The 3 Things That Make the 2021 Indian Scout Bobber Feel Special

The original 101 Scout still looms large in Indian’s history even after almost a century. Its modern namesake, though, seems hell-bent on living up to that legacy. And in the Indian Scout Bobber’s case, it not only has a vintage name but vintage-inspired looks. However, the design is only part of what makes this bike appealing.

The 2021 Indian Scout Bobber has style for days

A dark-red 2020 Triumph Bonneville Bobber by a glass shop window
2020 Triumph Bonneville Bobber | Triumph

Indian isn’t the only motorcycle company to release a bobber. Triumph has the Bonneville Bobber, and Harley-Davidson has the Street Bob, RideApart reports. And the Indian Scout follows a similar formula going from a cruiser to a bobber.

A maroon 2021 Indian Scout Bobber parked on a shady cobblestone road
2021 Indian Scout Bobber | Matthew Skwarczek

Compared to the standard Indian Scout, the Bobber rides lower and has less rear suspension travel. It also has a model-specific solo seat, downward-facing bar-end mirrors, more swept-back handlebars, less chrome, and more blacked-out trim. The Indian Scout Bobber also rides on different Pirelli tires and its footpegs are positioned slightly further back, closer to the rider, Cycle World reports. Plus, while the Bobber offers similar paint schemes to the standard Scout, the Bobber’s non-black options have a matte finish.

Now, a motorcycle’s looks are an entirely subjective matter. But up until now, I’ve never operated any motor vehicle that got as much attention as the Indian Scout Bobber. A city worker struck up a 10-15-minute conversation with me about the bike when I was snapping photos. A sweet woman my mother’s age complimented me on it. I went to pick up some coffee one afternoon and walked back to find a father-son duo gawking at the Bobber. The father said he’d buy one in that exact shade of maroon—and he doesn’t even like maroon usually.

The 2021 Indian Scout Bobber's headlight and handlebars
2021 Indian Scout Bobber headlight and handlebars | Matthew Skwarczek

In short, the 2021 Indian Scout Bobber has street presence. It’s also made of quality materials; even the headlight surround is made of metal. Nothing on this bike feels cheap—which makes sense, given the $10,999 starting price.

And that’s all before you even turn the key.

The 2021 Indian Scout Bobber has an incredible powertrain

A maroon 2021 Indian Scout Bobber's engine and front half close-up
2021 Indian Scout Bobber engine front | Matthew Skwarczek

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Like the rest of the non-Sixty Indian Scout lineup, the 2021 Bobber has an 1133cc liquid-cooled V-twin rated at 100 hp and 72 lb-ft. It’s linked to a 6-speed transmission and sends power to the rear wheel via belt-drive. And in addition to the Scout Bobber’s design, the engine is a significant part of the bike’s appeal.

Besides tradition, Indian’s and Harley-Davidson’s use of V-twins have a practical purpose: low-end torque. And the Scout Bobber’s engine is no exception, with a flat torque curve starting at low RPMs, RevZilla reports. Whether you’re in 1st gear or 6th gear, a deliberate twist of the throttle summons a wave of torque. So, what you get is smooth, seemingly effortless acceleration. It’s a little addicting.

After a while, I wasn’t even looking at the tachometer reading on the electronic display, not even to down-shift. I just blipped the throttle, and the torque and forgiving clutch smoothed everything out. Speaking of shifting, the Indian Scout Bobber’s transmission isn’t as slick as the one in my Triumph, but it is smooth. And each shift somehow feels more mechanically satisfying.

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That’s not to say the Scout Bobber’s engine can’t rev. It has a higher redline than the equivalent Harley motor, FortNine reports. And the bike as a whole can handle the increased RPMs with little issue besides some minor mirror vibration above 4000-5000 RPM. Though admittedly, you don’t really need to rev it that high, and few riders will likely spend much time there.

The 2021 Indian Scout Bobber’s V-twin isn’t just torquey, but it’s also smooth. Not just in character, but in sound as well. The exhaust creates a refined burble that isn’t loud enough to annoy the neighbors. Though Indian does have performance exhausts available as optional accessories.

It’s fun even if the road gets twisty

The side view of a maroon 2021 Indian Scout Bobber on a cobblestone street
2021 Indian Scout Bobber side | Matthew Skwarczek

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Because it’s a cruiser, the 2021 Indian Scout Bobber won’t be embarrassing any sportbikes. Especially since it rides lower than the standard Scout. However, it’s still enjoyable to ride even if the road isn’t straight.

At 555 pounds, the Scout Bobber isn’t exactly a light bike, though it’s slightly lighter than the standard Scout. But the lowered suspension drops the center of gravity, which makes the Bobber feel lighter and more stable. And while it’s on the stiffer side, the ride is fairly compliant, and the handling benefits are worth it.

The rear 3/4 view of a maroon 2021 Indian Scout Bobber on a cobblestone street
2021 Indian Scout Bobber rear 3/4 | Matthew Skwarczek

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You have to deliberately press on the outside footpeg in a corner and consciously counter-steer to sharpen your turn. But, as with the shifter, there’s a sense of satisfaction in doing so. It’s a similar story with the rest of the controls. The clutch lever, throttle, brake pedal, and brake lever require deliberate inputs. However, they’re not overly heavy; they just have a sense of heft.

The 2021 Indian Scout Bobber isn’t perfect, then. But it’s definitely special.

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