Indian FTR1200H by S&S Cycle
By Ross Sharp - 06 Jun 19
It's taken me a while to post these images as I've been sick, with envy. This stunning pair of flat track racers are the new steads for Indian Motorcycle UK team riders Lee Kirk-Patrick and Leah Tokelove. Fresh off the boat from America and unveiled at Bike Shed London 2019 a fortnight ago these FTR1200s are due to compete at the European round of the Hooligan flat track championship next week at Wheels & Waves, in Biarritz, France. The hugely successful tuning house S&S Cycle were tasked with converting a pair of FTRs for race use, which on the surface isn't a particularly tricky thing to do - the lineage between the FTR750 that spawned this model is obvious. The changes though are more than superficial. Lee & Leah won't win a championship with style points alone. 25 kgs have been trimmed from road bike thanks to dumping lights, pillion pegs, clocks, the front brake and the EU4-friendly exhaust system. A gorgeous pair of near straight through stainless steel S&S mufflers and headers give the 1200cc v-twin the bark we'd hoped to hear during the global press launch last month - read about that here. The swingarm has been shortened 25mm and the head angle steepened by 2 degrees courtesy of offset headstock bearing cups and custom S&S triple clamps, which can also be adjusted fore and aft 8mm with a range of inset spacers. Which combined with the fully adjustable Fox rear shock with remote reservoir and OEM cartridge fork should make for a sweet handling racer. A far cry from the beastly Scouts that the brave duo haul around tight UK speedway ovals.
The steeper rake meant the oil cooler, starter solenoid, battery (replaced by a lithium version) and reg/rec would foul on the front wheel, so these have been repositioned elsewhere and out of harm's way. The plastic fuel tank on the stock bike caused problems too, the shorter swingarm spoiled the engineer's carefully calculated clearance margins resulting in the tyre rubbing at full bump. An aluminium fuel cell under the carbon seat now carries enough juice for a dozen or so laps at flat chat, but no more. The subframe is also new, and fabricated from aluminium.
Krazy Horse developed a chain conversion for the outgoing Scout Hooligans but choosing between revving to the redline in 1st or forgoing engine braking and having too much torque in 2nd always posed a dilima for Lee & Leah. Not anymore. Roland Sadnds Design wheels and a Vortex sprocket (the FTR runs chain drive as standard) should make life easier. Not for their competitors though! The rear wheel features solid sections. This isn't a machinist's error, the extra weight helps prevent wheelspin and gives the Dunlop DT3 rubber a fighting chance of scrabbling for grip.
Swept Protaper bars on angled clamps and revised footpegs with adjustable reach levers will feel a long way from the Scout, which has chariot-esque ergonomics.
I tried Lee's Scout and it wasn't for me. It felt like putting a saddle on a grumpy grizzly bear and taking it to a pony club gymkhana. This new FTR1200H is a different beast altogether, and it could well see the end of Gary Birtwistle's dominance aboard his lithe Ducati Scrambler 800. Watch this space.
If you're heading down to Wheels & Waves next week do not miss the El Rollo flat track races. We'll be there, enjoying the spectacle from the other side of the hay bales this time.
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And check out our Indian Motorcycle Ride Reports, including the first laps on the pre-launch FTR1200 by clicking here.
Images by Ivo Ivanov