100 Years of the Indian Scoutaustindoty | July 17, 2020 | 0 | History , Indian Motorcycle , Scout
It’s been a hundred years since Indian brought to market its iconic model, the 1920 Scout. This model is revered for its style and ride, as well as for breaking a few land-speed records back in the day. Indian now wants to revitalize the spirit of the 1920 Scout with its all new 2020 Indian Motorcycle® Scout® 100th Anniversary model. This model brings the best of the classic 1920 scout– from its genuine leather solo saddle seat, black wire wheels to its iconic gold pinstripes and chrome-finished beach bar.
But it’s not just aesthetic and nostalgia that this bike has to offer. It also brings a revamped overhead valve engine with 2 cylinder 2 valves– 100 HP and 1,133cc displacement. This bike works to bring a classic feeling and ride while still offering innovative and top of the line engineering.
But why bring this bike back to the market? Sure, it’s the 100th anniversary of its creation. But what makes this bike so special?
The model was originally designed in Springfield, Massachusetts by Charles B. Franklin. The original model had a 610cc, 42-degree V-twin engine; a three speed gearbox with gear changing via a lever beside the fuel tank; and a lighter weight compared to Indian’s other popular model of the era (and still today), the Indian Chief. Shortly after hitting the market, the Scout model gained a reputation for its reliability and strength, and helped to set the foundation for many other models to come.
Seven years later, Indian would release its Scout 45. This model held a 45-cubic-inch, 745cc engine and was brought to the market to compete with Excelsior’s Super X, another popular bike of the era. This would lead to the 101 Scout’s release just a year later. This bike offered a new frame design and slightly more powerful engine options– a 37 or 45-cubic-inch, 600 or 750cc 42-degree V-twin engine. The 101 was also noted for its great handling when it came to racing, hill climbing and track riding.
However, some say the 101 Scout was the pinnacle of the model’s evolution. It would be followed by the Standard and Sport Scout, among others, but never quite capture the same appeal or popularity as their predecessors as the country headed into the Great Depression in 1929, and was just on the brink of a second World War.
Each of these events ultimately led to the fall and demise of the Scout models and the Indian Motorcycle company as a whole. The company was able to push models here and there, but would eventually halt all of its manufacturing by the end of 1953. There were short, uneventful attempts to revive the company and the Indian name here and there throughout the century, but none of these attempts lasted or stuck very long.
But even as the company struggled and went down time after time – even after it seemed like the sun had set for Indian and its Scout models – there was still an allure to the original 1920 Scout that many riders couldn’t shake. There was something in it that still made it seem relevant and as if it still had something to offer the world.
Queue Burt Monro: Burt was an older motorcyclist from New Zealand during the 1960s. His goal in life was to visit the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah and break the land speed record with none other than his original 1920 Scout. Though the Scout was heavily modified and had a lot of updates and adjustments from the original configuration, it still had many of the same components and that same classic feel. Burt would eventually make it to Utah in 1962, and with his 1920 Scout, set the 883cc land speed record at 178.95 mph.
Burt would return to Utah again and again during the following years, continually setting and breaking records with his Scout. The fastest he ever went was in 1967 when he and his Scout rode at 205.67 mph.
Today, the Indian Motorcycle company is alive and well, along with its 1920 Scout model. There is something in the model that cannot be simply evaded or ignored. It holds something special and beyond what many other model designs have tried to offer over the past 100 years. The all new 2020 Indian Motorcycle® Scout® 100th Anniversary model offers a century’s worth of classic feel and nostalgia while still offering century’s worth of innovation and engineering.