An Indian Riding Party without reservations.
An opportunity not to let pass presented itself at the Sydney Motorcycle show.
I had heard little about the new India Scout and to be honest I was not a fan of the look and the missing heritage by not being 500cc like the original Scout.
Paulo at Indian Motorcycles in Ashfield a suburb of Sydney invited me and some riding friends to take a selection of Indians for a weekend ride.
Of late, I have been finding the big tourers enjoyable but not really fun as there is a lot of material going into making these machines and you know it when having to move them around a low speeds.
I chose the Scout for this ride for all the above reasons.
We are told to find perfection in everything, do not compare but somewhere in our body is a little voice that just cannot help itself and we just find ourselves making comparisons.
The voice though little was like a roar and I could not help myself.
The engine capacity I was told was 1200 cc with a cruiser (motorcycles where you sit back and relax aka cruise) look and immediately put it in the same box as Harley Davidson’s Sportster. Same size engine same lay backed look.
I slipped the key into the ignition on the left side of the motor, moved the gear lever into neutral as it won’t start in gear, then hit the start button. A muffled exhaust note which I was could be fixed with sports pipes. I was was going on a 1000 kilometres round trip and quieter pipes would be a blessing.
Onto the main road, with the traffic closing in and I twist the throttle and the ground was swept quick beneath me. This is not Sportster, it’s a Harley V-Rod in Cruiser clothing. Sorry for the Harley comparision but it cannot be helped.
My riding companions where not left behind as 111 cubic inches of American V twin does put out the power. For some balance another friend had brought along his Triumph SpeedMaster.
The first planned stop was McGraths Hill to met another riding companion on a test BMW R1200GS. Strange travelling companions for the 4 stay on bitumen motorcycles we were riding.
The Scout has a range of over 200 kilometres but being an unknown motorcycle to me, I allowed in my planning, 200 kilometres between fills.
With the Scout’s tank filled, we all venture off to ride The Putty Road. The road conditions are better than I remembered from last travelling on the road and the Scout’s suspense is only tested a few times.
We stop at the Grey Gum Cafe to refill the riders with coffees and those who can eat, food.
There was a change of riders between the Indian Chieftain and BMW. With everyone now comfortably in their saddles we make good time to the northern end of the road and head for Greta and the next fuel stop. I am using less fuel than I expected but the size of the tank still has me bluffed and we will stay at the 200 kilometres planned stops.
Late lunch stop for pies at Raymond Terrace and we meet up with the holiday makers still heading out of Sydney two weeks after the official escape days begin. There is a great back way from Maitland to north of Raymond Terrace but the reports are that the road is still under water for the week prior’s downpours.
Pies done and it’s boring freeway to just past Bulahdelah where we turn onto Wootton’s Way. The road is in a better conditional then I expected and even with all the rain, there was still a lot of leaf cover on parts of the road but is clear where we are travelling. There was also a ‘Cyclists ahead’ warning and I expected the usual lycra clad aggro with cyclist sitting in the centre of the single lane. The lyca was worn but the 2 riders were travelling on the left side of the single lane. At last some are learning to share the road. It’s reduce the aggro of the other registered and insured road users.
Past the town Wootton and we return to the freeway and turn north for our next fuel stop at Taree.
I contacted the motel to advise we are only an hour away. The road is peaceful with little traffic and just as we pass Kew, light rain starts but we continue as it’s not heavy and 3 of the 5 bikes have fairings which stops those riders from getting wet one of which is leading at this time.
We arrive at our overnight accommodation, unpack, freshen up and go to a local club for dinner. A great end to the day.
Up early (8:00 am on a Sunday IS early) and we go to and I quote one of our group, ‘An Uber Trendy Cafe where male staff have man buns’. We are served by a charming young lady and not a man bun to be found on the premises.
After a photo-shoot next to the park and near the beach we head for the lighthouse to try and find ‘Mr BMW for the weekend’ a hero shot. When we arrive we line up to see who he will select to be ‘the hero’. He decides it’s just going to be the bike and then himself. We, in the meantime take multiple hero shots of our own of the Indians.
The next stop is back to Kew to see some tourist attraction which we discover is closed, permanently.
At Taree I refuel though I could have made the next town. At the service station our opposes are fuelling and there is only peace in our time whilst they fill and have the engines turned off. It was not an exhaust note, it was an exhaust dim. I have no issue with loud pipes as they do save lives but have the tune sound they sound good not like a barking dog.
We stop a one of the highlights of the trip, The National Motorcycle Museum at Nabiac. Time well spent as we reminisce over the bikes we had in our youth and other rewritten story of our pasts.
Lunch was at the Greenhouse Cottage located on the road back to the highway. Great food and great service. The waitress was lovely and to quote one of the party “so polite I could take her home to mother”. Knowing him it was really, just take her home.
With time now against us, it’s the freeway home but we fear the holiday unmakers at Raymond Terrace so we rick the back road and it is open though the smell from the flood paddocks is not good and would great we are sure worse later in the week.
A fuel stop just before we return the freeway then the run home.
We cross the Mooney Mooney bridge and I decide I need a break from being a windsock in a 110 kilometre per hour gale and my seat needs to be off the saddle so I take ‘The Old Road’ at 60 kilometres per hour on the north part and a racy 80 kilometres per hour on the southern part. At this time of the afternoon there is just another cruiser heading south.
It was so late, I didn’t even stop at PITS (The Pie In The Sky). I re-joined the freeway at Berowra then across the city to home.
The next it was time to return the Scout to the Reservation in Ashfield aka The Indian Motorcycle dealership.
Thanks to my riding companions Paul, Richard, Rod and Walter.
Huge thanks to Paulo at Indian Motorcycles for arranging the bikes which were:
Indian Scout, Indian Chief Vintage and Indian Chieftain.