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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Indian's Scout motorcycle is back and ready to challenge Harley's Sportster

milwaukee journal sentinel
Thanks to and written by Rick Barrett of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Links provided:

Sept. 25, 2014 The Indian Scout motorcycle, favored by stunt riders, has made a daring comeback, with some reviewers saying it's a serious competitor to Harley-Davidson's Sportster lineup.
The first all-new Scout in 70 years is expected to arrive at dealerships in December, with dozens of the bikes sold in advance to Wisconsin motorcyclists.
The original Scout, first made in 1920, was one of Indian Motorcycle Co.'s most popular models. It was the preferred bike for a carnival attraction, the Wall of Death, in which daring motorcyclists rode around a barrel-shaped wooden track, gradually climbing the inside walls until they were circling the barrel's lip.
Polaris Industries, a $3.8 billion Minnesota manufacturer of motorcycles, snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles, redesigned Indians from a clean sheet of paper after numerous failed attempts by others to revive the company.
First came the Chief models, in 2013 for model-year 2014, followed by the less expensive Scout for model-year 2015.
Polaris wanted the Scout to come "right on the heels" of the Chief, offering consumers a lighter, more nimble bike, said Steve Menneto, vice president-motorcycles for Polaris Industries.
A 47-year-old highly-modified Scout earned the title of the "World's Fastest Indian," as proven in 1967 by motorcycle racer Burt Munro, and retold in 2005 in a popular movie by that name. The older Scouts were known as cutting-edge bikes, and the U.S. Army used 30,000 of them during World War II.
Now, the Scout is a modern bike that sports a liquid-cooled 100-horsepower engine, a lightweight aluminum frame and a low 25.3-inch seat height comfortable for riders with a shorter inseam.

Female-friendly features

"The Scout appears to be a motorcycle that was designed with female riders in mind, as it has many of the features women say they want in a motorcycle: low, light, easy to handle, yet it has lots and lots of power," said Sash Walker, who reviewed the bike for Women Riders Now.
With a price starting at $10,999, comparable with a Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Custom, the Scout is aimed squarely at some of Harley's most sought-after customers, including first-time motorcycle buyers. Likewise, the Indian Chief was meant to compete with Harley's Project Rushmore motorcycles.
"Clearly, Indian has targeted Harley-Davidson, but so has Honda and so has Suzuki and Yamaha and other companies over the years as well," Harley-Davidson CEO Keith Wandell said in a quarterly conference call with analysts.
Tytlers Cycle in De Pere says it has already sold Scouts for delivery in December. Some buyers came from Michigan to check out the bike when it was available for demo rides at the dealership.
"I have never had so much interest in anything on two wheels in my career," said John Mantz, a Tytlers sales representative.

Luring riders away

The Scout puts Indian into a category of middleweight powerful motorcycles.
"Price-wise it competes very directly with the (1200 Custom) Sportster. But performance-wise, it's completely different, with more horsepower, less weight, more modern features and a liquid-cooled motor. I think in some ways it's going to lure, or at least attract, some riders that otherwise would be looking at a Sportster" or a Japanese-made bike, said Aaron Frank, editor-at-large of Motorcyclist magazine.
This summer, Indian offered test rides at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, S.D. Afterward, some of those riders purchased Scouts for delivery this winter, said Shawn Kelly, sales manager at Engelhart Motorsports, an Indian dealership in Madison.
"We have seen a tremendous amount of crossover from Harley-Davidson owners for our Indian Chief lineup, and I don't think the Scout is going to be any different. This could be a second bike for someone who wants a lighter-weight, sportier cruiser," Kelly said.
Indian has about 150 U.S. dealerships, compared with nearly 700 for Harley-Davidson, but Indian intends to double its number of dealers in the near future.
Polaris says it's added nearly 300 people at its Spirit Lake, Iowa, plant that already employs more than 700. It has added 111,000 square feet to the factory that also produces Victory motorcycles.
When the original Indian Motorcycle Co. went out of business in 1953, its Indian-head logos quickly became collector's items. Under Polaris, the goal has been to capture the spirit of the Chief and Scout bikes from more than a half-century ago, but using a modern engine and new technologies.
Still, Indian sales remain well behind industry leader Harley-Davidson.
Harley is the No. 1-selling street motorcycle in the U.S., according to industry data, and it has 36 models in its 2015 model-year lineup, compared with five for Indian.
"While we take our competitors seriously, we are highly confident about our continued strong industry leadership. Competition is always good for the marketplace. It's healthy, frankly, for Harley-Davidson," said Tony Macrito, Harley's manager of corporate media relations.


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