2019 Indian FTR 1200 S: Happiness is a flat circle
This is the 2019 Indian FTR-1200 S.
And it's a very new way of thinking for a very old motorcycle company.
Indian's FTR 1200 is inspired by the brand's long participation and success in the sport of American flat track racing.
And as such, it bears no small resemblance to the FTR750 race bike.
The bikes brand new 1203cc engine makes 123 horsepower and 85 pound feet of torque which makes it Indians highest performance road bike engine to date.
Power peaks at 8250 RPM while torque peaks at around five grand, the big twin exhales through a dual muffler exhaust system which is standard on our top tier race replica bike.
The fully adjustable sack suspension is on par with suspenders offered on premium eurobikes.
And though ours took a little tweaking to feel just right, that was easy and done with just hand tools.
And it made a world of difference to the way that the bike handled.
The FTR's brakes are also more in line with offerings on European bikes.
For its sportiest offering, Indian went to the best in the business, Brembo.
The S model's TFT dash has two looks for its main screen, and the ability to pair with your phone to receive calls and text.
The screen is touch sensitive and it can be used with gloves on.
The interface is easy to navigate, even while riding.
The low point for the FTR is its fuel tank, which you need to essentially dribble gasoline into from the pump and occasionally rock the bike side to side to release trapped air.
It takes forever and it's easily the biggest problem that we have with this bike.
We'd expect to see this addressed in future model years.
One thing we'd like to have seen as standard on the bike that costs nearly 18 grand is [UNKNOWN] grips.
It sounds frivolous, but it makes riding in even moderately chilly weather like we get here in California way easier and much more pleasant.
On the road, the bike wants you to be rough with it.
Using its wide, tall handlebars to muscle it around.
That doesn't mean it's not easy to ride though.
It doesn't feel too darty or nervous thanks to its long wheel base.
And it leans over into a corner without too much fight.
Well the bikes handling is generally good we don't love its tires.
sure they're cool looking, and they're modelled after real flat track racing tires but the grip is only okay and they tend to squirm about on the freeway.
The bikes oddball 19 inch front and 18 inch rear tire sizes will likely make finding sporty replacement rubber a challenge.
The FTR breaks approved remarkably resistant to fading.
They have great initial bite and are easy to modulate thanks to a radial brake master cylinder and braided stainless steel brake lines.
The bike smart, lean sensitive ABS system is effective and it's not intrusive, which provides tons of confidence if the road surface gets slippery.
Speaking of lean sensitive the FTR is also packing some serious safety technology in the form of a Bosch inertial measurement unit that can adjust the bikes abs and trash control systems based on your lean angle in a corner.
The FTR is ride by wire throttle is well tuned and very smooth even in the more aggressive sport mode, which is where I tend to leave it.
The six speed transmission and slipper clutch are both great to use.
The Indian is a rowdy bike and it deserves a rowdier exhaust while the crap of which exhaust makes a perfectly pleasant noise at the top end of the rev range, we do wish the system had a bit more bite.
The FTR fuel range is Pretty terrible, with us barely able to eat 80 miles out of the bikes 3.4 gallon undersea tank problem only made worse by just how hard it is to fully fill up.
We've been living with this Indian FTR 1200 S for a few months now, and we're genuinely impressed with what Indian and its parent company Polaris have been able to accomplish in an increasingly crowded and competent market segment.
This is a truly Stellar first effort.
It's not a perfect bike.
But we can definitely forgive Indian for its minor engineering flaws here, because it's just so damn good derive.
And now, if you'll excuse me, got a hell of a lot more riding to do.