Two things hit you when you ride the new Indian Scout Sixty – how quick this mid-weight cruiser is and how really, really uncomfortable the stock seat feels. Roll on the throttle hard and your body lurches back a bit while the bike screams out ahead – and that's in every gear. Plant your back side on that seat for more than 20 minutes and you'll feel like you've been forced to sit for hours on a concrete block wrapped in cardboard.

What the Scout Sixty lacks in comfort, it more than makes up for in performance. With a stated 78 hp (58 kW) and 65 lb-ft (88 Nm) of torque, the 560-lb (254-kg) bike is really the mid-weight cruiser that can do more than it might seem. Compare that to the Harley 883 at 54 hp (40 kW) and 49 lb-ft (66 Nm), or the Yamaha Bolt at 46 hp (35 kW) and 53 lb-ft (72 Nm), and you'll see why.

While those numbers don't put it anywhere near sportbike performance, as we heard one of the techs mention on a previous demo ride, the Scout "is like a sportbike in a cruiser body."

The Scout Sixty shares nearly all of the major parts of the original Scout introduced earlier in 2015, but Indian made some tweaks to the inside of the engine that cut displacement down to just under a liter, or from 69 cubic inches (1,131 cc) to 60 (983 cc), thus the name. Indian also got rid of fifth gear in the original Scout's transmission, so the five-speed Scout Sixty is essentially like having a four-speed with an overdrive.

The result is a bike that has no problem keeping up with the 80 mph (128 km/h) traffic that is standard on any given California freeway. In fact, a quick roll on the throttle at that speed and there's still plenty left to overtake most cars and trucks, either because you need to or you just feel like making them wonder – what was that? But we still found ourselves periodically searching for a sixth gear.

Riding through corners, twisties, and sweepers required little effort, especially when compared to cruisers weighing anywhere from 100 to 300 lb (45 to 136 kg) more. It felt like we could push it harder than we did, but we weren't too keen on trying to drag a peg on a loaner bike.

At freeway speeds and higher, there's absolutely no buzz in the handlebars or footpegs that can plague other bikes and make long distance riding a numbing experience. It also helps that the riding position is fairly upright and relaxed, as you might expect on a cruiser of any size.

While we didn't have to do any maintenance during the time we had the bike, a look at the owner's manual indicates the benefit of a liquid-cooled engine. Oil changes at 10,000-mile (16,000-km) intervals seem like maintenance Nirvana when compared to the 5,000-mile (8,000-km) or even 2,500-mile (4,000-km) internals for most air/oil cooled V-Twins.

Basic maintenance, like oil changes, coolant, and battery checks seem fairly easy. Indian placed the coolant filler cap and battery under the seat for easy access. Snap the front of the seat up, slide the back up, and it's all right there.

There are two drain plugs at the bottom of the crankcase instead of one, but there's no separate transmission oil to have to maintain, so this really shouldn't be an issue.

Getting to the air filter, however, is a little tougher since it requires removal of the gas tank. The process is thoroughly described in the owner's manual, and doesn't require any special tools, but it's still something to keep in mind if you're a DIYer.

The 3.3-gallon (12.5-liter) tank may keep some from wanting to take the Scout 60 out on more than a day-long run, but we were getting 50 mpg (4.7 l/100km) with a combination of different riding conditions. That's a 150-165 mile (241-266 km) range, and you're going to start looking for gas at the 120-150 mile (193-241 km) mark anyway, no matter what you're riding. So the small tank wouldn't keep us from considering using this as a weekend or longer traveler.

Besides that nightmare of a seat, the only other issue is the headlamp. While most riders aren't keen on riding at night, you're going to be doing it at some point. We rode the Scout Sixty in a couple of different situations: a dimly lit suburban street, an unlit but well-traveled country road, and well-lit city streets. In every instance but the latter, we found ourselves riding with much more confidence with the high beam on.

The low beam seemed to only project about 30 feet (9 meters) at most, which brought on the need to really slow down in dimly-lit and unlit streets to be sure we weren't going to be surprised by anything. Once we hit the high beams, it was a better experience. We didn't dim them for oncoming traffic, and either people weren't bothered by it or they weren't going to flash their lights to let us know.

The seat and the headlamp aside, for the US$8,999 base price of the Scout Sixty, you get a mid-weight cruiser that has no problem keeping up with its bigger cousin that sells for a couple of grand more. That price tag puts it a few hundred over its closest competitors, but it can run all day, and Indian is offering plenty of accessories to make it your own.

Product page: Indian

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