The long-awaited 2020 Indian FTR 1200, the model that is supposed to save Indian Motorcycle, has finally been presented. After years of rumors, we can finally see and feel what the future of the company looks like.
FTR 1200 is the spiritual heir to the highly-successful FTR 750 race bike. In both designs, one man had a crucial input. Polaris Senior Industrial Designer Rich Christoph was in charge of the Scout FTR 750 design, together with Jared Mees.
He explained how his thought process went after finishing the 750: “I knew where I wanted to go where, where I wanted to take the bike. How the proportions would evolve, how the lines would evolve. How you get hips and a chest related to the proportions of a larger engine. I knew in my mind the silhouette I wanted. I wanted a supporting line to shoot a highlight up through the tail section because I knew there was going to be something under it.”
Christoph says that one of the most challenging things during the design was trying to fit everything a street bike needs into a tight package of a racing frame. Sometimes a tenth of a millimeter was important enough to cause a full-blown row with the engineering team.
“There were times I was fighting for tenths of a millimeter,” he says. “But in the end, it’s really good. We won; engineering and industrial design both won.”
The result of the struggle is amazing. The rider has a unique position and despite huge 19” wheels, the bike can get really low in corners, allowing for some stunning maneuvers. The engine, bored out to 1,203 cc, provides enough power for even the most demanding riders and is agile and quick during the acceleration.
FTR 1200 represents Indian’s attempt to expand their customers’ base and make a name in other segments of the market. Traditionally oriented to cruisers, the company feels that relying on a single niche will not be enough to secure a survival on today’s market.
It remains to be seen whether the new model will attract the younger crowd of street bikers, but as far as design and performance go, the new FTR 1200 is a hit and promises an exciting and fun ride. One thing is certain.
Considering the level of engineering and production that went into this bike, it is hard to imagine Indian not developing an entirely new family of bikes based on this platform. Regardless of FTR 1200 success, the company seems committed to the new look and seems to be going all in, basing its future on the new look.