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News18 » Auto
6-min read

Indian FTR 1200 S First Ride Review: Their Best One Yet?

The Indian FTR 1200 S is unlike any other Indian Motorcycle offering on sale right now. But have they gone too far or have they hit the nail on its head? We find out.

Manav Sinha | News18.com@manav_sinha

Updated:September 9, 2019, 4:27 PM IST
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Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S Review
Indian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)
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I know what you might be thinking, “It is an Indian Motorcycle so it must be big, it must be heavy, it must be meant only for the highways,” but here’s the thing, this is the Indian FTR 1200 S and it is unlike any other Indian Motorcycle offering on sale right now. But in order to differentiate, have they actually managed to create a road-biased flat tracker? Or is this is just another lazy, relaxed motorcycle that we have to come to expect, dressed in sporting gear? We get our hands on the motorcycle to find out.

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Well, for starters, the genes of the Indian FTR 1200 S, at least, are definitely sporty. It is based on the championship-winning Indian FTR 750 race bike that has been making its competitors, well eat dirt. The FTR 1200 S not only adapts the styling from the FTR 750 but also some crucial design elements, like the frame and the swingarm. It takes that extreme setup and offers it as a motorcycle that can be ridden in every day riding conditions as well.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

So much so, that this one car turn right too! Okay, jokes aside, the Indian FTR1200S gets a lot of hardware that is hiding under its skin in order to make it live up to the expectations.

For example, you see that fuel tank? Well, that’s not exactly a fuel tank as it is an airbox like you would see on flat track race bikes. The fuel tank, instead, extends to under the seat for better mass centralization. Then, it gets a host of electronic features too which includes things like ABS and wheelie mitigation control and there’s also the six-axis IMU which allows for lean-sensitive traction control system! Now that is proper sporty stuff.

And as for the riding experience, it does not disappoint either.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Powering the Indian FTR1200S is 1203cc V-twin engine that makes mouth-watering 120 Nm of torque that peaks in at 6,000 RPM. I know that doesn’t sound too high but for Indian motorcycles, that’s the moon! And simply put, the engine is butter-smooth and is as refined as ever. However, there are minor vibrations that do creep in through the seat to the rider but then it’s subtle enough that you wouldn’t really mind. What I absolutely loved was the throttle sensitivity which has superb on-off transitions at low speeds and the power is well-spread across the RPM range. No matter which gear you are in you always have enough power to pull through without feeling the need to downshift.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

And in case you get into the mood for relaxed riding, you can do that too as the engine can cruise all day at highway speeds. So, so far so good, but here’s where the FTR1200S really starts to pull away from the other Indian motorcycles and becomes a rebel in its family that does not live up to the family traditions.

And that starts with the riding position. It is a great mix of relaxed and sporty and the position is comfortable enough for long-distance journeys and yet giving the rider a feeling of being on top of the situation.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Look closer and you will notice the Dunlop tyres which look at you with wide eyes asking for an off-road adventure. The footpegs too are off-road-y and the low-set wide handlebar promises good leverage when the going gets tough. But given the limited time we had with the motorcycle, off-roading remains a story to be found for another day. Also, let’s be honest, it is on the tarmac where these motorcycles will be spending most of their time.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

And for this, you will appreciate the fully-adjustable suspension front and back that will help you fine-tune the ride experience to your liking. The rebellion nature of the FTR continues as it is driven by a chain and not a belt, it has a trellis frame, has upside-down front forks, that too in coloured in golden no less. And look at that styling! It is not over the top but minimal, especially that short tail section which, to be honest, is one of the prettiest tail sections on any motorcycle in the world right now.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

But the beauty lies in the attention to detail, like a typical Indian motorcycle. The build quality, the paint finish, everything about it screams high-end.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

And last but not least, it has a ton of features too, prime amongst which is the 4.3-inch LCD touchscreen infotainment system which can be used even with the gloves on. It supports Bluetooth connectivity, has an ambient light sensor and offers a choice of two console designs and can be operated by touch, the buttons next to it and even from the handlebar-mounted controls. The touch response is great, the system does not feel laggy and is intuitive to use.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

However, the console is placed too low for my liking and I found myself having to look down all the time in order to use it and given that you have to cycle through riding modes by navigating through the menu, well, it looks and sounds fancy for sure but it is not as effective as having a simple dedicated button to change riding modes.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

Speaking of which there are three – Rain, Sport and Standard with an extra ‘Track’ setup thrown into the mixture that shuts down the traction control and ABS turning the FTR into a proper hooligan.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

It’s not all perfect, though, as the engine does heat up when you are stuck in traffic and the seat height could be a bit intimidating for some if they are not used to such a seat height, so it’s something that you need to keep in mind. But overall, the Indian FTR1200S really manages to stand its own ground and separate itself from the crowd. It has the looks as well as the riding experience that sets it apart. Think of it as a street-naked infused with Scrambler DNA and the refinement of a cruiser motorcycle from a manufacturer that is almost synonymous to that word and you will get the Indian FTR1200. My only concern is getting your hands on a spare set of those specific to FTR1200S-made Dunlop tyres once they are through.

Indian FTR 1200 S, FTR 1200 S, Indian FTR 1200 S ReviewIndian FTR 1200 S. (Photo: Manav Sinha/News18.com)

So to sum up my thoughts about the Indian FTR 1200. Well, this motorcycle does a lot of things really well but if you want yourself a motorcycle for off-road adventures, well get yourself an ADV. If you want a motorcycle for city commutes, then get yourself a street-naked and if your motorcycle to be a highway cruiser, well, get yourself a highway cruiser. But if you want a motorcycle that does everything just enough well to be your everyday motorcycle, then the Indian FTR1200 is the one for you.

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| Edited by: Manav Sinha
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