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Indian FTR 1200R Carbon.

INDIAN mainLet me start off with apologies for ‘stealing’ the iconic name of the Lokota Indian Chief, who passed away in 1877, after causing some serious disruption to the despicable advancement of the ‘white folk’, during that time – but that’s another story.

This particular story is more about the Indian Motorcycle Company which has decided to produce the craziest motorcycle it's made so far, with a severe amount of brutal horsepower, and you might just see where I’m coming from, maybe?FTR GROUP 01

Anyway, the FTR 1200R Carbon is, without doubt, the best motorcycle I’ve ridden, in my opinion, that’s ever left the shores of the U.S.of A. Some statement if you consider the likes of Harley-Davidson and Buell, but after a week with the hyper-cool looking FTR 1200R Carbon I’ll proudly wave my totem pole in anyone’s face if they disagree.FTR GROUP 00

So what’s so special you might ask? Well, just look at it! So many people did ask if it’s indeed a ‘real’ Indian motorcycle, as they’d normally expect to see a big cruiser of some sorts. Fair enough I suppose but after explaining what ‘it’ is they ALL came away highly impressed and intrigued.INDIAN main 2

This FTR 1200R is the second generation of the (Flat Track Racer/Replica) theme with the aim of being more attractive to the European market, who’re crazy about powerful naked bikes stuffed full of exotic components, and this FTR 1200R fills that brief for sure.FTR GROUP 03

As you can see the suspension is pure Ohlins, front and rear, with fully adjustable 43mm forks and a striking Ohlins IFP rear shock, specially made for Indian. Another desirable European addition is the use of powerful radial mounted Brembo Monobloc callipers biting onto 320mm discs to bring the 232kg (wet) stallion to a halt. That does sound a bit on the heavy side, with 13-litres and all fluids included though, but the way it handles negates that figure – more of that later. Yes, it’s riddled with weight-saving carbon parts, beautifully formed by the way, but more for cosmetic enhancement I’d say, well some weight-saving at least I’m sure, anyway…FTR GROUP 05

The pumping heart of the FTR is the imposing 1203cc, liquid-cooled, 4-valve, 60-degree- V-Twin.  A thumping lump of a motor, pure USA, with a claimed 120hp@7,750rpm and 120Nm@6,000rpm of the important torquey stuff. Its 102mm wide pistons act on a short stroke 73.6mm and in turn create a considerably high compression of 12.5:1, accountable for some beefy engine braking, thankfully there’s a slipper-clutch to assist with that. You certainly experience these figures from the saddle; especially the hefty dollop of torque which drives the bike in an exciting and thrustful manner throughout the mid-range power delivery. Once the needle passes 6,000rpm the FTR seems to clear its nostrils and muscularly gallops off towards the 9,000rpm redline. Top speed is irrelevant really, but somewhere in the region of 220km\h I’d say, but being totally naked it is a bit like hanging onto the back of a buffalo head – if you catch my drift?FTR GROUP 04

It’s more about the pounding acceleration as the big V-Twin pulls you forward. After only a few gear changes, from the slick six-speed gearbox, I saw an indicated 185km\h, which happened surprisingly quickly. Does it wheelie you may ask? Well yes with some vigorous clutch action once you turn off the traction control (either on or off only) but it tends to light up the rear tyre more due to its lengthy 1524mm wheelbase. I found this trait highly addictive as you can spin the rear Metzeler Sportec with ease, especially when coming out of a tight bend in second gear, and the accompanying sense of achievement is rewarding to say the least!FTR GROUP 06

I just mentioned turning off the traction control which is done by using the large array of buttons found on the left hand switchgear. This lets you access the 4.3-inch digital touch screen (depending on what gloves you wear), with black or white back light option, or auto mode where the bike decides. It generates a clear display in all conditions with two options for the, err, display, with a handy USB port too. Either a bar graph like rev-counter mode, or the more preferred round instruments mode, which I chose. Interestingly it has a small compass swirling around in the bottom right hand corner. Don’t know why you’d need that (and the first time I’ve seen one on a bike), but for some reason I loved it as I headed home in a SW direction, or NE whilst going out, tremendous that addition just for the fun of it.FTR GROUP 02

Predictably is has three power modes (sport, standard, rain), which I always left in ‘full-fat’ sport mode, wouldn’t you? ABS is obviously there, which is also lean-angle sensitive and there’s also cruise control when you decide to chill out a little. Oh, and how about heated grips folks, yes they’re on there too, how nice and considerate from Indian on a naked bike, very commendable that.  You can also Bluetooth yourself and connect your phone for the usual phone connectivity features, which all new motorcycles demand in today’s world.INDIAN main 3

Riding the FTR 1200R Carbon is an exquisite experience of note. You just feel extremely proud to be in the wide and wonderfully made 780mm high saddle with a near perfect riding position from the footrest, to the slim tank, to the chunky Pro Taper (USA MX ’bars specialists), leaning you slightly forward in an aggressive manner. Not only does it give you an ‘inflated chest syndrome’ but the noise from those distinctive Akrapovic (standard fitting on this bike), stirs the soul in a grin- enhancing fashion. And as I mentioned earlier the handling is unexpectedly nimble for such a raw hunk of Iowa metal with its tough steel-trellis fame. Take it down your favourite twisty stretch of road and you’ll be in such high spirits that you might reach for your peace pipe when you return home, if you know what I mean?FTR GROUP 07

Any complaints you may ask? Well the cable clutch is a bit old school – don’t care, there’s zero wind protection – don’t care, the 13-litre tank is a bit small –don’t care, and I can’t afford one - DO CARE! R405,000 is what you need to own this FTR 1200R Carbon Limited Edition masterpiece. It is worth it? Most certainly yes is my answer, bearing in mind it's full of exotic components, it’s unique, it’s exclusive and rare, gorgeous to look at and, in some cases, cheaper than many of Indian’s current big cruisers! Ducati, KTM and MV Agusta have more expensive naked bikes, yes, maybe with more power I know, but people will just walk past those and head straight for the FTR 1200R Carbon believe me, which says a lot in my mind regarding desirability. Finally I’d also like to think if Crazy Horse looked out from his ghostly wigwam he might also respect this very special Indian and didn’t really mind me poaching his name!

Images: Sudoku and Tiny Ant.

Go to www.indianmotorcycle.co.za for more technical information and to view the latest Indian range available in South Africa. You can also book a highly recommended test ride on this actual bike as well.