T

he long-awaited 2019 Indian FTR 1200 and 1200 S finally made their debut—and to an international crowd at the INTERMOT show in Germany, no less. But bringing American grunt to a global audience is going to be par for the course for Indian’s flat track inspired twins.

Polaris Designer Rich Cristoph borrowed from the aesthetics of Indian's Scout FTR750 racing program for the Scout FTR1200 Factory Custom, and we've been stoked on Indian's rolling concept bike since its debut. But while the Custom was a tease of what could be done with the Scout platform, the production 2019 Indian FTR 1200 and 1200 S show what can be accomplished by reengineering the Scout platform for street—rather than track—performance. And those street-oriented compromises are everywhere when you compare the FTR 1200 to its racing namesake.

Indian FTR 1200 S
Even after just a quick look, the street-going Indian FTR 1200 S is a significant departure from the simplicity of Indian’s flat track machines.Indian Motorcycle

At a glance there are obvious differences between the two machines, the first being a pair of massive, upward-angled mufflers. Gone are the sidepipes of the trackers. To meet ever-tightening global emissions targets, the 2019 Indian FTR 1200 sports a 2-1-2 exhaust that collects under the chassis, then routes out those over-under pipes. The arrangement calls attention to another street-going necessity: a seat that’s good for more than five minutes of comfort. On the FTR 1200, it’s an approachable 33.1 inches, according to Indian’s measuring tape. Combined with newfound passenger accommodations, it makes for a V in the silhouette of the FTR 1200, where the back of Indian’s racing machines is ramrod straight.

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S subframe
Packaging is everything. For stiffness on the street, a steel trellis frame is employed, while the engine remains a stressed member. An aluminum subframe supports passenger accommodations.Indian Motorcycle

Those new lines conceal a number of engineering tricks. The FTR 1200’s 3.4 gallon fuel tank is positioned under the seat, while (like the FTR750 race bike) the airbox lives above the engine. Binding the machine together is a steel trellis space frame that drapes tidily over the heads of the FTR 1200’s engine, leaving it as a stressed member. The riding position is upright, with pegs positioned under the rider for maximum hustle, and a broad aluminum ProTaper bar adds leverage while enhancing that flat track look. Combined with adjustable Sachs suspension (an inverted 43mm fork up front and a piggyback-type monotube in the rear, both with almost six inches of travel,) the FTR 1200 promises a stiffer and more athletic experience than anything Indian has ever taken to market.

2019 Indian FTR 1200 S
Indian’s spec list for the FTR 1200 S looks unlike that of any other mass-produced North American motorcycle. Adjustable suspension, meaty brakes and Bosch stability control indicate a bike that’s designed to hustle, rather than cruise.Indian Motorcycle

To live up to the chassis, Indian's already appealing Scout engine was heavily revised, with the company claiming 80% of the mill as new. Bored out by 6mm with more compression (12.5:1), and larger (60mm) throttle bores, the 1,203cc engine is claimed to make a peak 120 hp and 85 pound-feet of torque. A re-thought crankcase tightens up the gearbox layout and shrinks the footprint of the engine, while lightening of the V-Twin through the use of magnesium covers and a trimmed down crankshaft shaves a startling 40-lbs off the weight of the Scout engine.

The street tracker aesthetic is helped along by a 18” 10-spoke wheel in back and a 19” 10-spoke up front, both shod in Dunlops designed for the FTR, with a tread pattern that recalls the bike’s flat track genesis. Power gets to the rear via a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch, and in flat track style, the FTR 1200 uses a chain final drive. Braking is handled by a pair of Brembo M4.32 four-piston calipers up front and a two-piston P34 in the rear. While thinning-down the FTR was obviously a goal, those meaty brakes are still going to be earning their keep: the FTR 1200’s claimed dry weight is 489 pounds.

2019 FTR 1200 dash comparison
You get what you pay for: The upgrade from the base 1200 (left) to the 1200 S (right) buys riders a giant leap in tech, best identified by a full-color dash.Indian Motorcycle

In a true sign of modernity, it isn’t outright performance that distinguishes the 1200 S from the base 1200, but technology. Priced at $12,999, the bare-bones 1200 comes with a simple, round dash and standard ABS, while at around $16,000, the 1200 S upgrades to Bosch stability control with a six-axis inertial sensor and selectable riding modes, all controlled by a bright 4.3-inch color touchscreen dash. And, while the 1200 S has an assortment of tank and frame color combinations to pick through, as well as the option of Indian’s race livery, the base 1200 makes due with a simple all-black motif. It’s perhaps a tribute to another thrifty American motoring icon, Henry Ford, who famously suggested that the Model T was available in any color a buyer wanted, so long as it was black.

2019 Indian FTR 1200
Pared down to the basics, the 2019 Indian FTR 1200 seems like a bargain at $12,999.Indian Motorcycle

Regardless of the package, the 2019 Indian FTR 1200 S is far more motorcycle than the race replica we saw presented as a concept in the Scout FTR1200 Factory Custom. Instead, Indian is using its European debut to plunge into a market packed with sporty standards, technologically sophisticated cafe racers, and savagely quick streetfighters. If the INTERMOT debut shows us anything, it’s that Indian wants to compete not just for supremacy on American flat tracks, and against American machines, but heads up on a global stage. Exporting Americana is an ambitious strategy. We’ll know in the spring of 2019, when FTR 1200’s hit Indian dealerships, if American riders come out the winner.

Tech Spec

PRICE $12,999 (FTR 1200) / $14,999 (FTR 1200 S) / $15,999 (FTR 1200 S Race Replica)
ENGINE DOHC 60-degree liquid-cooled V-twin
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed/ Chain
CLAIMED HORSEPOWER 120 hp @ 8,250 rpm
CLAIMED TORQUE 34 lb.-ft. @ 6,200 rpm / 86 lb.-ft @ 6,000rpm
FRAME Tubular steel trellis
FRONT SUSPENSION 43mm Inverted cartridge fork, fully adjustable (FTR 1200 S); 5.9-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Monoshock IFP, adjustable preload and rebound (FTR 1200); 5.9-in. travel / Piggyback monoshock IFP, fully adjustable (FTR 1200 S) ; 5.9-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Brembo M4.32 Monobloc 4-piston calipers, dual 320mm floating discs w/ ABS
REAR BRAKE Brembo P34 2-piston caliper, 260mm floating disc w/ ABS
RAKE/TRAIL 26.3 degrees / 5.1 in.
WHEELBASE 60 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 33.1 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 3.4 gal.
CLAIMED DRY WEIGHT 488 lb. (FTR 1200) / 489 lb. (FTR 1200 S)