK YOU!

I knew from the first paragraph I was going to like this. I'm also disappointed every time I see someone rip on the Scout because of it's shortcomings in touring. As you pointed out in just the first couple paragraphs, what I love about the Scout is it's hybrid nature. I didn't have a billion dollars to spend on a big cruiser - nor did I want one since I was coming from a sport bike; I did not want to jump from a 409lbs twisty demon to a 700+lb barge (albeit nimble). The Scout is awesome for people like me who are just entering the cruising world but don't want to completely give up the fun of a small bike.

EDIT: Your write-up also appeals to me because what you have been doing is what I plan on doing with mine. I'd like to start small with some 3 hour trips to some lakes on the west side of the state or down toward Maryland, but want to experience traveling on the bike - I just can't think of a better adventure than going with nothing but what you have on your back and meeting people along the way. I have a couple army buddies who are going to join me - should make for some good stories.
These mag writers are on the bike for a limited time and form opinions based on what they see, feel and suspect. They suspect the Scout will not be any good for the long haul. Damn! I wish I had read their articles before I bought mine because it's all I own, other than my 97VS800 Intruder which has also carried me everywhere I ever needed to go in the last 19 years. It's about the same size as my Scout and now these mag writers are saying they are only city bikes? Well, that can only mean I have been doing it wrong all these years by touring on them,......Bugger! I don't own a car. I own two bikes and they take me anywhere anytime I chose to go, short trips, long trips, it doesn't matter. They are both comfortable and the riding is effortless. I can ride all day, everyday for as many days as I wish. Sounds and feels like a tourer to me,....
Alpal
 
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These mag writers are on the bike for a limited time and form opinions based on what they see, feel and suspect. They suspect the Scout will not be any good for the long haul. Damn! I wish I had read their articles before I bought mine because it's all I own, other than my 97VS800 Intruder which has also carried me everywhere I ever needed to go in the last 19 years. It's about the same size as my Scout and now these mag writers are saying they are only city bikes? Well, that can only mean I have been doing it wrong all these years by touring on them,......Bugger! I don't own a car. I own two bikes and they take me anywhere anytime I chose to go, short trips, long trips, it doesn't matter. They are both comfortable and the riding is effortless. I can ride all day, everyday for as many days as I wish. Sounds and feels like a tourer to me,....
Alpal
Well Cycle Magazine did a long term test on a Scout 69...........first year model. They liked it, ran dyno's on it with and without stage 1 pipes and did a few slight mods like the air cleaner. This was my signal to go ahead and look for a big Scout. Had I known the 60 was the stronger and faster bike ( much faster by witness's here on this forum ) I would have passed on the 69 Scout. How was I to know that the 60 was trhe original bike designed and cleverly hid by corporate exec's to bring out after we had a 69 Scout? Then the Octane which ( again by some ) cannot hold a candle to the 60 Scout. I was truly fooled and it is my fault.
 

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Well Cycle Magazine did a long term test on a Scout 69...........first year model. They liked it, ran dyno's on it with and without stage 1 pipes and did a few slight mods like the air cleaner. This was my signal to go ahead and look for a big Scout. Had I known the 60 was the stronger and faster bike ( much faster by witness's here on this forum ) I would have passed on the 69 Scout. How was I to know that the 60 was trhe original bike designed and cleverly hid by corporate exec's to bring out after we had a 69 Scout? Then the Octane which ( again by some ) cannot hold a candle to the 60 Scout. I was truly fooled and it is my fault.
Same article got me interested as well. And, I am glad I waited and bought the 60 for the same reason that Navigate stated. This bike is a hybrid.
 

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Two attributes sold me on the Scout.

$2000 less than the Scout 69 and HD Sporty....was A LOT of incentive, especially when considering that the performance of this bike does not suffer below 6000 rpm (and I almost never hit that). No question that it will out perform an HD sporty 1200.

The other significant attribute was that it got at least 50mpg, whereas the 69 got something below that. Stopping for gas is just one of those little things that is nice to do less of. Greater endurance helps me keep in with a group ride better. 50 is a nice even number to work with.
 

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Camping on an Indian Scout / Scout 60:

If you read the comments about the Scout, you can be struck by the conflicting perceptions of what a Scout is. What is its place in the Universe? Is it a Light Cruiser? Is it a Mid Size Sport shaped like a Cruiser? Is it a Heavyweight first bike? Is it a kinda' new category (accepting that some preceding bikes were similar, but I can't think of what they are in totality).

Yes. Yes it is.

I could list a half dozen bikes in each of those categories that was better than the Scout individually in their category (except mythical). The thing about the Scout is that on a top 10 list of recent bikes it shows up all over the place.

Human's senses aren't the best at vision, hearing, smell, taste, pressure change, touch, EM, direction or pretty much anything else for senses. As far as our physical profile, we aren't the biggest, fastest, most maneuverable, dexterous, most limber, most nimble, tallest, shortest, best armored, lightest or toughest of the species we share the blue marble with.

That is the Scout. It isn't a fantastic motorcycle because it is the best at anything. It is a fantastic motorcycle because it is really, really good at just about everything. Now, there is a fine line between being average because you're good at several things, and being exceptional because you're good at <i> most </i> things.

I see it so often, quotes on the forums that say something like "if you want to get out of town and seriously cruise, the Scout is not the bike" or "A great little city cruiser, but not for the open road".

They may be absolutely right from their perspective, but since I (and lots of others) don't see it that way, they aren't definitively correct. People camp with nothing but a backpack. People camp with bicycles.

But... I told you that story so I could tell you this one...

THE INDIAN SCOUT / SCOUT 60 as a Camping/Touring rig.

So, what about camping on the Scout? Well... The Scout can be a great touring rig! Depending on what you are looking for.

I bought my Scout 60 in February 2016 and got lucky with a warm and dry summer in the Pacific Northwest. I went camping 11 times this last summer on the Scout. Trips ranging from 100-600 miles from home. The Scout and I have crossed 4 mountain passes in a day and 8 on a trip. I've never wanted for anything and I've spent some phenomenal nights under the stars.

My rig has next to nothing. A buddy of mine bought a single right side saddle bag at a thrift store and sold it to me at cost ($30) and I went to a good hardware store and grabbed a little piece of sheet metal for backing and picked the mounting bolts out of the trays ($15) including adding bungee/strap points to the left side. So, the sum total of my additions to the bike itself is about $45. With that small investment in rig, I was able to go from Seattle to: Lake Chelan, Whidbey Island, the Yakima River Canyon, Lopez Island, Lake Shasta, Verlot and more in just 5 months.

In some ways the argument comes down to what experience you're looking for. If you want music, cruise control, heated stuff, fancy electronics, integrated luggage and decent fuel management; than no, the Scout isn't what you are looking for, not out of the box anyway. But if you are just looking to go; go with nothing but the gear you can strap on and your wallet, the Scout may be your horse.



This shows the basic setup.

For my first camping trip on the Scout I was pretty minimal: tent, sleeping bag, tiny stove kit. That was about it. I wanted to build my kit based on needs discovered on the road, not just go to REI and buy a bunch of stuff that cost me a ton and I might not find I actually need. And my kit has grown a few pieces at a time, with only a few more little things on my want list.

My camping kit currently includes:

tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, 2 blankets, cooler, stove and cooking kit, 2 combination lantern / flashlights, cell phone battery, large inner-tube (River Rat), buck knife, "Swiss Army" style knife, tire gauge, tire plug and tube patch kit, monocular, 3 empty kitchen garbage bags spare earplugs, an old smart phone with no service provider loaded with camping apps and games and a couple movies for rainy days (and, at least in the US, all cell phones can dial 911 as long as they can get a signal).

All that with one saddle bag, a fork bag and no luggage rack. If you had a more complete setup, you could pack on more.


lopex\DSCF6672 shows the new setup.

So I've got shelter and comfort. Those self inflating sleeping pads are decent and with a couple of blankets positioned one under and one over the pad it's pretty good sleeping. My little cookstove is plenty to heat some soup, Indian MRE's or water for coffee. The inner-tube lets me float rivers and lakes and my cooler will keep the beer cold. Cooler capacity is limited, so depending on the distance to the nearest supplies, I'll often make a second "cooler" out of grocery bags and put it in the shadiest spot I can find.

While it will get me to the campground just fine, there are capacity issues with my setup. It requires that I go unload and make camp, then run into the closest town or village for more supplies like groceries, ice, firewood and beer. But hey, I'm out enjoying the ride anyway. What it does mean is that I try to camp no farther than 15-20 minutes from the nearest grocery store / mini mart, not counting quick nights on the way out or home; when I might just pull over into a campground and quickly stay the night.

I try to always carry just a meal or two and some snacks. Usually a can or two of soup, some crackers, fruit rollups and instant oatmeal. This is just enough that if I were to choose, or be forced, to hunker down for a day or two, I can. This happened once in the Cascade Mountains when the deer got so thick at dusk I just couldn't justify going on. I was less than an hour from my destination and supplies, but it just made no sense. I saw 15 deer in a 3 mile stretch and decided to pull into the next campground. It just wasn't worth the risk to go on. But, this left me stuck at a high enough altitude that it was very cold overnight. Since there was no host I couldn't buy firewood and having some hot soup before bed was really nice.

This also happened at Lake Shasta when I decided I was having such a good time that I didn't want to leave. Having enough food to carry me over saved me a trip I didn't want to make. This is also why I like to carry a couple of those little airline bottles of Whisky. Beer is bulky and I get it on the supply run. But if you get stuck, it can be really nice to have a little something to keep the chill off or let you skip a beer run.

But, with all those basic supplies; you have to be diligent about replacing them! If I burn any of that basic kit, I replace it at the first opportunity.

Since the Scout is smaller, and you are likely to have less gear than a giant bagger, you also want to think about what you DON'T HAVE. If I look at my kit on the Scout compared to my kit when I'm in my truck, what I don't have is tarps, extra rope, extra blankets, extra changes (and more options) of clothing and a larger cooler. I also don't have the ability to just crawl in the truck if the weather turns really bad.

So, a little discretion is in order. I'm out there to have fun, to camp and swim and see the scenery and float on my innertube. I am not there for an endurance test or to suffer to prove I can. I do a lot of weather planning and work hard to pick my route and destination to avoid trouble. Several times I changed either the route or the destination last minute to stay dry and happy. Be willing to be flexible. If you spend all week planning on seeing town X and it will be rainy, learn to live with town Y.

But yes. You can certainly camp on the Scout. People have camped on mopeds.

But that doesn't mean it is ideal. But is any bike ideal for touring and camping for all riders? Baggers have the capacity, but can be rough on dirt roads (especially for smaller riders); even on small runs from Asphalt to campground over little washouts. Adventure bikes and dual sports are ideal for the rougher roads, but some riders don't care for their freeway characteristics. So called Standards are pretty good at all that stuff, but kind of "uninspired" to some. If you are going to ride in varied environments; there is no way a bike is going to be perfect for all of them.

But the Scout has it's own limitations. I've gotten used to them and allow for them, but they are there. In my mind the first is fuel management. Combine the limited tank capacity and the lack of a gauge and you do need to watch your fuel situation. Especially when the distance between stations starts to get long. This is certainly not a deal-breaker by any means; but you do have to be a little more fuel aware.

My other issue is security. The Scout doesn't have a helmet lock, fork lock or "glove box" (locking toolbox etc...), or seat lock. These issues can be overcome with some added gear, but I find it missing all four to be a bit annoying. I go to some fairly remote places and the convenience of an integrated helmet lock is important. I also like to know that one person with a truck and a ramp can't just take the bikes since if your steering is locked, loading a bike becomes a two or three person job. Of course a chain will help and has the advantage that you can chain it to something, but only if there is something to chain it to.

The glove/toolbox issue is mostly related to storing a few documents like registration etc... My normal routine is to carry a copy (not the original) of my registration and insurance docs with my address blacked out. The reason is that if someone got my bike because they got my keys, I don't want them to know where my house is. I wrap them in a baggie and either tape them under the seat or put them in the toolbox. But with no seat lock and no toolbox, where the hell do you put your docs on the bike? And no, no police officer has ever given me grief after giving them the copy docs. Most didn't even ask me to explain.

But all that can be overcome. Hey, people have done some impressive stuff on 50cc bikes (India to England for example, Michigan to California etc...).

And that brings up another point about camping on the Scout. I am very comfortable on the bike and even after 600 miles in one day I wasn't in bad shape muscle wise. I don't run a windscreen, but my tent across the handlebars gives me some coverage. But the smaller tank forces you to stop often. So go with it. Don't plan 3 hour runs, knowing you can only go 2 before fueling. Embrace that the Scout is a short range recon vehicle and you are going long. Get off the Interstate and onto some highways. Stop more. Drive through Main Street. Take old farm roads. For as much as I believe the Scout is a perfectly fine touring and camping bike, I recognize that it has limitations and I choose to make those limitations work for me.




Finally, for those who haven't motorcycle camped before, my advice is start small. I see these posts from mostly new riders that say something like "I'm planning my first road trip, Boston to Tampa, to Phoenix, to LA; then up through Canada to Saskatoon and over to Toronto and home. In 10 days. What do you think?".

Well, I think you should slow your roll a little. Yes, I think you could do that. You can get coast to coast in 50 hours if you try. But, will you enjoy yourself? Did you just add up 8 hours of riding per day and multiply it by 80 to see your max range?

There are a couple of factors this person should think about. The first is what kind of experience do you want to have? My best times on the road are both on and off the bike. I love the scenery and dynamic that you only get in the saddle, but I also love the people. The coffee shops and bars, the people I meet at gas stations and little shops. I also love the things people built. Their little farms and houses.

So, my rule number one is: Stay off the Interstate whenever possible. I mean it. Addmittedly, I have to use it to get out of town; but I get off the big slab as soon as I can. This has a ton of benefits; it breaks your pace, it gets you to ground level, it lets you see the people, it puts you driving right by the gas station (instead of just getting off the Freeway to 'hit it').

Getting off the Freeway also shortens your range/time equation a bit. Yes, you can do 600 in a day to cover territory. But you can also have a good damn time 120 miles or less from home and I bet every single person reading this has a place 2 hours('ish) from home they have either never seen or haven't seen since they were a kid.

So go. And yes, you can go on a Scout, if that is what you want to do.
Outstanding article very informative.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks to everyone for the kind words about the write-up. I was a little concerned because it was long. I also want to point out that it applies equally to the 69 and the 60. This has very little to do with the engine since the config on either bike will go just fine. It's more about the form factor overall.

I would also like to point out a couple of things I kind of forgot.
  • Stay away from bungee cords and when you take them on or off, leave your helmet on and shield down. Use cargo straps. Bungee cords take a lot of eyeballs every year, they stretch when the get warm (and just being under tension creates heat) and they pop through sometimes. The way we pull them over bikes puts them right in your face if they go. I was having terrible wobble until I got rid of them for my foundation and now I just have normal Scout wobble. I still use them for extras, but don't hold the base on with bungee cords; use cargo straps.
  • Always be willing to toss your plans. As I mentioned, I'm flexible around the weather, but I'm also flexible around events. If I stop in a little village and they are having a festival or carnival or art fair or whatever and the town is kind of hopping; I might just stop and see if I can camp closer. Don't leave a place you are having fun just because you had something else in mind.
  • Brush your teeth every day, even if you have to do it with beer.
  • If you are on "Something Highway" and you see a sign for "Old Something Highway"; take it.
  • Use a paper map and pencil.
  • Ask for directions and be specific: "What is the most scenic way to get to... from here"
  • Put a Star Finder app on your phone and use it, at least a little.
  • Dance naked around your campfire and float naked a little; but if you hear coyotes put your pants on.
 
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