Does the Indian Scout Sixty Out-Cruise Harley-Davidson’s Iron 883?

Though Japanese brands make some of the most affordable cruiser motorcycles, both Indian and Harley-Davidson offer bikes at reasonable prices. For Indian, that’s the Scout Sixty, now available in Bobber form. And for Harley-Davidson, it’s the Iron 883, heir to the Sportster name. But which entry-level American cruiser is best?

2020 Indian Scout Sixty vs. Harley-Davidson Iron 883: specs and features

On paper, both the 2020 Indian Scout Sixty and Harley-Davidson Iron 883 are fairly evenly matched.

A black-tanked 2020 Indian Scout Sixty
2020 Indian Scout Sixty | Indian

The $8999 Indian Scout Sixty features a 999cc V-twin, rated at 78 hp and 65 lb-ft. That’s linked to a 5-speed transmission and a low-maintenance belt-drive, Cycle World reports. ABS is still optional, but for 2020 the Scout Sixty gets upgraded brake rotors, calipers, and master cylinders, Ultimate Motorcycling reports. There’s only 1 dial, which includes a speedometer, warning lights, and a digital display for the odometer and tachometer.

2020 Indian Scout Sixty Bobber
2020 Indian Scout Sixty Bobber | Indian

Also new for 2020 is the $8999 Indian Scout Sixty Bobber. It has the same V-twin as the normal Scout Sixty, Motorcyclist reports, but it’s 24 pounds lighter overall. The Bobber also comes with blacked-out trim, black wheels, lowered suspension, a solo seat, chopped fenders, and a tracker-style handlebar, Cycle World reports.

2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883
2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 | Harley-Davidson

Like the Scout Sixty, the $8999 Harley-Davidson Iron 883 has a belt drive and a 5-speed transmission. Only it uses an 883cc V-twin, which puts out 54 lb-ft. Harley doesn’t release horsepower figures, but on Cycle World’s dyno, the Iron 883 put out 47 hp at the rear wheel. Based on the dyno torque figure, that means its engine develops about 51 hp.

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Also like the Indian, the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 only has 1 dial, which displays the digital speedometer, odometer, warning lights, and dual trip meters. And ABS is also an option.

Indian Scout Sixty vs. Harley-Davidson Iron 883: riding

Looking at the specs, the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 is a little down on power compared to the Indian Scout Sixty. It’s slightly heavier than the non-Bobber Scout Sixty, too. Plus, it has even less suspension travel than the Bobber, Cycle World reports. And finally, although the Iron 883’s standard seat is a bit higher than the Indian Scout Sixty’s seat, the Harley has slightly less ground clearance.

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That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad cruiser, though. It carries its weight low, Ultimate Motorcycling reports and rides fairly comfortably around town. Just make sure to keep an eye out for potholes. It also has mid-mounted controls, rather than the Indian’s forward controls, which is a boon for shorter riders, reports. Plus, while the Iron 883 doesn’t exactly have cruise control, it does have a throttle lock, unlike the Scout Sixty.

However, the Indian Scout Sixty feels like the more modern motorcycle. Admittedly, the forward-mounted foot controls aren’t for everyone. But Indian does offer mid-mounted ones, and the Bobber’s are moved further back, Ultimate Motorcycling reports. Plus, Cycle World found the larger Scout Bobber had better handling than its Harley rival—and the Sixty has the same chassis. The Iron 883, though, might have the better seat, Revzilla reports.

Choosing between the two

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Ultimately, as with any motorcycle, try before you buy. You may feel more comfortable on the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 than either of the Scout Sixty bikes. Both brands over an extensive catalog of customization options, which include handlebars and foot controls, so take that into account.

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That being said, if you’re after an old-school-feeling affordable cruiser, the Harley-Davidson Iron 883 has a lot to offer. But the Indian Scout Sixty is overall a more refined motorcycle.

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