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Is This Motorcycle Truly the Sportster Killer?

Motorcycle journalists packed themselves up close to get the first photos of what they felt confident would give Harley-Davidson its biggest competition for the Sportster line.

When Indian Motorcycles finally opened up the crate to a packed crowd in Sturgis, SD, the world got to see the all new Indian Scout for the very first time. Hailed by many as “The Sportster Killer”, motorcycle writers and enthusiasts were pleased to see that Harley-Davidson finally had some real competition.

So just how “good” is the new 2015 Indian Scout?

Peter Jones of Cycle World said, “We now know where the “sport” in Sportster disappeared to; it’s in the Scout.”

Zach Bowman of Road & Track said, “This bike’s happy to bark through traffic and hound Harleys up and down every crest in the Black Hills. ”

Sash Walker of Women Riders Now said, “But considering it’s impressive horsepower and superior handling and response, it’s no wonder why many people are calling the Scout the “Sportster killer”.”

Let’s take a look some of the key specs on the 2015 Indian Scout versus a 2014 Sportster 1200…

2015 Indian Scout
Displacement: 69 ci (1133 cc)
Peak horsepower: 100 HP at 8100 RPM
Max Torque: 72.2 at 5900 RPM
Wet Weight: 558 pounds
Transmission: 6 speed
Seat Height: 25.3 inches
Base Price: $10,999

2014 Sportster 1200 Custom
Displacement: 73.4 ci (1202 cc)
Peak horsepower: 67.7 at 5680 RPM *
Max Torque: 70.8 at 3500 RM
Wet Weight: 584 pounds
Transmission: 5 speed
Seat Height: 26.6 inches
Base Price: $10,649

* based on Cycle World’s testing, as H-D doesn’t publicize horsepower

You can see the biggest specification that glares at you is the 100 HP claimed by Indian, versus the 67 achieved by the Sportster. And if you read the reviews of the new Scout, it’s almost all positive, delivering tons of power, great handling in the corners, and excellent seating position for riders short and tall.

So the question is, would you pay the extra $350.00 to go from 67 HP to 100 HP?

I think that a lot of American motorcycle riders are willing to do so provided the aftermarket support is there. Indian does offer some of its own accessories for the 2015 Scout, but people want options for exhaust, intake, wheels, chrome, controls, etc. Owning an American motorcycle is as much as about making it your own as it is about performance. No one wants their bike to look like everyone else’s.

The 1.3 inch difference in seat height might play a key role in grabbing share of the women riders market. Being able to plant their feet firmly on the ground is a huge deal for riders who want all the confidence they can get.

How all this translates into sales and competition is something we’ll have to wait and see. I think everyone wants Indian to succeed, and I think everyone agrees that someone needs to light a match under Harley-Davidson’s butt.  The Victory Motorcycle brand is now 17 years old and still hasn’t made a dent in Harley’s sales.  That proves that American motorcycle riders don’t just want an American brand, they want American heritage, which is something Indian definitely has.

Posted by admin at 8:31 pm

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