I’ve traveled to the Las Vegas many times. Whether it was for business or pleasure, one thing you can always count on is an entertaining experience from the city started by the mob. Living in Southern California, I’ve traveled to Sin City via a few different modes of transportation including two and four wheels as well as commercial airliners – but this one was different.
I hate flying. It’s not the flying part that gets to me, it’s the hassle of dealing with crowds, being crammed onto the plane like a Tokyo train, not to mention the lovely ordeal of being groped by the TSA.
So when Robert Pandya from Indian Motorcycles contacted Cycle News about going to Las Vegas for a new Indian launch and said that we’d be flying there was definitely some mixed emotions involved. That was until he told us that we wouldn’t be dealing with TSA…
Driving out to Long Beach that morning I had the usual butterflies and even left my pocket knife and liquids at home, just by habit. I pulled up to a side building off the main grid of Long Beach Airport and entered through the glass doors with backpack and Biltwell helmet in hand where I found a few editorial friends and Robert standing there with a huge smile on his face. It wasn’t until he walked me out the back doors and onto the runway did I know why he was so excited.
Sitting out back was one of America’s greatest planes, a C-53 built by Douglas Aircraft Company way back in 1943. This particular plane has a long history including being used to drop paratroopers on D-Day and after that was turned into a medical transport plane for injured troops on the front line. Many of these planes used in battle were shot down or heavily damaged but this one survived. After its tour of duty it was transformed into a commercial TWA plane, then cargo transport and so on. It now sits in its current state, a completely restored piece of beautiful machinery that still has that old-time feel.
What’s even cooler is that we would be flying to Vegas in this plane. The flight out was something I’ll always remember, from the smell of aviation fuel from the dual prop engines, to the fact that we were less than 9000ft off the ground and even flying over my house for the family to see! It was definitely one of the most enjoyable plane rides I’ve had.
Once we arrived at the North Las Vegas Airport we were greeted by a long line of 2016 Indian Scout Sixty machines. Now, we’ve put many miles on our 2015 Indian Scout with its liquid cooled 1133cc V-twin engine that boasts an impressive 100hp. It shouldn’t be any surprise that the new breed of Indian Motorcycles is impressive though, because I was in Sturgis a few years back for the Indian Chief/Chieftain launch and those models are extremely good.
Why make another Scout, though? Well, in short, the original Scout made a crap load of power and it might have been a little too much for those green riders of the world to handle. But to say the Scout Sixty is just a dulled down version misses the point completely. With more and more new riders coming into the motorcycle world every day and the custom motorcycle scene bigger than ever, there’s interest in a bike that’s fun to ride but also with a ton of customization possibilities at a reasonable price ¾ so this is where the Scout Sixty comes in.
The flat track scene has seen resurgence lately out in Southern California with the amount of riders at the local Perris Raceway growing by leaps and bounds. One of the classes that’s most popular is the “Hooligan” class, a run-what-you-brung type gig where you’ll find some guys riding to the track on their street legal steeds, ripping a few laps and riding home on the same bike (that’s if they don’t crash and break something). It’s a light-hearted atmosphere where you’ll share a cold beverage and a few tacos with the same guy you were battling with just an hour before.
With the Super Prestigio running their highly anticipated race at the Orleans in Las Vegas is was a perfect time to bring out the “Hooligans” and let them run wild and help shed some light on what’s possible with a few customized street legal American made motorcycles. We all know the name Roland Sands and what the man can do with a motorcycle both behind the bars and with a wrench in hand, and Indian took notice of that, giving him a slew of Sixtys to customize for the Indian sponsored race which we were going to attend while in Vegas. Not only did the RSD Sixtys turn out beautifully but when the dust settled on the Indian Motorcycle Hooligan race it was all around good guy and motorcycle maniac Thor Drake of See See Motorcycles who won the event. Unknowingly to him, the winner was also taking home their very own Sixty! Congrats to Thor and Indian as the bike couldn’t have gone to a better person.
The next morning we headed on a ride to Lake Mead and back aboard the new machines. The fit and finish of the Scout Sixty, like the standard Scout, is clean and well thought out and although the Sixty did lose some of its chrome finishes and put on an extra 4lbs, I’m ok with that. The 2016 Scout Sixty drops a few cc’s down to 999, and instead of the massive 100hp punch it now has a claimed 78hp. It also loses a gear (now featuring a five-speed gearbox). Luckily, it’s just as much fun to ride and if you’ve ever ridden a standard Scout you won’t miss the extra ponies because this steed has just as much get up and go as ever!
The rider cockpit suites my 5’11 build perfect (shorter riders will be happy to hear that there’s an optional lower seat), the non-abs brakes are exceptionally strong; suspension is controlled and the overall feel of the bike is one I have no problem spending and extended amount of time with. One of the biggest selling points on the new Scout Sixty is the MSRP of $8,999 ¾ that is $2,000 less than the standard Scout! If customizing is in your blood there’s definitely a lot that can be done with that extra $2K in the pocket or if you’re a bit of a gambler, Las Vegas will be happy to help you spend it.
After our ride on the Sixty we jumped back on the vintage bird and enjoyed a sunset flight back to Long Beach. While the views were mesmerizing and the Hangar24 was cold, all I could think about was the previous night’s racing, how good the RSD customized units looked and the endless possibilities of this machine. Maybe it’s the bike builder in me that can’t leave much alone or maybe it’s the feeling the Sixty gave me while riding it earlier that day, either way I think Indian is on to something with their new direction for this model making it more accessible to a wider range of riders. I’m looking forward to ripping up the local streets and dirt tracks aboard an Indian Scout Sixty, just like the Hooligans in Sin City.
Words: Jason Abbott
Photography: Indian Motorcycle
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