Indian Motorcycle UK had a couple of very special FTR 1200s on display at the Bike Shed Show this weekend. The FTR 1200 still haven't hit UK dealers, so any FTR is pretty special, but these were something else.
One of Indian's technical partner, S&S Cycle, have created a racing kit, reminiscent of those regularly offered by superbike manufacturers in the 1980s and 90s, to convert the road bike to a hooligan racer. There's quite a lot to unpack in that short statement, so let's start with the details of what the kit includes, and add that parts can be bought individually, but some have knock-on effects. First a list of the parts...
Adjustable triple clamps
Pullback back bar clamps/risers
Solenoid, battery, oil cooler, regulator relocating kit
Fuel tank (under seat)
Fox Rear shock
520 chain conversion
Frame spars to relocate...
New foot controls
Once fitted with the kit the FTR 1200 has a 90mm (3.54in) shorter wheelbase and weighs over 25kg (55lb or nearly 4-stone) less than stock. The swingarm is 25mm shorter, just 1in, but necessitated a new underseat fuel tank, because at full suspension stroke the rear wheel could touch the original tank. The rest of the wheelbase reduction comes from -2 degree headstock cups and new adjustable triple clamps.
Prices haven't been released yet, but if you ticked all the boxes the cost must be in the region of £7000, but it could be closer to £10,000, on top of the £12,000 for the base model FTR. This is a quantum leap from the early days of hooligan racing. Sideburn were the first publication to cover the new strand of flat track (of course) back in SB21, with photos and a report from Del Mar. In the US there are already events that run pro and amateur hooligan classes. Pro hooligan seems to be oxymoronic, but it is an illustration of the level of manufacturer and sponsor interest that it is a reality.
Indian, Harley, Ducati and Triumph, plus many dealers, have all either built race bikes, or supplied free bikes for racers to convert (H-D's preferred modus operandi) and compete in the US hooligan scene, very different from the genesis of the sport, a few would-be flat track racers converting Sportsters to compete at the Harley nights art So Cal tracks. The UK and Europe is following suit, at least when it comes to sponsored riders on 'factory' bikes.
The two bikes that were shown in London will be raced in the DTRA's European and UK hooligan championships by Lee Kirkpatrick and Leah Tokelove, debuting at El Rollo/ Wheels and Waves.
Sideburn 37 has my launch report on the Indian FTR 1200 S and Preston Burroughs' unique take on the current state of the Super Hooligan National Championship, through the prism of Travis Pastrana's Daytona race on the RSD Suzuki GT750 two-stroke.
Indian FTR 1200 S&S Hooligan and FTR750 racebike. They look very closely related now. The street bike probably has more top-end power.
All photos: Ivo Ivanov/Image Factory Studio