The Indian won.
I traded my 2015 BMW R Nine T for a 2018 Indian Scout Bobber (I don’t really care for the “bobber” moniker because, by definition, a bobber is a custom motorcycle). I know some BMW enthusiasts who are scratching their heads. Don’t worry. I’ve still got my 1974 BMW R90/6 and my wife has her BMW F800R.
So why the trade? Honestly, some of the styling cues on the R Nine T I never really liked. But with the abundance of aftermarket parts, these were a simple fix. However, this lead to a seemingly never-ending search and replace this bit and that thing. For example, the first thing that had to go…the huge diving board of a tail section. But what to do for a tail light? Hook up the one that comes with the tail tidy and get an error code on the dash. Resistors work so add them to the cart as well. Seat. Check. New handlebars. Check. New indicators. Check. Fairing or fly screen. Check. Tried them both. New dash. Check. I could go on and on, but I think you may be getting the point.
While I loved – I mean absolutely loved riding my R Nine T – I felt as if I was stuck in a vortex of making the bike into something it was never meant to be. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy tinkering with my motorcycles, but it had become a real problem of never being satisfied.
At this point, you’re probably asking, “Then why did you buy it in the first place?” and that’s a great question. The best answer I can give is a question for you. “Have you ever ridden one?” Take one for a spin and you will be sold as well. There’s really nothing else like the opposed twin of a BMW. And at the end of the day, I could of left it stock and enjoyed every bit of the 20,000+ miles I put on it in my two years of ownership. I relished in every mile I rode and would of had the same feeling for 50,000 more miles.
But, I’ve been wanting a cruiser for a while and Indian released the Scout Bobber. A blacked out, simple, steam-punk inspired machine with nothing on it that didn’t need to be. Perfect. I kept staring at it online, reading all the first ride reviews, and putting off going to the local dealership for a test ride. Finally, I broke down, went to the dealership, and rode one home. In a perfect world, I would of kept my R Nine T, but trade it I must if a cruiser would be in my garage.
Will I change anything on my Indian? Yes. The stock seat has been replaced. I would like to change the turn signals with a set of Motogadet M Blaze Bar ends and stick a tail light above the license plate, but other than that, there’s really nothing else I would want to change. It strikes all the right notes for me, rides great, and performs as it should.
Furthermore, I didn’t really loose anything as far as engine performance goes. Compare BMW’s 1,170 cc, 110 horsepower, and 86 lb-ft max torque to Indian’s 1,133 cc, 100 horsepower, and 72 ft-lbs max torque. The differences are negligible when twisting the throttle. The Scout does weigh a bit more 554 lbs wet compared to 489 lbs wet. But again, the weight gain is hardly noticeable.
The biggest thing I had to get used to were the forward controls. I even put a few skid marks on the toes of my boots reaching for where the pegs on my R Nine T would of been. Let’s chalk it up to muscle memory and hope no one saw my gaff.
One question I often get is how the Indian handles with its fat front tire. My answer. Just fine. I’ve dove hard into a few turns and it handles every bit as well as the BMW. The most noticeable thing being ground clearance. The Scout Bobber sits really low. This means scrapping some peg feelers yet, the Indian feels just as planted on the road as the BMW did. I cannot wait wait until the winter weather clears for my wife and I to take some longer trips. I may have a different opinion then. We shall see.
At the end of the day, I am more than satisfied with the swap. I love both bikes, wish I could of kept them both, but y’all need to buy more coffee in order for me to do that.