That was my reaction to the colossal cock tease that is the Indian FTR1200 Custom: a gorgeous FTR750-inspired naked unveiled at EICMA this week to serve “as an exploration of how Indian could expand brand perception around the world with exciting new offerings that are relevant to a wider-ranging consumer set.” In other words, Indian has unveiled the 1200cc naked that many folks have been hoping for ever since the Indian Motorcycle brand was resurrected four years ago, but we (probably) won’t be seeing it in dealerships anytime soon.
Powered by the Scout’s 1133cc liquid-cooled V-twin powerplant and looking so simplistically gorgeous it makes me want to cry, the FTR1200 Custom takes inspiration from the Scout FTR750 purpose-built flat track race bike, which Indian’s "Wrecking Crew" piloted throughout a dominating championship season in the 2017 American Flat Track Series. The "one-off" (Why, God, why?!) custom bike was built in partnership with Indian’s race team. As well as honoring the team of Jared Mees, Bryan Smith, and Brad Baker, Indian says the FTR1200 Custom is also aimed at testing the waters of whether people would actually want – and, more importantly, purchase – a production version of such a thing.
“We’ve built a strong foundation in the cruiser/bagger/tourer (CBT) segment over the past five years and we are excited by the positive feedback on the FTR750, and the opportunities to grow the brand globally in the years to come,” said Polaris President of Motorcycles Steve Menneto.
Following EICMA, the Scout FTR1200 Custom will go on a world tour and be exhibited at events throughout 2018 “to help the brand to continue to expand its reach,” according to Indian. So, be sure you head to your local motorcycle show and tell the Indian folks how much you want to see a production version of this bike. Be sure to mention that the bike should have dual front discs, as well.
“As was the case with Indian’s original founders, we are using racing to develop, test, and showcase the capabilities of our motorcycles,” said Reid Wilson, Indian’s marketing director. “Indian will push boundaries by developing new products that will expand rider perceptions of American motorcycles. We plan to be respectful of Indian’s rich heritage, while expanding the reach of the brand over the long-term horizon.”
It’s notable that Indian has chosen to unveil the FTR1200 Custom in Europe. No doubt the brand sees the EMEA market as the target for a production version of such a bike. Whereas the CBT segment isn’t nearly as popular in the Old World as in the United States, Indian has seen surprising success with its Scout and Scout Sixty models.
“While the US has the American Flat Track series, we too have seen a growth in flat track racing right here in Europe. Numerous Indian Scouts have been modified for flat track racing and the sport is becoming increasingly popular across Europe,” said Indian’s EMEA VP/GM, Grant Bester. “This custom build will gain some attention as it goes on world tour and we will be really interested in the consumer feedback.”