How much swingarm is too much?
That's the question Indian Motorcycle's latest sporting venture has us asking after the American brand released images of its official AMA Pro Hillclimb Series contender – the FTR750 hill climber.
Based off Indian's successful AMA Flat Track racer chassis, the hill-climbing FTR750 has seen a number of modifications to take the iconic brand back to the mountains for the first time in over 80 years.
The bike will be piloted by the company’s newest factory rider and 10-time AMA Pro Hillclimb Champion, John “Flying” Koester. Regarded as one of the sport’s top riders, Koester was the first US racer to win all three National AMA Pro Hillclimb titles in a single season.
“It’s an absolute honour 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.”
When it came to modifying the FTR750 for hillclimb Indian Motorcycle looked to Koester, along with his father and crew chief Gordy Koester, to spearhead the transformation of the FTR750 from a flat track race bike to a full-fledged hill shredder.
Modifications include the obviously extended swingarm, knobby tires, redesigned rear tail, and an upgraded Rekluse clutch to account for the increased clutch use demanded by hillclimb racing. The team also worked with S&S to design an exhaust system specific to Koester and his riding position.
“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, and we couldn’t be more excited to now welcome Indian Motorcycle back to the hill for the first time in more than 80 years,” said Rob Redmann, Director of AMA Pro Hillclimb.
“There is nothing like Hillclimb racing – fast, quick and exciting. We believe brands such as Indian Motorcycle will dramatically impact our ability to draw more fans and help grow this incredible sport.”
So does Indian Motorcycle have enough swingarm to stop its twin-cylinder beast from backflipping its way up the mountainsides of the AMA Pro Hillclimb series?
Going on the brand's domination of flat track racing and letting its knowledgable rider take the lead on getting the bike up to scratch, we think they'll do just fine.
In fact, hillclimbing is part of the Indian Motorcycle DNA you could say.
“We are always looking for exciting and unique opportunities not only compete, but to also demonstrate the prowess of our engineering and design teams and the capabilities of the incredible motorcycles we develop,” said Gary Gray, Vice President Racing, Service and Technology for Indian Motorcycle.
“We’re not only fans of hillclimb racing, but with our brand’s history in the sport, it was a no-brainer that we’d make our return after all these years.”