another perfectly good motorcycle ruined.......

Sunday, 9 August 2020

Considered Thoughts - The Indian FTR1200

So, why did I choose the Indian FTR 1200 as my new whip? There are more powerful, faster, better handling machines available but my decision was purely based on how it made me feel and the sheer ‘fun-factor’ rather than any ‘practical’ reasons, I don’t have to ride a bike to and fro from work everyday like back in the day, I’m not touring on it, I don’t need luggage capacity, [although I can bungee my 50ltr Oxford Dri-Sac onto the pillion seat with ease] I don’t need ‘adventure bike’ capability [and whilst we are on the subject my choice would be a Royal Enfield Himalayan over  any massive, plastic encrusted GS/Multistrada/Triumph Tiger any day ]The FTR is a heavy beast at 225 kg dry, it packs 123 bhp and a staggering 80 ft torque, to put it into perspective my KTM 790 Duke weighs 169kg, has 105 English Pony’s and 66 ft of torque, that, by my reckoning equates to the Indian being 56kg heavier! But, it’s not all about figures, I can assure you once on the move the extra weight isn’t apparent at all. The riding position is the most comfortable I’ve ever experienced on a motorcycle, the bar/seat/foot peg ratio is spot on, the seat is plush and comfortable [ hey, remember your talking to someone who’s ridden hard tail choppers with conveyor belt rubber for a seat and quarter inch rubber on my race bikes as a consession to comfort!] The Pro-Taper bars fall easily to hand with a great rise that immediately puts you in control, they are just right, not too high or low and nice and wide to give loads of feel, the foot pegs are aluminium dirt bike inspired items, I’ve seen some people moaning about them being slippy but I’ve had no problems with them. The clutch is a cable item and is super light in operation, front brake is a Brembo radial mastercylinder, span adjustable and provides more braking power than you will ever need on the road. Twin 320mm front brake discs are semi-floating and mounted directly to the hub to save the extra weight and complexity of a disc carrier, calipers are the excellent four-pot Brembo M4 items late of this parish and found on Aprilia/Ducati/KTM superbikes. There is, of courseABS fitted as standard. And that is the sum total of rider aids on this bike. Yup, no wheelie mitigation, no traction control, just your throttle and brake input to save you from headbutting the scenery and that in my book is all you blinking well need squire!I could of course go on all day about the excellent Sachs suspension, the meticulous attention to detail with deep, deep paint, nice fasteners and excellent fit, finish and general all-over quality of the bike but I’d rather talk about that engine. It’s a torque beast, any sign of dampness and you are spinning up the wheel in fourth and fifth gear, the thing does it in the dry too, never lairy in a bad way, it just makes you come over all Jared Mees, the back-end steps out and gets squirrely but never in an ‘oh shit’ way, the bike has a way of making you feel like a hero, the standard exhaust is quiet at town speeds allowing for stealth-mode but give it the berries and you are met with a raucous noise as the induction noise rises and it sucks greedily for air. This thing is fast but more than that it’s FUN! And that for me is what it’s all about. I heard a great comparison recently, this isn’t a Ferrari or Lamborghini, this is a brutal, raw Ford Mustang or Dodge Charger, yes it goes around corners but it’s never going to compete with a sportsbike around the turns, that’s not to say it doesn’t handle because it does, but jumping off a sportsbike onto this is a totally different experience and it needs to be treated with a little respect [cue 80’s Erasure tune]So, bad points? The filler cap is a lovely, billet Indian ‘I’ icon item, non-hinged that you have to remove before refuelling, first time I filled up the bastard rolled off the pump and bent my key at 45 degrees! not good. The fuel tank isn’t a fuel tank, it’s actually the air box and the tank is under the seat to keep the weight low slung. You need to be really careful when fuelling, the tank will belch raw fuel all over you, the bike, the car at the adjacent pump, the kids hanging out of the window of the car at the adjacent pump, the two people walking the dog past the local garage, you get the picture? Ball-ache. The standard mirrors are shit. Replace them with bar-end items, preferably Oberon, problem solved. Tyres? The Dunlop DT3-R’s are specific to the FTR, a blocky tread pattern, they move around and take a little getting used to but I’ve ridden supermoto’s on Dunlop Mutant’s and they feel very similar. If you are used to a more sporty profile you are going to be in for a surprise but they are not as bad as everyone says they are, that being said I will replace them for something more street oriented when I’ve worn them out. [which won’t be long, ahem] And then there’s the fuel economy, [or lack of] listen, the tank is small, the best you are ever going to see is 130 miles from brim-full to empty and that’s riding it sensibly, which, let’s face is never going to happen. Get over it, if you want a bike for fuel economy this isn’t for you. If you want a practical, do-it-all bike then this isn’t for you, if you want a raw riding experience, shits and giggles bike then step this way........



  1. Tim,

    Thanks for the review. You nailed it. I ride for the shear fun of. I learned to ride on a Yamaha 80 trail on a dry lake in SoCal. It put a smile on my face then and still does today. I bought my Scrambler for the same reason. I considered buying a FTR last year. My wife was even in favor of it. I just couldn't get past the fuel range. Where I live it's normal to see 100 miles plus between gas stations (i think you call them petrol stations) on the back roads. I've run out of gas in the middle of no where and it's not fun. Also agree on your take on adventure bikes. I have a 450 Beta enduro. If you're going off road ride a motorcycle intended for off-road.

    1. Hey OMD, I know exactly where you’re at regarding the fuel range, luckily for me I’m 100 miles east to the coast, 120 miles west to the other coast and roughly 300 miles from furthest north to furthest south! [read somewhere that you could get Britain into Texas 8 times just to give you an idea of scale!] lots of gas stations to be had here [and we need to stop for hot coffee most of the year due to the low temperatures to defrost frozen digits!] so no problemo for the average Brit.
      Must admit to having a few sketchy rides over in the ‘States myself! Had a HD ‘glide when I was in LA, [vacationed in Zuma Beach, Malibu a few years ago, never realised it was a real place even after listening to Neil Young, Doh! there’s posts back in the day on the blog] we rode Mullholland Highway everyday, I got to know it pretty good and ended up grinding the foot boards to atoms by the end of the fortnight! Loved the Topanga Canyon road too, endless loops, back and forth, stopping at the Rockstore and Neptune’s for a coffee and beer respectively, happy days. Until we ran out of gas. On the PCH. Trooper wasn’t amused as we were near the airforce base. OK once I showed him my passport and licence and he established we were nutter Brits he gave me a lift to the nearest gas station to get a gallon of fuel, I bought us a coffee and swapped addresses! Still in touch to this day although he still doesn’t understand why we ride, ‘too dangerous man!’ and why anyone would travel over the Atlantic to ride a motorcycle, I’ve ridden in Texas, Florida, Arizona, Nevada and California. Good times, great rides and beloved memories, like the old saying goes ‘if I had to explain, you wouldn’t understand’ I know you can dig it........

  2. Also forgot to mention it. The FTR is THE sexiest motorcycle sold today.

  3. The FTR 750 Scout flat-tracker surely? [race- bike]

  4. Nice looking bike Tim in a marmite way .Mrs B's perch doesn't look very inviting haha