Victory Octane vs Indian Scout vs Harley-Davidson Sportster Comparison

Just announced a few weeks ago, the Victory Octane looks set to capture a new generation of cruiser riders in America. It will be Victory’s most powerful, fastest and lightest bike yet – all the while being the cheapest, too. And while the Victory Octane does have many similarities to the Indian Scout, its real target is Harley Davidson and their Sportster 1200.

Harley-Davidson has come under increasing pressure from Polaris and their two brands, the resurrected Indian Motorcycles and their home grown brand, Victory. The reborn Indian has been a huge success for Polaris with the Indian Scout receiving glowing reviews and selling well, too. It’s for this reason we thought we’d take a look at the just released Victory Octane to see how it compares to its stablemate, as well as the highly popular and long established Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200.

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Choosing what bike to compare the Scout and Octane to was in itself a challenge. HD’s range is so wide with so much choice within each line that it’s hard to really narrow it down. And while the Sportster approaches the game quite differently with its air-cooled twin valve donk as opposed to the liquid cooled engine found in the Victory and Indian, all three bikes are designed to be gateway motorcycles to their respective brands.

But even then, the Sportser range offers six different choices of model to choose from and it is definitely one of the biggest advantages that Harley-Davidson offers – choice. Yes, Both Indian Motorcycles and Victory offer a large range of factory equipment and accessories to customize your bike, but no one does range and choice in the motorcycle world like Harley-Davidson. And even once you’ve decided on which of the six Sportster models to go with, the accessories (both factory and aftermarket) available to buy are unmatched. For the purposes of this comparison, we’ve chosen the Sporster 1200 Custom which from an ergonomics and general feel perspective seems to best match the two other bikes we’re looking at here best.

Engine

Both the Victory Octane and the Indian Scout use the same basic engine – and it’s a good one. There’s no sluggishness here which you can sometimes find in HD motors as the engine in both the Octane and Scout provides strong pulling power while remaining flexible across pretty much the entire rev range.

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The Octane’s engine is a 1,179cc V-twin, slightly larger than the Scout. Other differences include its own camshafts, a 2mm larger bore as well as redesigned cylinder head and engine cover castings. Those translate into subtle rather than earth-shattering differences between the two although you would have to consider the Octane as feeling more sporty. The Octane produces 104 horsepower, the Scout slightly less at 100. The Sporster has a rather sad by comparison 62 horses..

The Indian Scout is no slouch compared to the Octane and will hit the metric ton in a shade under 5 seconds. Not sportsbike quick by a long shot but it’s over half a second faster than the Sporster. But that’s not the only negative when it comes to the Sporter’s performance when compared to the other two machines here. The Sportster just feels sluggish down low and to really get things moving you need to keep the engine spinning in the top to mid-range. That then provides it’s own problems as the already noticeable vibrations become even more worse.

There’s just no getting around the fact that despite having a slight displacement advantage, the Sporster has a rather anemic motor and is completely outclassed by both the Octane and Scout and out of the two choices between the Octane and Scout, the newer Octane just edges out its brother.

winner victory

 

Handling

The front end feel of the Sportster is just too soft and squishy. Front end dive even under moderate braking is more than should be acceptable on a modern bike. The rear too leaves much to be desired and bounces and moves around enough that it doesn’t provide a great deal of confidence, especially when the road gets a few more corners. Most of these issues would be solved by the use of better quality springs – something you’d expect from a not inexpensive bike.

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In comparison, the Scout feels far more capable and it doesn’t sacrifice any comfort to do so. Both the front and rear suspension work very well together and provide a near perfect compromise between handling and a plush ride. There’s also far more options when it comes to suspension adjustment and despite sitting lower to the ground than the HD, actually has better corner clearance.

The Octane takes it up another notch again, although it’s still far from a sportsbike. That’s probably more to do with the ergonomics rather than the componentry of the bike though as both the peg and bar positions are slightly more aggressive than either the Sportser or Scout. As far as cruisers go in fact, the Octane is right up there among the most sporty we’ve come across and in fact many traditional cruiser riders would probably struggle to scrape the pegs or exhaust cans on it unless they really tried. It does feel a little harsher than the Scout though which in our opinion is a perfect blend of comfort and handling for a cruiser.

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Brakes

All three bikes provide fairly mediocre performance in terms of braking. All run with single discs both front and rear and it’s especially poor of the Octane not to run a twin disc setup at the front given it’s the fastest of all three bikes here – in fact it gets to the 60mph mark nearly a second quicker than the Sportser and a few tenths than the Scout. American cruiser riders have become accustomed to just single discs up front, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right way to go about it.

Worst of all, the Octane doesn’t even provide ABS as an option – a ridiculous proposition for a brand new bike in the year 2016. The Scout’s brakes feel slightly better than offered by the Sportster and that’s probably due to the fact that the Harley weighs a tremendous 587 lb – nearly 30 pounds more than the Scout and nearly 40 more than the Octane.

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Customizing

It goes without saying that a big part of the cruiser scene is based around customizing and it is where Harley-Davidson rules supreme. Given their time at the top of the market, HD not only has huge amounts of official customizing options, but the third party market is also massive. That’s not to say that you can’t customize your Scout or Octane, it’s just that your options may be more limited than what is available on the Sportster.

Model Year 2016 New Model Photography

That is especially true for the Octane – at least at this stage. Your only customizing kit for now will be what Victory has available. Aftermarket options will no doubt eventuate should the Octane prove a popular model – just like they have for the Scout – but for now it’s comparatively slim pickings if compared to HD.

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Value

Both on paper and in the real world, the Sportster 1200 Custom just doesn’t offer the same value as either bike from Polaris. Starting at $10,899 in the US (but that’s before any options that commonly apply to Harley’s), it is $400 more than the Victory Octane. It is cheaper than the Indian Scout by $400 itself, but for that saving you are getting a bike with an engine, suspension, brakes and potentially reliability that is inferior to both the Octane and the Scout – sometimes by a large margin.

For us, the Victory Octane is the winner here. At $800 cheaper than the Scout but sharing many of the same components, it’s clear that Polaris is positioning this bike to capture new and young riders who otherwise might be consider the Street 500.

winner victory

Overall

In the end, it will probably come down to personal preference whether you fork out the extra money for the Scout which is a more traditional cruiser (both in looks and style) or the Octane which is designed for cruiser riders wanting to release their inner hooligan just a bit more.

The Scout probably comes out as the better bike than the Octane – but only just. It feels just slightly more refined than its new sibling which is perhaps trying to be a bit too raw in some respects – most notably in the handling department. That and the lack of ABS as even an option sees us tilt our head ever so slightly towards the Scout.

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This is the 2017 Victory Octane

After months of build-up which first began when Victory took on the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, we now have a brand new cruiser from the American company and it’s called the Victory Octane. Despite the hype, what we have here is essentially Victory’s version of the Indian Scout – but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – and it’s priced very competitively.

Despite the obvious styling cues from the Indian Scout, as well as the engine coming from that bike too (which ironically came from a Victory bike to start with), there’s a very strong chance this will be the best bike Victory has yet produced. The Victory Octane has a number of firsts for the manufacturer – first-ever liquid-cooled engine, most horsepower ever for a Victory bike and it’s also the lightest.

First to the engine. As mentioned, it is liquid-cooled with 4-valve heads and dual-overhead cams and it produces 104 horsepower and 76 foot-pounds of torque. Geared for quick acceleration, the Octane sprints down the quarter-mile in 12 seconds and rushes from 0-60 mph in under four seconds.

In relation to the chassis, the engine is a stressed member that connects cast-aluminum front and rear frame sections, with twin tubular-steel backbones for added reinforcement. Up front are 41mm forks and behind it is a  laydown shocks mounted 53 degrees off-horizontal, also equipped with preload-adjustable dual-rate springs. Stopping power is by way of a single 298mm disc brakes at both ends connected by stainless-steel lines.  The 18-inch front wheel wears 130/70-18 rubber, while the 17-inch rear wheel is wrapped with a 160/70-17 tire.

Probably the biggest news is the price. At $10,499 it’s the cheapest Victory yet and it’s surely going to send a few shivers down the spines of HD dealership owners. And while we’re a little disappointed that Victory didn’t come up with something more left of centre given their projects prior to the reveal, it seems certain that Victory isn’t going to rest anytime soon and will continue with their new model drive over the next few years. Here’s hoping for an American sportsbike (one that doesn’t go bankrupt).

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Have Your Say in the First Global Custom Indian Scout Dealer Contest

Last November, Indian Motorcycles launched their Project Scout competition to give dealers around the world a chance to showcase not only the Indian Scout, but their design and creative flair. As an open ended contest, the only rules were the use of an Indian Scout (or new Scout Sixty) as well as three genuine accessories.

It’s now January and the entrants are in – an eclectic collection of 35 bikes entered by dealers in the US, Canada, Switzerland, Germany and other countries. As one would expect when a competition like this is open to people from all over the world the themes and ideas are very broad and the dealers have come up with some truly wonderful custom bikes.

From now through Friday 19th February, Indian Motorcycle fans can vote for their favorite Project Scout by visiting http://www.indianmotorcycle.com/en-us/project-scout. On Saturday 20th February, the top three Project Scout finalists as voted by Indian Motorcycle fans will be announced. The dealers behind these three machines will then receive an all-expenses-paid weekend trip to the 75th annual Daytona Bike Week.

Indian Motorcycle will host a special award ceremony in Daytona Beach on Friday 11th March, during which a panel of celebrity judges will select the ultimate winner of the ‘Project Scout: Build a Legend’ program, with party goers voting for the winner of the Fan Favorite award.

Reid Wilson, Marketing Manager for Indian Motorcycle commented: “The response from our dealers to the Scout Custom Series and now this Project Scout program has been incredible. Watching these builds come together from around the world has been amazing. It’s clear that the passion and talent for customizing Indian Motorcycle models is built into our dealer base, and we know that people will be fired up when they see the final Project Scout builds.”

Below is just a sample of some of the bikes you can vote for.

Indian Scout Sixty Tempts With Value

Indian Motorcycles has a new bike for its Scout range – the Scout Sixty. Named after the cubic inch capacity of its motor, the 999cc machine is seemingly designed to appeal to newer riders or riders who don’t feel the need for the full 1,130 cc. The real reasoning behind the motorcycle however is to provide a lower entry point to the Scout family thanks to a reduced price tag.

That cost of the Indian Scout Sixty is $2,000 less in Australia and the United States, $2,600 less in Canada and a saving £1,500 in the UK. That’s a pretty significant amount of spare change for pretty small reduction in performance. The Scout Sixty produces 78 hp and 89 Nm at 5,600 rpm – only 8 Nm down on the full sized Scout.

Otherwise, the Scout Sixty is the same machine which means a really quite beautiful cruiser to ride that has a fit and finish that would make some Japanese manufacturers jealous. A complete line of accessories including fit-kit seats, footpeg locators and handlebars are designed to tailor the motorcycle to the rider. Riders can customize the Scout Sixty with additional accessories including wire wheels, Stage 1 exhaust systems, mini-apes, performance shock absorbers, and the 1920 Solo Saddle.

 

Indian Continues its Custom Series With the Black Bullet Scout

Indian Motorcycles has released the second bike in its Scout inspired custom series and it’s a beauty – the Indian Black Bullet Scout. Built by Jeb Scholman, the bike was pretty much built from scratch around a standard Indian Scout engine and the result is a hot rod inspired work of art.

Indian Motorcycles launched their custom built series in May and each bike in the series is designed to celebrate an important Indian Scout milestone or achievement since its debut in 1920.

The Black Bullet Scout’s metalwork is completely custom made and reflects designs of motorcycles made for going fast in straight lines from the late 50’s and early 60’s. Bikes with a similar design ethos took to land speed and drag racing tracks across the country in the day. Many will no doubt think of New Zealander Burt Munro and his land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats – which was made in 1967 and still stands today.

Other features of the Black Bullet Scout are a custom windscreen that wraps around the front of the bike to fair in the headlight. Tight clip-ons and footrests mounted to the rear axle makes for as streamlined a riders position as possible. The minimal seat, controls and shapes all lens themselves to the single mission of exploring this bikes top speed. It was created to be beautiful and fast. Scolman even cast a custom intake manifold to turn the throttle body sideways and allow for an even tighter engine packaging.

The Black Bullet Scout will be on display in Sturgis and is destined to see the salt. It was built to race and continue the tradition of an Indian Scout ripping across the Bonneville Salt Flats.

 

Project 156 Engine Revealed – Indian Scout V-Twin?

The collaborative project between Victory Motorcycles and Roland Sands Design to enter a motorcycle in this years Pikes Peak event has released its second update, with this one showing us a clear view of the engine powering the bike. And it looks a lot like the V-Twin found in the Indian Scout.

While the current Indian Scout produces a fairly average (for a race bike) 83 hp and 63 lb-ft of torque, the general consensus is that the 1,133cc power plant has a lot more capability than that just waiting to be unleashed. It wouldn’t be unrealistic to see the engine bored out to 1,200cc and power increased to around 150 hp with various modifications.

Project 156 Engine Revealed - Indian Scout V-Twin?

A picture of the engine from Roland Sands’ Instagram

As we stated in our previous report, it would appear that Victory is pivoting away from cruisers and into sportsbikes and roadsters – differentiating itself from sister brand Indian Motorcycles. With an entry using Brammo electric technology in the Isle of Man TT and a race bike entering Pikes Peak, it’s clear to see that Victory is making a concerted effort to get its name publicized before revealing production versions of these machines in the next few years.

Named Project 156 after the amount of turns at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, the second video discusses the engine and the difficulties faced with naturally aspirated motors due to the altitude changes during the ride to the top. Perhaps Victory will next enter their Brammo powered electric bike next time?

 

Owner of Indian Motorcycles Has Record Year

Polaris Industries, owner of both Indian Motorcycles and Victory Motorcycles has announced a record sales year. In fact, 2014 was the fifth successive record sales year and included an increase in revenue of its motorcycle division of 59 per cent – more than double any other product segment that Polaris deals in.

A big part of Polaris’ success was the release of the new 2015 Roadmaster and the rebirth of the mid-sized motorcycle (and well received) Indian Scout which so far has done so well that there’s a few months back order in some locations. Also released was the unique three-wheeled ‘motorcycle’, the Slingshot, although that particular product has had a few hiccups. Certain states are not happy with it’s designation as a motorcycle (which determine what license you require to drive it) and Polaris only yesterday issued a recall on the Slingshot due to roll hoops that do not meet hardness specifications.

“2014 marks our fifth consecutive year of double digit sales and earnings growth, an accomplishment which testifies to the innovative spirit and dedication of the 8,000 member global Polaris team. It is inspiring to see how they overcame obstacles ranging from negative foreign exchange impacts and a weakening European economy, to highly volatile oil and crop prices, to record a 19 percent increase in both sales and net income for the full year 2014. During the year, we added over thirty new vehicles to the Polaris armada, expanding and strengthening our portfolio with our largest ever new product introduction, while our strategic acquisitions and significant investments in our global manufacturing infrastructure allow us to both create and meet the increasing demand for our products,” explained Scott Wine, Polaris’ Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Overall, total revenue for the 2014 financial year was up 19 per cent to $4.47 billion while net profit was also up 19 per cent to $454 million. Polaris has forecast an increase in both revenue and profit for 2015 of 9 to 12 per cent. Polaris was also recently in the news after announcing the purchase of Brammo’s electric motorcycle division.