Polaris has gotten our hopes up before with the Victory Project 156 race bike, but that was clearly a one-off racing machine that was designed to attack the challenges of Pikes Peak. In contrast, the “custom” Indian FTR1200 unveiled today at EICMA in Milan, looks pretty polished to our MOronic eyes. However, we’ve been bitten before by our desire to see something other than a cruiser or a bagger/tourer come from Polaris/Indian. Still, what could be a better tool to break the cruiser mold than a flat track-styled bike honoring the Indian “Wrecking Crew” who came out and ripped the 2017 American Flat Track series wide open?

Indian FTR1200 Custom in the dirt

the Indian FTR1200 Custom is street-going interpretation of a flat track racer, so it loves to get sideways in the dirt!

Indian says that the FTR1200 is designed to meet two goals. First, the FTR is a rolling homage to Jared Mees, Bryan Smith, and Brad Baker – the Wrecking Crew who had their way with the American Flat Track series. On the way to collecting Mees’ fifth AMA Grand National Championship, Indian garnered 37 of the 54 podium positions available, including six podium sweeps and 14 race wins. For that impressive performance, Indian notched the manufacturer’s title in addition to Mees’ claiming of the number 1 plate (plus 10 wins out of 18 races in addition to his new single-season record of 17 finishes on the podium). Tying this impressive year to a production motorcycle would be the ideal way to meet Indian’s second goal for the FTR1200 Custom.

Said Indian’s Marketing Director, Reid Wilson: “Indian has a rich racing history of winning and we aim to continue that with the FTR platform and beyond. As was the case with Indian’s original founders, we are using racing to develop, test and showcase the capabilities of our motorcycles. Indian will push boundaries by developing new products that will expand rider perceptions of American motorcycles. We plan to be respectful of Indian’s rich heritage, while expanding the reach of the brand over the long-term horizon.”

Indian FTR1200 Custom exhaust

We bet that the FTR1200 Custom sounds pretty good at full song.

What we actually know about the FTR1200 Custom is scant, but we can tell from the photos and the spec sheet that, in place of the racing-spec FTR750 engine, the Scout’s street-legal 1133cc V-Twin engine has been wedged into a chromoly steel trellis flat track chassis. The exhaust is an S & S Cycle Tracker system, and Indian claims more than 100 hp from the engine’s state of tune. The hoops are 19-inch RSD Traction race wheels with Dunlop DT3 flat track tires mounted. The suspenders are fully adjustable Öhlins items front and rear. Braking is handled by a combination of Brembo calipers and Lyndall Crown Cut discs. The sexy carbon-fiber bodywork houses an integrated LED stop/turn/taillight unit out back and an LED headlight in the front. All of this results in a package that has a 60-inch wheelbase with a 25° rake and 3.7-in. trail, weighing in at a claimed 427 lbs. Yeeha!

We’ve tried reading the tea leaves in President of Motorcycles Steve Menneto statement: “To come up with this one-off custom, we worked closely with the Indian Motorcycle Racing team to execute a vision of what a bike could look like if we brought the FTR platform to the street.” While we’re aware that many aspects of concept bikes don’t usually make it to the production version, we can only hope that the FTR1200 Custom is a blatant hint of what Indian holds in our not-too-distant future.

Indian FTR1200 Custom catching air

Indian FTR1200 Custom tank and headlight

Yeah, we know that the carbon-fiber would be the first thing to go in the conversion to a production motorcycle, but it sure is pretty.

Indian FTR1200 Custom cockpit

Can you say narrow?

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  • Alaskan18724


  • kenneth_moore

    “Polaris has gotten our hopes up before.”

    The perfect sentence to start this article.

  • Auphliam

    As a person that has fallen for Menneto’s regurgitated double-speak in the past, please allow me to translate…

    What he said: “While we’re aware that many aspects of concept bikes don’t usually make it to the production version, we can only hope that the FTR1200 Custom is a blatant hint of what Indian holds in our not-too-distant future.”

    What he meant: “You should be aware by now that most aspects of our concept bikes never make it to production. As such, while the FTR1200 Custom will be a blatant rip-off of the fame we’ve garnered on the track, it will fall well short of any expectations we raise here.”

    Call me a skeptic, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Gary Latessa

      Ok skeptic. I bet we see it. Obvious parts won’t make production. But I think the demand is there. They will sell in smaller numbers.

      • Auphliam

        My bet is we’ll see a version of the Bobber with commemorative FTR paint scheme and the Victory Octane tune.

        Demand has been there for years…that has proven to have very little impact on the decisions made by Wine & Menneto.

        • Gary Latessa

          They haven’t even had a flat track bike for years. So the demand was not for this bike, I think it’s a whole new ball game for the Indian banner to do things that Victory could not pull off, and actually sell.

          • Old MOron

            The demand has been for almost anything but an effing cruiser, and Indian have consistently failed to deliver.

          • Gary Latessa

            This is their 4th year of production.With the popularity of cruisers, it only makes sense to get that going 1st. And don’t start with me on Victory. They never got their cruiser segment going. I think Indian will surprise you with different products.

          • Old MOron

            I hope you’re right!

          • Auphliam

            Don’t start with that which you don’t want to hear? Everything that currently lives in the Scout stable came from Victory. The demand has been there for them to start building ANYTHING credible that a person could attach the word Sport to, since the original SC in ’01, and it repeated every cycle when one of their talking heads would march out the “there’s no limit” cliché. I’m pretty sure they tattoo that on new employee’s asses in orientation. The Pikes Peak proto was like throwing a tanker truck of gas on that fire.

            Who do you think the “they” are that built Victory? The very same “they” that are giving the same rehashed answers to Indian questions now. Polaris has been building motorcycles for 20 years…and every opportunity they’ve had to do something meaningful, they’ve cheesed it.

          • Fast2win

            They, never sold Victory’s in the volume to justify an even lower volume bike. ala project 156. Indian is already at volumes to justify other lower volume bikes, much like this flat tracker. You can’t talk about what previous owners of Indian did in 2001, they didn’t even have their own engine. Besides I’m sure the bonneville Scout had a lot of what they learned on the 156 bike. Seems like a bunch of you sportbike guys want a cruiser company to go wsb right out the gate. Reality is Indian is doing a great job in 4 yrs and I think thee is a good chance to see this bike.

          • Auphliam

            My contention with Victory is, they never sold more volume because they never built the bikes people told them they wanted. They kept promising with veiled hints and double talk. Then every new model year was always the same rehashed cruisers in a different dress. If they had built a naked bike that was even close to the P156, they would’ve sold them faster than they could build them. I’d almost guarantee it.

            I don’t disagree that Indian is doing okay. Hell, I own one. I think my Scout is a great bike, despite my earlier reservations. I’ve just got a sore spot for Menneto and Wine. Victory owners had heard ALL of this crap for years…and they never delivered anything.

          • Firestar45

            Both they and Harley-Davidson suffer from the same lack of vision.

          • OLD SCHOOL RIDER

            Remember victory is indian there is nothing that indian carried over all was new design they did better in sales caused they polaris choised so all they had to do was refine the machine they already had

          • Fast2win

            Indian and Victory have almost nothing in common. Yes the Indian is more refined. But completely different bikes.


          Good one… get rid of them both and find real biker business men

    • Ulysses Araujo

      Dang can’t even remember how many times I expected something of Polaris/Victory/Indian.

      Project 156: prototype only.
      Some hype: Victory Octane.
      Some hype: Indian Bobber.
      This hype: probably nothing or a fat cruiser with flat-track inspired decals.

      Not to bash on the existing bikes (which may be good), but that’s not the american light standard bike we were expecting.

      • Auphliam

        Yep, I’ve seen and heard this two-step from him too many times to fall for it again. And they can turn off the Reid Wilson “Indian has a rich racing history” wind-up doll too. Tired of hearing their gas. Heard it all with Victory…IoMTT, Pikes Peak, “there’s no limit to where we can take this brand”…stuff it all and put a bike in the showroom…then I’ll believe you.

        The existing bikes are very good. I currently own a Scout and it puts a smile on my face like I never expected. If they build this thing, great. I’ll gladly congratulate anyone that buys one because this engine is an absolute blast, and it deserves to be in a proper bike…but he’s dangled this carrot for far too long for me to get excited about anything he has to say. He and Wine can both go pound salt as far as I’m concerned.

    • Alaskan18724

      Think the “While we’re aware” comment might be attributable to Brasfield, not Menneto, in which context it makes a certain degree of sense.
      Ever hopeful….

      • Auphliam

        Yeah, you’re right. I mistakenly attributed that to Menneto.

        • Evans Brasfield

          Ha ha ha ha ha!

  • allworld

    There seem to be a gaping hole in HD’s lineup.

  • Alaskan18724

    Make it. Don’t make it outrageous. My family will take two. Immediately.
    Oh–make the carbon fiber pieces available as accessory items, or make a factory carbon model. At the premium these would command, I’d bet 70 percent of sales would include it. Target buyers aren’t going to blink. Less affluent buyers would add it piece by piece.

  • Jim Doss

    I’d buy one. But I’ll believe Polaris when it actually hits the street with a price. I’ve been duped too many times already.

  • SRMark

    I’ll take a look when it’s on the dealer’s floor.

  • Jimmy Paycheck

    Make it happen!

  • Old MOron

    Goddamnit! So many fantastic revelations this year: Z900RS, CB1000R, Vitpilen 701, Guzzi V85 concept, etc. But this is the bike that could get me to trade my bike in too soon. Oh well, if Indian never build it, like they probably won’t, maybe I’ll be ready to trade when Guzzi’s centennial bikes come out.

    • DickRuble

      Look at that swing arm. Does that look anywhere close to production for a 1200cc bike? This looks production ready only to blind eyes.

      • Old MOron

        Don’t kill my buzz, Richie. The swingarm might look a bit spindly. So what? Maybe they add some bracing after more testing. This is the bike that could…

        • DickRuble

          Forks, brakes, frame may be ok for a taiwan made 250. High school shop effort. Only Brassfixtures would think that’s ready for anything. Scrap metal ready for the foundry.

          • Old MOron

            More often than not, I’m on your side. But I sure hope you’re wrong this time.

          • Gary Latessa

            The forks and triple trees are straight off the race bike. The swing arm is almost the same but longer.

          • DickRuble

            Let’s say you’re right. The race frame is for a 750cc engine, not a 1200. The 1200 production engine is MUCH heavier, with much more torque. Longer swingarm means flexier swingarm. This is not a credible bike.

          • Fast2win

            Your criticism is unfounded. The frame is not even close to the flat tracker. The flat tracker does not use a trellis style frame. By the way have been used on many a higher horsepower bikes than this. A close look at the entire front end is straight off the race bike. This bike is closer to what could be a production bike than you would like to admit. Much more torque? so how much torque does an FTR make. It makes more h.p. than a stock Scout.

          • DickRuble

            you don’t know the difference, drivers of, and relative relevance of torque and power.. .case closed..

          • Fast2win

            You have been outed as someone with very little credibility. so you are best to close the case before you look even less so.

          • Alaskan18724
          • DickRuble

            ?? Is that your girlfriend?

          • Old MOron

            Hey Richie, maybe Indian’s engineers went to the same high school shop class as the guys who did Kawasaki’s H2.

            (Ruble trashes Japan’s entire education system in 3, 2, 1…)


          • DickRuble
          • Old MOron

            LOL, I have no idea. I just wanted to do the “3, 2, 1…” joke.
            You let me down, by the way.

          • DickRuble

            Here’s a nice write-up about the likelihood of a road legal street tracker coming up for sale.


          • Old MOron

            Yeah, they can’t build an actual race bike for the street. But a bike inspired by a flattrack racer, with proper ergos, and reasonable weight, why not?

          • DickRuble

            Read the write-up.. you’ll find out why.

          • Old MOron

            I did! I did! That’s why I tend to agree. They can’t build an actual race bike for the street. But a racer-inspired bike? Sure. For example, every CBR-YZ-Ninja-GSX is a production bike derived from a racer. Yes, they have fairings to hide wiring looms and other ugliness, but still, it can be done.

          • Kevin Duke

            I believe Sideburnmag is wrong. Polaris, IMO, would be foolish not to capitalize on its recent flat-track successes. We’ll know for sure within a year, I’d say. I’m still hopeful for a 750cc version for the street, too.

          • Fast2win

            What’s your point? I could put a dozen trellis style frames up here. This bike looks very close to production.

  • ADB

    Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on …

    This can’t be real. This can’t be true.

  • mikstr

    wow! Not practical, but wow!!!!

  • Ray

    “Yeah, we know that the carbon-fiber would be the first thing to go in the conversion to a production motorcycle, but it sure is pretty.”

    As would the underseat license mount that isn’t DOT in any of the 50 states

  • Jeff S. Wiebe

    Indian: Make. This. Bike.

  • Fabian

    They’re going to produce it but with forward foot controls. Why? Because. This aside, Ohlin and Brembo, this is going to be expensive.

  • TheMarvelous1310

    I hope they come out with this. Only with a 180mm rear, a regular street exhaust, some kind of fairing for wind protection and a skidplate because exposed lower ends scare the crap out of me. They knocked this one out the park, period, but I’m not getting my hopes up for any more Polaris concepts.


    Ok guys that read and ride …anything that comes out of mennettos mouth is The most BS in the motorcycle industry from aND that new CEO he sucks he know sleds not motorcycle get rid of him asap ..if indian builds a bike that has all the hype you n I want and the sales numbers aren’t their then POLIERS AKA polaris with the help of mennettos will drop the line with out batting a eye like they di with Victory witch was the best thing they ever had better then indian with a newer younger following …I will never believe the new CEO
    of polaris is to trust worth of the bike brand till he is gone and polaris brings back a guy like Keith Blackwell I think that was him …a great enthusiastic rider with the soul of motorcycling …that Bum menettos can’t ride shit he has a numbers mind and what that gets you is short lived business you oxxhole …ever hear the saying a pig gets feed and the hog gets slaughtered well her you go again only know it is with Indian who by the way has been out of business and left with a sour taste in alot of rides mouth for I believe about 4 times out of business and sold like to any one they can …how many times you going to beat the name ..be a loyal bike company such as HD build a following that you had with Vic and build the 156 type bike that ever new rider was waiting for with sport touring model under 10k and show the world what you can do ….until then I give poliers 3-5 yrs before they sell or drop Indian

  • Eric

    This is beautiful, but no way they build it as-is. Any production version will likely be far more like Roland Sands’ Super Hooligan bikes. Still cool, but nowhere near as awesome as this.

  • CakeDispenser

    I like it!

  • Firestar45

    That would be a sweet ride….if it’s not vaporware.

  • Alaskan18724

    Let’s keep this one on the front burner. Indian? Indian? Bueller?

    • Kevin Duke

      I bet it will make it to production. Indian would be foolish not to take advantage of its flat-track successes of late.

      • Alaskan18724

        I’d be toward the front of the line. Hope they don’t wait too long and frustrate their market.