Resurrecting a historic motorcycle brand is fraught with danger, for every huge success like Triumph, there is a Norton with its endless list of disappointed customers and a former owner facing the courts. But just over a decade since Polaris returned the Indian brand to the market, the famous American marque is simply booming. The new management haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel, they’ve simply focused on building a small number of models, very very well. And in our corner of the motorcycle woods, the FTR1200 is simply the duck’s guts. And today, as Indian today announces its 2024 line-up, the FTR is front and centre, and we can reveal an exclusive collaboration with American Motocross and eyewear brand 100%. The result is this absolutely stunning slice of Americana, the FTR x 100% R Carbon of which only 400 limited-edition examples will be made.
The announcement didn’t catch everyone by surprise, some eagle-eyed scribes had noticed the 100% brand name noted alongside an Indian model when the bike’s VIN numbers were lodged a few months ago with the relevant authorities. The two icons of the American motorcycle scene have worked together in the past, with Indian offering a set of 100% Barstow goggles, in their list of branded accessories for the FTR in previous years. But this blued-out carbon fibre phenom, with plenty of trick parts, is a welcome surprise for any fan of the flat track beast.
And it’s racing where both the FTR and 100% brands have really earned their stripes, one on the big dirt ovals and the other in the world of Motocross. Even before Indian released the FTR1200 to the public in 2019, the race version, the FTR750, had been dominating the flat tracks of America, and has won a string of AFT Grand National Championships to cement its place as the bike to beat. So, with two companies already working together and dominating in their respective fields, it made sense to all involved to reward their loyal fan base with the chance to own something truly special.
The limited-edition FTR x 100% R Carbon, is as the name suggests, based on the top-of-the-line FTR R Carbon, which means you get all the fruit, even before the new additions are bolted on. The visual transformation starts with that exceptional tubular frame, now sporting a stunning white powder coat.
This helps the Candy Blue carbon to really pop, which is used on the front fender, headlight cowl, tank covers and that purposeful tailpiece. These are then finished with lighter blue and red highlights, which also make their way onto the wheels and the chin spoiler, with the full graphics package of sponsors completed in a frame matching white.
A special tank badge is laid over the top, with the FTR and 100% logos finished to the highest quality and the matching seat is about as good as anything you’ll find on a factory-prepared motorcycle. There are also some extra carbon fibre pieces that have simply been hit with a gloss finish and serve as the engine covers, chain guard and heat shielding on the exhaust. Even the small frame insert covers utilise a carbon piece with a chequered flag ghosted graphic, and you really do get all of the little details you’d expect from a limited-edition machine.
To make sure all of the R Carbon model goodies fit the look of the 100% collaboration machine and differ from the race-inspired factory offering, the Ohlins forks at the front are now finished in black, as is the spring on the Ohlins rear shock. The stunning Titanium Akrapovič exhaust also gets the same treatment, with the twin end cans also finished in black. To add some extra goodies, Indian called in the engineers and Gilles Tooling who have produced a set of bar-end weights, oil cap and radiator cap, just for the 400 bike run.
Of course, you also happen to be jumping aboard a motorcycle that packs one of the best V-Twin engines to ever come out of America, with the liquid-cooled donk laying down an impressive 120bhp and a thumping 118nm of torque.
All of this is delivered with crisp fuelling thanks to excellent engine mapping and four-valve heads and 12.5:1 compression means there is plenty of power no matter where you are in the rev range. Everything about the package is high quality, with twin radial-mounted Brembo brakes and the 4-inch Touchscreen display Powered by RIDE COMMAND providing a brilliant entertainment and electronics package.
To give the customer the full experience, “launching alongside the limited-edition FTR x 100% R Carbon is an exclusive Indian Motorcycle x 100% apparel collection. Offering a diverse mix of men’s and women’s lifestyle pieces, the collection includes long and short-sleeved tops, hoodies, hats and beanies.”
And for those lucky people around the world who manage to secure one of the just 400 examples of the limited-edition machine set to be produced, you also get a nice bonus package with some 100% sunglasses thrown in. So, what’s the damage? US$18,999, which is just US$1,750 over the regular Carbon R model, and that seems like a hell of a bargain for a flat track Indian that delivers on the 100% promise.