American V-twin traditionalist attempt to build legitimate performance street bike. Indian’s Rich Christoph talks sex, marriage and the new FTR1200 Custom
Indian build legitimate performance street bike, plus new Guzzi V7.
THE BEAUTY YOU’RE gazing upon is Indian’s latest step towards a full production version of their all-conquering FTR750 flat-track racer. Called uses the the 1133cc, FTR1200 100bhp Custom, Scout it road bike engine and sits in an all-new frame. It’s the strongest hint yet of what the road bike will look like – ie smoking hot – but is by no means the finished deal. Tantalisingly, the road bike is already complete, but Indian won’t show it off until later this year. ‘The Custom is a pure, emotional, sculptural, sexual interpretation of the race bike,’ designer Rich Christoph tells Bike. ‘I was trying to sculpt the most beautiful woman I could. She’s the one you fall in love with and it’s wild - sex, parties, sleepless nights. But you’re never going to marry her. She’s not the marrying type. ‘What we had to do [for the road bike] is capture the spirit of the Custom, but make it something you want to marry. The Custom has less than a gallon of gas and you’re sitting on carbon. You
‘I was trying to sculpt the most beautiful woman. She’s the one you fall in love with’
couldn’t ride more than 35 miles. People have fallen in love with it, but hardly anyone would buy the Custom. ‘We haven’t lost the essence [with the production bike], but there’s a certain amount of reality you have to apply. It’s still going to hit all the emotional cues, and it’s still a cool motorcycle. And it’s ready.’ Sadly, we won’t see it until probably Milan in November. Indian’s range is cruiser-based, so a perky flat-track-styled bike is a big deal. ‘This is history, not just for us but for American motorcycling,’ says Rich. ‘It’s the first time an American V-twin company such as Indian has had a legitimate attempt at a performance street bike. You can point at the [Harley] XR1200 but it’s based on the Sportster frame. I was at H-D when they did that and I was riding a TL1000S and liked Ducatis – I knew the XR1200 was not the answer. ‘We’re going to nail performance and the fun factor.’ But didn’t Buells do that? ‘They never had the emotional factor – they looked shit. No-one was going to fall in love with how they looked.’ Harsh, but he has a point… And the price? ‘The price point is going to be good. We want this bike to sell.’
New FTR1200 Custom: clearly the result of many sleepless, sex lled, nights
Hopefully newFTR1200 will be capable of more than a gallon
This is the Custom road bike, revealed in November