Indian Motorcycle is, in the real sense of the word, a legend.
It claims the title of being the first motorcycle company in America, having been founded in 1901. If you grew up in the age of bedroom posters and had muscle cars and chrome-laden bikes on your walls, chances are you had a picture of an Indian Motorcycle up, too. For the most part, it would have remained a dream to own one, since the once largest manufacturer of motorcycles went bankrupt in 1953. But in 2011, Polaris Industries breathed new life into a century of nostalgia by buying the rights to Indian Motorcycle and launched several traditionally styled cruiser models.
That was all great, but the real fun started in 2016, when it was announced that the brand would be returning to flat track racing after an almost seven-decade absence, with a purpose-built machine named the FTR 750. It's this platform that would dominate the sport for the next three years, and have riders begging for a street-legal version – their chequebooks at the ready. Enter the FTR 1200, which just launched in sunny California.
Look through the gallery above to see more of the new bike.
Taking its style and design cues wholeheartedly from the FTR 750, the FTR 1200 is described as a flat tracker for the street. It builds on the racing prowess of the FTR 750, delivering a street-legal option available to all. The new steed has gone through extensive development and testing, with the platform accumulating more than 1.6 million kilometres of simulated ride testing on top of tens of thousands of kilometres of real-world street testing. It's also seen input from racers, including former Grand Prix riders and the championship-winning Wrecking Crew flat track race team.
Indian Motorcycle has launched two editions of the bike, giving riders the option between a standard thunder black model and an S model.
The S comes in three distinct livery options along with some outstanding upgrades to its performance, making it extra-special. Colour options include Titanium Metallic over Thunder Black Pearl, Indian Motorcycle Red over Steel Grey and a very impressive Race Replica scheme that fits the dream of a road-legal FTR 750 for the true enthusiast. Power delivery for both models come in the form of a double overhead cam liquid-cooled V-twin that sits at 60 degrees. The 1,203cc engine produces approximately 120 horsepower and 85 FT-LBS of torque that gets delivered through a power-assist slipper clutch and a six-speed sliding mess transmission.
They also feature dual Mikuni throttle bodies, high-flow cylinder heads and a low-inertia crankshaft that allows the engine to rev up quickly for a prompt response that can only be smile-inducing.
The frame is a tubular trellis style steel mainframe that sweeps into a bolt-on aluminium subframe. Included on the subframe are removable passenger foot-pegs and a grab rail just in case your now-realised dream includes going solo.
Front suspension sees a set of 43mm upside-down cartridge forks with 150mm of travel doing the job. They are fully adjustable on the S while the standard FTR 1200 features no adjustment. The rear suspension is, in turn, a single side-mounted mono-shock also with 150mm of travel. The FTR 1200 mono-shock only features preload and rebound adjustment, while the S in true race replica fashion features a mono-shock with an external reservoir giving it full adjustability for preload, compression and rebound.
Dunlop also created an exclusive tyre for the FTR 1200 modelled after its DT3 flat track competition tyre. These ride on a 19" front and an 18" wheelset made from cast aluminium that helps keep the weight down on the already beefy 222kg dry weight machine.
For the FTR 1200, riders can look forward to a bright four-inch analogue-style gauge that comes with a USB port that lets you charge up your mobile devices while on the go. On the other hand, the S features an entirely new, customisable, high-visibility, 11cm Ride Command LCD touchscreen display.
There is no doubt that the FTR 1200 will be an incredibly popular motorcycle not only among die-hard fans but also new riders.
Indeed one can argue that this is the intent of Indian Motorcycle: to attract a market segment that is both younger and more discerning.