Indian FTR 1200 S Review: First Ride

By Jared Solomon | on September 7, 2019

The hype surrounding the Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 has made its way to India. Jared finds out if the FTR is indeed something that we should be excited about.

Indian and Harley-Davidson have been producing high-performance machines for a very long time. While they’re best known for their cushy cruisers, these popular American bike manufacturers also have another claim to fame – their intense rivalry at the Flat Track. 

In recent times, the Indian FTR 750 has been kicking butt at the American Flat Track series. Taking inspiration from this race-winning motorcycle, and hoping to move in a new direction, Indian Motorcycles decided to launch a street-legal version of the FTR. The result is the FTR 1200. And, although it’s been around in the US market for a while now, it’s just made its grand entry into the Indian market. 

So, naturally, we got our hands on the FTR 1200 S (with extra goodies) to find out if it’s worth the hype surrounding it.

Flat Track styling
The FTR 1200 has been designed to look like a flat track racer. It has a very low and long outline and a decent ground clearance. Although it draws on the classic style of a flat track race bike, it does so with a standard motorcycle design, which is not without some sporty touches.

All its components are of the highest quality, except the rear-view mirrors that look a bit tacky. The fuel tank is small, which makes the bike look narrow. It gets USD forks at the front and a monoshock at the rear. In keeping with modern motorcycles, the bike also comes with full LED lights and a beautiful 4.3-inch full-colour touchscreen.

The large knobby tires add some muscle to its otherwise lean appearance. And the alloys, with the large disc brakes on them… well, they simply look terrific. The upswept exhaust also adds a nice touch and some character. The rear section, meanwhile, gets pretty much nothing, as the seat is very short. 

It certainly is a unique looking machine. And although it’s not unlikely for someone to mistake it for a scrambler, it, in fact, is a full-blown road sports bike that rides like the wind. 

Indian FTR 1200 S Side Profile

Torque overload
The Indian FTR 1200 is built around an incredibly torquey 60-degree DOHC 1,203cc V-twin engine that has been borrowed over from the Scout. And I love the Scout and its sporty performance. 

In the FTR, the engine has been tweaked and modified, and it pumps out a claimed 120bhp at 8,250rpm and 115Nm of torque at 6,000rpm. Power is delivered via a six-speed gearbox and a slipper/assist clutch. And it’s instantly delivered the moment you twist the throttle, without any delay. If the mission was to make the FTR a fast and compact sports bike, well, Indian has done a great job. 

The bike accelerates incredibly quickly, and unlike Indian’s large cruiser bikes, the FTR is rev-happy. The bike revs really high – you get the best of the engine somewhere between 4,000 and 6,500rpm. This bike surely rides unlike any Indian that we’ve ridden before. 

Also, for the first time ever, an Indian motorcycle features a chain final drive instead of a belt. 

Sporting fun
The riding position of the bike is quite agreeable, especially to my riding style, and also suits the bike’s overall character. It’s definitely a sporty machine – your legs remain tucked behind you, while your arms are extended and low. 

The wide handlebar is very comfortable and so is the seat, and I think that this bike will be great for highway touring as well. Handling the FTR is also relatively easy, because of its modest seat height and weight. On tarmac, the bike handles very nicely, and twisty sections can be super fun for all kinds of riders. You will definitely feel its sporty nature whenever you ride this bike. 

It’s important to note that although the FTR’s design is based on a Flat Track motorcycle, this machine is not an off-road bike. Yes, you can certainly take it on some nice dirt trails, but if you expect it to perform like a scrambler, well, think again. 

The FTR is a roadster and performs like a streetfighter. Off-road is not where it belongs, and Indian even told us this at the feedback session after the ride. On tarmac, the bike will have you smiling all day, with its lightning-quick acceleration and nimble handling. 

Loaded to the brim
The FTR 1200S gets a bagful of modern tech. First, both front and rear suspension are fully adjustable and have been designed by ZF, the German firm currently building BMW’s high-end suspension components. 

The FTR also gets switchable ABS and traction, cruise control, rider modes – Rain, Standard and Sport – wheelie mitigation control, and stability control. The bike has got killer performance, but it’ll do everything in its power to make sure that you don’t kill yourself. 

What’s more? Indian offers four packages – Sport, Tour, Rally and Tracker – to customise your FTR 1200 to change its style and functionality. 

Indian FTR 1200 S Digital Speedmeter

Verdict 
The FTR rides like a true sports bike and delivers incredible performance. It doesn’t fall into the scrambler category, or any other for that matter, because it’s a niche product. Its closest competition might be the BMW R Nine-T or the Triumph Street Scrambler, but only by a stretch. 

The only downside of this bike is its price – ₹15.99 lakh (ex-showroom). Now, while I did enjoy riding this bike, I must say that you could have the same amount of fun without burning such a big hole in your pocket. You could also buy much bigger bikes, with better performance, for the same price. 

However, we have managed to finally answer the most important question. Is the FTR 1200 S a fun motorcycle? Absolutely, yes! Also, it’s a niche motorcycle that looks great and is likely to capture the imagination of those with a penchant for unique machines.  

  • Indian FTR 1200

Engine: 1,203cc / V-Twin / DOHC

Transmission: 6-Speed, Slipper Clutch

Power: 120bhp @ 8,250rpm

Torque: 115Nm @ 6,000rpm

Price: ₹15.99 Lakh (Ex-showroom)

X-Factor: The most individualistically styled modern classic that rides like a hooligan sports bike.

Pros           
• Beautiful design
• Explosive acceleration

Cons
• High price tag

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Tags: Indian FTR 1200 S

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