Born In Dirt; Built For Pavement

Indian Motorcycle, under the Polaris umbrella (ella, ella), looks to capitalize on its success (nay...domination) of the American Flat Track circuit last year with the race-bike inspired FTR 1200 S. The “S” builds on the vanilla FTR 1200 base model with a number of race-tastic features that elevate it to a higher shelf/bracket/whatever, to include upgraded suspension components, better safety equipment and advanced engine-control electronics. All of that is on top of the all-new, punched-out engine and inherent curb appeal. If you’re into the flat-track thing, or just fancy yourself a fiery-eyed pegdragger, this may be the American-style racer you’ve been looking for. Let’s find out.

Continue reading for my review of the Indian FTR 1200 S.

  • 2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V-Twin
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    120
  • Torque @ RPM:
    85 @ 6000
  • Displacement:
    1203 cc
  • Price:
    14999
  • Price:

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S Design

2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
- image 797916
A very race-tastic package that comes off looking much more massive than the 750 it is meant to emulate.

This is one acorn that certainly didn’t fall far from the tree. The flyline looks as though it was lifted straight off the FTR 1200 Custom that it replaces, which itself was near-identical to the actual racebike, just with mirrors, winkers and a headlight rather than a number plate. Yeah, it’s an almost shameless grab for converts to the brand, but why not? You can’t argue with success.

This is an extremely exciting platform for us, and after investing such a significant amount of time, expertise and energy in the design process, it’s an incredible feeling to finally show the world these motorcycles. Our primary focus was to ensure these motorcycles carried the same lines and form language as the FTR750 and 1200 Custom,” says Senior Designer Rich Christoph. “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.

Not an ounce was spared on the front end. The front fairing comes pared down to the bare minimum necessary to get the job done, and even then the only thing it really protects is the radiator that rides tucked up under the steering head. That attention to detail extends to the hollow axle and lightweight rim that work together to keep the unsprung weight dead-low in order to make the front suspension as supple and responsive as possible; just the thing to protect the integrity of that front contact patch.

Beefy inverted forks lend the front end the impression of great strength and inspire confidence alongside the well-webbed Trellis skeleton that stands out in sharp relief due to its Indian Red finish. Sharp as a tack, guys. Aluminum ProTaper bars extend the racer look to the hand-control area with small round mirrors that clearly set it apart from the genuine trackside article, and I gotta’ say it’d look loads better with a set of bar-end mirrors like the single peeper the Custom carried.

The visible fuel tank is a lie since the actual bladder is located beneath the seat in an effort to lower and centralize the weight of the 3.4-gallons of pusholine. The tail section tapers off to nothing with a taillight lens that actually forms the terminus, and the whole thing ends over thin air due to the hugger that contains the fling from the rear wheel and mounts the plate and turn signals to keep the rear end supremely clean. All in all, a very race-tastic package that comes off looking much more massive than the 750 it is meant to emulate. Plus, the FTR range in general potentially heralds in a new era of American performance bikes, and seems to carve a niche for itself out of the domestic market. Time will tell how the buyer base responds to it, but I’d lay odds that it’s going to be well received and this is just the beginning.

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S Chassis

2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
- image 797917
It promises crisp handling and relatively eager cornering that should satisfy the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there.

A tubular-steel Trellis forms the main frame with lightweight aluminum members to make up the subframe. The front end floats on a set of 43 mm inverted forks. Unlike the base FTR 1200 that runs vanilla stems up front, the S rocks the full trinity of adjustments; at both ends, actually. You can count on getting the ride and suspension response right where you want them with 5.9-inches of travel that’ll soak up some real abuse before allowing the traction to be compromised.

Dunlop supplies the hoops with DT3-R Radials that line the cast rims. A 19-inch front wheel mounts a 120/70 with a 150/80 on the 18-inch rear, and that gives the S a generous ground clearance of 7.2-inches. The steering head holds the forks at a 26.3-inch angle with 5.1-inches of trail for crisp handling and relatively eager cornering that should satisfy the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there; even if you never plan on riding the thing half-sideways around a dirt oval.

At 33.5-inches high, the saddle offers a rather commanding perch that may preclude the shortest inseams but leaves the pilot in a relatively aggressive riding posture. Lean angle-sensitive stability control and ABS comes standard with dual 320 mm discs and four-pot calipers up front, and a 265 mm disc and twin-piston anchor out back. That’s plenty of stoppage to safely manage the energy this thing can produce.

Front Suspension/Travel: 43 mm Fully Adjustable Inverted Telescopic Cartridge Fork/5.9 in (150 mm)
Rear Suspension/Travel: Fully Adjustable Piggyback IFP/ 5.9 in (150 mm)
Rake/Trail: 26.3° / 5.1 in (130 mm)
Lean Angle: 43°
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

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S Drivetrain

2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
- image 797923
Three-channel Ride Modes, Traction Control, and Wheelie Mitigation technology increase overall stability and safety.

Said energy clocks in with a solid, 85 pound-feet of torque that peaks at six grand, and a total of 120-ponies. If you think those numbers seem backwards, it’s because unlike the majority of V-twin plants out there, the 102 mm bore and 73.6 mm stroke gives it a markedly oversquare layout to bring the horsepower up.

A 60 mm throttle body manages the induction with input from the three-channel Ride Modes feature as well as the Traction Control and Wheelie Mitigation technology to increase overall stability and safety through these overlapping systems. It’s water cooled, which is just fine and dandy since this isn’t the kind of bike to use the engine as part of the overall aesthetic, and of course, that comes with the benefit of more stable engine temps and reduced heat wash when you pull up to a light.

Dual over-head cams time the four-valve heads, and it uses a “graded bucket” type of adjustment, so yeah, it’s a complete P.I.T.A. to adjust the valve lash, but service-department mechanics’ kids need to eat too.

A gear-type primary drive sends power to the slip-and-assist clutch for yet another layer of traction protection for the rear wheel, and a six-speed transmission sends power to the rear wheel via chain drive.

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
Horsepower: 120 hp (89.5 kW)
Peak Torque: 85 ft-lb (115.2 Nm) @ 6,000 rpm
Transmission/Final Drive: 2.882:1
Transmission/Primary Drive: Gear Drive Wet Clutch

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S Pricing

2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
- image 797870
MSRP puts it at $15k plus another grand if you want the race-replica livery.

Indian will let loose of the 2019 FTR 1200 S for the everyday low price of $14,999 for the Titanium Metallic / Thunder Black Pearl or the Indian Motorcycle Red / Steel Gray model. If you want the trackside Race Replica paint (red over black) you can expect to shell out another grand for your vanity.

Standard Equipment: 3 Ride Modes (Sport, Standard Rain), Lean Angle Sensitive ABS, Stability, Traction and Wheelie Mitigation Control, USB Fast-Charge Port, ABS, Cruise Control
Color: Indian Motorcycle® Red over Steel Gray, Titanium Metallic over Thunder Black Pearl, Race Replica
Price: $14,999, Race Replica: $15,999

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S Competitors

2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 S
- image 797925
There are plenty of mid-size rides that share similar attributes, but none of them are based on an actual current racebike.

Indian is really breaking new ground here. Sure, there are plenty of mid-size rides like Sportsters, Bolts, and even a few Triumphs that share similar attributes, but none of the above are based on an actual current racebike, and certainly none of them are set up for the flat-track boogey, so I’m going to call the FTR 1200 S (and it’s vanilla sibling) in a class all their own for now. It will be interesting how, and indeed if, Harley-Davidson will respond to this new domestic threat.

He Said

“Ya know, it used to be that if you wanted to sell bikes, you had to win races. Indian is pulling a page out of the history books and moving to capitalize on its absolute domination of the American Flat Track circuit last season, and that puts America’s oldest bike manufacturer in a great position within the domestic market. The question now is; how many of us are that into this kind of ride? We’re going to find out, my friends, and that right soon.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Compared to the Custom, I’m a little disappointed in the exhaust system and the seat, but I can’t fault the performance. Like its stablemate, it’s very revvy and power is right there as soon as you twist it. Indian demonstrates its dedication to performance with this new engine. It’s such a blast to ride.”

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S 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
Horsepower: 120 hp (89.5 kW)
Peak Torque: 85 ft-lb (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 Fully Adjustable Inverted Telescopic Cartridge Fork/5.9 in (150 mm)
Rear Suspension/Travel: Fully Adjustable Piggyback IFP/ 5.9 in (150 mm)
Rake/Trail: 26.3° / 5.1 in (130 mm)
Lean Angle: 43°
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): 497 lbs / 518 lbs (226 kg / 235 kg)
Wheelbase: 60 in (1,524 mm)
Electricals:
Gauges: 4” Analog
Infotainment: 4.3” Ride Command LCD Touchscreen w/ Bluetooth
Lights: LED Headlight, Taillight, Turn Signals
Details:
Standard Equipment: 3 Ride Modes (Sport, Standard Rain), Lean Angle Sensitive ABS, Stability, Traction and Wheelie Mitigation Control, USB Fast-Charge Port, ABS, Cruise Control
Color: Indian Motorcycle® Red over Steel Gray, Titanium Metallic over Thunder Black Pearl, Race Replica
Price: $14,999, Race Replica: $15,999

Further Reading

Yamaha Star Bolt

2016 - 2019 Yamaha Bolt
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See our review of the Yamaha Star Bolt.

Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200

2019 Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200
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See our review of the Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200.

Indian Motorcycle Scout FTR1200 Custom

2018 First Look: Indian Motorcycle Scout FTR1200 Custom
- image 743239

See our look at the Indian Motorcycle Scout FTR1200 Custom.

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

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