2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review [24 Fast Facts]

The 2022 Indian FTR R Carbon is a complete rethinking of the FTR platform. Indian Motorcycle has transformed a styling exercise evoking flat-track racing into a significantly higher performance upright naked sportbike. Rather than accomplishing the conversion through engine enhancements, Indian engineers made the FTR a far better handling machine—and it still looks fantastic, particularly in the R Carbon trim. Let’s get a sense of the new landscape, and then go riding.

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review: MSRP

  1. There are four 2022 Indian FTR models. Three FTRs get the updates—standard, S, and R Carbon—while the FTR Rally retains the dirt-track accouterments, which Indian now calls “scrambler aesthetic.” Remember, back in 2018, Indian wasn’t shy about the FTR’s inspiration: “I couldn’t be more proud to turn the FTR750 into a flat tracker for the street and help launch Indian into a new era,” Indian Motorcycle Senior Designer Rich Christoph said at the time.

  1. There must have been a couple of arm-wrestling competitions between Indian engineers and the stylists regarding the FTR. No doubt, the styling folks won the first one. This time, the engineers held sway.

  1. “Lower” is the keyword for the 2022 Indian FTR R Carbon. The 19-/18-inch wheel combo is exchanged for a pair of 17-inch cast-aluminum wheels, and suspension travel is reduced by 1.2 inches. Put those two changes together, and two good things happen—the center of gravity is seriously dropped, and the seat height is 1.4 inches lower. Those are huge differences.

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review: Price

  1. In addition to going with 17-inch wheels, the FTR R Carbon gets Metzeler Sportec M9 RR tires. Sure, the Dunlop DT3-R tires on the previous FTRs looked the part of a dirt tracker—just another piece in the styling puzzle. They worked well enough, given the rest of the package. However, going to the M9 RR rubber confirms the metamorphosis from dirt-tracker to sportbike.

  1. The old FTR’s wide-bend handlebar is jettisoned for a new ProTaper bar that puts the grips 1.5 inches closer together and two inches lower. Again, the dirt-track image of the FTR is replaced by a sportier, more compact look and feel. The new handlebar inarguably gives the FTR sportier ergonomics to complement the rethinking of the chassis.

  1. The FTR R Carbon stands out from the other FTRs thanks to fully adjustable Öhlins suspension. Other goodies exclusive to the R Carbon include a black Akrapovič muffler array, an upgraded seat cover, and lots of carbon fiber. The R Carbon also shared electronic rider aids enhancements with the S, along with a 4.3-inch TFT touchscreen dash that interfaces with your smartphone via Bluetooth for phone calls and music.

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review: Akrapovic and Ohlins

  1. Turn the key on, and you’re greeted with the original FTR1200 logo, plus a nag screen. The screen is small, sharp, and a quick approval touch gets you to the lightly customizable dash. Starting the FTR is pushbutton, rather than holding the start button until the liquid-cooled DOHC V-twin fires up—as it should be. The sound from the Akrapovič mufflers is husky and properly sets the tone for the ride.

  1. For those who like upright sportbikes, the ergonomics of the FTR are flawless. The reach to the grips is natural, and your feet are comfortably tucked up and in. The seat is wide and supportive, and Indian kept the headers from intruding on your legs, except at stops. Without any doubt, the FTR feels like a sportbike, albeit one with a relatively low 32.2-inch seat height.

  1. The FTR R Carbon’s motor has three different power deliveries—Sport, Standard, and Rain. Picking the right one requires understanding the chassis and the job at hand. Of course, if it’s wet, go with Rain. The dash makes it easy, once you wrap your head around the functions of the various controlling switches and buttons.

  1. Although now a full-fledged sportbike, the FTR R Carbon is not a lightweight at 513 pounds with the 3.4-gallon fuel tank filled with high-test. This is about 50 pounds more than another big-inch V-twin sportbike—the KTM 1290 Super Duke R. While the heft of the FTR is carried low, it’s still there. The poundage requires respect and the right riding style—smooth, rather than point-and-shoot. That’s where picking the correct power mode comes in.

  1. With 120 horses and 87 ft/lbs of torque on tap, the FTR motor is neither a slouch nor a rocketship. With the horsepower peak at 7750 rpm and torque maxing out at 6000 rpm, the FTR is signing off just when the high-performance sportbike motors are starting to sing. This is a short-shift motor, and you learn to use the torque to your advantage while you keep things smooth to avoid chassis disruptions. Traction control is on by default. It can be defeated, though I couldn’t come up with a reason to bypass it. Fortunately, the TFT dash makes it easy to go without TC, if that’s your preference.

  1. Another reason to upshift early is the vibration delivered to the grips, pegs, and seat above 4000 rpm by the 60-degree V-twin. It’s not that friendly rumbly vibe, so you don’t want to feel it for long. Redline is at 9000 rpm, and there’s no point in revving that high, even when accelerating to 120 mph on an (ahem) closed course.

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review: V-twin motorcycle

  1. Although you’ll be tempted to go with the Sport mode, the Standard mode is generally the most efficient use of the 1203cc motor. The Sport mode has a snappier throttle response, which is great on the freeway or roads with big sweeping corners. As things tighten up, even a little, you’ll find that the smoother Standard mode makes the most of the chassis. As is the case with any motorcycle, it’s all about striking the right balance between the chassis and motor.

  1. How the Indian FTR corners depends on your style. When trying to change the direction of a 513-pound motorcycle, abrupt moves are not your friend. The FTR is impressively planted in turns, and not easily disrupted. If you have set up the corner correctly, you can move through at a good pace with plenty of confidence. If you come in too hot for a corner with an unexpected decreasing radius, it’s time for muscle. While the sporty 25.3 degrees of rake is a helpful counterbalance to the 60-inch wheelbase, there are limits on how quickly you can adjust your line.

  1. The FTR prefers an old-school riding technique. There’s no reason to hang off the FTR in corners; the supportive seat has a grippy surface that encourages you to sit still. If you find yourself running out of cornering clearance, and there’s plenty, then look into something like a KTM 1290 Super Duke R for uncompromising V-twin sportiness.

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review: For Sale

  1. Riding the 2022 Indian FTR R Carbon gives you the best possible take on the FTR platform thanks to the fully adjustable Öhlins suspension. Action at both ends is simply outstanding. The Öhlins offer a supple ride that ameliorates road inconsistencies without introducing any wallowing or other undesirable traits. The Öhlins fork and the Metzeler Sportec M9 RR tires provide the confidence in the front end to move through corners at a good clip, as there is no nervousness or lack of feedback. If you’re an outlier, the damping and spring-preload can be adjusted to your liking. Most riders will love the settings right off the showroom floor.

  1. The FTR is a forgiving motorcycle, as long as your absolution request is not outrageous. Small mistakes are smoothed over without a second thought by the FTR. However, with all that weight, big mistakes can be a bit more of a problem to correct. 

  1. Great brakes always enhance confidence, and the hefty FTR doesn’t skimp on deceleration. You have all the parts you want—320mm discs, radially mounted Brembo calipers, a radially mounted Brembo master cylinder, and a sticky M9 RR tire. The front brakes have an unintimidating soft initial engagement, and require a firm grip for powerful deceleration. That’s the right call for a motorcycle such as this. The brake pedal can be difficult to find and artfully actuate due to the exhaust header guard, and I tripped the non-adjustable ABS sooner than expected. Most of the time, I relied on downshifts and the front discs. Disconcertingly, the engine braking is variable, with a noticeable reduction below 3000 rpm.

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review: Brembo Brakes and Metzeler Sportec M9 RR Tires

  1. The gearbox on the FTR R is pretty clunky. It definitely doesn’t provide the slick-click gear changes you want on a sportbike, and I would find unexpected neutral now and then. When going fast, upshifts are more time-consuming than average. A quickshifter would be great, though it might be difficult to implement given the transmission action. This gives the Indian R&D department something to work on for the next upgrade.

  1. In the move to sportbike status, the 2022 Indian FTR R Carbon retains its urban streetfighter status. With a comfortably purposeful seating position, you look confident and cool on the R, and the styling gets approving nods everywhere. The narrow bars make it easy to move through dense traffic—a fundamental benefit to riding a motorcycle in the city.

  1. One hundred and twenty horsepower is fully adequate to get you in trouble on city streets. During a quick acceleration test on an (ahem) closed city street, I saw 80 mph on the speedometer almost immediately when in the Sport mode. However, most of the time, you’ll find the Standard power mode to be far superior for urban riding due to the smooth delivery. Don’t worry—it still accelerates strongly. When you get some open road, and it happens, Mulholland Drive runs on the FTR R Carbon are as pure a motorcycling pleasure as it gets.

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review: Sportbike and city motorcycle

  1. The suspension prevents jolts, even in Los Angeles, where the “leaders” reliably divert road money to unrelated pet projects. If you rode almost exclusively in city limits, you’d probably want to soften up the compression damping at both ends, though the stock settings do not create a harsh ride. On the freeway, the FTR R Carbon smooths out our nasty concrete expansion joints and lowest-bidder paving jobs better than most motorcycles.

  1. The in-town range of the 3.5-gallon tank is fine, but there’s a catch. There’s a helpful range indicator for the fuel tank. When the range gets below 15 miles, the display changes to simply “low fuel.” I ran the FTR down to that level twice, as I was near plenty of gas stations. Both times, the tank took just 1.9 gallons. I’m not sure where the other 1.6 gallons are hiding. I filled the tank up to the filler neck, which is quite deep in the tank, and dripped in as much as possible. When “filled”, the gauge never showed it to be topped off, and the range was estimated at 90 miles—not quite enough for backroad comfort.

  1. Indian’s reimagining of the FTR is an unqualified success. If you like the styling exercise of the original FTR, the Rally variant remains for your enjoyment. Those interested in the ride more than the look will be instantly attracted to the other three versions of the FTR. Of those three, it’s hard to resist carbon fiber and Öhlins suspension, so be ready to part with $16,999 should you venture into an Indian dealership.

Photography by Kelly Callan

RIDING STYLE

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Specs

ENGINE

  • Type: 60-degree V-twin
  • Displacement: 73ci; 1203cc
  • Bore x stroke: 4.016” x 2.898”; 102 x 73.6mm
  • Maximum power: 120 horsepower @ 7750 rpm
  • Maximum torque: 87 ft-lbs @ 6000 rpm
  • Compression ratio: 12.5:1
  • Valvetrain: DOHC; 4vpc​
  • Fueling: Closed-loop EFI w/ 60mm throttle body
  • Exhaust: Black Akrapovič 2-1-2
  • Transmission: 6-speed
  • Clutch: Wet multiplate w/ assist-and-slipper function
  • Final drive: 525 chain

CHASSIS

  • Frame: Trellis
  • Front suspension; travel: Fully adjustable Öhlins inverted 43mm fork; 4.7 inches
  • Rear suspension; travel: Cantilevered fully adjustable Öhlins piggyback reservoir IFP shock; 4.7 inches
  • Wheels: Cast aluminum
  • Front: 17 x 3.5
  • Rear: 17 x 5.5
  • Tires: Metzeler Sportec M9 RR
  • Front tire: 120/70 x 17
  • Rear tire: 180/55 x 17
  • Front brakes: 320mm discs w/ 4-piston Brembo calipers
  • Rear brake: 260mm disc w/ 2-piston Brembo caliper
  • ABS: Corner-aware ABS

DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES

  • Wheelbase: 60 inches
  • Rake: 25.3 degrees
  • Trail: 3.9 inches
  • Seat height: 32.2 inches
  • Fuel capacity: 3.4 gallons
  • Curb weight: 513 pounds
  • Color: Carbon Fiber

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Price: $16,999 MSRP

2022 Indian FTR R Carbon Review Photo Gallery