If you haven’t noticed, the traditional American motorcycle companies (hint there’s only two of them) seriously lag behind the rest of the world’s manufacturers when it comes to brand diversity. For Indian Motorcycle and Harley-Davidson, the rule of thumb is cruisers or bust, but Indian is breaking that tradition with the all-new FTR 1200, and it’s about damn time.
When Indian announced the street-legal FTR 1200 would go into production, it made sure to mention it would be obviously related to the FTR750 flat track racer and the one-off FTR1200 Custom that made rounds at last year’s motorcycle shows. Indian Motorcycle Senior Designer Rich Christoph said, “We wanted to make sure that the FTR 1200 wasn’t merely a regurgitation of the FTR1200 Custom, but something uniquely ‘street,’ albeit flat track inspired.” Hopefully, that translates to more civilized exhaust pipes to meet emissions and swapping the carbon fiber for something more affordable to keep the price down. Everything else needs to stay.
Full stats on the FTR 1200 aren’t official, but it’s clear the new bike will use different V-twin from the current Scout. Whether Indian decide to keep it at or around a similar 100 horsepower and 73 lb-ft is another story. But, it might not matter because of the stripped down, flat track-style body — the FTR 1200 will be undoubtedly lighter by 100 pounds or so. All you have to do now is keep an eye out for the FTR 1200 going on sale early next year.
Indian introduced this bike as a one-off then sat back and listened to the feedback, assessing whether or they should build it or not. Which, while smart, I will say was probably unnecessary. You only need to take a glance at the current market to see that retro-styled scramblers, cafe racers from Europe and Japan and street trackers from custom shops the world over are very much in style. The hesitance to build a bike like this speaks volumes of American manufacturers. Harley-Davidson’s reluctance to build anything but cruisers aimed at demographic completely aging out of riding motorcycles altogether is exactly why it’s in the dire situation it is. I’m genuinely ecstatic Indian finally pulled the trigger on a bike like this, since the American market has clearly been pining, starving for it. But what took so long?