When Indian Motorcycle unveiled its FTR1200 Custom motorcycle at EICMA last November, I described it as a “colossal cock tease” over on RA, feeling it was a bike that toyed with the emotions of so many of us who have pined for a naked/standard equipped with the Scout’s delightful 1130cc V-twin engine. There are strong indications that such a thing will happen in the not-too-distant future, but the folks in Indian’s EMEA* division have come up with a solution for those who simply cannot wait: build one yourself.
With the rise of the Super Hooligan scene and the American Flat Track championship, Indian says it has heard from a lot of riders in Europe who are desperate to get their hands on a Scout-powered bike they can ride every day in comfort, but which looks ready to tear up the dirt.
“We’ve certainly seen interest grow in flat track styling since we unveiled the FTR1200 Custom at EICMA last year,” said Indian’s general manager in Europe, Grant Bester. “The beauty of the Scout is that you don’t need to cut or weld parts to transform the look. You can buy many of the parts you need off the shelf and fit them yourself at home, in the garage, with little more than an impact wrench and a good set of sockets.”
I’m an utter buffoon when it comes to wrenching, but I’ll admit to feeling somewhat inspired by Indian’s enthusiasm for how “easy” it is to transform a bike I love into a bike I really love. Bester points out that you could start with any of the Scout models as your base: the Scout Sixty, Scout or Scout Bobber.
‘It’s a plug-and-fit job, so it only took me about two days of work’
You can start small, relying on official Indian accessories to help achieve the desired look. That may be as far as some folks are willing to go. Indian’s head of Parts, Apparel and Accessories, Andreas Geisinger, says some owners are fearful of taking a brand new machine, then stripping parts off or adding new ones on.
So, if you’re planning to achieve the feel and look of a standard/naked, it may be worth your time hunting down a good used model. Once that’s done, many bike builders and manufacturers are now selling special kits that will help you reach the promised land.
“To get the flat track look, you’re really only going to take off key components and replace them,” Geisinger said. “So, things like adding mid-position foot controls, a different seat unit and adding new wheels. Most people tend to go for 19-inch wheels and then fit 12-inch shocks. You’re looking at paying around €2,000 to €2,500 to do that.”
That works out to be around £1,750 to £2,200 for Brexiteers. In US dinero, it’s roughly $2,500 to $3,000. Though, of course, folks in Trumpistan will have access to a number of additional parts/kit suppliers.
To inspire riders to head into their garages, Indian has highlighted three well-known folks who have done the same:
Parisian photographer and filmmaker, Dimitri Coste, both races his Scout and rides it on the street. When he isn’t racing on the track, he gets it back on the street by putting the stock front wheel back on, refitting the front brake, and putting the headlight and license plate back on.
“My bike started as a stock Indian Scout and I fitted a Roland Sands Super Hooligan kit that’s made especially for it,” Coste said. “All that remains from the original bike now is just the frame, the engine and gas tank. The rest is all from RSD. It’s a plug and fit job, so it only took me about two days of work.”
Another great-looking example of a flat track Scout comes from skateboarding god Steve Caballero (I had a Steve Caballero board when I was 12). His bike started life as a Scout Bobber, which he wanted to give the “street tracker” treatment – something he could ride on the road day-in and day-out, but then also take to a Hooligan race and turn some laps if he wanted.
“Adding 19-inch wheels was the first thing we did with the bike,” Caballero said. “That set the stage for everything else.”
A stunt rider long associated with Polaris products (Go search YouTube for videos of him tearing up Victory bikes), Tony Carbajal has built a snarling Scout that he uses in his Indian Thrill Show. He has made a series of videos on YouTube detailing the build to show everyone just how easy it is.
“I have ridden and owned many two-wheeled machines – none of which could properly rip across the pavement and shred in the dirt like the Scout I have built,” Carbajal said. “I have a special love for this machine. A love that I can’t talk much about around my girlfriend or the other motorcycles in the garage. ”
*EMEA stands for “Europe, Middle East and Africa.” The geographically enormous market is dominated by European sales and tastes, however – to the extent that when manufacturers refer to the EMEA they usually just mean Europe.