If 2016-17 were the years of the Cafe-Racers, 2018-19 are for the Street Trackers
Classic, yet find their home in the dirtby Sagar, on
Looking at what customers were making out of their products in the last couple of years, manufacturers forayed into satisfying the current wave of enthusiasts wanting custom and classic motorbikes. Café-Racers, Bobbers and the lot.
Visually powerful, intellectually elegant and above all, timeless. They became a cornucopia of sorts for people wanting a machine that could take them back in time and re-live the classic age.
With the winters settled, and the holiday season excitingly close, the motorcycle industry has already set the pace for the next couple of years by showcasing bonkers designs and products that will take on our roads pretty soon.
Luckily, there is one more breed of the ‘Classics’ amidst those. The makers have already shown appreciation to them and will head to production pretty soon. It’s what they as the Street Trackers.
Originally born out the American AMA Grand National Championship racing series, the tracker bikes ran the premier motorcycle racing championship back in the ‘60s and the ‘70s. The guys who raced on them around dirt ovals, loved those machines so much so that they also made sure they had a street version made for them as well.
All they had to add were lights, mirrors, a horn, front brakes, and of course a starter. As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for fans to develop a desire for their street trackers and many got back to their garage to make one for themselves.
Manufacturers have not yet jumped on the street tracker bandwagon but looks like that is about to change very soon. And the most promising of the lot is the Indian Scout FTR1200 Custom and the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 concepts showcased at the 2017 EICMA.
Based on the Indian FTR750 flat-track racer, the Scout FTR1200 Custom is nowhere close to being officially a production model but wraps its carbon-fiber body around the modern Scout engine and the FTR racebike’s frame. That is a tease well played by Indian.
Harley-Davidsons, in fact, was one of the first American manufacturers who tried paying homage to its famous XR750 Track race bike by giving us the XR1000 and the XR1200. But sales didn’t add up good numbers for them, and they were soon discontinued.
Recently, however, HD announced their brand-new XG750R American Flat Track race bike and a few industry sources point out the possibility of the Eagle making a production version of the same. Yaaaay!
It’s not just the Americans wanting to taste the pie here. Across the North Atlantic, the Swedish brand has also staged the Husqvarna Svartipilen 701 at the EICMA, the "dark street explorer" version of the Vitpilen 701.
It is inspired by the resurgence of the iconic flat track scene and the Svartipilen 701 runs on the same 693cc single of the Vitpilen 701. The only question that remains now is, how long will Husqvarna make us wait to get dirty with this?
Then there is Triumph who has already filed a 2012 trademark application for the name “Street Tracker.” Triumph currently also sponsors an AMA Pro Flat Track team. So seeing a British tracker is also as likely as our American guys.
19” wheels, minimal fenders, small tank design, and a narrow seat. Without a doubt, flat track is on the way UP. With Suzuki, KTM, Ducati, and Kawasaki machines running the professional course, it won’t be long until all of them make a production version.
These trackers might as well be the last breed of classic power machines with cranks and pistons we get to enjoy. And honestly, you won’t find me complaining looking at what the makers have in store for us. At least not for now.
We know, for sure, electric is coming whether we like it or not. By 2020, you will have every motorcycle manufacturer making at least one electric powered machine “trying” to save the environment. Looking at the progress of such technology, it won’t be long before we bid our farewells to the current crop of machines making some noise.
Hopefully, the makers are listening and they get these Trackers before the petrol power loses to electric, and we get to muck around.