Indian Scout vs. Chief Motorcycles: A Comparison

Apr 23, 2024

Tags:ownerrentersguideindian

picture of the indian motorcycle logo on a carpet at a dealership with part of a motorcycle showing comparison of indian scout vs. indian chief motorcycles

Let’s be honest, if you ask anyone who really loves Indian motorcycles, or has ever taken a ride on both the Indian Scout and Chief models, you’ll probably hear that it’s like comparing apples to oranges: they’re just not comparable bikes.

Although both the Scout & Chief motorcycle models fall under Indian’s mid-size cruiser category, the bikes really do have two different personalities and riding styles. Read on to learn more about our comparison on the Indian Scout vs. Chief models, and information on the individual model-type. 

Indian Scout Motorcycle

indian scout vs indian chief- photo of indian scout

Indian Motorcycles first introduced the Indian Scout motorcycle in 1920. This heritage-inspired bike stands the test of time as a trusted mid-size cruiser model. With 7 models available in 2024 starting at $10,749 USD MSRP, you’ll find the right ride for your preference. 

  • Type: Cruiser
  • Power: 78/100 HP
  • Engine Size: 60/69 CU-IN
  • Starting at: $10,749 MSRP
  • Created in 1920
  • Heritage-Inspired
  • Great for local riding
  • Easy to handle
  • Liquid-cooled engine
  • Seat height: 25.6”
  • Weight: 541 lbs

Breaking News! 2025 Indian Scout Models Released

Indian has unveiled its revamped Scout lineup for 2025, headlined by re-introducing a classic 101 Scout model. This comprehensive overhaul marks the first major update to the line since its relaunch by Polaris. Central to the lineup's enhancements is the adoption of a new 1,250cc liquid-cooled V-Twin engine, known as the SpeedPlus, which promises robust performance. The range comprises five variants: the heritage-inspired Scout Classic, the stripped-down Scout Bobber, the light touring Super Scout, the aggressive Sport Scout, and the flagship 101 Scout, each catering to distinct rider preferences.

The SpeedPlus engine boasts an output of 82 lb-ft. At 6,300 rpm and 105 hp at 7,250 rpm for most models, with the 101 Scout offering slightly higher power at 111 hp. Notably, Indian teases the possibility of unlocking additional performance for non-101 models in the future. The design updates extend beyond the powerplant, with a refreshed frame, cleaner engine casings, and a slimmer radiator contributing to a sleeker aesthetic. Suspension and braking systems vary across the lineup, catering to specific riding demands and preferences.

Furthermore, Indian introduces multiple trim options, including Standard, Limited, and Limited +Tech, offering various levels of technology and features. The Limited +Tech trim, available on select models, integrates Indian's Ride Command software and GPS navigation via a 4-inch touchscreen display. With dealership availability scheduled for May, riders can anticipate a diverse range of colors and pricing options tailored to each model and trim level.

NEW Indian Scout Models for 2025

  1. 101 Scout
  2. Scout Classic
  3. Super Scout
  4. Sport Scout
  5. Scout Bobber

(Plus Scout Sixty models)

Indian Chief Motorcycle

indian chief vs indian scout- indian chief photo

Indian Motorcycles introduced the legendary Indian Chief in 1921. A true icon of the open road, this heritage-inspired cruiser delivers a timeless riding experience. Powered by the air-cooled Thunderstroke engine in two sizes (111/116), the Chief offers a commanding presence and legendary power. With a starting MSRP of $14,999 (USD) in 2024, the Chief lets you claim your place on the road with affordability and oomph. 

  • Type: Cruiser
  • Power: 78/100 HP
  • Engine Size: 60/69 CU-IN
  • Starting at: $14,999 MSRP
  • Created in 1921
  • Heritage-Inspired
  • Good for longer rides
  • Air-cooled engine
  • Seat height: 26.0”
  • Weight: 647 lbs

Indian Chief Models:

  1. Chief
  2. Sport Chief
  3. Chief Bobber
  4. Super Chief
  5. Chief Dark Horse
  6. Chief Bobber Dark Horse

Indian Scout vs. Chief: In-Depth Comparison

For purposes of this comparison, we’ll be using the base models for the standard Indian Scout and Indian Chief models. While they do come in 14 total different variations, we figured the base was the better place to start. You can visit Indian’s website for more information on specifications!

Each model caters to different rider preferences, with the Scout offering a sportier, more agile experience, while the Chief provides a robust, classic ride.

Engine and Drivetrain

Scout

  • Engine Type: The Scout's liquid-cooled V-Twin engine, with a 69 cubic inch (1,133 cc) displacement and a higher compression ratio of 10.7:1, indicates a design that emphasizes a balance between power and efficiency. The liquid cooling system aids in maintaining optimal engine temperatures, enhancing performance and longevity.
  • Horsepower and Torque: It boasts 100 HP and 72 ft-lbs of torque, achieving peak torque at 5,900 rpm. This setup suggests the Scout is tuned for a spirited riding experience, providing brisk acceleration and a responsive throttle.
  • Transmission: The six-speed transmission with a broad range of gear ratios facilitates smooth shifting across a wide range of speeds, making the Scout versatile for both city commuting and highway cruising.

Chief

  • Engine Type: Featuring an air-cooled Thunderstroke 111 engine with a larger displacement of 111 cubic inches (1,811 cc) and a compression ratio of 9.5:1, the Chief focuses on delivering a powerful, low-end torque experience. The air-cooling aspect reinforces its commitment to a traditional riding experience, albeit with modern reliability.
  • Horsepower and Torque: While the exact horsepower is not specified, the Chief produces a higher torque of 108 ft-lbs at a lower rpm of 3,200. This characteristic suggests a machine that excels in effortless cruising and strong, immediate acceleration from a standstill.
  • Transmission: The Chief also utilizes a six-speed transmission but with ratios more attuned to its torque-heavy output, ensuring smooth power delivery and efficient highway cruising.

Dimensions and Handling

Both models present distinct dimensions and handling characteristics, with the Scout being lighter and the Chief offering a more substantial presence. The Scout's lean angle of 31° surpasses the Chief's 28.5°, indicating a design more suited for agile cornering and spirited riding. Conversely, the Chief's larger fuel capacity and wheelbase promise a stable and comfortable ride over longer distances.

Brakes and Suspension

The braking systems of both models prioritize safety and performance, with the Chief stepping ahead with a four-piston caliper on the front brake, suggesting a slightly superior stopping power suitable for its heavier weight. Suspension-wise, both motorcycles employ telescopic forks and dual shocks, with the Chief featuring a slightly larger front fork diameter, which may contribute to improved front-end stability and handling, especially at higher speeds or under heavy braking.

Features

Both the Scout and Chief offer LED lighting, enhancing visibility and safety. The Chief, however, boasts additional features such as ride modes, keyless ignition, and rear cylinder deactivation for improved fuel efficiency during low-demand scenarios. These added conveniences and technological advancements position the Chief as a model that blends traditional aesthetics with modern functionality.

Summary

The Indian Scout features a liquid-cooled V-Twin engine with a displacement of 1,133 cc, producing 100 horsepower and 72 ft-lbs of torque. It's geared towards agility and performance with a six-speed transmission, a light frame, and LED lighting. It has a sportier stance with a lower seat height and a lean angle suited for dynamic riding.

picture of an indian scout motorcycle parked at an expo comparison of indian scout vs. indian chief motorcycles

The Indian Chief, on the other hand, boasts an air-cooled Thunderstroke 111 engine with a larger displacement of 1,811 cc, delivering significant torque at lower RPMs, peaking at 108 ft-lbs. It's designed with a focus on comfort and heritage style, featuring a higher seat height, a more extensive frame, and advanced features like keyless ignition and ride modes for a customizable experience.

picture of an indian chief motorcycle parked on a sidewalk comparison of indian scout vs. indian chief motorcycles

Choosing between the Indian Scout and Indian Chief really comes down to how you feel when you're sitting in the saddle and gripping the handlebars. Paper specs give you a lot, but it's not until you're actually on one, feeling its weight under you and imagining the road ahead, that you'll know which bike speaks to you. Each has its charm, but finding the right fit is a personal journey that begins with that first seat test.

Test Ride an Indian Scout or Chief & Decide Which Is Right For You with Riders Share

Deciding between the Indian Scout and Indian Chief might not be clear until you've actually ridden them in the situations you typically ride in. A dealership's short test won’t reveal everything. That's where renting through Riders Share becomes invaluable. You can test a bike in various scenarios and for longer, ensuring it matches your style and comfort. This approach minimizes the chance of, well, buyer’s remorse- confirming your choice is one you'll remain confident with, ride after ride. Rent an Indian Motorcycle today.