Indian FTR (2021-on) Review | Owner & Expert Ratings

Highlights

  • Now features 17in rims for better choice of tyres
  • 4.3-inch TFT touchscreen dash
  • 121.2bhp V-twin motor

At a glance

Power: 123 bhp
Seat height: Low (30.7 in / 780 mm)
Weight: High (514 lbs / 233 kg)

Prices

New £13,695
Used N/A

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The flattrack-inspired 2021 Indian FTR has been one of the brand’s biggest hits – and misses – since it hit UK streets in 2019. With great styling, three different trim levels, an enlarged, 121bhp version of the cruiser Scout’s V-twin, quality parts and engaging, entertaining handling, it was something of an 'American Monster'.

There were issues with that original bike, though. Indian’s decision to go with flattrack-sized wheels with an 18-inch rear and 19-inch front, matched to flattrack semi-knobbly Dunlop tyres, made the FTR a bit disconcerting to ride. Not only was it wobbly on occasions, the sheer grunt of the twin easily overwhelmed the grip levels offered by the (it has to be said) fashion-led rather than performance-focused tyres.

For 2021 Indian have had a look at their FTR model range and decided to arm them with more common 17-inch wheels front and rear and lovely sticky Metzeler Sportec tyres (or tires if you are American). Was it a wise decision?

Yes it was as the FTR S (no longer called the FTR1200) can now be viewed as a serious naked bike that can go head-to-head with the likes of the BMW R nine T or Ducati Monster 1200. There are four FTR models for 2021 – the stock bike (£12,295) the more off-road styled Rally which retains the 18/19 wheel sizes (£12,995), sporty S (£13,695) and range-topping R Carbon (£15,595).

Armed with angle-responsive ABS and traction control, three power modes and even twin-stacked Akrapovic exhausts as standard, this higher spec FTR S version is ready to rock.

It’s still not perfect though: the tank filler is awkward and at 13 litres it’s too small. But what now lifts it another notch is its extra grip, particularly at the rear, added tyre options, more real-world riding position and refinement, although I suspect I’d be just as happy with the standard FTR, at £1400 less...

Cornering on the 2021 Indian FTR S

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The main criticism of the original FTR was its 19/18in wheel combo, clad in skinny, flattrack-style Dunlop tyres. Handling wasn’t bad but the tyres restricted how far it could be explored. Now that’s all changed.

New 17in alloys wear fat Metzeler Sportec tyres (with the rear now a 180-section instead of the previous 150), steering geometry and suspension have been adjusted and the result is sports-naked handling as good as any. The 19/18 combo, meanwhile, lives on in the Rally variant.

Those smaller wheels still give sharp enough steering thanks to half a degree sharper steering geometry and reduced trail, yet the riding experience is less 'flappy' and exposed due to 40mm narrower handlebars.

17in rims now mean grippier road focussed tyres

The smaller wheels along with revised FTR suspension settings also make for a lower, more manageable seat height (780mm from 840mm). The sum total is a riding position that’s more comfortable along with handling that’s entertaining yet more composed in fast turns.

You can now aim the FTR into a bend with confidence and know what the tyres are doing. It’s still not full-on sporty, mainly as at 233kg dry it remains quite a big and heavy bike, but it is leagues ahead of the older machine. The brakes, which are unaltered, are as sharp as you would expect from a twin Brembo set-up and the cornering ABS and TC are both excellent.

Is the S with its uprated suspension noticeably better handling than the stock bike? It’s hard to say without riding them back to back but the £1400 price saving might well tempt a few riders to compromise, although they will also miss out on those cool Akra exhaust cans.

Engine

Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Although based on the 1133cc Scout V-twin, the FTR unit, developed with race engine specialists Swissauto, was very different, with a revised bore/stroke giving 1203cc, high compression head and dual throttle bodies to produce 121bhp compared to the Scout’s 100.

Aside from Euro5-compliance, the FTR’s engine is pretty much the same as before however Indian have refined it slightly to make the throttle response less abrupt and added rear cylinder deactiviation to aid cooling when you are stuck in traffic.

Producing a hefty 121.2bhp and 88.5ftlb of torque, it is a bit of a grunt-monster with a progressive flexibility and loads of stomp.

Indian FTR S V-twin engine

The updates have given it a bit more drive in the mid-range (not that it needed it but it is always good to have) and a very welcome air of refinement that can be made more or less aggressive via the three power modes (Sport, Standard, Rain), which have also been tweaked to improve their performance.

The new rear cylinder deactivation is a bit disconcerting at first but makes sense – what is more aggravating is the FTR’s fuel range.

Supping the good stuff at a rate of 46mpg the tiny 13-litre tank sees the fuel warning light come on at 106 miles and the tank (theoretically) empty by 133 miles, which is a bit limiting and frustrating.

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

Being so new, it's hard to talk about the reliability of the 2021 FTR range. However, owners' reviews of the 2019 bike give largely glowing praise.

That said, one owner did criticise the indicators for being susceptible to damage and a careless knock from a boot getting on, off or brushing past can damage and crack the stalks. There were also reported issues with starting in cold weather and the engine cutting out in traffic.

The overall level of build quality on the FTR seems high and there appears to be no corners cut.

A rear view of the 2021 Indian FTR S

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
3 out of 5 (3/5)

The model tested here is the mid-range FTR S but there are now four FTR variants in total. The base FTR (£12,295) and top-spec R Carbon (£15,595) also get the new 17in wheels while the base FTR also now has multi-adjustable suspension.

It lacks, however, the S’s slick 4.3in touchscreen TFT, Akrapovic exhaust, uprated electronics and ABS and two-tone paint. The limited edition Carbon, adds carbon panels, Öhlins front/rear while the semi-dirt Rally (£12,995) retains the old FTR’s 19/18in tyres on wire wheels.

The addition of 17in rims has also opened the FTR up to a wider range of naked competition from Europe and Japan. It's 121bhp V-twin makes it a direct rival to the latest 2021 Ducati Monster, which produces a slightly less imposing 109bhp, but weighs considerably less.

Able to pass most things on the road aside from a petrol station, the FTR isn’t that thirsty at 46mpg, it is just lacking in tank size. Insurance isn’t horrific and neither are servicing costs but the FTR S is quite expensive at £13,995.

If you want a Ducati Monster 1200 it is £11,995 or the S is £15,095 but you have to remember the Ducati S model gets Öhlins suspension where the FTR S has Sachs.

The BMW R nine T is £10,795 for the Pure or £12,985 for the range-topping roadster version, so again is cheaper. If you want to go British (ok, Thai...) the Triumph Speed Twin is £11,000 with the Thruxton RS £13,000.

Equipment

3 out of 5 (3/5)

Despite the updates, what hasn’t changed is the FTR’s distinctive American style and conspicuous quality – which is pleasing in these times when Ducati Monsters are starting to look like Yamahas and MT-09s are starting to look like they haven’t been finished properly.

The FTR’s trellis frame and rear end have shades of both Monster and Ariel, its chassis is generously sprinkled with Brembos, Akrapovic and multi-adjustment and everywhere you look there’s tactile touches and sumptuous style. This truly is a bike you’ll park up and admire.

With three power modes, angle-responsive ABS and TC, anti-wheelie, cruise control, a touch screen TFT dash and a USB port, the FTR S is quite well specified as standard.

Indian FTR S switch gear

Aftermarket accessories for the FTR are pretty limited in the UK but there are a few American companies that build bits so you can always get shopping on the internet.

Indian themselves sell a stack of bolt-ons including Roland Sands’ designed crash protection, billet fluid covers, hand guards and grips as well as a selection of Akrapovic exhausts (high or low level), a luggage rack, various seat options, heated grips, new grips, Öhlins suspension and carbon parts. There around 50 official accessories to choose from.

Specs

Engine size 1203cc
Engine type Liquid-cooled, 8v, V-twin
Frame type Tubular steel trellis
Fuel capacity 13 litres
Seat height 780mm
Bike weight 233kg
Front suspension USD Sachs forks, fully adjustable
Rear suspension Sachs single shock, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 320mm front discs with Brembo four-piston radial calipers. ABS
Rear brake 260mm rear disc with Brembo twin piston caliper, ABS
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption -
Annual road tax £96
Annual service cost -
New price £13,695
Used price -
Insurance group -
How much to insure?
Warranty term Two years

Top speed & performance

Max power 123 bhp
Max torque 88 ft-lb
Top speed -
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range -

Model history & versions

Model history

  • 2019: Indian FTR1200 launched in California and hits dealers in May.
  • 2021: Name changed to FTR, Euro5 update and move to smaller 17in wheels.

Watch our original Indian FTR1200 video review below:

Other versions

There are four models in the 2021 Indian FTR line-up. The model tested here is the mid-range FTR1200S but the base FTR (£12,295) and top-spec R Carbon (£15,595) also get the new 17in wheels. The base bike also now has multi-adjustable suspension.

The limited edition Carbon, adds carbon panels, Öhlins front/rear while the semi-dirt Rally (£12,995) retains the old FTR’s 19/18in tyres on wire wheels.

MCN Long term test reports

MCN Fleet: 4600 miles in on the Indian FTR1200S

MCN Fleet: 4600 miles in on the Indian FTR1200S

For the most part, the Indian FTR1200S is great out of the crate but (there’s always a but) the stock Dunlop DT3-R tyres leave a lot of room for improvement. In the dry they’re fine but the savage torque of the big twin can unstick them without too much trouble. In the wet they generally sap you of

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