Indian, like Harley-Davidson, might be a major name in cruisers, but neither company limits itself solely to those bikes anymore. Although Indian hasn’t gotten into e-bikes like Harley, it has been branching off into other kinds of motorcycles. For one, it’s about to start competing in hill-climb races. And then there’s the Indian FTR, which gets some notable updates for 2022. But those updates also arguably shift the FTR’s identity somewhat.
Just what kind of motorcycle is the 2022 Indian FTR?
Ostensibly, the Indian FTR—it drops the ‘1200’ part for 2022—draws influence from flat-tracker motorcycles. It’s partially because of the FTR750 race bike’s success that Indian introduced a road-legal version in 2019. And ‘FTR’ even stands for ‘Flat Track Racer.’
However, while the 2019 Indian FTR 1200 was inspired by flat-track racing, it wasn’t and couldn’t be an actual race bike, The Drive explains. Plus, flat-track bikes aren’t a recognized motorcycle category, Cycle World says. So, where does the 2022 Indian FTR fit in the world of motorcycles?
With its upright riding position and mid-mounted foot controls, it’s not a cruiser or a sportbike. But while its roots lie in flat track’s mud, the 2022 Indian FTR isn’t built like a dirt bike. Nor is it a scrambler motorcycle, though it bears some resemblance. And given that it lacks standard wind protection, onboard storage, and struggles to go 100 miles on a tank, it’s not a touring bike.
Cycle World calls the 2022 Indian FTR a “street tracker,” though that term is also somewhat meaningless. But the updated FTR is indeed a street bike. More specifically, it’s a naked standard bike, like the Triumph Street Triple and Ducati Monster. It’s arguably more of “a naked sportbike,” RevZilla says, though that might be splitting hairs.
Admittedly, standard bikes are popular because they can do a bit of everything. And to be fair, flat-track racers are built around a standard layout. Case in point, Royal Enfield based its American Flat Track bike on the Interceptor 650. So, it’s not like Indian drastically changed the FTR for 2022.
It’s just that, if you want to hit the dirt on the 2022 FTR, you have to pick your trim carefully.
Its name might stand for ‘Flat Track Racer,’ but only one 2022 trim is ready for the dirt
|Spec||2022 Indian FTR|
|Engine||1203cc liquid-cooled V-twin|
|Transmission||Six-speed with slipper-assist clutch|
|Front suspension and travel||Base: ZF Sachs fully-adjustable inverted cartridge fork; 4.72”|
S: ZF Sachs fully-adjustable inverted cartridge fork; 4.72”
R Carbon: Ohlins fully-adjustable inverted cartridge fork; 4.72”
Rally: Inverted cartridge fork; 5.91”
|Rear suspension and travel||Base: ZF Sachs fully-adjustable piggyback IFP; 4.72”|
S: ZF Sachs fully-adjustable piggyback IFP; 4.72”
R Carbon: Ohlins fully-adjustable piggyback IFP: 4.72”
Rally: Monotube IFP; 5.91”
|Seat height||Rally: 33.1”|
All other trims: 32.2”
|Curb weight||Base and S: 514 lbs|
R Carbon: 511 lbs
Rally: 529 lbs
R Carbon: $16,999
For 2022, the Indian FTR is available in four trims: base, S, R Carbon, and Rally. And if you genuinely want to slide around off-pavement, the FTR Rally is the trim to get.
Unlike the other 2022 Indian FTR trims, the Rally keeps its off-road tires. While the other trims swapped their grooved Dunlop DT3-R tires for sport-touring Metzeler Sportecs, the Rally still has Pirelli Scorpion Rally STRs. It’s also the only trim with spoked wheels. Plus, while the other 2022 FTR models have 17” front and rear wheels, the Rally keeps the outgoing FTR 1200’s 19” front and 18” rear wheels.
Unfortunately, the 2022 Indian FTR Rally doesn’t get fully-adjustable suspension like the others. Its handlebars are also wider and higher—great for comfort and off-roading, less helpful for sharp street handling, The Drive explains. And it doesn’t get the new 4.3” TFT display. Plus, it doesn’t get wheelie control, stability control, traction control, or multiple ride modes like the S and R Carbon. The Rally doesn’t have a standard USB charge port like those trims, either.
However, the 2022 Indian FTR Rally does get the new engine and ride-by-wire throttle programming as well as rear-cylinder deactivation. And it has Brembo disc brakes with lean-sensitive ABS and cruise control. Also, while it doesn’t have a full windshield as standard, the Rally is the only 2022 FTR with a standard windscreen.
The 2022 Indian FTR 1200 S isn’t a flat-tracker, but it is a solid streetfighter
While the Rally is the closest thing to a flat-tracker in the 2022 Indian FTR lineup, that’s not the bike I recently spent some time with. Instead, I rode the 2022 FTR S. However, as noted earlier, even in its original FTR 1200 form, the bike was never a ‘true’ flat-track racer. Cycle World found that even in Rally form, the bike’s ABS was street-oriented. This was always a naked bike; the 2022 updates simply bring it more in line with that goal.
Earlier, I mused that RevZilla might be splitting hairs by calling the 2022 Indian FTR “a naked sportbike.” But that’s arguably a solid description of streetfighters such as Ducati’s eponymous Panigale-based bike. Admittedly, the 2022 FTR S’s 120 hp and 514-lb curb weight mean it’s not a match for Ducati’s Streetfighter V4. Yet in overall feel, this bike isn’t far off.
As I haven’t ridden the pre-update Indian FTR 1200, I can’t confirm if the claims that the 2022 model is more refined but less, er, exuberant. But I can firmly say that my rides were never short of giggles on this motorcycle.
The 2022 FTR S taps into your inner hooligan, especially when you put it into the sharper Sport Mode. And as my bike had the optional Ohlins suspension upgrade, it both rode and handled well. With its wide handlebars and mid controls, it doesn’t corner like a Yamaha YZF-R7 or similar sportbike. Yet it responds eagerly to shifting your weight on the footpegs and the communicative steering makes countersteering a breeze. And the riding position and seat are great for urban commuting.
The 2022 Indian FTR may have mostly left the dirt behind, but that doesn’t mean it’s left the fun behind, too.
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