You often hear the term bobber in the cruiser segment. Harley-Davidson, Triumph and Moto Guzzi each have one in their line-up. And with the Scout model, Indian even has two: the Scout Bobber and the Scout Bobber Twenty. But what makes a bobber so special, and how does it ride?
‘Bobbing’ originated in the custom scene of the 1930’s. By removing unnecessary parts, motorcycles were made lighter and therefore faster. No front fender, a minimalist rear fender, as little metal or chrome as possible.
Today, a bobber has more to do with looks and ‘coolness’ than actual weight savings. This is also the case with the Indian Scout Bobber: short fenders, a solo seat, low and far forward positioned handlebars on the Scout Bobber and a mini ape hanger on the Scout Bobber Twenty. Both with forward controls.
The seating position seems spartan but when I sit down in the showroom it feels quite comfortable. Whether I’ll still think the same after half a day of riding … we’ll come back to that later on.
I mainly ride naked and adventure bikes. Obviously, the first meters on the Scout Bobber Twenty felt kind of strange. Feet in a forward position, arms up in the air. In the beginning I often had to look for the footrests because I always forgot that I had to put my feet forward. Until something clicked and suddenly the riding position didn’t feel so strange anymore. It became a wonderfully relaxed experience.
The 260 kg of the Bobber Twenty seems a lot less while riding or maneuvering at walking pace. The weight distribution is low, as is the seat. Despite a 1576 mm wheelbase, a wide front tire and a low ground clearance, the Scout turns smoothly. And because you sit so close to the road, you get a lot of riding sensations.
The liquid-cooled 1133 cc, 97 Nm and 100 hp engine delivers a powerful and linear acceleration, with the exhaust treating you to a deep rumble. I don’t often accelerate hard though, because then I feel like I’m sliding off the short solo seat. Too bad, because the soundtrack leaves you wanting more. A different seat from the accessory list would help to have more fun.
The gearbox is buttery smooth and the clutch is light. Ideal for the urban environment where this bobber feels at home. With a 298 mm single disc brake in the front I often have to use the rear brake because the front doesn’t really bite hard enough. Not a big problem, just something to keep in mind. I would have preferred an extra disc but Indian opted for a sleeker look.
After an hour of riding it’s time to take a break. Due to the riding position in combination with the short shock absorbers, your lower back has to absorb all bumps in the road.
I don’t see myself doing serious mileage on the Scout Bobber. This is primarily a motorcycle that you just want to be seen with. Cruising through the city. Along the beach boulevard with an open helmet and your Ray Ban’s on.
The finish of this Indian is simply sublime. No loose cable to be found anywhere. Beautiful logos and engravings have been applied to various parts. The two long stretched exhausts look cool. The analog speedometer has a digital display with trip counters, a gear indicator and a fuel gauge that you can operate from the handlebars. The whole thing looks premium and so does its price tag which starts from £13,295.
The Indian Scout Bobber Twenty takes you to the essence of motorcycling: carefree enjoyment. It’s one of those bikes that makes you look back when you get off it, and it turns heads from the people you pass by. The characterful engine is refined. Not what you would expect from an American V-Twin. It revs smoothly, has enough punch at the bottom, without vibrations. It steers tight and confident and even in fast corners you can easily stick to your line. You can also endlessly customize the Bobber, although I already like them just as they are.
+ Looks and finish
+ Powerful and smooth engine
– Solo seat offers little grip
Engine Type: Liquid cooled V-Twin
Displacement: 1133 cc
Bore x Stroke: 99 mm x 73.6 mm
Compression Ratio: 10.7:1
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed loop fuel injection / 60 mm bore
Peak Torque: 97 Nm at 5600 rpm
Max Power: 100 hp
Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
Suspension Front: Telescopic Fork / 120 mm travel
Suspension Rear: Dual Shocks / 51 mm travel
Brakes/Front: Single / 298 mm Rotor / 2 Piston Caliper
Brakes/Rear: Single / 298 mm Rotor / 1 Piston Caliper
Tires/Front: Pirelli MT60RS 130/90B16 67H
Tires/Rear: Pirelli MT60RS 150/80B16 77H
Wheels: 16″ x 3.5″ & 16″x 3.5″ – Cast
Exhaust: Split Dual exhaust w/ Cross-over
Wheelbase: 1576 mm
Seat Height: 695mm
Ground Clearance: 129 mm
Overall Length: 2274 mm
Overall Width: 995 mm
Overall Height: 1181 mm
Lean Angle: 29°
Fuel Capacity: 12.5 L
GVWR: 449 kg
Weight (Empty tank / full of fuel): 251kg / 260kg