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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally getting around to jotting down my thoughts. I've been a car guy all my life, modern turbo stuff and old school muscle. My relatives have always been really deep into Harley and watched my buddies get into sport bikes when they'd give up on their car projects. Never really cared to get into bikes but even as a non-enthusiast, the look of an Indian is something that forces you to take notice. I've always loved the rawness of the early bicycles with engines and the iconic full fenders and two tone paint that the Indian pulls off better than anyone.
Around this time last year the wife and I were discussing the costs of our work commutes and I mentioned how good looking those new Scouts were. She suggested I take a training course and let's see how I like it. I took the course at my local Harley dealer and got hooked. In my younger days I rode BMX and mountain biked pretty aggressively so two wheeling came naturally. I'm just glad I waited till now in life because I would not have lasted very long back when I was "invincible".
Choosing the bike.. In the car world, starting from scratch is something I done for a living for a long time. However in the the bike world, I'm a rookie.. I wouldn't know where to start as far as frame geometry, sourcing bearings, fitting suspension, especially on something that could kill me. So from the get go I was already starting off with a guilty conscience for not building my own bike. With that in mind, I focused on the commute. The bike needed to have a fuel range of at least 110 miles and I really don't care for bags at this point of my life. Two Tone paint and full fenders are very rare these days, It's something that only a 1950's vehicle can pull off correctly. This was my opportunity to enjoy that look reliably with the acceleration and fuel economy that would cost over $60,000 to reproduce in a 55 Chevy.

2018 Willow Green Scout it is!
My favorite part- first question everyone asks "What year is it?" :)
Currently a little over 12,000 miles. Commute 55 miles each direction for work. Combination of back road two lane and 85-95 mph highway for about 30 miles. My riding style is passive and defensive but at higher than average speed, I occasionally tap pegs on nice smooth curves. Haven't raced it yet but on one occasion I was cruising around 90 when I got passed by a nice red Ducatti, we cruised together for several miles @ between 125-130. I kept my distance but my acceleration was at least equal to his. Bike felt great ,definately unexpected from something that looks like a classic.
@ around 500 miles did my first oil change, did an oil filter autopsy and found a bit more metal than I expected. Took the opened filter to the dealer to get their opinion, said it seemed normal due to engine and transmission sharing the same oil.
@ around 2,000 miles took it to the dealer because my transmission shifts didn't "click" in quite as effortlessly as new. Dealer checked it out said it was normal hasn't changed since then.
@ around 5000 miles took to the dealer because i was feeling a vibration starting at 85mph. Picked it up a few days later, said everything checked out normal. Maybe try radial tires for my next set? Bought one of those Marc Parnes balancers (very nice tool by the way), balanced my front tire and watched it carefully for flat or uneven spots, was only off by very little. While bike was hanging, inspected rear tire but didn't bother removing it- looked fine. Made some improvement but not solved.
@ around 6,000 miles noticed that the vibration seemed to go away with acceleration but come back cruising or coasting @ 85 or above. Decided to try adjusting drive belt belt tension. Marked the rear axles' position, then moved it back (tightening belt) a bit (equally on both sides of course).. Vibration gone!
@ around 7,000 miles while buying Birthday gifts and attending an event at the dealer- decided to test ride the FTR.
@ around 9,000 miles front fork seal started leaking, took to dealer- replaced under warranty.
@ around 10,000 miles, removed my exhaust baffles. (Didn't notice any change in power but definately changed its presence from a scooter to a lion! Man this is a good sounding engine!)
@ around 12,000 miles while buying Christmas gifts at the dealer- decided to test ride the Challenger.

The FTR:
First impression, man this thing is tall! Fits me fine but most people would have to lower it a bunch. I imagine it's like riding a big dirtbike. Clutch feels good but grabby, I wonder if I can get this clutch on my Scout when the time comes.
Aglility feels solid but rides much taller than my Scout so confidence leaning will take a little getting used to. Rear pegs, got used to them quickly. Shifter- felt great! Just like my Scout when it was brand new.. All you have to do is think about the next gear and it practically clicks in for you! Power- oh yea! just like my Scout but in a chassis that wants to wheel stand! I completely understand why the gadgets have an anti wheelie setting. I'd better return this thing before I get too confident. Great bike but not for me. Too nice of a machine to use as a dirt bike or enduro. Probably not the most comfortable as a medium or long distance commuter. Good looking but not the same audience as a Scout or Scout Bobber. If you didn't mind beating it up, this thing is suited for exactly what it's designed after, a race bike. Make sure you have good health insurance.

The Challenger:
After reading all the rave reviews I was really expecting to be blown away.
The rider "stretch/ legroom?" was about the same. I 'm sure it's all adjustable and comes preset to match the smallest rider possible for sales so let's take that into account, but I was really expecting a much bigger bike with more legroom. The floorboards felt a bit different from the pegs I'm used to but I'm sure the foot brake placement could easily grow on you. Parking lot ride felt good, I felt myself having to look for the foot brake but otherwise the bike felt natural for what I guess is considered a big bike. My local dealer knows me well so they already had it set on sport mode. On the street, the first thing that hit me was the rev limiter (wow that felt like only 4,000 rpm?). It does have good torque but not enough to make up for that low rpm and short horsepower band. Is this what a cruiser feels like? This is supposed to be the king of the cruisers right? The engine felt very refined, but the exhaust sounded smooth and quiet.. too smooth.. too quiet. The bike just seemed to lack presence and excitement. I probably should have taken it out on the highway because that's what it was built for, just not for me. Turned around after a few blocks.
Stood there looking at it and gave my sales guy my honest opinion. While gathering my thought I cme to the opinion that the front fairing looked modern as if it could share the showroom with a new Ford truck. The rest of the bike looked like a beloved Indian, I really would like to see one undressed without the fairing. When I was describing the power to Aaron, we came to the decision I should have the dark horse first.

The Dark Horse:
While I'd prefer a Two Tone version, The Dark hose was more my style. Great looking, no fancy gadgets to distract you or get outdated, no saddle bags, just man and machine! The engine sounded much better, still quiet but this one had presence and rumble. The power was a bit less than the Challenger but the low redline and not so exciting power curve made the ride close to equal in the short time I tested it.

After thoughts: My Scout doesn't seem so small to me anymore. Indian actually kind of shot themselves in the foot building it because it is NOT a beginner bike. If my wife if going to ride with me more we'll probably get an additional bike with a more comfortable back seat but for the foreseeable future a larger headlight is the only thing the Scout lacks. If Indian releases a Challenger chassis that looks like a classic I might consider changing but the Scout engine with 8000 rpm redline is not something I'll easily give up. To the big wigs at Indian if you happen to read this.. Thank you and sorry that you built such a great bike!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Finally getting around to jotting down my thoughts. I've been a car guy all my life, modern turbo stuff and old school muscle. My relatives have always been really deep into Harley and watched my buddies get into sport bikes when they'd give up on their car projects. Never really cared to get into bikes but even as a non-enthusiast, the look of an Indian is something that forces you to take notice. I've always loved the rawness of the early bicycles with engines and the iconic full fenders and two tone paint that the Indian pulls off better than anyone.
Around this time last year the wife and I were discussing the costs of our work commutes and I mentioned how good looking those new Scouts were. She suggested I take a training course and let's see how I like it. I took the course at my local Harley dealer and got hooked. In my younger days I rode BMX and mountain biked pretty aggressively so two wheeling came naturally. I'm just glad I waited till now in life because I would not have lasted very long back when I was "invincible".
Choosing the bike.. In the car world, starting from scratch is something I done for a living for a long time. However in the the bike world, I'm a rookie.. I wouldn't know where to start as far as frame geometry, sourcing bearings, fitting suspension, especially on something that could kill me. So from the get go I was already starting off with a guilty conscience for not building my own bike. With that in mind, I focused on the commute. The bike needed to have a fuel range of at least 110 miles and I really don't care for bags at this point of my life. Two Tone paint and full fenders are very rare these days, It's something that only a 1950's vehicle can pull off correctly. This was my opportunity to enjoy that look reliably with the acceleration and fuel economy that would cost over $60,000 to reproduce in a 55 Chevy.

2018 Willow Green Scout it is!
My favorite part- first question everyone asks "What year is it?" :)
Currently a little over 12,000 miles. Commute 55 miles each direction for work. Combination of back road two lane and 85-95 mph highway for about 30 miles. My riding style is passive and defensive but at higher than average speed, I occasionally tap pegs on nice smooth curves. Haven't raced it yet but on one occasion I was cruising around 90 when I got passed by a nice red Ducatti, we cruised together for several miles @ between 125-130. I kept my distance but my acceleration was at least equal to his. Bike felt great ,definately unexpected from something that looks like a classic.
@ around 500 miles did my first oil change, did an oil filter autopsy and found a bit more metal than I expected. Took the opened filter to the dealer to get their opinion, said it seemed normal due to engine and transmission sharing the same oil.
@ around 2,000 miles took it to the dealer because my transmission shifts didn't "click" in quite as effortlessly as new. Dealer checked it out said it was normal hasn't changed since then.
@ around 5000 miles took to the dealer because i was feeling a vibration starting at 85mph. Picked it up a few days later, said everything checked out normal. Maybe try radial tires for my next set? Bought one of those Marc Parnes balancers (very nice tool by the way), balanced my front tire and watched it carefully for flat or uneven spots, was only off by very little. While bike was hanging, inspected rear tire but didn't bother removing it- looked fine. Made some improvement but not solved.
@ around 6,000 miles noticed that the vibration seemed to go away with acceleration but come back cruising or coasting @ 85 or above. Decided to try adjusting drive belt belt tension. Marked the rear axles' position, then moved it back (tightening belt) a bit (equally on both sides of course).. Vibration gone!
@ around 7,000 miles while buying Birthday gifts and attending an event at the dealer- decided to test ride the FTR.
@ around 9,000 miles front fork seal started leaking, took to dealer- replaced under warranty.
@ around 10,000 miles, removed my exhaust baffles. (Didn't notice any change in power but definately changed its presence from a scooter to a lion! Man this is a good sounding engine!)
@ around 12,000 miles while buying Christmas gifts at the dealer- decided to test ride the Challenger.

The FTR:
First impression, man this thing is tall! Fits me fine but most people would have to lower it a bunch. I imagine it's like riding a big dirtbike. Clutch feels good but grabby, I wonder if I can get this clutch on my Scout when the time comes.
Aglility feels solid but rides much taller than my Scout so confidence leaning will take a little getting used to. Rear pegs, got used to them quickly. Shifter- felt great! Just like my Scout when it was brand new.. All you have to do is think about the next gear and it practically clicks in for you! Power- oh yea! just like my Scout but in a chassis that wants to wheel stand! I completely understand why the gadgets have an anti wheelie setting. I'd better return this thing before I get too confident. Great bike but not for me. Too nice of a machine to use as a dirt bike or enduro. Probably not the most comfortable as a medium or long distance commuter. Good looking but not the same audience as a Scout or Scout Bobber. If you didn't mind beating it up, this thing is suited for exactly what it's designed after, a race bike. Make sure you have good health insurance.

The Challenger:
After reading all the rave reviews I was really expecting to be blown away.
The rider "stretch/ legroom?" was about the same. I 'm sure it's all adjustable and comes preset to match the smallest rider possible for sales so let's take that into account, but I was really expecting a much bigger bike with more legroom. The floorboards felt a bit different from the pegs I'm used to but I'm sure the foot brake placement could easily grow on you. Parking lot ride felt good, I felt myself having to look for the foot brake but otherwise the bike felt natural for what I guess is considered a big bike. My local dealer knows me well so they already had it set on sport mode. On the street, the first thing that hit me was the rev limiter (wow that felt like only 4,000 rpm?). It does have good torque but not enough to make up for that low rpm and short horsepower band. Is this what a cruiser feels like? This is supposed to be the king of the cruisers right? The engine felt very refined, but the exhaust sounded smooth and quiet.. too smooth.. too quiet. The bike just seemed to lack presence and excitement. I probably should have taken it out on the highway because that's what it was built for, just not for me. Turned around after a few blocks.
Stood there looking at it and gave my sales guy my honest opinion. While gathering my thought I cme to the opinion that the front fairing looked modern as if it could share the showroom with a new Ford truck. The rest of the bike looked like a beloved Indian, I really would like to see one undressed without the fairing. When I was describing the power to Aaron, we came to the decision I should have the dark horse first.

The Dark Horse:
While I'd prefer a Two Tone version, The Dark hose was more my style. Great looking, no fancy gadgets to distract you or get outdated, no saddle bags, just man and machine! The engine sounded much better, still quiet but this one had presence and rumble. The power was a bit less than the Challenger but the low redline and not so exciting power curve made the ride close to equal in the short time I tested it.

After thoughts: My Scout doesn't seem so small to me anymore. Indian actually kind of shot themselves in the foot building it because it is NOT a beginner bike. If my wife if going to ride with me more we'll probably get an additional bike with a more comfortable back seat but for the foreseeable future a larger headlight is the only thing the Scout lacks. If Indian releases a Challenger chassis that looks like a classic I might consider changing but the Scout engine with 8000 rpm redline is not something I'll easily give up. To the big wigs at Indian if you happen to read this.. Thank you and sorry that you built such a great bike!
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