Welp… it happened again. I fell in love with a bike. This happened once before, in 2007, when I sat on my GSXR-1000 for the first time …
Back in ‘07 I had zero interest in buying my “Gixxer”. Originally, I had stopped by a Harley dealer to grab a V-Rod. However, Glenda and I were ignored in the showroom and walked out. It felt as if we did not “fit in” with the “good ole boys” who were hanging out pretending to be salesmen. We stopped by a dealer in Longwood, Florida, on our way to lunch and there, where, perched on top of a display in the center of the showroom, was the fastest production bike ever made (at that point). One of the sales guys offered to set it up for me without any strings attached (added a dog bone, dropped it an inch, etc.). We came back from lunch and I ended up writing a check on the spot. It fit like a glove!
Fast forward to 2020 and I’m just not into the aggressive riding position any longer. Plus, once we sold our other bikes, there was no longer an opportunity for Glenda and me to ride together. So, for the past few years, she’s just sat in the garage. I started looking at cruisers again and this time stumbled across the 2020 Fat Boy 114. It’s not often Harley makes a bike I like the looks of and their 30th anniversary model caught my eye. Now that I had a bike in mind, as any self-respecting geek would do, I set out to the interwebs to dig into a few reviews. It was at that moment everything began to change.
Search after search resulted with the same type of video showing up in my results… “10 Cruisers Better Than Harley”… “Harley: Twice the Price for Half the Horsepower”… and, finally, “Harley vs Indian”. In fact, everywhere I looked, there were loads of videos comparing Indian to Harley. Granted, I had no idea why, however there were too many results to not click on one of them. Without repeating the gobs of reviews out there, the comparisons basically came down to Harley owners sticking with tradition rather than venturing into technology. And, ironically, that V-Rod I was looking at back in ‘07 actually became one of the most hated bikes within the Harley world because of it.
As a full disclaimer there was another facet that kept me looking at these reviews. Early on in my search I was pre-approved for financing on any Harley I wanted. They were offering to basically give me a bike without any money down and with an interest rate under 1%. However, this fact didn’t mean jack to any of the dealers I called. Even after I had taken the time to locate the model I wanted, not one of them was actually willing to do any work to ship it from the dealer who had it. I even called dealers owned by the same parent company. And, while they all said they would call me back with dates and details, not a single one of them actually did.
What came next is simply not fair… not fair to Harley, that is. Long story short, I called Indian of Springfield and talked to “AA”. The experience I had from that point forward set the stage for the most enjoyable and painless purchase ever. AA basically grew up on Indian bikes, loves the brand, loves the dealership and owner, and was all too happy to share her years of experience. I won’t go into a ton of detail here about the dealership, but, man, it was almost painful to leave. Every person I spoke to was so helpful and pleasant that I thought they were a family-owned business. I actually found out weeks later that the incredibly low-key guy who delivered the bike to me was actually the owner, Dennis! Granted, by the time I learned that bit of info, I had already bought my bike weeks before, however it just proved how genuine the people were.
BTW: Here’s a quick video of AA: https://youtu.be/vwS5zSCJh0Q
Sorry. I know I started this post to write about the bike. However, the whole experience has simply been so positive (and completely different from the Harley world) that I can’t stop talking about it.
The bike I went with was a 2021 Indian Scout Bobber ABS. At first I was a bit worried about the lean angle and dragging the pegs. I was also a bit nervous if I would hate a two-cylinder engine (that’s right … half of the engine in my GSXR-1000). However, by the time I was home I was in love. It’s now been just over two weeks and now my only worry is if it is going to be warm enough to ride.
For me, and where I’m at in my life, this bike is perfect… to the point where, yeah, it’s like falling in love with a machine. Probably not a surprise, but the ride feels like a cross between a cruiser and a sport bike. It still corners and handles the way a smaller or tighter bike would feel. However, the riding position is more relaxed… almost proper… compared to the Gixxer. For me, the biggest difference was hitting the highway for the first time. Even at a modest 60 MPH, the combination of not having a fairing and maintaining a more upright body position causes you to feel the wind impact and the front forks a bit more. You’re not exactly cutting through the wind as much as you are handling it. It’s not a bad feeling at all… just different. For me, this bike is fun because it feels like it belongs on the back roads here in Connecticut. Unlike the feeling of opening up a crotch rocket on the highway, and trying not to bury your tach in the red, this one is more about enjoying the road and world around you while still having fun in the curves. It’s actually a quite intoxicating experience.
The rides on these two bikes are so different that I can make a valid argument to hang onto both of them. Originally, I saw Glenda has becoming one with the GSXR. However, I’m loving the Bobber so much that I would not be opposed to switching it out for a second Indian come the spring. I’m not sure where we’ll be but, regardless, I’m certain we would be buying from Indian of Springfield.