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Old May 16th, 2018, 06:10 AM   #1
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[RideApart] - Let's Guess the Awesome Thing Indian is Working On

Let's Guess the Awesome Thing Indian is Working On

Being privy to some 'inside' information has set mind alight with possibilities

I feel the need to play things delicately here, but I think I can share this information without getting myself or anyone else in troubleÖ

RELATED: Letís Tell Indian Motorcycle What to Do

Youíll probably be aware Iím a fan of the Indian Motorcycle brand. It makes bikes that look good and are fun to ride, and itís headquartered in the great state of Minnesota (where I lived for a number of years). Iím not blindly faithful to IndianóI ride a Triumph, after allóbut Iíll admit that when I hear a bit of scuttlebutt about whatís happening behind the scenes, I get pretty excited.*Rewind, then, to a few weeks ago, when a buddy of mine who happens to be in the know got in touch to tease me with knowledge that Indian is working on something pretty exciting.


Indian makes bikes that look good and that are fun to ride.ďKnowing you and your personal preferences, youíll be very happy,Ē said my friend.

Friend (Iím being ultra cautious here, not giving Friendís gender) was careful to not share anything more than that. Friend gave no sense of timeframe, so this something could still be years away. Come to think of it, Friend never actually said this something is a bike. Hell, it may be that Friend was privy to some sort of clothing/accessories deal going down. Maybe Indian will team with Aerostich to create the Scoutcrafter one-piece riding suit (I am totally here for this -JM).

Point is, everything in this article is wild, unfounded speculation. So, based on my personal preferences, letís try to guess what awesome thing Indian is working on to make me happy:

(Warning: You are about to go down the Chris Cope rabbit hole of daydreaming about Indian Motorcycle stuff.)

Itís a 1200cc Touring Bike

Iím not talking about throwing leather saddle bags on a Scout and calling it a day. I mean a proper fast touring machine built around the Scoutís liquid-cooled 1200cc powerplant. Think BMW R 1200 RT, but more stylish. Not a sport tourer, because that genreís hit a low, but certainly a bike that can hustle: fairing, 120-130 hp, equipped with riding modes, traction control, cornering ABS, quickshifter up and down, electronic suspension, cruise control, and the excellent Ride Command system that exists on Indianís other touring models.


Kinda like this, but more stylish.RELATED: 2017 Indian Roadmaster Ė Ride Review

Heated grips would come standard because PEOPLE NEED TO STOP SELLING BIKES THAT DONíT HAVE HEATED GRIPS.

This new-school tourer would be called the Medina, a nod to Indianís new home (Medina, Minnesota) in the way its old-school tourer, the Springfield, is so named in homage to the Massachusetts town in which Indian first started back in 1901.

Itís an Indian/Aerostich Scoutcrafter

I had written it as a joke but now that I think about it, I really like the idea of the Indian Scoutcrafter. It could be based on the Cousin Jeremy waxed cotton suit that already exists. Both Indian and Aerostich are Minnesota-based companies, so itís a perfect fit.


When I interviewed Aerostich founder Andy Goldfine last summer he described the Cousin Jeremy as "for hipsters."Because the Scoutcrafter requires more time and effort to make, it would be offered exclusively to Indian Motorcycle Riders Group (IMRG) members. The panniers of the aforementioned Medina would be designed to perfectly accommodate a rolled-up Scoutcrafter.

Itís an Adventure Motorcycle

Indianís parent company, Polaris, knows a thing or two about off-road vehicles. Transferring that knowledge to a vehicle powered by a boosted-capacity 1250cc version of the Scoutís liquid-cooled V-twin, the brand would also allow the bike to show a certain spiritual influence from Polarisí erstwhile business partnership with KTM. Capable of putting 140 hp to its dirt-throwing rear wheel, the so-called Scout Franklin would have a low center of gravity and be not just a little bit batshit crazy.

The ďFranklinĒ name would be an homage to Charles B Franklin, the engineer behind the original Scoutóa bike that helped the company excel in new directions. Genuinely off-road ready, it would also be thoroughly enjoyable on the road and equipped with all the technowhizzbangery of the Medina. Heated grips would come standard.

Itís Just a Scout Bobber with Dual Front Discs

This would be the ultimate Polaris swindle, the spirit of Victory Motorcycles and the Octane resurrected to haunt us once more: build up everyoneís expectations and underdeliver to the extreme.


Doing nothing more than adding another disc up front would be the ultimate act of trolling.So, Indian would spend weeks and weeks bombarding us via social media channels with promises of something entirely new and badass. It would show us pictures of Indian riders winning the Isle of Man TT in 1911. It would dig up some cool dude with tattoos to offer a soundbite along the lines of: ďThis bike just totally kicks you in the teeth and youíre, like, 'Yeah, man, punish me more.'Ē

READ MORE: 2018 Indian Scout Bobber Ė Ride Review

Then it would roll out the exact same Scout Bobber it revealed last year, but with dual front discs. Thatís it; the ultimate moto-company act of trolling. Iíd almost respect Indian for pulling such a move. To be fair, giving the Scout Bobber dual front discs would make me happy.

Also, heated grips would come standard.

Itís an Actual Bobber

For some reason, Polaris has never quite managed to 100-percent nail the bobber look. The Victory Gunner was cool, but not really a bobber at all. The Scout Bobber is a far better attempt but still lacks some of the aesthetic purity of, say, the Triumph Bonneville Bobber or Harley-Davidson Street Bob. The Victory High Ball was probably Polarisí best attempt, but it still wasnít quite right.


Polaris has never quite managed to make a bobber that looks as good as the Harley-Davidson Street Bob.Built on the Chief platform, the Chief Bobber would shed almost all of the rear fender and most of the front. There would be a solo saddle seat, pegs would replace floorboards, and the (mini-apehanger) handlebars would either be powder-coated black or dulled to avoid a too-chromed look. The bike would keep its dual front disc brakes because being able to stop is cool.

Heated grips would come standard.

Itís the Indian Four

From 1928 to 1942 Indian offered various models built around a 1261cc inline four. It had a unique configuration that ran a four-into-one exhaust along the right side. It looked cool, but was reportedly really damn hot.


Indian Model 483Modern inline fours are pretty boring as far as the Indian Motorcycle spirit is concerned, lacking the character the brand probably wants to deliver. So, this new Indian Four would, in fact, be a V4. Initially used to drive a Diavel-beating power cruiser, the platform would eventually replace the Thunder Stroke 111 in all of Indianís big bikes, save the Chief and Chief Bobber.

Heated grips would come standard.

Itís a Bike That Only Costs $1 if Your Name is Chris Cope

Thatís right, a machine thatís laser targeted at the Chris Cope demographic. A bike for me, and a UFC fighter whose nickname was ďC Murder,Ē and a stand-up comic who talks about weed all the time.


The Indian C3 LE would look almost exactly like this and would have an MSRP of $1 for people named Chris Cope.RELATED: 2017 Indian Chieftain Limited, Elite Ė First Ride

The bike wouldnít be exclusive to people named Chris Cope of course, itís just that everyone else would have to pay full price on the Chieftain Chris Cope Limited Edition. The C3 LE, as it would be known, would be very much like a standard Chieftain Limited but with the Ride Commandís navigation system pre-programmed with the location of every Dairy Queen in the world. A 2mm pinstripe along the very edge of the fairing would exist so Indian purists could go ballistic at any moto-journalist who mistakenly refers to the C3 LE as ďjustĒ a Chieftain Limited.

Heated grips would come standard.

Itís a Production Version of the Scout FTR1200 Custom

Yeah, thatís probably what it actually is, isnít it? I mean, I love the Scout FTR1200 Custom and itís in line with the sort of thing Iíve been wanting for years. A production version of that bike would make me very happy indeed, and it seems increasingly likely. Anyone notice how much Indian's been hyping that bike lately? And that the brand has stopped referring to it as the Scout FTR Custom and now simply calls it the FTR1200? That kinda suggests Indian plans to make more than just one.

RELATED: An Open Letter to Indian Motorcycle: Please Build a Scout Scrambler

Iím not a huge fan of the 19-inch front and rear wheels, simply because that limits your tire options, but Iím hopeful the production version will be a little different. I mean, itís highly unlikely that the production, road-focused version will be shoed with the same Dunlop DT3 tires as the Custom. For me, a bike that could accommodate Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa II tires or the like would be pee-your-pants fantastico.

Iíve said before that what Iím hoping for is something thatís refined-raw and barebonesómore BMW R nineT than Ducati Monster 1200 Sóif not simply because I feel that would give Indian a better shot at success.

Over the years, Polaris has shown itself to be a company that does not like taking big gamblesóI have no doubt the folks who control Indianís purse strings are looking at the United Statesí cruiser-dominant market and thinking that the upright FTR1200 is a very big gambleóso this bike will need to succeed pretty much from the get-go. As such, it shouldnít contain aspects that are going to push Indian too far from what it already knows. Nobody wants the, ďItís a decent first effort, butÖĒ review.

So, as much as I dream of bells and whistles on my imaginary Medina, I wonít be expecting any more whizzbangery than ABS here. I certainly wouldnít complain, though, if the bike had some kind of rudimentary traction control system to help keep in check the 115 or so horsepower that Iíd want from the engine. I mean, if Moto Guzzi can put traction control on its V7 III, surely itís not too great an ask for Indian to do the same.

Heated grips should come standard.

Chris Cope is the former director of RideApart but we fired his ass for writing so many pro-Indian articles. He now runs UK-based website The Motorcycle Obsession.*


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