2022 Indian FTR S vs. R Carbon: Does ‘S’ Mean Savings With Accessories?

It’s understandably tempting to go straight for the highest or special-edition trims when you’re shopping for motorcycles. That’s especially true if the motorcycle you’re eying has some features limited to specific trims. For example, if you want the Harley-Davidson Pan America’s adaptive-height suspension, you have to get the 1250 Special. However, some bikes offer an alternative to the lineup ladder: the accessory catalog. But is the updated 2022 Indian FTR S one of those bikes?

2022 Indian FTR S vs. R Carbon: the differences are in the details

The rear 3/4 view of a red-black-and-white 2022 Indian FTR R Carbon in a garage
2022 Indian FTR R Carbon rear 3/4 view | Indian
Spec2022 Indian FTR S, R Carbon
Engine1203cc liquid-cooled V-twin
Power120 hp
Torque87 lb-ft
TransmissionSix-speed manual with slipper-assist clutch
Front suspension and travelFTR S: ZF Sachs fully-adjustable inverted cartridge fork; 4.72”
FTR R Carbon: Ohlins fully-adjustable inverted cartridge fork; 4.72”
Rear suspension and travelFTR S: ZF Sachs fully-adjustable piggyback IFP; 4.72”
FTR R Carbon: Ohlins fully-adjustable piggyback IFP: 4.72”
Seat height32.2″
Curb weightFTR S: 514 lbs
FTR R Carbon: 511 lbs
Starting priceS: $14,999
R Carbon: $16,999

The FTR S and R Carbon are the second-highest and highest trims, respectively, in the 2022 Indian FTR lineup. They both have the same V-twin powertrain and overall layout as the base 2022 FTR, including identical suspension geometries. However, the 2022 FTR S and R Carbon get some key upgrades over the base bike.

Firstly, the 2022 Indian FTR S has a 4.3” TFT display rather than an analog gauge like the base FTR. As a result, it has Bluetooth and can connect to your phone via Indian’s Ride Command app. The FTR S also has three ride modes, plus lean-sensitive wheelie control, stability control, traction control, and ABS. And it comes standard with a USB charging port, which is optional on the base model. Plus, for 2022, the Indian FTR S gets a titanium Akrapovic exhaust.

The 2022 FTR R Carbon also gets these features, including the same Akrapovic exhaust, Cycle World notes, albeit black. However, it has several additional features that the 2022 Indian FTR S lacks. For one, it swaps the Sachs suspension for Ohlins units. It also gets carbon-fiber tank (well, airbox) covers, as well as a carbon-fiber headlight nacelle and front fender. Plus, it has a firmer seat than the S, RideApart reports. And while the 2022 FTR S has a black frame, the R Carbon’s is red and silver.

With the right accessories, you can turn the 2022 Indian FTR S into an ersatz R Carbon

A black-white-and-red 2022 Indian FTR R Carbon in front of a white-and-black 2022 Indian FTR S under a city bridge
2022 Indian FTR R Carbon in front of an FTR S side view | Indian

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In short, for $2000 more than the 2022 Indian FTR S, the R Carbon gets an upgraded suspension setup, some carbon-fiber bits, and a few cosmetic tweaks. However, it’s essentially identical mechanically to the S. The two even have the same tires and wheel sizes, though the R Carbon’s wheels’ rims are a different shade of red. And crucially, Indian offers the same kinds of accessories on the 2022 FTR S and R Carbon.

Those accessories break down in the following way:

  • Performance
    • High-mount exhaust conversion and mounting kit
    • Ohlins forks and rear shock (FTR S only)
    • Rally footpegs
    • Roland Sands Design handguards
  • Bags and luggage carrying
    • Rear and side luggage racks
    • Rear rack bag
    • All-weather vinyl duffle, side, tank, and messenger bags
  • Weather protection and comfort
    • RSD comfort handgrips
    • Heated grips
    • Passenger footpeg relocation kit for high-mount exhausts
    • Rubber footpeg inserts
    • Steel passenger grab handle
    • R Carbon seat (FTR S only)
    • All-weather vinyl seats
  • Cosmetic
    • Colored and carbon-fiber tank (airbox) covers
    • Carbon-fiber front fender (FTR S only)
    • Carbon-fiber seat cowl, chain guard, and V-covers
    • Rear mudguard
    • Carbon-fiber and aluminum radiator guards
    • RSD engine cover
    • Side number plates
    • Handlebar phone mount
    • RSD brake fluid reservoir caps
    • Carbon-fiber headlight nacelle (FTR S only)
    • Clear turn signals
    • High license plate mount

MotorBiscuit’s 2022 Indian FTR S press bike came with some choice accessories

A black accessorized 2022 Indian FTR S parked by a Lake Michigan beach
Accessorized 2022 Indian FTR S | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

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I recently spent some time riding an accessorized 2022 Indian FTR S. While it wasn’t a carbon copy of the R Carbon, it had the upgraded Ohlins suspension. The press bike also had a black vinyl tracker seat, black polycarbonate low windscreen, carbon-fiber front fender, and Rizoma mirrors. Plus, the R Carbon’s blacked-out exhaust covers and some black tank covers that, as of this writing, aren’t available as accessories.

Adding these accessories would add the following amounts to a stock 2022 Indian FTR S:

  • Rizoma mirrors: $369.99
  • Tank covers: $499.99 (estimated)
  • Vinyl tracker seat: $199.99
  • Tracker seat base cowl: $299.99
  • Carbon-fiber front fender: $279.99
  • Polycarbonate low windshield without headlight cowl: $149.99
  • Steel windshield mount: $249.99
  • Ohlins forks: $1799.99
  • Ohlins rear shock: $899.99
  • Black Akrapovic cover: $100

That adds up to an as-equipped cost of $19,478.92. And if my test bike had carbon-fiber tank covers, it would be $100 more expensive.

Is it worth upgrading the lower 2022 FTR trim to the highest level?

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However, the biggest functional difference between the FTR S and the R Carbon is the suspension setup. So, cosmetics aside, you could ‘clone’ the R Carbon just by equipping the S with the Ohlins suspension. But that still leaves you with a $17,698.98 2022 Indian FTR S. In other words, the R Carbon is still cheaper.

Cosmetics aside, is the upcharge worth it? As I haven’t ridden a 2022 Indian FTR S with the Sachs suspension, it’s difficult to say. However, I was thoroughly impressed with how well the Ohlins suspension soaked up bumps and imperfections while still delivering grin-inducing handling. The ride is on the stiffer side, but it’s well-damped and never uncomfortable. And for what it’s worth, while The Drive says the Sachs shocks “are…known for being excellent,” it also notes that “ZF isn’t Ohlins.”

A close-up view of the 2022 Indian FTR S's optional accessory gold Ohlins rear shock
2022 Indian FTR S Ohlins rear suspension closeup | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

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That’s not to say the stock 2022 Indian FTR S is bad. In all of its trims, it’s “a genuinely fun motorcycle,” Cycle World says—and I concur. But if I was spending my own money, I might skip over the S and go straight for the R Carbon.

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