We have already talked about what the pint-sized Ohvale is doing for road racing, with the 24hp race bike lighting up go-kart tracks around the world.
Now, source again the 187cc single-cylinder engine from Daytona, and use that same “built for kids (but really adults)” form-factor, except this time build this creation for the flat tracking realm, and what you have is the Sunday Motors S187.
While the concept is pretty simple, it is the price point that really caught our attention, with the French outfit having two affordable models for consumption – the S187 ($3,300) and the S147 ($2,300).
It is here, finally. The Indian FTR1200 is arriving in dealerships in the next few weeks, which means that the motorcycle press can finally hop on this street tracker and talk about it.
But, we have already done that. Asphalt & Rubber was one of a few publications that got to ride a prototype of this machine back in October 2018, and since then we have seen countless outlets and social media darlings swing a leg over the Indian FTR1200.
Furthermore, racers already have the bike in their garages and are competing in the Super Hooligan National Championship series, and while the press launch for this bike was underway in Mexico, other outlets were busy getting exclusive tastes of the machine, including A&R.
So, while we are very excited to be the first to tell you how the new Indian FTR1200 does the business, this is very much a machine that has been in the sphere for quite a while, and thus is already a known quantity.
We didn’t let the hold us back too much, and I can confidently say that no other publication has spent more time in the saddle of the Indian FTR1200 S than us, getting to know every bit of this new motorcycle and where it takes the Indian Motorcycle brand. Let me explain.
Husqvarna is a sales-driven company. I know this because before our press ride, the (Austrian-owned) Swedish brand spent more time selling us on the company’s staggering sales growth rather than talking about the technical specifics on the new Husqvarna Svartpilen 701.
To that end, sales are good. Very good, in fact. For a point of reference, more Husqvarna motorcycles are being sold now than ever before in the brand’s extensive history, and some of that growth comes from the Husqvarna’s new entry into the street bike realm.
Don’t get me wrong, Husqvarna dirt bikes still out sell the brand’s street bikes by roughly 4:1 when we are talking raw numbers, but the revived company is knocking on close to 50,000 motorcycles sold a year now. That is impressive, no matter how you slice it.
The bike that they hope will push the brand over the 50k mark is the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701, which is the only new model from Husqvarna for the 2019 model year. The Svartpilen 701 is the counterpoint to the Vitpilen 701 that debuted last year, and it continues Husqvarna’s trend of releasing the mirror image machines in various sizes.
As such, the 701 series borrows its platform from the KTM 690 Duke, and its new single-cylinder engine that features dual balancing shafts (one at the crank, the other on the cam).
It is a motor we are quite fond of here at Asphalt & Rubber, so we were intrigued when Husqvarna invited us to Lisbon, Portugal to ride the new Svartpilen 701 – as we wanted to see if this motorcycle was just more than a re-skinned KTM.
The answer to that question is certainly a yes, but with an asterisk. Let me explain.
Greetings from Lisbon, Portugal as we come to our final destination on this three-week European press launch adventure. For this installment, we switch countries of origin, and get ready to hop on the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 street bike.
A sort of street-tracker meets roadster type of bike, the Svartpilen 701 is a unique build from Husqvarna, and it pairs well with the company’s “white arrow” – the Vitpilen 701.
The plan is for us to get to know the Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 on the roads outside of Lisbon, riding along the coast for some twisties, touring along the highway, and doing some city miles in the urban jungle of Lisboa.
The route should give us a good idea of what to expect from the Swedish brand’s newest street bike, and to see if it is as fun as Husqvarna would like us to believe.
A few years ago, I had the fortune to hop on the Zaeta 530 SE for a quick romp. The eye-catching machine was stupid-fun, as it rattled just about every bone in my body. Beautiful, but completely unrefined, the lithe Zaeta was intriguing to me until I saw its $25,000 price tag. Ouch, on so many levels!
Too rich for my blood, too unpolished for my senses, but still very drool-worthy – the potential here was strong, and the small Italian brand was making strides on fixing some of the machine’s more troublesome gremlins.
The 528cc single-cylinder thumper (and it is a thumper!) is from TM Racing, a unique Italian brand in its own right, but the real highlight of the Zaeta was its CNC’d aluminum chassis, which was just gorgeous.
This made the 266 lbs machine a tough one to forget, so when I saw in my foreign news feed that the fearsome Zaeta was coming to the US for American Flat Track racing, I was quite excited…even more so when I saw that a twin-cylinder machine was also in the works.
Last Tuesday, KTM invited Asphalt & Rubber to Perris, California for the 2019 Red Bull/KTM Factory Racing Flat Track Team Introduction.
A mouthful, yes. But, with a title like that we couldn’t pass it up? Really though, Asphalt & Rubber at a dirt track event? Only later on the drive down would it start to make sense, perhaps a site like A&R is exactly who should be covering this event.
It dawned on me right where the 57 freeway meets the 60 freeway. The weight of what this factory effort in the sport of Flat Track Racing means. It has been years since we’ve seen a full factory team in a dirt track paddock.
I had to go back and lookup when we first saw the Svartpilen 701 from Husqvarna, because even though it was only a year ago…that time seems like an eternity.
Maybe it is because of Husqvarna’s measured pace with its street bikes, maybe it is the design overlap between the 401 and 701 models, or maybe it is because we have wanted to see what this retro-modern flat tracker was going to look like after the lawyers had their way with it.
The answer is probably all of the above, but it doesn’t really matter. The 2019 Husqvarna Svartpilen 701 is ready for your two-wheeled consumption.
They did it. They actually did it. Debuting today at INTERMOT, the Indian Motorcycle brand released its newest motorcycle, the 2019 Indian FTR1200.
The only production street tracker currently available on the market, the Indian FTR1200 takes its inspiration from the Indian FTR750 Scout race bike that is dominating the American Flat Track series, and in the process brings the company’s first non-cruiser motorcycle to market.
Answering the calls of many, the FTR1200 production bike is visually very close to the FTR1200 Concept we saw several months back, and it will come in two flavors: the base model Indian FTR1200, and the up-spec Indian FTR1200 S. Expect it to drop, Q1 2019.
We’ve seen patent design images and spy photos, and now we only have a week until the Indian FTR1200 debuts. We know this because Indian has begun teasing the street tracker’s debut in a short YouTube video.
In the video, we see American Flat Track champion Jared Mees sliding around on the Indian Scout FTR750 race bike, before he heads into an open garage. From there, we hear revving what is presumably the motor to the FTR1200 street bike.
Details on the 2019 Indian FTR1200 street tracker have been tight, but the American brand has been sloppy on keeping things under wraps. Design patents filed abroad have given us a good glimpse of the machine’s inner-workings, and the crafty Australian’s at Motorbike Writer have a spy photo which looks to give us the full monty on the machine.
Bad news from the world of flat track racing this weekend, as Brad Baker was seriously injured during a practice session a the X Games event in Minneapolis.
Crashing and going over the handlebars of his Indian FTR750 race bike, the incident didn’t look to be a big crash from a video posted on social media.
However, the result of the crash has seen Baker hospitalized for a serious back injury, though according to a post by his brother on social media, Brad was awake and alert in the hospital.
When the potent Indian Scout FTR750 debuted for flat track racing duty, fans of the American brand clamored for a street model.
Indian listened, giving us the Indian Scout FTR1200 concept late last year, with much rumor that the concept bike was the prelude for a full-fledged production model.
That rumor is now no more, as Indian confirmed this weekend at the Wheels & Waves event in France that we will see a production street-tracker model, named the Indian FTR 1200.