Satya Kraus Indian Scout Bobber
Satya Kraus has a penchant for performance. The inverted front ends and triple trees coming out of Kraus Motor Co. are prized by the current crop of riders who push American V-twins to new limits, be it knee-dragging at local track days or 12 o’clock boys who live at the balance point. So when Indian Motorcycle Co. asked Kraus to be one of the first to customize its new Scout Bobber, Satya did what he does best—build one hell-raisin’ ride.
“I’ve wanted to work with Indian for years now. When they first started releasing a new brand I was really intrigued by what was going on considering its history and knowing who was behind it,” says Kraus.
He finally got his chance when Indian Motorcycle invited Satya, Keino Sasaki, and Steve Caballero to put their spin on the new Scout Bobber, then unveil them at the Brooklyn Invitational, a swanky late-summer affair featuring curated motorcycles dotting an art gallery in the hip Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. About a month after receiving the call from Indian, Satya had his hands on a 2018 Scout Bobber.
“They got us one initially just for me to check out and ride around, and I was really impressed with it. I thought, ‘hey, this thing’s got a lot of potential, but let’s transition it to a next level bike,’” said Kraus. “We feel the Scout is a great bike, but there’s been so much emphasis on the dirt and hooligan flat track racing. But I didn’t think anybody had done a full-blown, excellent street version of that bike. That’s what we wanted to achieve, more of a Super Moto, road race-inspired bike, one that you really want to go out and rip corners with.”
One of the first items on the agenda was to raise the bike up to give it more clearance in said corners. Kraus wanted to run a taller shock on the backside, so he and his team disassembled the rear and made a set of fender struts that moved the shock position back a bit, which he said was much better for the valving. To get the longer shock on there, the swingarm needed to drop farther, too.
“We really wanted that swingarm more in the 5- to 7-degree range,” says Kraus. “But under that swingarm there’s a caster on the frame, and we had to grind off some of the caster so the swingarm had more clearance. We worked with Ohlins to build a shock specific to that geometry.”
The front end also benefited from raising the back up by incrementally increasing the neck rake. This allowed Kraus to ditch the stubby stock fork for a longer, sportier inverted setup from Ohlins mated to a set of triple trees they make in house with a linear steering damper thrown in for good measure. Gone is the paltry single-front disc, with twin 320mm Brake Tech rotors in its place paired to top-shelf Beringer radial brake calipers. While the steering damper will quell any head shake, a set of Kraus Isolated Risers will help keep the moto-style bars vibe free. A Rizoma mirror slung under the left grip provides a peek at the cars you’ll be leaving in the dust, while the trick lever guards are also from Rizoma.
“I think that really made a big difference, standing the weight on the front of the bike more, so you’re planted on your front wheel a bit better. Increasing that neck rake a little just by bringing the back up helps make the bike more agile and easier to toss around.”
Seeing how the stock 1133cc powerplant of the Indian Scout Bobber is already a high-revving V-twin said to crank out 100 hp straight off the showroom floor, Kraus left the powertrain well enough alone.
“We’re already seeing huge numbers straight from the factory. The problem is we’re overloading these bikes with too much weight. They don’t have good suspension, they don’t have good braking, they don’t have rider comfort, they don’t have good ergonomics, so all that power goes to waste. Our primary focus was getting the power to the ground,” he says.
This isn’t to say they didn’t have a few tricks of the trade to squeak out more power. Foremost is the stainless steel 2-into-1 scrambler-inspired pipe they had FAB28 Industries whip up for them. The TIG welds on that thing are tasty, as the pipes bend and wind down the right side before exiting under the seat. “We cut away a little bit of that casting right behind the seat to get our exhaust through the subframe and underneath the fender,” says Kraus.
Swapping out the stock cast aluminum wheels for lightweight Rotobox carbon fiber wheels also comes with benefits. Kraus perfunctorily adds that “decreasing the rotating mass alone has an increase in horsepower.”
“The wheel setup is custom, so we had to do some adapters and things like that to make it run straight,” he says. They bumped up the wheel size an inch over stock, running 17-inchers front and back. Kraus chose this size so that he could run Pirelli DOT-approved road race tires. At 120mm wide, a smidge smaller than the original, the thinner tire “makes the bike feel more quick-responding and agile.” Contrarily, the rear is a fairly wide 180mm Pirelli: “basically a road race size.”
Kraus was able to run the wider tire on the rear without having to offset the front sprocket by converting the stock belt final drive to chain, the chain conversion done in house.
“We got a lot of interest in that chain conversion, especially from the flat track guys, the guys putting these things on the track, and those doing dirt road riding. Quite a few Indian dealers called after they saw the bike wanting to know when stuff was going to be available.”
Going into the project, Kraus already had been developing aftermarket parts for Indian motor-cycles. They currently offer inverted front ends for the brand and have “a lot of other little bits we’re working on.” While he didn’t state specifically what those other bits are, we wouldn’t be surprised if one of them is the chain conversion they built for the Scout Bobber.
With the parts of the performance puzzle in place, Satya custom-made rearset foot controls from extra Rizoma components and tailored their placement to his body measurements. The right-side foot control mount also serves as a home for the Beringer rear master cylinder. He says that when he climbs into the custom Saddlemen seat “the bike really feels good,” the sportier riding position primed to test the newfound lean angles.
Unfortunately, Satya hasn’t gotten a lot of seat time on his creation because Indian’s been parading it around the country, most recently at the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows. But he’s itching to get it back so he can take it out for a romp on some of his favorite roads around his stomping grounds in Santa Rosa, California.
“I think the direction, how we brought that all together, we did a good job on it,” he says. “I’m proud of us.”
He should be proud. It’s an excellent street version of the Scout Bobber, one we’d love to raise a little Cain on ourselves. AIM