Indian Motorcycle Unleashes The FTR750 Hill Climber
20 August 2020 - RideApart
Flat track: dominated. Hillclimb: next.
If you know American Flat Track racing, you know that Indian Motorcycle’s FTR750 has been laying waste to the dirt oval since the 2017 season. Whether it’s Jared Mees or Briar Bauman at the helm, the bike that inspired the street-legal FTR 1200 nabbed three AFT Twins championships in three years. In 2020, the FTR750 only competes with itself, sweeping the podium in the opening two races.
With that type of success, Indian decided it was time to expand its reign to the slopes with the FTR750 hill climber. Based on the flat track race machine, the team added an extended swingarm, redesigned the tail section, and slapped on some knobby tires. The brand also outfitted the hill climber with an aftermarket Rekluse clutch while S&S provided a special exhaust for the project.
However, the FTR750 hill climber isn’t just a passion project, Indian plans to enter the 2020 AMA Pro Hillclimb Racing series in the new Twins class. To pilot the new roost rouser, the company signed 10-time AMA Pro Hillclimb Champion John “Flying” Koester to its already impressive ranks.
“It’s an absolute honor to represent Indian Motorcycle as it makes its dramatic return to hillclimb racing on the same machine that literally changed the game for flat-track racing over the past four years,” said Koester. “We’re excited to unleash the FTR750 on the hill, with our minds firmly fixed on the ultimate goal of capturing a championship.”
Along with his father/crew chief Gordy Koester, the decorated rider helped develop the FTR750 flat track bike into a hill shredder. As the first U.S. racer to win all three National AMA Pro Hillclimb titles in a single season, it’s safe to say that the new factory ride is safe in Koester’s hands.
Though Indian’s racing roots run deep, it hasn’t participated in a Hillclimb series in over 80 years. With the brand’s success boosting the popularity and viewership of American Flat Track racing, it seemed like a no-brainer to bring the FTR to the hill.
“When we created the new Twins class, our intention was to attract leading OEMs like Indian Motorcycle to return to this uniquely challenging and exciting form of racing,” noted Director of AMA Pro Hillclimb Rob Redmann. “We couldn’t be more excited to now welcome Indian Motorcycle back to the hill for the first time in more than 80 years.”
Will the FTR750 be the top-dog on the track and the king of the hill in 2020? Can Indian resuscitate the popularity of Hillclimb racing? Only time will tell, but we know what we’re putting our money on.