By John Burns
Best Streetfighter / Hooligan Motorcycle of 2019: Indian FTR1200S
Well yeah, the FTR did not win our little Monster 1200/Yamaha XSR900 comparo, and is currently taking heavy fire in the Comments section from the sportbike purists. But as you know, MOBOs are also selected using other criteria, including historical significance, originality, and the debating skills and/or ability of a given bike’s proponent to wear the other contenders down with BS via Google Hangout.
Actually, there wasn’t even a big fight. The Tuono’s won enough of these things that everybody agreed it was time for something fresh, and there’s nothing fresher than the unique FTR1200 “Streettracker.” It’s definitely original; it really falls somewhere between streetfighter and ADV bike, thanks to those 19/18-inch wheels and bespoke Dunlop DT3 tires. It lost the comparo, but the tables might’ve been turned if the venue had included dirt roads or the evening club circuit.
Historical significance-wise, Indian probably could’ve taken the safe route and just kept on building heavy cruisers and Scouts. It could’ve also designed an all new street-going FTR750 and built a really nubile ripper that everyone would then lambast for being too expensive and impractical. Instead, it buckled down to stuff a thoroughly massaged and 22-pounds lighter 1200 cc Scout engine into an all-new frame: 112 horsepower at a lowly 8600 rpm is plenty for now, but as with any big V-Twin, the torque’s the main course. Nothing says vaminos like 70 pound-feet of torque at 3000 rpm, and the whole 80 lb-ft. enchilada is served 3000 rpm later. It’s sonically delicious and thoroughly satisfying.
Quibble if you must that the FTR isn’t a purer sportbike, but understand that it still goes around corners remarkably well, along with stopping, going, and doing all the other things you expect. Its slight largeness makes it a …read more