It’s all about flat-track performance for the street

Indian Motorcycle was obliged to release a “civilian version” of its FTR 750 to qualify to race in the Flat Track circuit, but the factory unleashed a new branch on that family tree last year with the FTR 1200. That’s right sports fans, you can own a piece of history with the second race-inspired performance machine to come from Indian since it was acquired by Polaris], and though it’s not liable to see an official closed-circuit course, it’s built to feel as though it could do so. The FTR 1200 rocks a much larger powerplant with looks that clearly channel its podium-sweeping smaller sibling, and it all comes in a street-friendly package that makes it accessible to the riding public in general.

  • 2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
  • Year:
    2019- 2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Displacement:
    1203 cc
  • Top Speed:
    124 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    12999
  • Price:

Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 Design

  • High-output LED headlight
  • Race-inspired design from the FTR750
  • Fast-charge USB port
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
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2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
- image 919840

Indian clearly set about the business of capturing the essence of its racebike when it started drawing up this newest member of the FTR range. Unlike the actual racebike, the FTR 1200 roadster runs with a minimal front fender that mounts to the end-caps of the inverted front forks with vertical members to keep the swept area of the fork tubes clean and protect the seal. A blackout tripleclamp mounts the similarly achromatic upper forks, and that color treatment is a common thread woven through the rest of the design to visually tie the machine together from front to back.

The flyline will be very familiar to the flat track fans out there with a teardrop tank and long bench seat that extends back over the subframe that tapers off to nothing. Unlike the racebike, the “1200” carries its dual exhaust in a sharply upswept fashion on the right side of the bike rather than coming up centrally under the tail, and that makes a big difference in the look on that side. The Trellis frame peeks out on both sides to give the 1200 a rather industrial look that fits well with its race-tastic panache to give the 1200 an air all its own that surpasses the bare-bones look of the 750 that inspired it.

Don’t take my word for it, Indian Senior Designer Rich Christoph had this to say about the process; “Our primary focus was to ensure these motorcycles carried the same lines and form language as the FTR750 and 1200 Custom. We knew that’s what riders around the world fell in love with. I couldn’t be more proud to turn the FTR750 into a flat tracker for the street and help launch Indian into a new era.”

At the end of the day, the 1200 comes off looking much like a proper flat-track bike, just with full LED lighting, mirrors, and a license plate mount to make it all street legal.

Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 Chassis

  • Beefier frame than the 750
  • Lower center of gravity for improved handling
  • High performance street tires with flat-track-inspired tread
  • Precision handling
  • ABS
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
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2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
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2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
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Tubular steel members on the FTR 1200 make up the nimble Trellis frame. You might notice that the frame is much beefier than on the 750, and that’s to be expected given the larger powerplant and overall heavier design. Same thing with the swingarm; the 1200’s articulated link carries heavier webbing to deal with the increase output while maintaining the same pragmatic and bare-bones look as the race bike and I’m digging it. Forget form; function has a look and appeal all its own and the 1200 has it in spades.

To lower the center of gravity, the factory positioned the 3.4-gallon fuel tank under the seat with a large-volume air-box up under the faux tank to provide ample low-resistance aspiration. Up front, a set of inverted, cartridge-style forks float the front end on 43 mm tubes while the rear end has a monotube IFP shock with adjustable preload and rebound damping that rides laid nearly horizontal in the frame for a rather striking look.

Components at both ends provide a generous 5.9-inches of travel, which should be plenty for any shenaniganery you may have in mind. Cast rims mount a 120/70-19 and 150/80-18 Dunlop DT3-R radial hoop on the front and rear, respectively, to round out the rolling chassis with the same blackout treatment that dominates the look. The steering geometry is a bit surprising; the 26.3-degree rake angle is about what I’d expect, but the 5.1-inch trail is certainly longer than I had thought to see. It seems to work, however, with precision handling and a sporty nature.

Seat height is variable and can rest at 31.7-inches or be bumped up to 33.1-inches off the deck so you can dial in for your inseam length. Dual, 320 mm rotors work with four-pot Brembo calipers to slow the front wheel with a 265 mm disc and twin-pot anchor to control the rear with ABS as a safety net.

Front Suspension/Travel: 43 mm Inverted Telescopic Cartridge Fork/5.9 in (150 mm)
Rear Suspension/Travel: Monotube IFP/ 5.9 in (150 mm)
Rake/Trail: 26.3° / 5.1 in (130 mm)
Front Brakes: Dual 320 mm x t5 Rotor with 4-Piston Calipers
Rear Brakes: Single 265 mm x t5 Rotor with 2-Piston Calipers
Front Wheel: Cast 19 in x 3 in
Rear Wheel: Cast 18 in x 4.25 in
Front Tire: Dunlop® DT3-R Radial, 120/70R19 60V
Rear Tire: Dunlop® DT3-R Radial, 150/80R18 70V

Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 Drivetrain

  • Liquid-cooled 1,203 cc V-Twin
  • 120 horsepower
  • 85 ft-lb @ 6,000 rpm
  • Slip-and-assist clutch
  • Cruise control
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
- image 919836
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
- image 919841
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
- image 797835

Power for the FTR 1200 comes from a liquid-cooled V-twin that all but disappears into the black hole under the faux-tank where it humbly does its work without even attempting to add to the overall aesthetic. It’s a short-stroke mill with a 102 mm bore and 73.6 mm stroke — unusual for American-style V-twins in general — and that gives it a total displacement of 1,203 cc (73 cubic-inches) with a sizzlin’ 12.5-to-1 compression ratio.

A massive, 60 mm throttle body handles the induction, and a DOHC valvetrain times the poppets with a “graded bucket” valve-adjustment. In layman’s terms, that means it’s a mortal pain in the butt if you ever have to adjust the valve lash. Oh well, that’s what the service department at your local dealership is for.

Power flows through a slip-and-assist clutch that provides a lighter pull and prevents excessive backtorque from causing the rear wheel to break loose and/or hop on aggressive downshifts and when engine braking. A six-speed transmission does its thing and drives the rear wheel with a tough-as-balls chain drive rather than going with a belt or shaft.

What kind of power numbers are we looking at? Well, the mill grinds out 120 horsepower and 85 pound-feet of torque with a wet weight just over a quarter-ton, so yeah, this thing will come out of the hole like a scalded dog. Top speed, though, is governed at 124 mph, which is plenty fast enough for the street.

Engine: DOHC, 4-Valves per Cylinder, Graded Buckets
Bore x Stroke: 4.016 in x 2.898 in (102 mm x 73.6 mm)
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Displacement: 73 cu in (1,203 cc)
Drive/Driven Clutch: Assist & Slip, Multi-Plate
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed Loop Fuel Injection / 60 mm Bore
Exhaust: 2-1-2
Gear Ratio: (1st) 2.769, (2nd) 1.882, (3rd) 1.500, (4th) 1.273, (5th) 1.125, (6th) 1.036
Peak Torque: 85 lb-ft (115.2 Nm) @ 6,000 rpm
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.882:1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch

Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 Pricing

2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
- image 797834
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
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2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
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The 2020 FTR 1200 can be had for a starting price of $11,499 MSRP, which is a bit less than last year’s premier price. The factory offers only a glossy Thunder Black finish that ties the sheet metal to the rest of the blackout components.

Standard Equipment: USB Fast-Charge Port, ABS, Cruise Control
Color: Thunder Black
Price:
└ 2019: $12,999
└ 2020: $11,499

Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 Competitors

2016 - 2020 Yamaha Bolt
- image 735144
2018 - 2020 Harley-Davidson Iron 1200
- image 771066
2019 - 2020 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
- image 797836

How to pick a competitor for such a clearly race-tastic machine? The usual suspect, Harley-Davidson, doesn’t have anything in its lineup quite like this. Sure, the Iron 1200 hits the right displacement and overall size, but it isn’t based on an actual race bike. One could argue for the Star Bolt, but again, not a racer and its displacement falls a bit short of the mark.

The bottom line here is; right now, there’s not really a direct competitor in the V-twin world, that puts Polaris/Indian in a good position to capitalize on the burgeoning American-performance segment.

Read our full review of the Harley-Davidson Iron 1200.
Read our full review of the Yamaha Star Bolt.

He Said

“I’m digging it! Indian really showed the world what it was all about on the flat track in recent years, and you can’t buy that kind of good publicity. The time is right for domestic bikes that prioritize pragmatism over style, and it could be the beginning of a whole new era.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “I’m a little disappointed in the looks. Compared to the Custom, I don’t care at all for the seat and the exhaust they put on the FTR 1200. However, I can’t fault the performance. It’s very revvy and power is right there as soon as you twist it. This is a new engine for Indian and it really shows how dedicated they are to performance. Along with a lot of weight-reducing changes, there’s a dual-bore throttle body now and high-compression pistons; it’s just a blast to ride.

Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: DOHC, 4-Valves per Cylinder, Graded Buckets
Bore x Stroke: 4.016 in x 2.898 in (102 mm x 73.6 mm)
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Displacement: 73 cu in (1,203 cc)
Drive/Driven Clutch: Assist & Slip, Multi-Plate
Electronic Fuel Injection System: Closed Loop Fuel Injection / 60 mm Bore
Exhaust: 2-1-2
Gear Ratio: (1st) 2.769, (2nd) 1.882, (3rd) 1.500, (4th) 1.273, (5th) 1.125, (6th) 1.036
Peak Torque: 85 lb-ft (115.2 Nm) @ 6,000 rpm
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.882:1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch
Chassis:
Front Suspension/Travel: 43 mm Inverted Telescopic Cartridge Fork/5.9 in (150 mm)
Rear Suspension/Travel: Monotube IFP/ 5.9 in (150 mm)
Rake/Trail: 26.3° / 5.1 in (130 mm)
Front Brakes: Dual 320 mm x t5 Rotor with 4-Piston Calipers
Rear Brakes: Single 265 mm x t5 Rotor with 2-Piston Calipers
Front Wheel: Cast 19 in x 3 in
Rear Wheel: Cast 18 in x 4.25 in
Front Tire: Dunlop® DT3-R Radial, 120/70R19 60V
Rear Tire: Dunlop® DT3-R Radial, 150/80R18 70V
Dimensions & Capacities:
Fuel Capacity: 3.4 gal (12.9 L)
Ground Clearance: 7.2 in (183 mm)
GVWR: 948 lb (430 kg)
Overall Height: 51.1 in (1,297 mm)
Overall Length: 90 in (2,286 mm)
Overall Width: 33.5 in (850 mm)
Seat Height: 31.7 in / 33.1 in
Weight (Empty Tank / Full of Fuel): 488 lbs / 508 lbs (221 kg / 230 kg)
Wheelbase: 60 in (1,524 mm)
Top Speed: 124 mph (governed)
Electrical:
Gauges: 4” Analog
Infotainment: N/A
Lights: LED Headlight, Taillight, Turn Signals
Details:
Standard Equipment: USB Fast-Charge Port, ABS, Cruise Control
Color: Thunder Black
Price:
└ 2019: $12,999
└ 2020: $11,499

Further Reading

Indian Motorcycle

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- image 794320

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TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: indianmotorcycle.com, yamaha-motor.com, harley-davidson.com

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