It’s an exciting time for American motorcycles. From the outside looking in it does seem to have been the same old thing for a long time now. The big manufacturers seem to be very concerned with protecting their heritage. We hear a lot about the ‘core customer’ and such. That’s one of the main reasons why its so good to see some of the stuff that’s coming our way from the US in the next few years. There are genuinely new model motorcycles coming to the market from the North American brands and they don’t necessarily lead to owning a large capacity cruiser anymore. The first machines to land in our part of the world are on display in Franklin Motorcycles here in Dublin.
Both new models, Indians FTR1200 and FTR1200 S, were inspired by Indian Motorcycle’s long and storied history and success in flat track racing. The sport is somewhat of an American tradition. It has been modified and loved by the Scandinavians and Russians over the last few years and features many brands. The common feature is the lack of a front break, lots of noise and remaining leaned in almost all the time when racing on oval dirt tracks. While the bike is new, both the Indian FTR1200 and the FTR 1200 S take their design and styling cues from the championship-winning FTR 750 purpose- built race bike. While on display in Franklins, the evolution from race winning machine to street bike was plain to see. The one-off FTR 1200 Custom also contributed to delivering a flat tracker for the street.
For many riders who wouldn’t have traditionally considered a bike from the marque the platform breaks new ground for an American motorcycle manufacturer and answers the call of flat track fans and enthusiasts as well as those who want a more conventionally set up motorcycle but would like to move away from the traditional Japanese and European brands.
Each of the two models marries the race success inspired design with a short wheelbase that promises nimble handling combined with an upright riding position that we simply don’t associate with that part of the world. This new platform is highly unlikely to stop with these machines and is surely going to be a key component in Indian Motorcycle’s bigger mission to expand its global appeal and reach out to a whole new generation of riders. Remember when we all knew that sports bike riders would never touch a BMW? Then along came the S1000RR and the world has never been the same!
The development and testing time on the new chassis was extensive. This was to ensure it met the company's high standards and performed at the highest levels. The platform accumulated a little over a staggering one million miles of simulated ride testing as well as tens of thousands of test miles on the street with input from racers, including former Grand Prix riders as well as Indian Motorcycle’s championship-winning ‘Wrecking Crew’ flat track race team.
A new liquid-cooled 1203cc V-Twin engine making approximately 120 horsepower and 85 ft-lbs of good old fashioned torque powers both the Indian FTR 1200 and FTR 1200 S. The block has been engineered to produce a flat torque curve which ensures a progressive and predictable power delivery with loads of bottom end drive and flexibility. The engine features all the right numbers including an impressive 12.5:1 compression ratio, as well as high flow cylinder heads. It also comes with dual throttle bodies. These allow for optimal airflow and power. Cleverly, the engine covers make wide use of magnesium. Not only does this reduce weight and but it also utilises a low-inertia crankshaft that allows the engine to rev quickly for immediate response and satisfying acceleration.
Rather cleverly the fuel tank on both the FTR 1200 and FTR 1200 S is strategically located under the seat. This makes the bike feel more compact and gives it unmatched agility as all the weight of the fuel sits under the rider rather than in front of them. This is because this design centralises the bikes mass, lowers its center of gravity, and rather brilliantly, allows for an optimal airbox placement directly above the engine. Similarly to the FTR 750 race bike, each bike’s intake features Dual Mikuni Throttle Bodies and Electronic Throttle Control. Even though Indian have done this the fuel capacity is still a more than adequate 13 liters.
Both the standard and the S model feature a tubular trellis style steel mainframe with an aluminum rear subframe. This cleverly optimises rigidity while at the same time minimises weight. The design features a single side rear shock mount with aluminum support parts, including the rear engine mount, mid- frames, and front head mounts. Since sometimes you have to carry them, the frame also includes removable (thankfully) passenger grab bars. The rear footpegs are also removable.
Both bikes have similar suspension. Both comprise of a pair of 43mm upside down cartridge forks with 150mm of travel. The front suspension has a hollow axle to minimize weight, with a 26.3° rake and 130mm of trail. The gold finished FTR 1200 S suspension is fully adjustable with preload, compression and rebound adjustments.
Down the back the Indian FTR1200 uses a similar rear suspension and swingarm design as the FTR 750 race bike. Once again we see the tubular steel construction and a side mounted monoshock, which has 150mm of travel, to ensure maximum grip and handling compliance. The swingarm pivot attaches to the engine’s crankcase. This keeps the wheelbase more compact, while a hollow rear axle helps reduce weight. The Indian FTR 1200 features a monoshock with preload and rebound adjustments. The FTR 1200 S features a monoshock with an aluminum piggy-back reservoir that is fully adjustable for preload, compression and rebound.
To further follow the style and design of the FTR 750, Indian Motorcycle worked with one of our very favorite tyre brands, Dunlop, to make an all-new flat track-inspired street tyre that is exclusive to the new FTR. It has been modeled after Dunlop’s DT3 flat track race rubber, the DT3-R on the FTR1200 and FTR 1200 S are, of course, modified for the street. They feature closer tread blocks, as well as a shallower tread depth, with additional silica to both increase grip and improve wear. Both models feature a 19-inch front and an 18-inch rear light weight cast aluminum wheel.
We really like the breaks. Both machines feature dual radially mounted 320mm disc front brakes that are mounted directly to the wheel. This is in order to decrease weight. The Brembo Monobloc M4.32 Four-piston front calipers ensure that the rider is rewarded with exceptional control and stopping power. The brand continues to feature down the back with a single, 260mm semi- floating disc with a Brembo P34 2-piston caliper which provides all the stopping power you’ll ever need for the rear. ABS is, of course, standard on both models.
Both models feature a power-assist slipper clutch inspired by the race clutch used on the FTR 750 race bike. The design features elements of a slipper clutch and reduces rear-wheel slip during deceleration for more control. It also creates a light clutch lever pull. The six speed sliding mesh transmission ensures easy, crisp gear changes. The gear primary drive creates a smooth power delivery and requires minimal maintenance while the chain final drive more effectively transfers power from the engine to the rear wheel.
The Indian FTR 1200 and FTR 1200 S feature a flat track-inspired 2-1-2 design with brushed stainless-steel construction that provides a uniquely American V-Twin sound. While that’s all well and good, we like the option to upgrade the exhaust can to either a low or high mount Akrapovic slip-on exhaust that will enhance both the sound and the style of the bike.
We love the flat track-styled ProTaper aluminum handlebars and the way they further add to the styling of the bikes. Conveniently located handlebar controls allow the rider to control all features within the FTR 1200 S’s Ride Command touch screen system without taking their hands off the bars.
Both models feature full LED lighting, including a new high output headlight to improve visibility. The Indian Motorcycle ‘Script’ running light provides an unmistakable face for the bike. Cruise control comes standard on both models to help manage the affair through your local speed check.
The FTR 1200 S features a host of additional ride enhancing technologies to let riders further tailor the bike to their riding style. It features stability, traction, and wheelie mitigation control with an inertial measurement unit that allows for lean angle sensitive adjustments to these systems to provide more control and confidence. Interestingly, riders on the FTR 1200 S also have the ability to disable the ABS system. S model riders can select between three ride modes; Sport, Standard and Rain, with unique throttle response and traction control intervention levels to further set the bike to their riding preference.
The FTR 1200 features a good old fashioned four-inch analog gauge with a USB fast charger that lets riders quickly charge mobile devices. The FTR 1200 S features an all-new 4.3-inch Ride Command LCD touchscreen display with high visibility and contrast so it’s easy to see in any lighting condition. The display includes Bluetooth and a fast charge USB port so that riders can easily pair mobile devices and control their phone and music from the display. The display is customisable so riders can select a variety of configurations for the bike’s speedometer and gauges.
The new machines are available exclusively from Franklin Motorcycles in Dublin. There are a number of model options available, call any of the team on 015385005.