The hype surrounding the Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 has made its way to India. Jared finds out if the FTR is indeed something we should be excited about.
Believe it or not, but Indian and Harley-Davidson have been producing high-performance machines for a very long time. While they might be best known for their cushy cruisers, the two most popular American bike manufacturers have had a huge 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 the company in a new direction, Indian Motorcycles decided to launch a street legal version of the FTR. The final product was the FTR 1200, and although it has been around in the US market for a while now, it has just made its grand entry into the Indian market. We got our hands on the FTR 1200 S (with extra goodies) and found out all about the hype surrounding this bike.
Flat Track Styling
The FTR 1200 design has been designed to look like a flat track racer. It’s got a very low and long outline but it’s got 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 with the sporty touches of course and with the highest quality components – except for the rear-view mirrors that look a bit tacky. Its narrow with a small fuel tank, and then it gets USD forks at the front and a monoshock at the rear. Keeping up with modern motorcycles, it also gets full LED lights and a beautiful 4.3 inch full-colour touchscreen. The large knobby tires add some muscle and the alloys with the large disc brakes on them look terrific. The upswept exhaust also adds a nice touch. The rear section gets pretty much nothing, as the seat is very short. It certainly is a unique looking machine and you might mistake it for a scrambler, but make no mistake, this bike is a full-blown road sports bike and it rides like the wind.
The Indian FTR 1200 is built around an incredibly torquey, 60-degree, DOHC, 1,203 cc V-twin engine that has been borrowed over from the Scout. I love the Scout and its sporty performance. In the FTR the engine has been tweaked and modified, and it can pump out a claimed 120bhp at 8,250 rpm and 115Nm of torque at 6,000 rpm. The power delivery is instantly delivered the moment you twist the throttle. If the mission was to make the FTR a fast and compact sports bike, well, Indian has done a great job at doing so. The bike accelerates incredibly quick and unlike Indian’s large cruiser bikes, the FTR is rev happy. The bike revs really high and you get the best of the engine somewhere between the 4,000 to 6,500rpm range. This bike surely rides unlike any Indian we have ridden before. Power is delivered via a six-speed gearbox and a slipper/assist clutch. Also for the first time ever, an Indian motorcycle features a chain final drive instead of a belt.
The riding position is also very agreeable with my riding style and with the bikes character. It’s definitely a sporty machine and your legs are kept tucked behind you while your arms are kept low and out ahead. The wide handle bar is very comfortable and so is the seat, and I definitely 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 of road will be super fun for any rider. You will definitely feel its sporty nature whenever you ride this bike.
It’s important to note that although the FTR 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, you better 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 tis lightning quick acceleration and nimble handling.
Loaded to the Brim
The FTR 1200S gets a bag full of some new age tech. Firstly, the suspension is fully adjustable on both the front and rear suspension, and has been designed by ZF, the German firm currently building BMW’s high-end suspension components. The FTR also gets switchable ABS and traction. It also gets cruise control, rider modes – Rain, Standard and Sport – and it also gets wheelie mitigation control, and stability control. The bike has got killer performance but, it will do everything in its power to make sure you don’t kill yourself. If you head to Indians website you will also see that there are four packages to customize your FTR 1200 to change its style as well as a bit of its functionality. These include Sport, Tour, Rally and Tracker.
The FTR rides like a true sports bike and delivers incredibly performance. It doesn’t fall into the scrambler category, in fact there isn’t any segment that this bike can fall in because it is a niche product. Its closest competition might be a BMW R Nine-T or a Triumph Street Scrambler, but even those don’t have the same character as this bike. The downside to owning this bike though is that it’s priced at Rs 15.99 lakh ex-showroom. Now, while I did enjoy riding this bike, I have to say that you could have the same amount of fun without burning through your money. 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, and it falls into a niche category, and it looks great to.