Touring and bagger lineup beefed up with Thunder Stroke 116 while Indian pays homage to the 100th Anniversary of the Scout
Words by Greg Drevenstedt Photos by Barry Hathaway
It has been seven years since Polaris Industries took over the reins of production of Indian Motorcycles, arguably the most financially healthy company to become stewards of the iconic American motorcycle brand. In 2014, Indian started out with three heavyweight models built around one engine—the impressive, air-cooled Thunder Stroke 111—and has grown to include three engines, five displacements and 19 models. For 2020, Indian has updated and further expanded its Scout middleweight and Thunder Stroke heavyweight lineups.
Scout 100th Anniversary
Inspired by the original Scout, the anniversary edition is painted Indian Motorcycle Red with Anniversary Gold trim and includes a color-matched Scout 100th Anniversary badge. It features a Desert Tan genuine leather saddle, black wire wheels with gold pinstripes and a generous amount of chrome on its beach-style handlebar, headlight nacelle and luggage rack.
Both the 100th Anniversary and Bobber Twenty get a floating tractor-style solo saddle that sits 27.9 inches off the ground, 1.3 inches higher than seats on other Scout models. The thinly padded, sculpted saddle is firm but comfortable; its taller height provides riders with extra legroom; and, lacking a rear bolster, it allows riders to slide farther back. Over rough pavement and bumps, however, the firm seat and limited rear suspension travel—2 inches on the Bobber Twenty, 3 inches on the 100th Anniversary—result in a jarring ride. The low-and-wide pullback beach bar provides a more upright seating position with relaxed arms and shoulders, which, along with the taller seat, makes the 100th Anniversary feel less cramped for those long of limb.
Looking out over the dark red tank and the chrome handlebar and headlight bucket is a transformative experience—it’s easy to imagine what it might have been like to ride one of the original Scouts. But, fortunately, beneath that nostalgic style is a modern motorcycle with a liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valves-per-cylinder, 1,133cc (69ci) 60-degree V-twin rated at 100 horsepower, an aluminum frame and standard ABS, and its upgraded brakes address one of our few complaints about Scouts we’ve tested previously. Only 750 units of the Scout 100 Anniversary will be built, and pricing starts at $15,999.
Scout Bobber Twenty
With its stubby fenders, mix of chrome and blacked-out finishes and 10-inch ape hanger handlebars, the new Scout Bobber Twenty has an edgier, more rebellious attitude than the 100th Anniversary model. The Bobber Twenty also has wire wheels and a floating solo saddle, but its fists-in-the-air black handlebar with drop-down bar-end mirrors, black headlight bucket and black mufflers, along with its dark paint options, would make it more at home parked outside of a smoky pool hall than a trendy coffee shop. Though much taller than the handlebars on other Scouts, the pullback and position of the apes make them quite comfortable, especially for tall riders. The Scout Bobber Twenty is available in Thunder Black (ABS or non-ABS), Sagebrush Smoke (ABS) and Burnished Metallic (ABS), and pricing starts at $11,999 for non-ABS and $12,899 for ABS.
Roadmaster Dark Horse
The latest model to get Indian’s Dark Horse treatment is its Roadmaster luxury tourer. With blacked-out finishes and just enough chrome for contrast, the Roadmaster Dark Horse features a streamlined fairing, slammed saddlebags, a 19-inch front wheel (up from 16 inches on the standard Roadmaster) with an open fender, an extended-reach rogue gunfighter seat, a blacked-out engine and matte paint color schemes. It’s powered by the new Thunder Stroke 116, which gains 5 cubic inches of displacement over the standard Thunder Stroke 111 thanks to a larger bore (103.2mm vs 101mm), and it has a new high-flow cylinder head. Claimed torque is 126 lb-ft, up from 119. Its premium touring amenities include the Ride Command infotainment system, a touring trunk, fairing lowers with storage compartments and vents, heated grips and a mid-height electric windscreen.
The Roadmaster has always been a big, plush rig, with ample torque, responsive handling and impressive suspension compliance. The bigger 116 engine delivers more punch down low and new mapping has smoothed out any wrinkles in throttle response. The larger 19-inch front wheel adds style without any adverse effects on handling, and it improves high-speed stability. With its more modern fairing, low-profile front fender and lack of a luggage rack on the trunk, dry weight for the Roadmaster Dark Horse is said to be 868 pounds, 25 less than the standard Roadmaster.
Pricing for the Roadmaster Dark Horse starts at $28,999, and it’s available in Thunder Black Smoke, White Smoke and Ruby Smoke.
Springfield Dark Horse
Following positive rider feedback from the 2020 Jack Daniel’s Limited Edition Indian Springfield Dark Horse that was launched at Daytona Bike Week, Indian is now offering a similar design package for the 2020 Springfield Dark Horse. While the Thunder Stroke 116 delivers unrivaled power, the bike gains an enormous level of attitude with slammed saddlebags, a rogue seat, 12-inch mini apes and premium blacked-out finishes.
Pricing for the 2020 Springfield Dark Horse starts at $22,499, and it’s available in Thunder Black Smoke, Sagebrush Smoke and White Smoke.
Greg Drevenstedt is senior editor of Thunder Press’ sister publication Rider Magazine