A patent application with the USPTO gives us our first look at the 2019 Indian FTR1200 street tracker.
Indian’s heavyweight models aren’t really our cup of tea, though we do get an immature chuckle when we hear them talk about their “Thunder Stroke” engine platform. Childish jokes aside, some interesting news caught our eye about the American brand’s 2019 models.
Included as part of the 2019 Indian Chief, Springfield, and Roadmaster models is a number of new features, the most interesting of which is the inclusion of rear-cylinder deactivation.
We have seen this technology most recently in the World Superbike Championship (and it is no stranger in the land of four wheels), where manufacturers deactivate cylinders mid-corner to improve bike’s response during partial throttle applications.
Indian is using this concept in a different way though – one that will be more applicable to riding on the street.
The Indian Motorcycle Company is recalling a bunch of 2017-2018 Indian Scout motorcycles right now, which includes the Scout Sixty and and Scout Bobber variants.
All told, 4,185 motorcycles are affected by a recall that concerns the anti-locking brakes system (ABS), which may have air left in the system after the assembly process.
Since air in the brake lines can impact a motorcycle’s braking ability, Indian has decided to recall the affected machines, in order to ensure rider safety.
President Trump’s trade war is about to see another player in the motorcycle industry jump ship from American soil, and this time it is heavyweight Polaris Industries. According to a report by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, Polaris is considering moving some of its production capacity to Europe, eyeing a production facility in Poland that would build units for the European market. The move is a direct response to the retaliatory tariffs imposed by the European Union on motorcycle imports, which itself was a response to the Trump Administration’s taxing of steel and aluminum imports.
Today is the day. Today is the day that the European Union begins taxing the importation of motorcycles from the United States into Europe. A retaliation to the Trump administration’s tariffs on aluminum and steel, the EU will now impose a 25% tariff increase on all motorcycles, 500cc and up, coming from the United States. This means that the new tariff provisions will affect both Harley-Davidson and Indian, but will not affect Zero Motorcycles, as electric motorcycles are not included in the trade war provisions. Specifically, the European Union is imposing the 31% tariff (there was already a 6% tariff on motorcycles from the USA) to the goods that fall under HS code 87114000 & 87115000 on the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System.
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. Indian is light on official details, and has yet to give us a release date for the Indian FTR 1200, but we do know that it will be a 2019 model. Though Indian isn’t telling us too much, we can infer a little from the name of this new model.
The Fortune 500 is a list of America’s largest companies, and is a constant barometer on the state of the American business landscape. In its 64 years of existence, the Fortune 500 has been an exclusive club, and its newest inductee is one from the powersports industry: Polaris Industries.
Ranked at #496 on the list, the addition of Polaris means that the influence (and decline) of the US motorcycle and powersports landscape will be seen on a much larger national stage.
Mostly it is just a cool milestone for Polaris, and proud bragging point for the company’s executives at the next country club gathering.
One of the weirder recalls we have ever seen at Asphalt & Rubber, Indian is recalling 3,341 motorcycles because they could potentially start on their own. The issue stems from the bikes’ right-hand control cluster, which can become corroded over time. If a bike’s wireless key is nearby, this can lead to a situation where the motorcycle can initiate the startup procedure without action from the owner. Obviously such a situation can lead to several potentially dangerous scenarios, with carbon monoxide poisoning at the top of the list. Indian lists the following machines as being susceptible to the hand control defect, though it only concerns motorcycles from the 2018 model year.
Strangely enough, we have talked about trade wars several times before, here on Asphalt & Rubber, as the Trump administration has been keen to use this tool in its toolbox, often with effects that reach into the motorcycle industry. The first time around, we talked about how the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) affected the motorcycle industry, namely Harley-Davidson, and how the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement would likely be a negative effect for US motorcyclists. We have also had to talk about how fighting over beef imports could lead to possible tariffs on small-displacement European motorcycles in the United States, a tariff that would seriously hurt Piaggio/Vespa scooter sales and KTM dirt bike sales.
Polaris Industries says it is working on a new electric motorcycle, to replace the now discontinued Victory Empulse TT model that was scrapped when the Minnesota company closed the doors to the Victory brand earlier this year. According to a report from Reuters, the new electric motorcycle will be released under the Indian Motorcycle brand name, and will be focused towards riders who ride for pleasure, rather than those who commute or do long-distance trips. The report says that Polaris is targeting a 120 to 140 mile range – almost double of what was available from the Empulse TT – from this new electric motorcycle model, when ridden at an aggressive pace.
Indian Motorcycle is recalling seven different models, amounting to 23,746 units, for an issue with a fuel rail that may contact other components and result in a fuel leak.
The recall pertains to the Chief Classic, Chief Dark Horse, Vintage, Chieftan, Chieftan Dark Horse, Springfield, and Roadmaster models, for the 2014 to 2017 model years (manufactured between April 15, 2013, to July 15, 2016).
Since leaking fuel could be ignited by a spark, resulting in a fire hazard, Indian filed a recall with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).