2016 Indian Scout Sixty: A Liter of Affordable Fun!

Text: Ken Freund • Photography: Indian Motorcycles

In a bid to widen its market and bring in new riders to the brand, Indian has introduced the Sixty—a slightly revamped Scout—and dropped the price by an impressive ,300 compared to the 1,133cc model.

So what’s different about it? The displacement is smaller, and the frame, engine covers, rims, air filter, and horn are finished in black. There’s no logo on the front, the seat is vinyl, one gear is missing, and it weighs four pounds more and costs markedly less than the 2015 Scout.

It’s almost impossible to talk about the series without comparing it to Harley-Davidson’s Sportster. While the top-of-the-line Sporties displaced 1,200cc and base models are 883cc, Scouts come in 1,133cc and now 999cc versions. Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, Sportsters also came in 1,000cc variants, so what comes around goes around.

Powertrain and Performance

The Sixty is powered by a liquid-cooled 60-degree V-twin engine with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, which kicks the Sportster’s aging air-cooled design of pushrods and two-valve heads into the weeds. That extra four pounds comes from thicker cylinder walls, the result of decreasing the bore from 99 to 93mm, which cuts displacement from 1,133 to 999cc. Stroke is unchanged at 73.6mm, but compression ratio is up to 11:1 from 10.7:1 on the 1,133cc Scout. The engine breathes through a 60mm throttle body, same as the other model, but the ECU mapping has changed.

The engine fires up instantly and runs fairly smoothly even when cold, always with a nice V-twin cadence. Despite the power reduction, there’s still plenty of torque on tap. Indian claims 65 lb-ft of torque at 5,800 rpm and 78 hp, which is 7 lb-ft and 22 hp down from the 1,133cc Scout. There’s an 8,250 rpm limiter to keep the rods inside the engine. 

The Sixty has a five-speed gearbox, which was created by leaving out the fifth gear in the regular Scout’s six-speed gearbox. The other ratios are the same, so the Sixty’s fifth (top) gear is the same ratio as the sixth in 1,133cc Scouts. The result is a wider ratio gap when shifting between fourth and fifth on the Sixty than you would have on the 1,133cc.

Our test ride was around Las Vegas, NV, with a loop over to the Valley of Fire State Park, and another longer ride the next day out to Lake Mead, or what’s left of it after a punishing drought! Despite the power reduction, there’s still ample torque on tap as the Sixty accelerates energetically and has firm throttle response. At an indicated 70 mph, the tach shows 3,700 rpm, and vibration is minimal, which is ideal for highway cruising. However, rev it up past about 5,500 and vibes increase strongly.

Clutch effort is moderate, modulation is easy, and engagement solid. Shifting is quicker and smoother than with typical cruiser gearboxes. That missing ratio is barely noticeable thanks to the engine’s broad torque range. The belt final drive is quiet and nearly maintenance free.

Chassis and Handling

The cast aluminum frame saves weight compared to steel. A conventional non-adjustable fork with 41mm legs carries the front. Twin rear shocks with adjustable preload connect the double-sided swingarm directly to the rear of the frame. The Sixty was the first Scout to receive new top-out springs at the rear, which soften the hit when extended rapidly. For 2016, all Scouts get them. With only three inches of total travel, the rear ride can be harsh on rough surfaces.

Braking happens via single 298mm discs fore and aft, clamped by a twin pot caliper in the front and single piston in the rear. The front brake only requires moderate lever pull for normal stops and was fade free, although twin discs or at least a four-piston caliper would be favorable. The rear brake pedal is disconcertingly small and has a numb feel that requires a lot of boot to get results. ABS is not offered on U.S. models.

Handling is better than most cruisers. Steering effort is minimal, and the bike carries its weight fairly low, making it easy to ride. The Sixty felt familiar after just a few minutes on the road, and should be a good mount for entry riders who have a bit of experience. The tires provide decent grip and the bike tracks well through corners, although it feels a bit squirmy at high speeds. I took it to about 105 mph and that was enough; there was a little more speed left. The factory claims a 31-degree lean angle and that seems about right.

Features and Ergonomics

The Sixty has no windscreen, and that would be one of the first things I would add. Instrumentation is compact yet manages to include a (rather optimistic) 200mph speedometer. Plus, you can choose a digital readout of tach, odometer, trip meter, and coolant temperature with a button on the left side of the handlebar. The riding posture is feet forward, but it’s not too extreme, and there’s an optional “reduced reach” kit designed to accommodate riders of smaller stature. The low-slung 25.3-inch black solo saddle is quite comfy, but if you want to carry a passenger, you’ll need the optional passenger seat and pegs, at almost 0. Indian’s line of accessories includes fit-kit seats, footpeg locators, and handlebars designed to match the motorcycle to the rider. Additional accessories include wire wheels, Stage 1 exhausts, mini apes, performance shocks, and the 1920 Solo Saddle.

Final Thoughts

We found the Sixty to be well made, and it shows quality fit and finish. The bike is also competent out on the road and performs and handles better than a lot of its competitors. The reborn Indian Motorcycle, under Polaris’ corporate ownership, was wise to reintroduce the venerable Scout name as an entry-level series to the brand. Their latest move, selling the Sixty for $ 8,999, should also pay off; the lower price will attract younger riders buying their first new motorcycle. It provides a solid platform for customization and offers great value in the mid-size cruiser market.