Custom Indian Scout Hill Climber – The “Black Hills Beast”

MotorcycleUSA Staff | October 6, 2015

If you were among the thousands that flocked to the 75th Annual Sturgis Rally in South Dakota you may have caught a glimpse of the “Black Hills Beast.” The 2015 Indian Scout was transformed into a dirt-chewing, hill-climbing monster by Doug Siddens and Nick Jaquez of at the request of Indian Motorcycles for display at the rally.

Siddens and Jaquez were under a time crunch, according to the thread on, which details the build process. Asked simply to build a hill climbing bike, the two immediately set to designing the concept on paper before dismantling the machine for modification.

2015 Indian Scout Black Hills Beast

“Building a hill climber seemed easy enough, but it posed some unique challenges,” said Siddens in a press release offered by Indian Motorcycles. “Enthusiasts know what a hill climber looks like – so some of the mods were logical – but scaling them to fit the new Scout was the key and took a lot of work and planning. We are very proud of the result and the reception that the bike got at such an important Sturgis milestone, the 75th anniversary. ”

“We settled in on a design quickly,” added Jaquez. “But none of it would have worked without the assistance of our suppliers and partners in this build. We cranked on it for a month and tossed out a few bits along the way – I do feel like we delivered one hell of a machine – and it was a blast getting it dirty too!”

First the builders got in touch with RPW USA (Rogue Pipe Works) to see about a custom exhaust for the “Beast.” RPW is based out of North Bend, Oregon, and works primarily on American-built motorcycles. Siddens and Jaquez were able to send a sketch along to RPW and soon after were delivered the “Jack” pipe, which will be available for purchase in fall 2015.

Extending the swingarm was one of the major modifications necessary to transform the Scout to a proper climbing machine, so they got in touch with BTR Moto for a custom swingarm. BTR has years of experience fabricating parts of hill climb motorcycles and was quickly able to build a piece which extends 10 inches beyond stock and can accommodate the Willys Jeep-sourced Firestone tire (which is then wrapped in a beefy chain for ample traction).

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Suspension parts were swapped, with Traxxion AK20 cartridges utilized in the fork and custom-built Fox remote reservoir shocks were fitted to the rear.

Siddens and Jaquez opted to make use of Aeromach floorboards and a heelshifter on the “Beast” and modified a standard western-style handlebar with a custom-fit crossbar.

The two builders dialed-in fueling for the Scout with an EJK Gen 3 controller sourced from Dobeck Performance. Driving power to the rear wheel proved to be a bit of a riddle, since the stock drive belt was clearly unusable with the new length of the backend. Options for extended belts are currently limited for the Scout so Siddens and Jaquez opted for a chain conversion, which they were able to source from Zipper’s Performance.

To refine the look of the “Beast,” the builders turned to Ricochet Customs for powdercoating, and then to Starr Studios for the final paint work. The LED headlight is a custom piece as well as the radiator shroud. A 1920 Solo Saddle Seat from Indian Motorcycles and laced wheels complete the package.

See the video below for some shots of the “Black Hills Beast” in action.