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 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.”
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.