Indian’s FTR1200 isn’t the first water-cooled DOHC V-twin from a major American manufacturer, but don’t get carried away with the idea that this new vision of an American sport bike has anything in common with Harley’s VR except some internal dimensions – which are surprisingly familiar.
This 120hp / 115Nm motor has been slotted into a trellis tube frame, has an agile 26.3° rake with a stable 130mm trail, tips the scales at just 225kg and will lean into corners at very un-American 43-degrees.
It sits somewhere between the XR1200 and the Muscle in Harley’s archives and Indian will be hoping that it makes more of an impact that either of those.
The response has been positive so far, and the FTR750 picking up the baton from Harley’s XR750 on American’s flat track circuits with victory after victory has given it a fairy tale profile that money alone could not buy.
It’s worth getting the line drawings out of the way first because they’ve been in the public domain a while already, and they are useful because they show the design process that has gone into the new street bike – sorry, bikes: there are two.
And once you’ve pored over those, check out the pics of the any-colour-as-long-as-it’s-Thunder-Black FTR1200 with non-adjustable suspension and one of the the only recognisable bits of Scout – the speedometer.
A clear entry-level model, it’s got everything that most FTR owners might want: raw and elemental and nothing that it doesn’t. It comes with the same full LED lighting package, underseat fuel tank, DT3-R Dunlop Radials, 43mm cartridge-damped USD forks, radial 4-pot Brembo brakes and stance as its more sophisticated sibling, but it’s the FTR1200S that we’re all keeping an eye on.
As well as three 2-tone colour schemes – including the factory facing colours with a red frame, the FTR1200S has a Ride Command digital dash, which allows a talented and knowledgeable rider to set it up to suit their riding style better, and the suspension at both ends is fully adjustable.
Exciting times ahead all round, and I can’t help but think that a successful FTR1200 is exactly what Harley-Davidson needs to sell their decision to broaden their own model range over the next five years.
The Americans are coming!