“Born on the track, built for the street” is how Indian describe their new flat track inspired street bike. We went to the launch at Intermot in Germany to find out how an all-American race series was the breeding ground for a new model with global appeal.

“Our vision from the beginning was to be more than a traditional American V-twin brand” said Steve Menneto, the President of Indian Motorcycle, in his opening address to the crowd of journalists and dealers packed onto his stand for the official launch of the FTR 1200.

From your first glance at the muscular FTR 1200 it’s clear that it shares far more DNA with Indian’s FTR 750 race bike than the other cruisers, bobbers and baggers in the company’s line-up. This is a different type of American motorcycle for riders seeking an alternative to the traditional Route 66 vibe.

Flat track racing is as American as the Superbowl and and the 4th of July. Grand Prix legends like Kenny Roberts and Wayne Rainey learned their craft sliding big twins around the dirt ovals of the USA and for the past 20 years Harley-Davidson dominated the championship. That all changed when Indian hired former title-holder Jared Mees to ride for them on their return to racing in 2017. Much to everyone’s surprise he cleaned up, carrying off the crown on the new FTR 750 and giving Indian its first championship in 60 years!

Built around a trellis frame with a sporty riding position, and powered by a 1203cc V-Twin engine pumping out around 120 horsepower, the FTR 1200 exudes the bare knuckle attitude of a flat-tracker..

Everything about the design and specification shouts “sports bike” – slipper clutch, upside down front forks, radially mounted twin Brembo brakes and the fuel tank located below the seat for a lower center of gravity and more centralised weight distribution. Like the race bike, the airbox is positioned directly above the engine to optimise airflow for improved power and magnesium engine covers are fitted to lower weight. The attention to detail is impressive – Dunlop even developed road tyres with a flat track-inspired tread pattern for an authentic appearance. ProTaper alloy handlebars complete the look.

The design team also included practical features, like LED lighting for reliability, a USB charging port for convenience and a 4.3” LCD display for crystal clear information on the move.

There will also be an S model, offering adjustable front and rear suspension, a Ride Command LCD touch screen with Bluetooth compatibility, traction control and plus lean-angle sensitive stability control.

Jared Mees test rode the new street bike at Willow Springs and told us; “It feels the closest to my race bike that I’ve ever witnessed”.

Indian see European street bikes as the benchmark for the FTR 1200 and, having seen it up close, it definitely has the looks and specification to hold its own parked up with Ducatis, BMWs and KTMs.

Both models will be available in the first half of 2019. To find out more contact any of the team here at Franklin on 015385005…