Indian FTR750 is Going Hill-Climbing

Dennis Chung
by Dennis Chung

Indian is returning to its hill-climbing roots entering the 2020 AMA Pro Hillclimb Racing series with a modified FTR750. This marks the first Indian factory hillclimb racer since 1939.

The Indian FTR750 will be racing in the series’ new Twins class, which includes overhead cam Twins displacing 650cc to 1203cc or push-rod Twins from 650cc to 1800cc. AMA Pro Hillclimb created the class with the intent of drawing OEMs like Indian.

Signaling its intent to be immediately competitive in the new class, Indian signed John “Flying” Koester. A ten-time AMA Pro Hillclimb Champion, Koester has won titles in the series’ former Unlimited, 450 Pro and Xtreme classes. In 2018, Koester became the first American racer to win titles in all three National Pro Hillclimb classes in a single season. He followed that up last year by winning the Unlimited and Xtreme classes while finishing runner-up to Logan Cipala in the 450 class.

“It’s an absolute honour to represent Indian Motorcycle as it makes its dramatic return to hillclimb racing on the same machine that literally changed the game for flat-track racing over the past four years,” says Koester. “We’re excited to unleash the FTR750 on the hill, with our minds firmly fixed on the ultimate goal of capturing a championship.”

Koester and his father and crew chief, Gordy Koester, lead the FTR750’s modification, turning the flat tracker into a hill-climber. They added an extended swingarm, knobby tires and an upgraded Rekluse clutch designed for the increased demands of hillclimb racing. The subframe and tail were redesigned, resulting in a sharply rising tail. The team also worked with S&S to design a new exhaust system that would fit with Koester’s riding position.

The 2020 AMA Pro Hillclimb season begins Sept. 19 at White Rose Motorcycle Club in Spring Grove, Penn., and continues Oct. 11 at the Dayton Motorcycle Club’s Devil’s Staircase in Oregonia, Ohio.

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Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung

Dennis has been a part of the team since 2008, and through his tenure, has developed a firm grasp of industry trends, and a solid sense of what's to come. A bloodhound when it comes to tracking information on new motorcycles, if there's a new model on the horizon, you'll probably hear about it from him first.

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3 of 34 comments
  • KLRJUNE . KLRJUNE . on Aug 23, 2020

    I get the feeling Indian is trying to bully their way into winner's circles. That motor cost $50K and not everyone can get one.

    • Fast2win Fast2win on Aug 23, 2020

      The whole bike was sold to racers for 40k. Anyone on the podium spent more than that building and testing there bike.

  • Jeff benson Jeff benson on Aug 24, 2020

    All this newfangled stuff is confusing. go back to the AMA 60s rules of either 500cc OHV singles or 750cc V-twin flatheads on flattrack. Ah the heady days of the pleasure of kickstarting a Gold Star with 13.5 to one compression. Many riders nearly went into orbit.