Ducati Has an Unexpected Rival In the Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200

Indian’s new motorcycle will walk right past Harley-Davidson, and pick a fight with European sport bikes.

When Indian Motorcycles first announced the FTR 1200 street tracker motorcycle would go into production it was a huge relief. Not just because of flat track racing and high-speed scrambler-style bikes are enjoying a rise in popularity, but because an American Motorcycle manufacturer would be making something other than a cruiser. Now that the details and official images have come over the wire, Indian’s new motorcycle will walk right past Harley-Davidson and pick a fight with Ducati.

Inspired by Indian’s own championship-winning FTR 750 race bike, the FTR 1200 focuses on performance, inherits its old-school-style and brings a little bit of modern tech into the mix. The 1202cc V-twin pumps out 120 horsepower and 85lb-ft of torque, which is more than enough on a bike weighing just under 500lbs. To help rein in all that power, both FTR 1200 trims get Brembo brakes all around and a rear swing-arm almost identical to the race bike. The most eye-catching feature, however, is the under-seat placement of the fuel tank, giving the FTR a compact design and, more importantly, a lower center of gravity, which should yield better handling.

While the base FTR 1200 is relatively basic, keeping a single analog speedometer and digital read-out, the FTR 1200S ups the tech with a customizable 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen, defeatable ABS, three ride modes and lean angle-sensitive traction and stability control. So, for once, it looks like dropping the extra cash on an upgraded trim will get you a lot more than just a special paint job and unique wheels.

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Since no one knows exactly when Harley-Davidson’s sport standard bike will come out — just it’ll be sometime between now and 2021 — stat-for-stat, it looks like the FTR 1200 will go up against bikes like the Ducati Monster and Scrambler 1100. The FTR 1200 will find itself in the unique position of being the only street tracker on the road from a major manufacturer, but similarities in performance, pricing and design land it at the sharp edge of the sport standard segment. The Indian Motorcycle FTR 1200 and 1200S will be available in spring 2019 at $12,999 and $14,999 respectively with a race-replica colorway at $15,999, but keep an eye out for our full ride review earlier than that next year.

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