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INDIAN FTR1200S ridden

Published: 06 May 2019

Indian have created a beautiful, but gnarly flat track-inspired street hooligan

INDIAN FTR1200  (2019-on)

Indian have created a beautiful, but gnarly flat track-inspired street hooligan

  • At a glance
  • 1203cc  -  118 bhp
  • Medium seat height (840mm)
  • New: £12,999

Overall Rating 3 out of 5

Indian have created a beautiful, but gnarly flat track-inspired street hooligan that’s not for the faint-hearted or inexperienced. It’s a character trait deliberately built in to make the FTR 1200 S stand out from the crowd and few modern machines offer the same drama or challenge to the rider.

It makes other retros seem soft and fluffy by comparison. For spirited riding it would be nice to have less instant power and more rear grip, but for the rest of the time it’s a class act - built like an exquisite Tonka toy, comfortable, well equipped, packed with US of A-grade character.

Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5

It may look like just another 'On Any Sunday' inspired tribute, but the FTR 1200 S has a bit more about it than that. Built to mimic the American firm’s dominant FTR 750 flat track racer it’s more than just striking good looks and quality, although it’s not a bad place to start.

The Indian is calm and comfy, has lots of legroom and a comfy stretch to the bars. It’s a classy little number, but the FTR 1200 can be a lively beast when you push it, where you’ll discover it’s as gusty as its racy little sideways brother, wearing shoes of steel and spewing out more power than its skinny rear 150-section Dunlop DT3-R race replica tyre knows what to do with.

You need to treat the Indian like the big road-going flat tracker it is and when you do it comes alive in your hands, squirting from corner to corner and staying the hell away from those knobbly tyre edges. You can even turn traction and ABS off, on the move, once you’ve got the hang of it, for flat track-style stunting.

Ever since their resurgence in 2014 Indian have had a knack of creating fine handling motorcycles. Their cruisers are more fun on UK roads than they have any right to be and the Bobber stops, turns and goes so well in corners you wish it had 17-inch wheels and tyres to see what it could really do.

Sitting on its 18-inch rear and 19 front the FTR 1200 S has a long, stable stars and stripes feel to it. Brakes are superb and wide bars give you the leverage to nudge that big front hoop into a corner with a gentle, pleasing resistance.

Front end feel is sublime, but it’s a different story at the rear and that’s simply down to those blocky-tread tyres, specially developed by Dunlop for Indian to mimic the DT3 rubber fitted to the FTR 750 racer.

All the time you have a machine with such an eager engine and so little edge grip you need to be careful with the throttle in slow, low rpm corners. Even on sun-baked tarmac the FTR 1200 S’ rear end never needs a second invitation to let go when the power comes cascading in.

That might sound hairy and it’s nerve wracking at first until you know it’s coming, but grip disappears so early that everything happens in slow motion and it’s easy to catch, especially if you take those upright, V-shaped lines in and out of turns.

Riding the Indian FTR 1200 S

Traction control bails you out if things get too loose and through higher speed corners, when you’re further up the revs and away from that instant torque, grip isn’t as much of an issue.

Ride quality on our test bike is on the firm side. We didn’t get the chance to experiment with fork and shock settings during the FTR’s launch, but the standard version has a plusher, more forgiving ride. It wouldn’t take too much time to replicate that set-up on the S model.

Engine 4 out of 5

There’s no mistaking from where the FTR 1200 hails. The 121bhp, 1203cc V-twin’s weighty feel and pulverising low-down grunt screams Americana.

Like its cruiser cousins the Indian is happy to glide serenely along, but spin the ride-by-wire throttle to the stop, to wake the motor from its slumber and you’re rewarded with a face full of speed, drama, sultry sounds and the perfect dose of V-twin vibes.

So far so good, but the FTR 1200 S’s power delivery is too instant, on and off the throttle, especially in the prickliest of its riding modes: Sport. Flicking into Standard takes the edge off its battering bottom end, but it still doesn’t have that smooth, reassuring throttle connection you want to control 231kg of hot, throbbing metal.

Developed for the FTR 1200 in collaboration with Swissauto, Indian’s high compression V-twin has a gas flowed head, dual throttle bodies, ride by wire, magnesium engine covers and an FTR 750-inspired power-assist slipper clutch.

Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5

Indian’s cruiser ranges have proved to be well built and dependable. Expect more of the same from the FTR 1200 S.

Insurance, running costs & value 4 out of 5

You get a lot of metal, technology and goodies for your money and the still-superb base model is even easier on the wallet. To take things further, Indian offer four styling packs, as well as a roster of individual accessories to make your FTR 1200 your own.

Indian FTR 1200 S headlight

Equipment 5 out of 5

It’s loaded with tasty morsels, too: Brembos, fully-adjustable Sachs suspension, an underseat fuel tank, LED lights and Bosch IMU-enabled lean-sensitive traction control and ABS. 

Indian’s 4.3-inch touch-screen multi-function Bluetooth dash seems complicated, but everything from choosing riding modes to which of the three displays you desire is easy to do with a swipe and a prod. Featuring an in-built USB charger.

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2019
Year discontinued -
New price £12,999
Used price -
Warranty term Two years
Running costs
Insurance group -
Annual road tax £91
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 118 bhp
Max torque 85 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4-mile acceleration -
Average fuel consumption -
Tank range -
Specification
Engine size 1203cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 840mm
Bike weight 231kg
Front suspension Sachs 43mm forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Sachs single shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2x320mm discs with four-piston radial monobloc Brembo calipers. Cornering ABS
Rear brake 265mm rear disc with twin-piston caliper. Cornering ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 19
Rear tyre size 150/80 x 18

History & Versions

Model history

2019: Model launched in California and hits dealers in May.

Other versions

Indian’s base model FTR 1200 might not come with such sophisticated suspension, electronics or dash, but we prefer its analogue clock that’s more in keeping with the retro look (and looks less like a sat nav strapped to the top yoke).

Mapping is the same as the S model’s in Standard mode and non-adjustable suspension mimics the higher spec bike in its middle settings. 

As well as the base and S models, there’s the FTR 1200 S Race Replica featuring a burgundy frame, race paint and Akrapovic end cans. There are 50 accessories available and parts packages to create the Tracker, Tour, Sport and Rally Collections.

Owners' Reviews

No owners have yet reviewed the INDIAN FTR1200 (2019-on).

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Photo Gallery

  • INDIAN FTR1200  (2019-on)
  • Cornering on the Indian FTR 1200 S
  • Indian FTR 1200 S headers
  • Indian FTR 1200 S headlight
  • In action on the Indian FTR 1200 S
  • Indian FTR 1200 S rear shock
  • Indian FTR 1200 S front forks
  • Riding in the Indian FTR 1200 S
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