Patriot games: Indian challenges Harley with new U.S.-made motorcycles

Line-up is expanded with entry-level Scout and Roadmaster tourer

Published: August 02, 2014 11:00 PM
Photo: Barry Hathaway

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Photo: Barry Hathaway

Resurrected motorcycle brand Indian is on an aggressive product-launch campaign, flanking the premium-priced Indian Chief with an affordable Scout midweight cruiser and the large Roadmaster tourer. Under Polaris ownership, America’s first motorcycle company has developed new models with classic looks and modern refinement, aiming to chip away at Harley-Davidson’s market domination.

With the Scout, Indian is now approachable by a much broader audience. Priced at $10,999, it starts a full $8,000 less than the Chief Classic and at half the sticker of better-dressed Indians. Plus, the Scout significantly undercuts even the least-expensive motorcycle from another Polaris brand, Victory—the Vegas 8-Ball ($12,499).

The Scout is positioned as a less powerful alternative to those big-displacement bikes. It is fitted with a liquid-cooled 69 cubic-inch (more than 1,100 cc) engine, producing 100 horsepower. That V-twin is styled to be reminiscent of Scouts from the 1920s-1950s and teamed with a six-speed transmission. Tipping the scales at 558 lbs. wet, the Scout is relatively light for its class. Seat height is a low 25.3 inches. Naturally, a full compliment of accessories will be offered when it goes on sale late this year.

Learn more about the latest bikes and riding in our motorcycle hubbuying guide, and in our reliability and owner satisfaction report.

Photo: Barry Hathaway

At the other end of the range, Indian also recently announced the Roadmaster touring bike, designed to evoke models from decades past and provide modern, long-distance luxury. Like the Chief, this 940-lb. full-dress bike is powered by a 111 cubic-inch (aka 1,800 cc) engine.

Standard equipment includes a antilock brakes, cruise control, keyless start, power windscreen, 200-watt stereo with Bluetooth connectivity, heated leather seats, and heated grips. The hard storage saddle bags, fairing storage, and trunk will swallow 38 gallons of gear combined.

The Roadmaster goes on sale in September, starting at $26,999.

It seems that after numerous struggles and corporate owners, Indian is back with a vengeance.

Jeff Bartlett

Photo: Barry Hathaway

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