Optimized for street performance,
Indian works out first-year problems
Words by Kali Kotoski Photos courtesy of Indian Motorcycle
When Indian Motorcycle introduced the jaw-dropping and category-defying FTR platform in 2019, it was met with great fanfare for those sport-oriented riders and those that dreamed of taking a dirt-kicking American Flat Track-inspired racer out onto the streets, or out power sliding on slippery gravel backroads.
While in a lot of respects it delivered on its promises by giving consumers a powerful, naked and steroid-rich motorcycle that was a light, fast and an agile street tracker that broke the mold of American-made V-twin cruisers, it wasn’t without its growing pains.
Riders complained about the bike being overly cold-blooded and unrideable until warm, a problem that would have sounded like vanity a couple decades ago but was a disappointment to new technology expectations. The rear cylinder would also put off too much heat and the bike would mysteriously go silent when idling, riders claimed.
But just like the FTR750 flat track bike that inspired the consumer oriented FTR platform, Indian engineers and mechanics knew they could make tweaks to the bike to make it live up to its potential.
With the 2022 FTR lineup, Indian has made a host of enhancements to extend the platforms life cycle. Updates include a “thoughtfully” refined engine with a revised fuel map to shake off the less-than-ideal cold start issues while also greatly improving throttle response. Much like the Indian Challenger platform, the bike now features rear-cylinder deactivation to limit excessive heat blasting the legs.
Suspension has been tuned for the street and 17-inch wheels and tires deliver “world-class performance while making the bike feel more compact and maneuverable,” Indian said. Clearly a win for those who stand less tall while highlighting the need for function with the seat height lowered over an inch.
“The FTR is unlike any other motorcycle in its ability to deliver superior performance while making a powerful statement of style and self-expression. The updates we’ve delivered further solidify that promise for even the most discerning riders,” said Mike Dougherty, President of Indian Motorcycle, in a release. “Indian Motorcycle has always pushed the bounds of motorcycling, innovated, and continuously improved and I think the new FTR is another great example of that.”
Everybody knew long before the initial 2019 debut that Indian wasn’t going to skimp on power, with the 1203cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine reportedly producing 120 horsepower and 87 ft-lbs of torque. Now with some careful refinements, the bike “begs you to twist the throttle and get after it,” said Ben Lindaman of Indian.
“The FTR has a totally unique feel, which riders of all experience levels love. Our aim was to preserve that DNA, while at the same enhance and refine the bike,” he added.
While the proof is in the pudding, on paper it appears that Indian has done the right thing for consumers by making tweaks to thrill riders looking for an athletic, American-made bike that brings out the thrill and adrenaline of the racetrack.