Motorcycles

The 2019 Indian FTR1200 is here, it's a hooligan bike and I need it

The long-awaited production version of Indian's gorgeous FTR1200 Concept is here and it packs real performance cred.

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If like me you're a bit of a bike nerd, then you've been waiting for this day for a long time. Indian has finally pulled the wraps off of its production FTR1200 and FTR1200 S flat track-inspired motorcycles. But, now that it's here, how does it stack up to the gorgeous FTR1200 Concept from 2017?

To be honest, it is a reasonably faithful recreation of the concept bike, and that's a big deal. Indian makes some beautiful motorcycles, but it's not exactly known for building bikes with sporting flair, and people were afraid that it would water the concept down to the point of being unrecognizable. It didn't. The production FTR looks ready to destroy city streets and rip big wheelies.

At the heart of the FTR1200 is a new liquid-cooled 1203 cc v-twin engine that produces a decidedly un-Indian-like 120 horsepower and 85 pound-feet of torque, but Indian didn't stop there. It pulled out some tricks like a low-inertia crankshaft to allow the engine to rev quickly and magnesium engine covers to help keep weight down. The transmission is a six-speed unit with a slipper clutch that should make downshifts smoother and easier. The final drive is thankfully a chain rather than the typical American v-twin belt system. This will make gearing changes a snap, at the expense of more owner maintenance.

The FTR1200 S with all of its sporting pretense is almost unrecognizable as being from the same company that builds the Chief and the Scout.

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The bike's frame and suspension are also a radical departure from our expectations. The frame is a steel trellis design (think Ducati or KTM) to help improve rigidity while keeping weight down. It also looks the business. The suspension on the higher-spec S model is fully adjustable with a 43mm inverted fork up front and rear monoshock with a piggyback reservoir. The base model gets non-adjustable front suspension and a rear shock that is adjustable for both preload and rebound.

The brakes for the FTR1200 are refreshingly high-spec. Both the standard and S models get 320 mm discs with Brembo 4.32 monobloc front calipers. The rear is a single 260 mm rotor clamped by a two-piston Brembo caliper. Anti-lock brakes are standard on both bikes.

While the base model has a relatively ho-hum standard single pod speedometer with a small LCD readout, the FTR1200 S gets a "what the hell is this doing on an American bike?" full-color TFT display with a ton of electronic rider aids. Specifically, it comes with traction control, stability control and wheelie-control. All of which are tied to an inertial measurement unit, aka gyro. This means that all of the FTR1200 S' safety systems are lean-sensitive and that's amazing.

The base model FTR1200 is sexy all on its own, but it's worth springing for the S model with its upgraded suspension and electronics.

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Other cool features include LED lighting, cruise control, a USB fast charger, and an available Akrapovič performance exhaust. Pricing for the base model bike starts at $12,999 and is only available in black while the S-model starts at $14,999 and goes up to $15,999 for the race replica appearance pack.

So, while the FTR1200 isn't cheap, it's also not a watered-down attempt to sell bikes to people outside of late-middle age. It has the makings of a real hooligan bike, and I absolutely cannot wait to throw a leg over it when it comes out in spring 2019. Until then, I'll be hyperventilating into a paper bag just thinking about it.