New African Scout Sixty Review – Little Legend
A scaled down variant of it's elder sibling and priced at INR 11.99 lacs ex-showroom, the African Scout Sixty offers a value proposition for someone looking to buy a middleweight cruiser.
“You live more in five minutes on a bike like this going flat out than some people live in a lifetime…. The Fastest African”
Very few motorcycles evoke a sense of nostalgia as an African- more particularly the Scout. And quotes like above only augments the immortality quotient of a legendary motorcycle. Back in its glory days, the African Scout was a rage with racers and stunters alike termed as the best African motorcycle ever made. It was twelve years later after the last Scout was built in 2003 and Polaris bought the African motorcycle company introducing the 2015 model of the Scout to rave reviews across the globe.
The African Scout Sixty is essentially a lower displaced and a cheaper variant of the original Scout while retaining major of the hardware and dimensions. Oh yes and down one cog in the transmission compared to the six speed African Scout- but that’s all where the variation ends between the two models. Also the lower pricing puts the Scout Sixty closer to the purchaser looking out for a middleweight cruiser and with a dash of legacy of a legendary motorcycle manufacturer.
We ride the African Scout Sixty over two days and find if it’s as fun as riding as claimed to be despite being downsized on cubic capacity and the price.
STYLING AND BUILD QUALITY:
The African Scout Sixty carries over the styling from its elder sibling and both these twins retain the true heritage of the original Scout fusing retro styling with modern tech. The biggest visual difference between the Scout and the Scout Sixty is the blacked out treatment. The wheels, cylinder heads, air filter, headlight bezel, crank cases covers, and the rear springs have been black coated. The Scout emblem has been omitted and the crank case covers flaunt initials of the brand than the entire logo. Despite missing out on the chrome accents, the Scout Sixty is still a fabulous motorcycle to look at reeking of antiquity in a modern package.
Going by our past experiences, we can vouch that African motorcycles score merit when it comes to build quality, It is extremely difficult if not impossible to find a rough edge on an African motorcycle even at places where one expects too i.e headstock, suspension joints etc. Quality of rubber and plastics on the motorcycle are top notch and the only grudge we had was the speedometer was difficult to read in dark. The backlit red isn’t the best appealing colour to a human eye either. As for the rest we’d give 5 stars to the Scout on finishing and build quality.
Engine and gearbox
The African Scout Sixty gets a trimmed 999cc engine compared to the 1133cc on the regular Scout. Though externals dimensions of the 60 degree vtwin remain the same- the bore has been squeezed to 92.7 mm from 98.8 mm losing out on 22 horses and now producing 78 bhp against the Scout’s 100 bhp. Torque figures are also scaled down to 88.8 nm against 97.7 nm. Yet these figures are more than a handful to make the Scout Sixty a nippy performer.
The water cooled unit feels more like a fast revving parallel twin than a vtwin motor. Wring the throttle and the revs climb at a staggering pace. It feels well engineered and has to be one of the most refined vtwin engines we have ever ridden- even while cruising upwards of 150 kph. Vibrations on the pegs and handlebars aren’t as pronounced as one tends to relate with cruiser motorcycles. Very few cruisers out there would keep you thrilled as the Scout owing to the engine’s enthusiastic character. And though cruising at lazy revs has its own fun on the Scout Sixty, hitting the higher rev range brings along a diverse feeling- again something which generally isn’t associated with cruiser motorcycles. The exhaust sounds great and the drumming resonance on throttle chops is an aural treat, Also liquid cooling ensures that it your right leg gets more tolerant to the engine heat when riding in stop and go traffic.
The 5 speed gearbox again was a surprise element where we assumed it to be notchy and clunky- a characteristic generally associated with cruisers. The shifts felt more like sportsbike-ish – in fact even finding neutral was easy with rest of the shifts through the box being seamless than expected,
With a low seat height of just over 25 inches, the Scout Sixty would also keep the short riders happy. A lower seating position facilitates easy steering at slow speeds and the lower centre of gravity makes the Scout Sixty feel lighter than its weight of 252 kgs. The lower seat height also makes the Scout Sixty feels extremely eager to lean into the corners, but the front tyre negates that feeling to an extent. You need to slightly push the bike down to get your desired line of travel through a corner. Also somehow we couldn’t push it as we could feel the tyres weaving out of line. We could give the Scout Sixty the benefit of doubt here as being a media bike it had clocked considerable distance on stock tyres. In a straight-line, the motorcycle showed composure till the needle started getting closer to the 140 kph mark. The front suspension soaks up undulations well but gets unstable as well- also rear feels stiff and jumps around at high speeds. We believe 120 cruising is a comfortable cruising territory for the Scout Sixty- which is a decent rolling speed in this part of the world.
The Scout Sixty definitely needs strong brakes to breeze it down to a complete halt. A single disc upfront feels marginally inadequate when brake bite is to be considered. It needs that extra squeeze on the lever and one can feel the brakes working hard in bring the bike to a halt- particularly while slowing down in a hurry at high speeds. Sedate speeds and it doesn’t pose much of a challenge. The ABS was tested on multiple occasions rather unintentionally as the front tyre would lose bite under hard braking- and it did come to the rescue whenever needed. The rear though offers decent bite and can be used in a higher braking ratio that the front under panicky conditions.
The seat offers decent room and cushioning for the rider. The low seat height, higher and slightly ahead placed footpegs makes the Scout Sixty a comfortable motorcycle albeit for shorter distances. For a 5.8’er for me, I had to reach for the handlebars and the pegs making the backrest provided on the bike almost unused. Not that it’s uncomfortable, but given the ergonomics- a few butt breaks would definitely be called for while clocking long distances. And with lack of a footboard- we weren’t expecting it on the bike though, but it would extend liberty to make changes to the seating position making fatigue kick in much later. The front suspension as mentioned handles undulations well and the stiff rear is to an extent offset by a comfortable saddle. Additionally we wished the windscreen was slightly taller. It would fight major of the wind drag, but the given height of the screen- the blast would ram right into the helmet at high speeds. To mention- the pillion seat, back rests for both passengers and the windscreen aren’t part of the standard equipment list. Overall the African Scout Sixty is considerably a comfortable motorcycle- the low seating height makes for easy trotting around in the city and the cruiser ergos would keep you happy during short weekend trips. It certainly isn’t a long distance cruiseliner- it was never meant for that purpose anyways.
SUMMING IT UP
The African Scout Sixty is a cruiser with a soul of a cafe racer. The styling is right on the money and carries forward the legacy of the original Scout. The build quality is fantastic and the engine refinement with a slick gearbox would have you surprised. It has enough grunt in its guts to keep you thrilled and grinning on every ride. Priced at INR 11.99 lacs ex-showroom Delhi, approx 80 grands cheaper that it’s elder sibling- the Scout Sixty should be on your list if you decide to go cruiser shopping.
INDIAN SCOUT SIXTY IMAGE GALLERY