Indian FTR1200 - Spy Shot

September 14, 2018

Was it leaked by Indian or is it a true spy shot? Not sure, but it seems this might be the close-to-production version of the FTR1200, due to launch on October's Cologne Show. 

 

Remember the frothing lather people got into over the Scout FTR1200 Concept? Indian said the reaction it caused convinced them to make a road version. At the time of the Concept's release I wrote...

 

'Indian can go many routes with a street tracker, but two seem obvious to me, and they don't have to choose between them, they can do both. An initial road bike launch could see a premium priced limited run, very exclusive street tracker, built to this spec with a few more road legalities. Price it at $35,000 and they'd sell. Then follow that with a something between this bike and RSD Superhooligans and sell it for Indian Bobber money.'

 

It seems they've done closer to the latter, but with a brand new frame, if this spy shot is representative of the production model, and I feel it is. Only those baggy front brake lines don't look production. The seat is half off, that's why that looks a bit off. 

It was always going to be extremely difficult for an American company to make a production bike like the 1200 Concept. It has minimal fuel capacity, a race bike seat with no rear overhang, high level pipes and race bike geometry. That's why it looks so cool.

 

Add comfort and practicality and it is no longer a race bike for the road, it's a road bike. Italians are willing to risk building race bikes for the road - MV Agusta, Ducati. Tiny Italian company Fantic are building the closest thing to a successfully realised factory flat tracker we've ever seen, and they're struggling to bring the 500 to market, it seems (read our exclusive road test on the 2018 Fantic Caballero 125 in Sideburn 33).

 

Making a production bike, especially one with a 1200cc engine, that looks like the FTR1200 Concept is incredibly challenging. Selling it to a generally overweight public, who are not as adventurous as they might think they are is another challenge. Everyone says they'd buy an extreme racebike for the road, but the intersection of the Venn diagram that includes those who want it, who can afford it and who can actually live with it, is, I believe, very small. 

 

So, have Indian bottled out or made the right decision? This bike looks remarkably like a Ducati Monster 1200, and perhaps that's no bad thing, the big Monster is great, but it's no FTR1200 Concept, and that loops me back to the paragraph above.  

 

Indian have a very good marketing strategy. People are talking about them all the time. People are aware of them, despite this Polaris brand being a company in its infancy. They are delivering bikes to dealers, who are selling them. Not every growing bike company can do that. But not even squinting at it will make the road FTR1200 look like the FTR1200 Concept, and that's pretty much what I expected. 

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