A Dirty Bird look-alike Indian Scout Bobber
by Steven Blackburn • Photos by Cristina Fletcher
Whenever you see a Dirty Bird bike, it’s pretty damn difficult (some might say downright impossible) to not immediately attribute its epic stature to the handiwork of owner John Shope. The guy has a gift, a style that’s unmistakable. Just look at what he’s done to Indian Chieftains!
To be fair, Shope has pulled other bikes into the transformational dirt that is Dirty Bird Concepts. This includes the 42 Scout, a custom that caught the attention of Daniel Fletcher (along with a whole slew of bike enthusiasts—even members of Harley’s rabid fanbase, however begrudgingly). The bike made such an impact on Daniel that it inevitably became the blueprint for his then-new 2015 Indian Scout a mere month after he purchased it.
“The moment I saw and heard Shope’s 42 bike on YouTube, I wanted that Dirty Bird sound as quickly as possible,” Daniel recalls. The source behind that nasty rumble—the Race Tech Series Performance exhaust—also does more for Shope’s custom than make it go from a chirp to a squawk. “The 42 bike was the first Scout that I had ever seen with a very aggressive look, and I wanted that,” Daniel says.
Correction. Daniel wants that. Period. Not just for Scouts, but for every motorcycle he owns. How else can you explain why Daniel’s only other steed just so happens to be a 2015 Ducati Monster, a bike that’s essentially the very embodiment of muscular aggressiveness?
What Daniel likes best about the Dirty Bird pipes is that they clean up the 42’s rear end and expose the rear wheel and tire, much like the aesthetic of pretty much every naked standard. “The Shope pipe seemed to give the illusion of a stretched rear end,” Daniel adds.
That’s why he got a pair of his own. Installing it on his own, however, was out of the question. Daniel’s wife, Cristina, helped out in a big way by aligning each pipe to the engine while Daniel secured everything. “My wife is awesome,” Daniel comments. (to which we wholeheartedly agree) “She’s very mechanical and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty.”
“Installing the pipes was actually more difficult than I imagined, as the fitment is tight up against the radiator with bolts that are already hard to reach,” he elaborates. The alignment, too, was not an easy task, and resulted in several bruised and cut knuckles. “I’m thankful she was here to help,” he says.
Daniel, too, is undoubtedly grateful that he owns a two-bay garage, which gave him plenty of room, especially when installing the exhaust.
Speaking of his garage, not only does this immaculate space feature LED lights, epoxy-coated floors, and new paint (again, thanks to Daniel’s wife), it soon would become home to a whole new tool cabinet, one that slowly began to accrue more and more tools as the build progressed. It all started with the purchase of a torque wrench to get that troublesome exhaust on. Daniel later used that wrench to install the pegs and the 42’s signature Dirty Bird fairing.
But after those first add-ons, it seemed like Daniel would only need that wrench; he was fine with how his Scout looked, and he rode it that way for about a year.
But then Triumph came out with a bobber, as did Indian. “The bobber look really caught my eye,” Daniel remembers. “I also found that I enjoy working on the bike almost as much as riding it.”
So Daniel began looking for ways to bob out his Scout. He did so by drawing inspiration from overseas rather than Phoenix. More directly, Daniel gathered much of his stylistic cues from customs built by the French manufacturer Tank Machine, where most of Daniel’s rear components come from (and which coincidentally makes some wicked cool Scout customs).
To remove the fender and subframe, Daniel needed a few more sockets for his growing collection of tools. He later added a belt tensioner and micrometers after bolting on some Indian Bobber hoops to align the final axle.
Luckily, installing the bobber fender kit didn’t require any additional tools, nor did it need more work besides the obvious. “The workmanship was excellent,” says Daniel of the kit. “It fit perfectly.”
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of the handlebars. Actually, the new bars fit just fine. What didn’t work was the act of removing the stock pullbacks. “I had just loosened the bolts,” he recounts of the uninstall. “I knew there was a chance they could fall down and hit the tank but I thought I could keep that from happening by holding the bars.”
Famous last words.
At some point during the removal, the bars slipped and hit the tank. “I felt sick,” Daniel recalls. Luckily, the impact didn’t leave a dent, only a very minor chip, which Daniel repaired. “I now use heavy towels to cover all my painted parts when I work on my bike,” he says. “You can never be too cautious.”
But new handlebars aren’t the main focus of Daniel’s custom Scout. The build began and has continued to be about making his Scout more aggressive. In other words, following in the footsteps of Shope—or, to be more accurate, following in the dust cloud of Shope’s zooming 42. Daniel compounded the in-your-face effect of the pipes and fairing by installing an external K&N filter over the stock chrome thermostat. And, as is incredibly obvious by the Scout’s design—namely the conspicuous intake under the tank—the filter’s only use is to make his Scout less stand-offish, not to improve performance (i.e. it’s just there for looks). The non-filtering filter fit after Daniel cut the original thermostat bracket and drilled in a few holes.
After all of this effort, we’re happy to report that not only does Daniel’s Scout perform well, but it is, in Daniel’s words, “a very aggressive ride.” GB 419