Indian 1200 FTR Rally motorcycle test



V-Twin, 1203 cm3, 120 hp, 120 Nm at 6,000 rpm, 235 kg TPF, 14,990 euros … daily test

The word "scrambler" warms up lots of images, broadcast, told, punctuated by advertising. Heavy sand, rainbow reflections of the sun, trendy helmets and friends all the same: cool. The scramblers of the moment (Triumph 1200, Ducati 1100, BMW NineT….) Take on the dull gilding of the sober class imposed by this style, which makes it suitably urban. Their engine (still a twin), under this mat varnish, gives the change to the thick shirt, the rolled up jeans, the bottom of the cleverly virilized face that we glue in a sticker to the "scrambler owner": a discreet, regular charm, few waves.

The FTR 1200 FTR, Flat-Track parentageThe FTR 1200 FTR, Flat-Track parentage

This is the Achilles heel that the Indian bites. No more getting pissed off in a scramblère! The FTR Rally, finally an FTR 1200 with high handlebars, showcases the angry and powerful scrambler, like a test of the Scottish games. Drive a large nail in a single blow of the sledgehammer, carry a huge trunk in the flat of both hands for several meters…. The FTR, imagined around an idea of ​​flat track, is sporting brutality. The design finalized by Rich Christoph, designer and cool icon, was to allow the big 1200 V-twin and mandatory road hardware not to lose sight of the American racing 750 too much. Because it’s all still an American affair, despite the Scottish wink; from the rehashes of the scramblers of the 60’s to the desert wanderings of a few rican adventurers. Harley is not making it, despite announcements and Sportster-based preparations, but no. Now Indian is in.

rally screen, brown saddle, spoke rims with red pipingrally screen, brown saddle, spoke rims with red piping

Within the top 50 sales in 2019, there are still many scooters, followed by roadsters, a few trails, a hint of road, three neo-retro (Royal Enfield Interceptor in 22nd position and the Triumph Street Twin and Royal Enfield Bullet 500 which close the table) and no scrambler, even if the Ducati 800 Scrambler is not far from it. So no need to exhaust yourself in neural connections to get out of a laboratory cap an elaborate scrambler. A few modifications from a mature model are enough, in the very spirit of the genre, when road cars were transformed into off-road motorcycles, before cross and enduro models. The Indian FTR just changed sweaters to Rally. However, this "fair" changes a lot of things.

LED headlightLED headlight


Back to the FTR 1200 and its piece of engine. A 60 ° open, water-cooled V-twin with a short stroke and a heavy bore as an American truck fist. It breaks at around 8,700 rpm, a little after delivering its 120 hp, but carries away vigorously from 3,000 rpm and gives its maximum torque, 120 Nm, at 6,000 rpm. It was designed to contradict boredom, a modern scourge. When injected, it is not yet subject to the multi-parameter control of the ride by wire, it retains a certain brutality when the throttle is cut or opened. The injection mapping has been modified for 2020 on all FTRs, remedying the cold stalls or jerks of supply that too many owners know or have known. Indeed, I have not had to notice a problem at this level in two weeks. Just a few small, fleeting, cold power cuts. It also seems that the power is a little smoother than on the first version FTR..

LED tail lightLED rear light

The 120 hp of the Rally already outclasses the 89 hp of a Triumph 1200 Scrambler and its 110 Nm of torque, or even the 109 hp and 116 Nm of the BMW NineTScrambler. A Ducati 1100 Scrambler is still a little below the Triumph (86 hp and 88 Nm of torque). This is for the raw numbers. As for the sensations, the Indian is still widening the gap, we’ll see that soon. Let’s stay in the accounting field, let’s talk about weight. These critters weigh, while everything in them evokes lightness, the first step towards freedom. About 225 kg fully loaded for the Triumph and BMW and about 235 kg for the Indian. Only the Ducati soars, at 206 kg. In terms of power to weight ratio, all of these bikes are around 2kg for 1bhp at best. Either a good average, nothing more. It all depends on character and this is where the FTR Rally sets foot in the door..

60 ° V-twin, 1.203 ccV-twin 60 ° of 1.203 cm3

Too bad, however, that it is so heavy (a weight that disappears quickly and that you only really feel when stopped). It is assumed that most of this overweight, compared to its competitors, comes from the engine, because neither the truss frame or the swingarm of the same type are supposed to put a strain on the weight. The spoked wheels, specific to the Rally, do not help, but we are talking about two or three kilos, probably. The headlight cap, another element particular to the Rally, hardly counts (in protection either).

Its equipment is less rich than the Europeans (I deliberately did not mention the Yamaha SCR 950, which discredited itself on its own in this niche). Only injection and ABS braking require electronic assistance, for the rest, nada, no traction control or different engine modes. I’m the first to doubt the real usefulness of these microchipped controls, but at the same price, there are less of them on the American. Because all these motorcycles oscillate around 14,000 euros. In terms of suspensions, the fork cannot be adjusted, neither in preload, nor in hydraulics. However, we do not all measure the same size, we do not weigh the same weight, we can drive by 35 ° or by -3 °, the settings seem less superfluous to me than the engine modes.

Finally, the hi-tech dashboard of the FTR 1200 S, tablet style, here gives way to a nice round counter (that of the FTR), with a small digital screen which displays, among other things, the tachometer. Sober in terms of the essentials but difficult to read, especially with this high handlebar (+ 5 cm compared to the FTR), you have to lower your head, the screen cannot be read with a simple glance. The Rally costs only 1,000 euros less than the FTR 1200 S but is equipped like a standard FTR 1200, sold for 12,990 euros. Could it be the price of spoke rims and Pro Taper handlebars higher? Or maybe the USB socket, under the meter ?

Normally graduated counter up to 120 km / hNormally graduated counter up to 120 km / h

Last detail, the tank cap very far back, since the real tank is under the saddle and whose cap is not mounted on a hinge. So you have to get off the bike, especially since it takes three minutes, gun in hand, to fill this tank. Its bent piping prevents conventional filling. When I first filled it up, I noticed from the dipstick that I had only three-quarters full of the tiny 13-liter can. Gasoline struggles to flow and cuts off the flow of the gun. With experience, we learn that you have to wait a long time before being sure that you have filled the 13 liters, which are essential to hope to cover at least 180 km ….

Double exhaustDouble exhaust

In the saddle

The dealer on Avenue de la Grande Armee in Paris measures my meter sixty-eight: "We’ll have to sway at a red light, the Rally saddle is wide and thick and the FTR is already high. "You think I’m used to it, in twenty years of trying. It was written somewhere that the saddle height is adjustable in height, but ultimately not. With 840 mm, it is true that the tip of the foot looks a little for the ground at the beginning, in front or behind or the footrest, but the balance of the bike prevents getting lost; a shot to take. The clutch hangs a little cold, the slip point is played on a few precise millimeters, do not hesitate to play with the throttle to accompany the flight.

Afterwards, a nervous happiness gains the ground of discovery. The revs are angry, vigorous, the gearbox does not slam or growl, fast and categorical, the front brake (the lever is adjustable) stops with control and power. Above all, I really like the riding position, the tall and wide handlebars which improve the back position compared to the standard FTR. We guide the front axle better, trail-style, we react better to the thrusts of the engine. David who joined me on the test prefers the original handlebars with its more typical forward position..

And then the saddle, wide, comfortable, long, allows you to vary the seats, to step back. The footrests bend the legs quite a bit, without the position becoming unnatural with the kilometers.

A machine that encourages you to play with a huge potatoA machine that encourages you to play with a huge potato

In the city

Getting out of Paris remains a sinecure that only the hope of being far from it will help overcome. Red lights every hundred yards, traffic jams, roadworks, scooters, scooters, bicycles, over-confident pedestrians, there’s a game of Mario Bros that is played with no credit limit. And without bananas. Indian power and good box staging combine to make the game fun. The thin tires (120 front, 150 rear), with a 19-inch rim in front, facilitate the agility afforded by the balance of the bike. From 10 km / h, we no longer feel its weight of 235 kg with the refueling.

The first stop is a lot less laughing. He points out the Rally’s first flaw for small riders: the crutch lug, located far behind the footrest, requires long legs so that this very stupid operation does not turn into hell. I end up getting off the bike to crutch it. Then you have to remove the glove to block the steering, because the key sticks the triple tree, under the speedometer. Three times nothing will we laugh, except that on a daily basis, it pisses off. It shouldn’t be much to correct for the next vintage..

Coherent, healthy set, able to swallow the offensives of the coupleCoherent, healthy set, able to swallow the offensives of the couple

Finally, characteristic feature of any FTR, the heat given off by the engine, intense. October mornings are pretty cool, but the hot summers that climatologists promise us will turn into pressure cookers.


The cruise control, easy to trigger, on the left stalk, holds the V-twin at 130 meter (barely readable after 120, because of a graphic designer fancy: the meter extends to 70% up to 120 then accumulates the other hundreds on a small portion of the counter, illegible), i.e. around 4,600 rpm in sixth gear. But anyway, we no longer have the right to exceed 130 km / h. The lower body then relaxes on the soft saddle, the arms relax a little, the trapezoids tighten since nothing protects them. The last suburbs pass by. I stretch out a leg from time to time to stretch it. The planned release is finally looming.

120 hp at 8,250 rpm120 hp at 8,250 rpm


The great benefit of the Rally lies in its fitment of the Pirelli Scorpion Rally STR tire, at least compared to the Dunlop DT3-R of the original FTR. Crenellated, by scrambler spirit, they behave on the road like good tires for trail. On a degraded tar, another pleasant surprise, the suspensions work well, progressive in their depression and their relaxation. The shock absorber, adjustable in preload and compression, filters well, takes the loads of the engine, the whole fork swallows those of the braking. The front end of the Rally, precise, is guided with your fingertips thanks to the high and wide handlebars. However, the behavior is confusing, at the beginning, because of the long wheelbase (1524 mm, or 10 mm more than a BMW R 1250 GS): the Indian extends its entire length in the bends, in a block, without know the lightness of the front of a trail. It is all the more rigorous and less responsive, a strange mixture for a scrambler that is ultimately very road-going. Agile, quick in the sequences, the Rally does not induce restraint, even if the tires nevertheless find their natural limits. A more road ride will suit him better at the expense of the look.

When accelerating, no problem with traction.

You have to restrain yourself so as not to go wheelingYou have to restrain yourself so as not to go wheeling

The heavy load makes the shock absorber efficient, the long wheelbase reduces nervous reactions, great fun. The engine leaves little respite here for the chassis. From 3,000 to 8,000 rpm, it does not relax. The revs very lively for a twin are nonetheless thick, exactly what we expect from a big 1200. The throttle releases are accompanied by a sudden, like each go-around , but the wrist learns to moderate it. On small roads as on national roads, you never get bored. This is the main strength of the FTR Rally compared to a BMW NineT Scrambler of the same displacement, more dull. The Ducati is forgotten. The charm of the Triumph stands the comparison, less the rage.

115 Nm (85 lb-ft) at 6,000 rpm115 Nm (85 lb-ft) at 6,000 rpm


The balance of the TRF is a seduction. The weight is erased very early, thanks to the good weight balance, the wheelbase provides stability, the thin tires agility. The Indian has a cohesive, healthy set that can swallow the couple’s offensives. The good quality suspensions give both comfort and handling.

Road scramblerRoad scrambler


The big Brembo four-piston calipers firmly grip the two 320mm front discs, with power and progressiveness, no complaints. The fork sinks in a bit quickly when braking hard, but we’ve seen worse.

320mm discs, Brembo 4-piston radial-mount monobloc calipers, Bosch ABS320 mm discs, Brembo 4 piston monobloc calipers with radial mount, Bosch ABS

The rear brake activates the ABS very quickly, you don’t take advantage of its power. It is mainly used to get closer to the inside of a bend, on optimistic days.

Comfort / duo

The wide and comfortable saddle / snug suspension combination ensures comfort. The rather upright driving position is pleasant, despite the legs a little bent, which will not appeal to adults.

A saddle at 840 mm840 mm saddle

The duo could have been perfect, thanks to the wide and long seat, but the grab handles under the saddle are there only for the look.


The Indian has a weak point and that is its consumption. I have already pointed out the difficulty when it comes to refueling. The problem is, it comes up a lot. Staying at 8 l / 100 km already requires a little attention. The Rally encourages zouaveries, we love it for that, but we pay dearly for it. And with a tank of only 13 liters, you should not expect a range of 200 km, but rather 160 or 180 unless you drive really cool..

13 liter tank13 liter tank

Video test of the FTR 1200 Rally


The Indian FTR Rally refreshes the lazy little world of the scrambler. The storm of its V-Twin, a little smoothed by a more polished mapping, its alert chassis, its high-level finish, its damn driving position leave a taste of intensity. Too bad that at 14,990 euros, it is a cut below its competitors in terms of equipment. There are plenty of options in the catalog, including a few Roland Sands accessories, but before you buy them, think about how much fuel consumption will cost you. In the summer, the Indian will bake your legs. And then a few practical details (filling the tank, unfolding the crutch when you are less than 1.75m tall) may bother you. But the character of the FTR is always a treat that will almost make you forget its flaws, proof of its specific personality, enough to choose the Rally for its look, the FTR 1200 simple for its price (2,000 euros less) or go ogle towards the S, a thousand euros more at 15,990 euros, without forgetting the Carbon version at 17,990 euros. The embarrassment of the choice according to its wallet.

Strong points

  • V-twin potato
  • Powerful and progressive braking
  • Trail-style driving position
  • Suspensions
  • Balance of the chassis

Weak points

  • Stationary weight
  • Consumption
  • Heat released by the engine
  • Equipment set back from competitors
  • Some practical details (stand, filling the tank, location of the ignition key, etc.)

The technical sheet of the FTR 1200 Rally

Test conditions

  • Itinerary: small varied roads + interurban highways with a bit of town
  • Motorcycle mileage: 300 km

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10 thoughts on “Indian 1200 FTR Rally motorcycle test

  1. I like this one.

    I don’t drive a lot, rarely at +130, I like small bumpy roads, and I can’t stand the backpack ..


  2. It is true that for once, I find this American pleasant in appearance. The weight, can be accepted, although acceptable limit … The annoying little peculiarities, why not, if we force ourselves to a certain dose of self-sacrifice…

    But, on the other hand, the consumption of the beast, and especially its damn tank to sew … NO THANKS !

    Well seen for the hipsters, market centers, rather southern, but for the correctly burned, who face the bad weather … If they do not want neither to push, nor to walk … In the direction of a hydrocarbon drinks outlet, jerrycan in hand … it is better that they go their way ! wink

  3. Thank you both for your comments. It will be interesting to see what the new category of small trails will give commercially. Because the Versys X-300 could come close to 40 horsepower, and if KTM releases a 390 Adventure with the block not retouched, it will be 44 horsepower. Beautiful perspective …

  4. Good article in any case which poses the radius of action of these small trails good for almost everything, the daily freedom to go get bread, take a little walk around home and take the undergrowth in shortcut to avoid the national road…

    In 2015, I bought a Yam WR250R, used for this purpose, a modern motorcycle little sold in Europe (and yet popular in the USA) because we swear by the big engines and it’s a shame … which allowed me to get a good deal, 5000 km and 2500 euros by negotiating a little.

    Today it has become almost more essential than my brand new 2016 SV 650 and I think I will keep it for a long time, whereas I am used to changing often for the roadster, and it has a real saddle while the SV teases my butt fast enough!

  5. We had to wait for an electric model for HD to finally mount real brakes and real suspensions on one of its motorcycles … better late than never.

  6. 150 km of autonomy and 8 hours of recharging … It is clear that this has only just begun.HD had the courage to put the cart in front of the horses and to develop, industrialize and sell this motorcycle, without waiting for the manufacturers batteries have a really useful product.

    I guess the other factories already have good designs, but they don’t want to pay the cost of bringing them to market with so little battery life and therefore ridiculous sales. Bravo for HD!

  7. Basically, the customer or user takes on the responsibility of democratizing Cevennes as a kind of machine. Heavy load / stain

    I have the impression that they made it to make one ….

  8. Nice article, just an overview of CCS terminals in France 😉🔌✌️

    [attachment 31813 IMG_20190722_230642.jpg]

  9. And where is the passenger going? ?

    And then 34000 € to democratize the concept, sorry but we do not have the same values ​​…..

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