Indian Indian FTR1200 first impressions review

Indian FTR1200 first impression

Visordown has just taken collection of the Indian FTR1200 for a couple of weeks of blasting around the country – here’s the first thoughts

THE FTR1200 has been a bit of a headline-grabbing model for Indian since it was first revealed in 2018 at the Intermot show in Germany. The blend of flat-track styling, 120bhp performance, and handling that could seriously excite seemed to capture the attention of the motorcycling world.

Fast forward to 2020 and Visordown is getting its first taste of the FTR concept and we like what we see. The bike is visually styled to look like the FTR750 flat-track machine that competed and swept to victory in the American Flat Track championship.

Indian FTR1200 first impressions review

While custom-built flat-track bikes are a fairly common sight on the custom motorcycle circuit, a full factory production machine that is proper flat-track DNA and geometry is a much rarer proposition. To look at the base model in the FTR range is a sleek and purposeful looking machine, with nicely finished panels and some lovely design touches – the logos on the engine casing covers are especially attractive.

To sit on the FTR feels eerily familiar, strange as I’ve not ridden one before. The reach to the wide bars is short and the large seat seems wasted on me as I naturally seem to plant my self on the tail end of the fuel tank. The pegs are fairly low-set and leave my knees comfortable bent but still with enough seat to peg distance to allow me to lift myself from the seat to shift my weight around the bike.

The first ride on the FTR consisted of an hour-long blast along the best local roads I could sniff out. Pulling out of my street I notice the cable-operated clutch is very direct, with a small area in the lever travel when the clutch slips before engaging fully and firing you forwards. It’s not an issue but took a few miles to get used to.

Before hitting twisties I had to negotiate the mass of rush hour traffic trying to flee the city. Here it became instantly clear that the squirt the bike has on offer means pretty much any overtake is completed with ease. The final drive is fairly short too, meaning that the bike pulls as strongly at the top end in sixth as it does in first, second, and third gears.

Once I escape the city I can properly start to evaluate the handling and my first thoughts are that the suspension set up is firm but adequate for brisk road riding. One interesting handling characteristic is the ability to drift the back end of the bike coming out of slower, tighter turns. The unusual profile of the tyre apes that of the FTR750 race bike’s tyres, this means the back end can be intentionally teased out to play on the throttle even in the dry. Once you figure out that you can control the slides, with a dab of back brake and some counter steering, it actually becomes a part of the FTR’s repertoire that you actively seek out and use!

As we have the FTR1200 for a couple more weeks, we’ll be posting a full review with other information very soon.

For a concise video rundown of the machine, check out the YouTube review above or head to Visordown’s YouTube channel.