A buddy texted me this weekend and asked if I wanted to go to the Indian Demo Ride event in town, to which the answer was a definite yes. Indian had the full lineup there, but the first bike I had to try was the FTR. The fun thing about the way Indian runs things is that the rides aren’t supervised. I’m not sure this is a good idea, but it sure is fun. They check your license and gear give you a quick rundown of the bike, and set you loose on the road. They have a mapped route with signs where to turn, but it’s up to you to actually follow it.

After our brief explanation of the controls my buddy and I set off, just the two of us. I started the ride in standard mode made a couple of turns, and turned on to the side road (still on the route BTW). Once I had a clear line I gave ‘er the beans and hot damn is this a fast bike. My vision blurred just a touch, and I felt the front end get light, so I backed it down and did a few more pulls in the higher gears to get used to the bike some more.


After a few miles I switched into sport mode and the difference is noticeable, the bike is much happier to rev and throttle response is much more sharp. After a couple more miles we turn back onto a bigger highway. My buddy takes off, pretty hard, I let him get a little ways ahead, I get it rolling and straightened out and go WOT. Bottom end is a little soft, but then the power hits and the FRONT WHEEL COMES OFF THE GROUND!

I’ve been riding for around ten years or so, and I consider myself a pretty good rider, but most of my experience is on big cruiser type bikes and clapped out UJM’s. Power wheelies are new to me, and still a bit terrifying. I don’t know how far the wheel came off the ground (probably not far), but it didn’t feel like a little. We get back to the dealership and apparently my buddy did the same thing. Talking to other people who had ridden the bike the consensus was the same, scary fun.

Round two I took out the Scout Bobber which was meh, and round three I rode the FTR again because it was available and my buddy wanted to ride the Roadmaster. I didn’t ride any of the big bikes that day although I’ve ridden a couple of them before.

There were a few things I didn’t like about the FTR though, the seat is super hard and small, almost painful after just 15 miles, it’s super buzzy at highway speeds, and it does not transition well at all. Once leaned over it holds a corner nicely, but I’ve never ridden a bike that wants to keep going straight as bad as this one. 

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