The Indian Scout is one of the best-selling motorcycles in the USA, which is no surprise: they’re easy on the eye, comfortable to ride and have plenty of power to play with. It’s only been a few short years since Indian released the Scout Bobber and, as prices have gotten cheaper, it has become a popular donor bike in the custom community. Purpose Built Moto (PBM) have been patiently waiting for the right time to customise one, so when a customer brought a badly-built bobber into their garage last year they couldn’t wait to transform this 1,133 cc liquid-cooled Scout into something special.
When they took a closer look at the Indian they realised it had many issues that they would need to sort out. “It had been stripped down and slapped back together pretty haphazardly and after a while on the road it started to show,” says Tom from PBM. “Broken fender mounts, intermittent starter failure, bad paint chipping off, and as it rolled into our shop I could tighten the rear axle nut with my fingers.”
“Starting with a tear-down, the old fenders and brackets were removed, tractor seat frisbeed across the workshop and the cheap lighting and bad wiring removed. Once that was tidied up, we could stand back and look at a bare frame, engine and wheels to see just how this Indian Scout should be treated.”
Tom’s idea for the bike was very simple: make it mean and keep it sharp. The Indian Scout Bobber has a strange blend of flowing top lines and sharper angular corners. Tom noticed that a lot of customs ignore the tank shape and put more classically-styled round fenders on the bike. He wanted to go a different direction with the styling, but had a few things to work through first.
Doing what they do best, the numero uno job was a hand-built exhaust. They went about making a 2-into-1 on the header with a split muffler that was built into the pipe, hiding any sign that the bike had been muzzled. Shaped with care out of stainless steel, it was welded and given a brush finish with all-new mounts on the rear.
Up the front, they installed one of their Flashpoint X 5.75” LED Headlights, using a race plate-style mount and some round bar detailing to add a little extra styling to the new face of the bike. Complimenting this was a hand-made fender mount and wide front fender. The body work was finished in a deep satin black and the bar work was treated in a high gloss black to give some contrast.
Before moving on to the next stage of fabrication, the Indian was given a new pair of shoes: a set of Shinko E270 double white wall tyres, running the same 5.00-16 front and rear. This balanced out the stance and gave PBM a starting point on the fresh new tail they were going to fabricate.
“Like all things in life, there comes a point where your ideas exceed your skills, or so you think. At these crossroads I have come to terms with the fact that there’s nothing for it but to rip in, and work like mad until you come out the other end with a result you’re happy with. Sheet metal shaping is completely foreign to me, but so were bikes 5 years ago. So I set the bike on a bench, grabbed our work experience kid Benny and we got to work.”
Starting with a simple aluminium sheet backbone Tom started cutting, annealing, shaping and welding the aluminium tail up, then finishing it back to be prepped for paint. “On the other end of this three day job, I couldn’t be happier with the result. Straight, symmetrical and fitting with the style I wanted. I couldn’t have asked for more. On top of that, the client just about fell off his chair when he saw the idea take shape.”
To complete the tail, a new wrap-around plate mount was built, and an LED brake light fabricated into the tail housing – using the PBM 3 in 1 Hollow Tip Turn Signals on the rear. All run by a Badlands brake module – a necessity when fitting aftermarket lights to these bikes.
“Once the dirty work was done I started to throw my time into the paint design, poring over colour books and having a few custom logo designs made by my mate Max to perfectly fit the tail shape and other body work we’d made.”
The end result is a custom motorcycle that’s finally to the standard of the client, with a great street presence, rumbling exhaust note and a truly unique take on the bobber style. “The Indian Scout Bobber is a lot of fun to ride off the factory floor. All we had to do was make it look and sound as fun as it rides.”