In my ongoing quest to introduce my butt to a motorcycle that it doesn’t hate with a quiet vengeance, I’ve recently rented a 2016 Indian Scout.
If you want an informative and experienced breakdown of this vehicle, kindly Google “Indian Scout review.” Because you will find neither of those aspects here. This was my takeaway: I always thought cruisers were a little silly — riding all spread eagle, hurtling crotch first into the void. After riding the Scout, I can confirm that statement was perfectly accurate… with the important stipulation that I have also discovered that riding all spread eagle, hurtling crotch first into the void is glorious.
When I stepped off the bike at returns, the rental guy asked how it was. In unison, we both said “surprisingly good.” He laughed and told me that those were not only his exact words when he first rode it, but also those of every single person who’s rented one.
The Scout hits that ‘just right’ niche. Everything was fit beautifully — all thick steel, satisfying thunks, and solid movement, like riding a tractor designed by Lamborghini. Which they actually do, and it probably isn’t like riding a Scout at all, so I apologize for this entire analogy.
If you have a normal, high-functioning ass, I imagine the Scout would be quite comfortable. There’s very little vibration at highway speeds, but some lurching in lower first that requires careful moderation of clutch and brake. That could be because this was a brand new bike, though — there were only thirty miles on the one I was given. This falls well into the break in period, and the staggering at very low RPMS might well ease with just a few hundred more miles on the engine. The wind was definitely a problem above 60MPH — if I bought one, I’d certainly get a detachable windscreen. I stress “detachable,” because you do not want to mess with this bike’s looks. It’s gorgeous just the way it is. You don’t hot-glue a welder’s mask to a supermodel’s skull just because they might one day need to weld something. That kind of gear should be a situational thing.
Of course, like all motorcycles, the only thing this bike attracts are other motorcycle riders, and old white men who wish they rode motorcycles. But boy howdy, if you want to bang a geriatric in a Windstar who is just chock full of regrets about his lost youth, this is the bike for you. I spent half my ride being paced by minivans; openly ogled by retirees dealing with complex emotional problems.
As to the quality of that ride: The bike has a ton of pull without being unfriendly — it’ll forgive a lot from you, which is good, because I have a lot to forgive. I wrong my motorcycles daily. You hit a pothole too hard in a curve and The Scout won’t throttle-lurch you into a tree, no matter how much you might deserve it. The engine will lug along or rev a bit high in just about any gear, making it seem like you suddenly downshifted to third on purpose, instead of hurling you over the bars and straight into a paramedic’s “amusing anecdote for the day.” The Scout even hauled to a stop shockingly well, considering the single discs up front and back. They’re a lot heftier than they appear. Perhaps most importantly: The bike doesn’t plant its feet in the corners and trundle through like a reluctant cow, as I expected by the looks of it. I can dance with the Scout every bit as well as I did my Street Triple.
Note that I said “every bit as well as I did.” I’m sure a better rider could wring a lot more out of a Street Triple than they could the Scout — but this is not a review for ‘better riders.’ This one’s for the incompetent assholes. We deserve a place, too.
And now, for the pain review. You can skip this if it doesn’t concern you. There just aren’t a lot of resources out there for people with this condition who also ride motorcycles. I figured I’d contribute.
The nerve condition I suffer from is called coccydynia, which is just quality comedy. It’s got the phonemes for “cock” in there — always a plus — and it pertains to the butt! Asses and dongs alike, crammed into one short phrase like humor concentrate. Sadly, the condition is rarely funny in practice: It just means a pain that starts out light, but quickly escalates into agony whenever I sit, recline, or generally try to relax.
I bought a standing desk for work. I replaced my couch with a giant bean bag that I can flop face down on and wallow in like a comfort-pig. But there was no fix for my motorcycle. An hour on my 2013 Triumph Street Triple was unbearable. New seats, risers, pads — nothing helped. I finally sold it earlier this year. Now I’m down to renting bikes, trying to see if any ergonomics will help.
For the first test, I went with a cruiser, because the triggers for my pain are ‘any kind of pressure on the tailbone,’ and ‘leaning too far forward with the legs bent’ — I guess this stretches out some kind of nerve cluster back there. I don’t know. All I know is that the Street Triple hit both of those triggers, while the Indian Scout only hit one: The pressure on the tailbone. You recline way back in that deep, deep saddle.
To cut to the chase: The bike did not work for me. Riding still hurt like crazy after a bit. However, on the Street Triple, the pain became unbearable after about an hour, and would potentially last for days. On the Scout, the pain became too much after about an hour and a half, but an hour or so of standing and walking around could reset it, and I was able to ride again.
Perhaps that’s because the Scout allows the rider much more movement — you can put your feet up on the highway bars, scoot forward in the saddle and lean toward the tank, push up and back to perch atop the rear of the seat. It all still hurts, of course, but it turns out that writhing in agony is a lot more tolerable than sitting absolutely still in agony.
Still, I’m happy: Not only because I got to ride a fantastic bike, but because the reduced pain and experimentation with different riding positions convinced me there might be a bike out there that will work for me. For now, it’s looking like those will be either Adventure Bikes or Dual Sports — not traditionally my favorites. But still, much like pizza and sex: some motorcycle is always better than no motorcycle.