Indian Scout Sixty Review by Syed Shiraz, Pictures by Syed Shiraz & Sachin Mendon
Subtlety, a fine art, is not understood by all. So, it will have to go screw itself in this one. In this introductory paragraph, at least. It’s imperative that I say it exactly like it is because, like I had mentioned in my previous piece, this is not just another road test review (despite being one primarily), but a major breakthrough in the history of automotive journalism in India. Now, since that also makes it one in my automotive journalism career, please allow me to switch the Caps Lock on, for the naysayers, before making the following statement: I, SYED SHIRAZ SHAH, FEEL PRIVILEGED TO BE THE FIRST AUTOMOTIVE REVIEWER IN INDIA TO TEST THE INDIAN SCOUT SIXTY.
Brazen chest-thumping aside, being the absolute first in this part of the world to test a brand new, virgin, motorcycle is actually so satisfying that there are few things in life that come close to it. One of those things is – well, you’d know it, if you aren’t practicing celibacy… But even if you are, chances are that you would give in to the overpowering seduction of Indian Motorcycle’s latest – the Scout Sixty. Especially if you happen to cast eyes on a red number.
I don’t know why, but all the test motorcycles that came our way from Indian have always been black, and never in the hue that’s unmistakably Indian. See, I am neither a purist, nor a conformist, but even I believe that some things in life are almost like nature. They look most beautiful in their utmost natural and undisturbed state. Like grass and Kawasakis look best when they’re green; the sky and Suzukis, when they’re blue; a woman, when she’s Amber; a rose, an Indian, a Ducati, a Ferrari – when they are RED. And it’s not just me who feels that way; Indian Motorcycle would silently nod in agreement too. After all, it’s not for nothing that they have trademarked that specific shade of red as “Indian Motorcycle Red”. And that’s exactly the colour our Scout Sixty was in. Just like the faces of a few blokes, in the same profession as mine, reading this (sorry, couldn’t resist!).
Talking about faces and looks, you would have already noticed that the Sixty looks exactly like the Scout. Which Is a good thing, because the Scout is the most beautiful cruiser on the planet right now. And the Sixty is no exception, because it’s the same bike really, albeit with two major, and a few minor, changes. A slightly smaller engine, and a five-speed gearbox comprise the major ones, while stuff like blacked-out engine casings, a black vinyl seat instead of the tan leather one, and black paint on the chassis (the Scout has smoke grey, if I am not colour blind) round off, more or less, the overall changes. Oh, one subtle distinguishing feature is that the Sixty does not get any ‘Scout’ or ‘Sixty’ badging on the tank.
With the Sixty, Indian have, perhaps unintentionally, given an alternative to people who are not fond of jewellery too much. If I have understood the psyche of ‘bling buyers’ over the years, I would say that they are mostly the type that doesn’t really have any budget constraints. So not only will they buy the Scout, they would also plaster as many chrome accessories on the bike as their anti-glare sunglasses would allow.
The, er, intelligent ones will thank Indian for the almost all-black treatment on the Sixty. I so wish they had gone full monty with this one and done a Scout Sixty Dark Horse! Maybe someday they will. Maybe it would be called the Scout 69 Dark Horse. But even right now the motorcycle has enough lack of chrome to keep folks (like me) happy who don’t look into the mirror too much. But, there’s one ghastly cost-cutting measure that would not go down well at all with the prospective buyers. I am talking about the exposed wiring behind the triple tree, which, in the Scout, is hidden by a simple, yet elegant, plate. That’s missing in the Sixty making the bike look just like your beautiful girlfriend, but with missing maxillary central incisors. Other than that, there is absolutely nothing that one can put their critical finger on, as far as the aesthetics of this bike are concerned.
Also, since there are no changes in the dimensions of the bike, there is no change in its perfect-for-everyone ergonomics. Yes, with the option of extended and reduced reach controls, both the Scouts remain the perfect bikes (ergonomically) for riders of all shapes and sizes. In fact, the vinyl seat on the Sixty is actually more comfortable than the leather one on the Scout. I can say that because I rode the Sixty from Delhi to Mumbai (around 1,500 km). However, the lack of footboards is a pain on such long distances. Moreover, both Scouts do not come with a pillion seat as standard equipment (you have to ‘buy’ it as an accessory!); therefore, there are no rear footpegs as well on which you can rest your feet for short periods to take the weight off your bum and also to contract the leg muscles. In fact, I remember doing a lot of it on our Mumbai to Delhi ride last year on the mighty Chieftain and Chief, despite both bikes being equipped with footboards.
So even if you are someone who’s forever single, or if you’ve just got a divorce in your 40s, and have some real hatred with the pillion seat, get them rear footpegs at least and your long rides will be sorted. Of course, Indian is not at all promoting the Scouts as tourers, but both these bikes are so bloody good that it would be a pity if the owners just confine their steeds to Sunday-only rides with posers.
The Sixty is a hit in city traffic too! I wouldn’t have got to know much about it in this ride because I was mostly riding on empty stretches of tarmac as the Delhi to Mumbai route I took comprises some of the best roads in India. Of course, I had tested the Scout last year, and I could have asked you to refer to its review (which I may for a few sections in this review) to know how the bike handles in city traffic. And it would have been just fine, save for one thing. See, I had tested the Scout in Delhi, where I live. It’s a city that has roads. Mumbai doesn’t. So, though the capital of India sees some of the worst traffic jams every day, it does not really get that frustrating because at least the wheels of your vehicle are always resting on fine tarmac. The vehicle ahead of you crawls for a few millimeters and stops; you do too, and so does the guy behind you, and all’s okay. It’s the same in Mumbai; the only difference is that now at least two wheels of a car, and at least one wheel of your motorcycle, will always be in or on something that is not tarmac. A word for Delhi people – if you really curse Delhi traffic, just drive/ride in Mumbai during rush hour for a week. You’ll love Delhi after that; I can promise you! There’s a reason why the local train is Mumbai’s lifeline…
I had to tell you this so that you don’t assume that the findings in this review are based upon riding on empty, winding, and butter smooth roads only. Which also brings me to tell that no matter how carefully you choose a route, chances are that you will invariably find yourself in a sticky spot if you are more than the aforementioned Sunday poser. So, as luck would have it, I did find one, just upon entering Mumbai. You know, traffic jams on bad roads make for a nightmarish combination if you’re on a heavy cruiser motorcycle, but, thankfully, not when you are on the Scout Sixty. It’s a slim (for a cruiser that weighs a little over 250 kilos) bike that will take you through those narrowest paths that are usually the sole preserve of the Discovers and Splendors of our world. So, unlike most big cruisers, you don’t have to ride the Sixty thinking that you have two sidecars attached at either side. See the 100s, 125s, and 150s filtering through traffic to take that left-most lane and leave all the traffic behind? You can do that too on the Sixty.
Now I would request you to read the Scout’s review to know about the Sixty’s ride quality, handling, and braking. Please. Because, like most everything else, there are no changes here as well. Okay, I will still tell you briefly about each. The Sixty, along with the Scout, happens to be the best handling cruiser today, period. Don’t be fooled by that chunky front tyre – the steering at low speeds is light, but it never gets fidgety even at seriously high speeds (for a cruiser)! And I don’t know what’s with this motorcycle and canines, because even this time around one Mr. Stray tried committing suicide but changed its mind at the last moment. Once again, the bike’s brakes did well to save the dog, and the day for me. And it’s not just the dog; I did encounter a few other animals too, such as cows, donkeys (both four- and two-legged varieties), etc., who suddenly thought playing the game of Statues would be a good idea. In the middle of the road. When I was well above 100 km/h. I live to tell the tale, which itself should tell you a lot about the Sixty’s composure, tyre grip, stability, and flickability as well! Here, let me just pause and request all of you to either not tour on bikes without ABS (its standard on the Sixty) or not go beyond 60 km/h. REs would be an exception here. Those bikes do not need ABS. Or optimistic speedos. They already have the latter, though.
Okay, back to the Sixty now – its ride quality. You might already know that almost all cruisers hardly have any suspension travel to speak of and the Sixty is not that different too. That said, the Sixty did not give me any aches or rattles in the entire ride, and that’s really saying something. The ride is firm, keeping in line with its sport-cruiser image, but it remains comfortable, until you enter Mumbai. Okay, I was just messing with my friends in Mumbai, but, seriously, only the worst bumps and humps unsettle the Scout Sixty. And that too if you attack such roads with generous amounts of throttle.
Speaking of throttle, it’s a ride by wire folks! The Scout has it also, of course, but I wanted to reiterate it here as the Sixty sits even lower in the price range. And that throttle commands the same engine as earlier; it’s just that the engine is smaller by 134 cc now at 999 cc (the Scout’s motor displaces 1,133 cc). Here, I would like to tell you the etymology of the name “Sixty”. Check the company website and you’ll see that the Scout’s engine displacement is listed as 69 cubic inches (do you now get the reference to the Scout 69 I mentioned earlier?), and the Sixty’s at 61 inches. Don’t ask me why they didn’t call it the Scout Sixty One, then. Oh, that explains it – three words would have been a lot too many. Anyway, the small difference in cubes translates to a difference of 22 hp and 8.9 Nm. On paper, that is. Because the difference in power is just not apparent on the go! One might be able to feel the difference upon riding the bikes back to back, but I still doubt it. I mean, I am not sure if anyone would really be able to tell the difference if Indian gave us both the bikes camouflaged, and asked us to not go beyond the 4th gear…
When I first heard that the Sixty has five gears instead of the Scout’s six, I thought that it was a bad move by Indian. My fear was based on the simple logic that due to the missing 6th gear, while everything else remains the same, the crank will be spinning at a higher rpm while cruising in top (5th on the Sixty) gear. In fact, I even told Indian that since it’s a new bike, and it’s missing the 6th gear, I would be taking it easy on the first day! It was only during the ride that I felt it to be cruising at almost the same engine revs as the 1,133 cc Scout had. Imagine my surprise then when I came back and saw the videos from my ride and noticed that the Sixty’s 999 cc motor spins at an exact 2,000 rpm at 60 km/h in 5th, while the Scout needed 2,300 revs for the same speed in 6th!
I immediately opened Indian’s website to check the gear ratios of both the bikes and got my answer. The wise guys at Indian have removed the 5th cog from the gearbox, and not the 6th! Brilliant. The Sixty’s torque also peaks 100 revs earlier than the Scout’s. If this is sounding Greek to you, then let me tell you in a simpler manner – the Sixty is a trifle more relaxed at cruising than the Scout! And it’s not slow either. It’s quick for a cruiser, and certainly plenty fast for the best of Indian roads. See it for yourself in the clips below.
Indian Scout Sixty: Top Speed Video
Indian Scout Sixty: 0-100 km/h Sprint Video
Just in case you didn’t notice, the Sixty did the 0-100 km/h run in a shade over five seconds and, seeing the video, we all know that it can do better. One can also see that the Sixty went from 100 km/h to 200 km/h (almost) in around 20 seconds – this is where I believe the bigger-engined, 100 hp Scout would outperform its younger sibling. But I also think it wouldn’t matter much to the buyers Indian have in mind. What would matter to them, while cruising in top gear on the Sixty, is the fact that there is ZERO vibration up until around 120-130 km/h; that’s when you begin to feel some of it from the footpegs.
But the best part is, that from 120-130 km/h onwards, the vibration neither increases in intensity with speed, nor does it make its presence felt anywhere else on the bike like in the handlebar, tank, etc. That is how I could sustain cruising speeds of 130-140-plus km/h for the most part of my ride!
Indian Scout Sixty: Walkaround Video
The Scout would be quiet for some (check the walkaround video above), though. But that’s nothing that Indian’s Stage 1 exhaust can’t address. And Indian here have just the right engine now for a Flat Tracker kind of a motorcycle. Roland Sands Design made five of them for the launch of the Sixty earlier this year. And even a factory bobber would be a great idea. See, Indian Motorcycle have continually expanded their range, and they are even going quicker at expanding their presence in different parts of the country. But, they still ought to have at least one more model that does not necessarily have to be a cruiser…
Now, the most important question that we still get everywhere in India – what’s the ‘average’ bruh? That question, irrespective of the type of bike, is more popular than “how much does it cost”, it seems. I am so tempted to reply, “No average; I get them all with this one…” but most would not get it. So I gave them the figure I thought I was getting – “above 22 km/l“. I came back to Delhi and meticulously calculated the Sixty’s average fuel efficiency in this ride.
I was stunned with the result – 25 km/l (24.84 is the exact figure)! That’s bloody astounding for a brand new 1,000 cc motorcycle, especially when you factor in the aforementioned traffic jam as well. This ride also reiterated the fact that fuel efficiency, or the lack of it, depends a lot on the fuel quality too. A tankful from Delhi yielded 26.4 km/l, while a tankful from Jaipur returned 26.79 km to a liter – the best I got in this ride. Of course, clear roads played a vital role in achieving the latter figure, but the fuel quality too is very much apparent here. The remainder of the ride got me between 22.28 km/l (the worst) and 24-25 km/l. I don’t mind the 12.5-liter tank now.
Okay, it’s time to shed some light on the verdict now. But, speaking of light reminds me to inform you that Indian has equipped the Sixty with a fantastic headlight. It has a good throw and spread, both in low and high beams. Yes, you might need to realign your beliefs now if one of them circles around the thought that “size matters”.
Anyway, back to the verdict now. Truth be told, I don’t believe in giving out verdicts anymore. Because such ‘verdicts’ are all a matter of perspective. Honestly, if I look back, I wouldn’t have done a tenth of introspection and contemplation (about everything, and not just about bikes) in my past 25 years of riding motorcycles than I have done in the last three years of ‘officially writing’ about them. Now, since I feel that I might get more enlightened on the way ahead, I won’t use the word ‘conclude’ here, but if I really look inside right now I feel that it is improper for us testers to hand out verdicts, because when we do that we don’t remain testers anymore; we become ‘influencers’ – a term that I have started to really abhor lately. As testers, we ought to lay down facts. However, to avoid making it appear like a brochure we have to make it an interesting read. And that’s where the FEEL factor comes in. For example, REs are all about feel. But, as a tester, you ought to be stating the facts too in your review. Leave it to the readers to determine if that feel is more important or the fact that the company has still not been able to make a reliable FI system, is. That said, since some (or most) of you would want to know how I FEEL about the Sixty, I won’t disappoint you. Especially when such decisions are made by the heart anyway.
Well, to start with, and at the cost of repetition, this is the best handling cruiser there is. The bike is quick and nimble enough to allow you keep company with your sportbike pals in the city, while being fast and stable enough to keep them in sight on the highways. It’s SIXTY PARTS CRUISER, FORTY PARTS SPORTBIKE. And it will do all of that by returning around 20 km/l in city and more than 25 km/l on the highways – I don’t know if there’s any other 1,000 cc motorcycle which does that.
Also, there’s nothing else in this price (INR 11.99 lakh, ex-showroom, Delhi) range that makes such a style statement. No, a Hyundai Verna with white lights and big-bass music system does not make one. But, if you are the type who thinks that it does, then let me tell you that it’s the Scout Sixty that will get you laid. Even if the Almighty has not been too kind with you in the aesthetics department. Remember to get that pillion seat though! Life shall then begin for you at SIXTY.