Indian Motorcycle finally unveiled not one but two highly interesting motorcycles today, inspired by their highly successful FTR750 flat tracker: FTR1200 and FTR1200 S. Adding the “S” on the order sheet, when bikes become available in the spring, will get you, in addition to the 1203cc V-Twin-powered basic street tracker: fully adjustable front and rear suspension, a 4.3-inch Ride Command Bluetooth-equipped LCD touch screen, lean-angle sensitive stability control, ABS, traction control, wheelie mitigation control – and three ride modes.
What you’re dying to know is, does it have cruise control? Yes it does, on both base and S versions. This thing is a fully modern motorcycle.
As for looks, I’d say cool as hell. Definitely FTR750, but with overtones of Ducati Monster, a whiff of Yamaha V-Max and just a hint of Honda Nighthawk S. But those big bespoke Dunlop tires – a 19-inch front and 18 rear – give the new FTRs a style all their own really, and if you’re offended by the mufflers, blame the gub’mint. There are already a couple of swell Akrapovic slip-on alternatives.
Take up the styling with Indian Senior Designer Rich Christoph, who’s quoted in the press kit saying: “This is an extremely exciting platform for us, and after investing such a significant amount of time, expertise and energy in the design process, it’s an incredible feeling to finally show the world these motorcycles. Our primary focus was to ensure these motorcycles carried the same lines and form language as the FTR750 and 1200 Custom. We knew that’s what riders around the world fell in love with. I couldn’t be more proud to turn the FTR750 into a flat tracker for the street and help launch Indian into a new era.”
It appears that we’ve bored the original 60-degree Scout Twin from 1133 to 1203cc via pistons 6mm wider (now 102mm), while the stroke remains the same 73.6mm. In the process, compression’s gone from a cruiserly 10.7:1 to 12.5:1, which boosts our horsepower to 120 at 8250 rpm, says Indian, and 85 lbs-ft. at 6000 rpm. Last time we dynoed a Scout, in 2016, it made 84.8 hp at 7200 rpm, and 65.1 lb-ft at 3300 rpm at the rear contact patch. Well, they’re not calling it Scout anymore, but this Scout should scoot like none before.
That engine’s bolted into a new steel trellis frame, with the 3.4-gallon fuel tank strategically located under the seat for a lower cg and centralized weight distribution. That leaves room for a big airbox positioned directly above the engine for maximum power within Uncle’s noise regulations, and leaves the rider in a sporty, upright riding position, backin’ er in to every Starbucks via the ProTaper flat-tracker aluminum handlebar.
Both models use a power-assist slipper clutch inspired by the race clutch used on the FTR750 race bike. That design reduces rear-wheel slip on decel and provides light clutch-lever pull. A 6-speed sliding mesh transmission is claimed to provide easy, crisp gear changes. Primary drive is via gear, of course, and the drive chain is a 525 unit.
These things will hit the ground running in the first half of 2019, says Indian: “These bikes have gone through a rigorous, multi-year design and testing process to ensure that they perform as good as they look,” says Ben Lindaman, Indian Motorcycle Senior International Product Manager. “The process was incredibly robust, including over one million miles logged through simulated rides. We also accumulated tens of thousands of test miles on the street with input from racers, including our championship winning Wrecking Crew flat track team and former Grand Prix racers.”
Indian CEO Steve Menneto says he’s excited, too: “Our vision from the beginning was to be more than a traditional American V-twin brand. We continually seek to broaden Indian Motorcycle’s reach to a wider range of riders, and FTR1200 represents a significant step forward in that strategy. Indian Motorcycle was founded on performance and innovation, and we remain grounded by our founder’s mindset of constantly pushing forward. In light of that history, the FTR1200 is a natural extension for the brand that we couldn’t be more excited about.”
I think I’m excited too, but I won’t know for certain until I clap actual eyeballs on the FTR in about seven hours from now, which is just about the time this story will be posted. All these words and pics were lifted directly from a nice press kit provided by Indian in advance. I’d requested to have the unveiling inside Koln Cathedral, just across the Rhine from the convention center, but we haven’t heard back from the Pope yet. So probably it will be in a nondescript meeting room, but I’ll shoot more photos when I can.
Anyway, we’re busy making comparisons to the last time anybody tried to sell a flat-tracker style bike to the American public, which I think would’ve been Harley’s XR1200 Sportster of just about one decade ago. For us journalist dweebs, it remains about the coolest Sportster ever, but buyers lined up to ignore the XR.
For the new FTR Indian, I suspect things will be different. If anybody cares about a racing pedigree, Indian’s proved itself over these last couple flat-track seasons. It meets the requirements of those who’d like to buy American but not H-D. There’s a nice tailwind right now from the buying public’s interest in naked bikes and scramblers, of which the FTR is a unique combination – and a certain segment of the public is drawn to anything with fat flat-track tires on it. On the other hand, 489 pounds dry, call it 510 with a full tank, isn’t exactly light and $13 to $16K isn’t, well, actually that’s the going rate for a premium ‘sicle with cruise control.
So, I guess we wait around to hear if the fat lady sings? Not to body-shame anybody. And to get an FTR or two into our hands to ride. In the meantime, Good luck Indian!
|2019 Indian FTR1200 Specifications|
|Engine Type||60-degree liquid-cooled V-Twin DOHC, 4-valves per cylinder|
|Displacement||1203cc (73 ci)|
|Bore x Stroke||102 x 73.6mm|
|Fuel System||Closed-loop fuel injection / two 60mm throttle bodies|
|Oil||SAE 15W60, 4.4 qts|
|Horsepower||120 hp at 8250 rpm (claimed)|
|Torque||85 ft-lbs at 6000 rpm (claimed)|
|Transmission||6-speed, constant mesh, slip/assist clutch|
|Final drive||525 chain|
|Battery||12 Volt, 12AH, 240CCA, maintenance-free AGM|
|Charging System||35 amp max output|
|Frame||Chrome-moly tubular steel|
|Rake/Trail||26.3° / 5.1 inches|
|Lean Angle||43 degrees|
|Seat Height||31.7 inches / 33.1 inches (Laden/Unladen)|
|Dry Weight||489 lbs (claimed), GVWR 948 lbs|
|Ground Clearance||7.2 inches|
|Front Suspension||43mm inverted cartridge fork; adjustable for spring preload, rebound damping, compression damping, 5.9 inches travel|
|Rear Suspension||Piggyback IFP, adjustable for spring preload, rebound damping, compression damping, 5.9 inches travel|
|Front Brake||Dual 320mm x t5 rotors, Brembo M4.32 4-piston calipers|
|Rear Brake||265mm x t5 rotor with Brembo P34 2-piston caliper|
|Front Tire||120/70R19 60V Dunlop DT3-R Radial|
|Rear Tire||150/80R18 70V Dunlop DT3-R Radial|
|Fuel Capacity||3.4 gal (91 octane recommended)|
|Colors and MSRP||Thunder Black $12,999 US / $15,999 CAN; Indian Motorcycle Red over Steel Gray $14,999 US / $18,499 CAN; Titanium Metallic over Thunder Black Pearl $14,999 US / $18,499 CAN; Race Replica $15,999 US / $19,499 CAN|