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Indian Develops Liquid-Cooled 750cc twin for Flat Track Racing

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Indian 750cc v-twin developed for flat track racing.

The Indian Scout is an 1133cc v-twin powered cruiser that spawned a second, lower displacement (999cc) model, the Scout Sixty.

Both Scout models offer good performance for the category, although their ability to rev is hampered, somewhat, by the narrow angle of their v-twin engines. Now, Indian is going racing with a newly developed liquid-cooled v-twin displacing 750cc. Pictures indicate it will also be a narrow angle design.  Here is the press release from Indian:

MINNEAPOLIS (June 14, 2016) — Indian Motorcycle®, America’s first motorcycle company, is proud to announce its re-entry into the AMA Pro Flat Track series with its first full-factory racing effort since the 1950s.

AMA Pro Flat Track is highly competitive and has evolved into a demanding, technical and specialized event that typically sees bar-to-bar action and sublime motorcycle control at high speeds on varied dirt surfaces. The Indian Motorcycle Racing Team will contest the series with the all – new and proprietary Scout FTR 750 liquid-cooled 750cc four-valve V-Twin competition engine specifically designed for flat track and engineered into a specially built chassis.

Indian Motorcycle has a significant history in flat track, at one time dominating the sport with legendary riders and motorcycles. Perhaps best-known was the Indian Motorcycle Wrecking Crew, consisting of Bill Tuman, Bobby Hill and Ernie Beckman, who won race after race and carried the message of power, balance and quality that lives on in today’s Indian® Scout®.

Multi-time AMA Grand National Champion Jared Mees will join the Indian Motorcycle Racing Team as a test rider in 2016. Mees, 30, won the AMA Grand National Twins Championship in 2009, AMA Grand National Singles Championship in 2012, the unified AMA Grand National Championship (GNC1) title in 2012, 2014 and 2015, and is current X Games gold medalist.

“We are very excited to return to the AMA Circuit,” says Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries. “We have established the new Indian Chief and Scout series as the cornerstones of our production line-up, and now is the time for us to return to racing in a big way. We know that fans of Indian Motorcycle have been anticipating this announcement and can’t wait to see Indian Racing back in action.”

“Indian Motorcycle was born out of competition, and through its history used racing to develop and improve the product as well as expand the appeal of the brand,” says Reid Wilson, Marketing Director for Indian Motorcycle. “As shepherds for the brand, we will continue that push towards excellence on the street and in competition, and our team is beyond excited to bring the brand back to professional racing.”

“I can’t express how excited I am to be the guy to bring Indian Motorcycle back into the forefront of AMA Pro competition,” says Mees. “We will have a lot of work to do to develop a 100 percent new race platform, but I’m committed and excited at what I have seen on the drawing boards and what the plans are for Indian Motorcycle Racing. This is history for the brand, and being a part of it is truly exciting for me and this sport.”

Indian Motorcycle will race the new motorcycle at a circuit to be determined in 2016 in preparation for a full season of competition in 2017. Stay tuned to IndianMotorcycle.com and Indian Motorcycle’s social media channels for continued updates on our progress and details on the bike’s first race as well as additional information on the new racing-only Scout FTR 750 engine that will power it.

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Jared Mees with a production Indian Scout.


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91 Comments

  1. Kent Taylor says:

    I don’t care if it becomes a scrambler, a cruiser, a sportbike or a bobber! It doesn’t matter whether or not it finds its way into a street-going chassis of any sort. For me, I’m excited to see dirt track racing getting another new brand on the line. This is a terrific discipline of motorcycle racing and it is fun to see it coming back around…so to speak!

    • Cyclemotorist says:

      Me too.

      Now, it’s shit or get off the pot for HD, Kawasaki and the others. Why won’t HD redesign their winning platform? I would love to see a clean sheet American designed modern racing engine. Seems a few small changes could make the XR fully competitive into the future. I would like to see a one piece crank, Yes, it could be done. I would like to see HD field an OHV that could accomplish what the Indian will. But that isn’t realistic. I would pay money to watch them try it.

      This time no bullshit. No giving OHV engines a displacement break or throttle body advantage. HD isn’t used to playing fair. We will see.

  2. Pacer says:

    I have a feeling Indian and Victory are going to pleasantly surprise us in the next couple of years.

    • TexinOhio says:

      As long as this doesn’t turn into another Project 156/Octane deal they should be fine. I wouldn’t be getting my hopes up about them putting out a flat tracker any time soon. Maybe a baby baby Scout but thats about it. They’re probably looking at those tiny HD’s that are out now.

      • pacer says:

        If they don’t come out with a street fighter or at least a power cruiser under the Victory banner by 2018 I’ll give up on them. The Project 156/Octane was a total let down. There has to be something else in the pipe line.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        “They’re probably looking at those tiny HD’s that are out now.”

        My thoughts exactly. Warming things up for an entry level cruiser.

  3. azi says:

    It’s got a 4 speed gearbox, and external starter only. This engine isn’t going into a street bike any time soon (in this configuration anyway).

  4. -D says:

    I’m 100% sure we will be seeing this engine in a 2018 street legal model.
    One years worth of racing data is all Indian needs. I cant wait to see it.
    I bet there will be 2 or maybe even 3 versions with this engine, similar to what
    Ducati has done with their Multistrada. Lets wait and see… 🙂

    • Grover says:

      Dreamer…you’re nothing but a dreamer….🙂

    • HS1.... says:

      I am not so 100% sure, even if Polaris wants to stop pulling the football. A flat track motor only has to last for a couple of heats and the main feature, or about 50 miles. A bike sold to consumers has to last many a thousand miles. This means detuning the highly out of balance motor to Sportster specs, and then it would be scaled down to 750cc’s. That might as well be a mini-bike when compared to Ducati Scramblers and other competitors. The liquid cooling and four valves of of the Indians won’t make them less prone to shaking themselves apart at more than Sportster RPM’s. They just wouldn’t really be avle to come into play as other languages links would be weaker.

      • HS1.... says:

        …other links would be weaker, darn Apple word correction.

      • Dave says:

        Read the Cycle World article, which has much more info. It has counterbalancing and there have been high-performance narrow(er) v-twins before, like the Aprilia, Buell, and many others with rotax’s twin in them.

        • HS1.... says:

          Thanks, I just read the article. The engine carries two fairly heavy counter balancers that run at full crank speed. That is an incredible amount of extra rotating mass. I guess this makes sense in the flat-track world as you actually want the engine to accelerate slowly when coming off a corner with the bike still partially at drift and hitting some crud. John Deere “D” tractor type of flywheel effect might be less desireable on the street, though. This engine does seem well thought out for it’s very narrow purpose. It still seems pretty iffy in durability and tune-ability for a wider variety of uses to sell to the general public in a road bike.

          The Rotax and Aprilias are wider, I believe.

          • Dave says:

            I think you’re right. This engine is 53*, I believe the Rotax was 75*.

          • Selecter says:

            The Rotax 990 was 60 degrees. Said right on the tail of my Falco. 🙂

          • Dave says:

            Huh, so only 7* difference (and 30* fewer than the “optimum” 90*). There ya’ go.

          • Cyclemotorist says:

            With the heavy flywheel narrow angle V-Twins you can feel the traction in your right hand. The others don’t have the “feel” of traction like the HD. That is an advantage on the dirt.

  5. Bart says:

    That looks like a great motor for a scrambler style of bike, or the Holy Grail of a lightweight 100HP ADV bike!

  6. Mr. Negative says:

    I think I read this on here before, but it bears repeating – Polaris/Indian is like Lucy and we are all Charlie Brown.

  7. Jeremy in TX says:

    Whether this leads to the production of a desirable motorcycle or not (probably not), I for one am glad to see Indian throw its hat into the flat track game. It will be really cool to see the historic feud between Indian and H-D revived in this genre, and it takes some guts on Indian’s part to risk getting thrashed by their arch-rival while they build up their race creds.

    • TexinOhio says:

      I’m inclined to believe that Indian will be eating HD’s lunch from the first green flag. Everything they’ve released has caught HD off guard and scrambling to catch up right off the bat.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        They are definitely taking it seriously. They wouldn’t (couldn’t) have signed Mees otherwise. I find it unlikely just based on past observations that Indian will be a huge threat right out of the gate just because it takes time and real race data to get a bike sorted. I assume flat track is no different in that respect. It do not think it will take long though. The Kawasakis starting upsetting the status quo fairly quickly. I imagine Indian is going to be on a fast track to flat track as well.

        Considering H-D just put out a new flat track bike with a liquid-cooled 750, I don’t think they were caught off-guard by this, though.

        • GKS says:

          Actually, if you read the press release carefully, Mees is signed to test the Indian for 2016. I am sure that he has a contractual agreement to race his current team’s bikes for 2016. We will see what happens in 2017.
          As far as Kawasaki’s rise on the dirt tracks, the 1st one to hit the ovals was built by the best tuner in the history of dirt track, Bill Werner. This wealth of knowledge no doubt sped up the development time.

    • My sentiments exactly.

  8. Philip says:

    Signing Mees is huge. He is arguably the best flat track racer in the world right now and is in his prime. I would have to believe that the bike they have built is at least as good if not better than the current Harley or anything else out there. And I’m sure he’s getting paid well to be the face of the program.
    This is yet another line of attack at Harley dominance of a category. When the Scout came out 2 years ago, Harley was building low almost hardtail Sportsters. Now they have introduced a new model with real suspension and dual disks. I look forward to seeing how this old rivalry continues to grow and how this new flat track challenge not only improves the series but the bikes we will eventually see in dealerships.

  9. Grover says:

    Unless you’re a cruiser fan, I wouldn’t get too excited. Victory is a cruiser company with no intent on building anything but a cruiser. If you’re a cruiser fan you can begin rejoicing now.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      This is Indian, not Victory. But then Indian is still a cruiser company, so that might be a moot point.

    • EEMark says:

      Actually Grover, Victory has a naked electric sport bike for sale right now. The Empulse.

      • Gary says:

        The Empulse is more of an electric standard than a sportbike. No fairing or anything like that, at least yet.

  10. Gary says:

    I’m happy for Indian. R&D is going well there, but I hope everything they do is not always based on a V-twin engine. Would love to see a liquid-cooled multi cylinder for the street or touring.

  11. RonV says:

    Indian, I want to demo a 750 Street-Tracker at Americade next year…Please?

    • EGS says:

      I’m with you Ron. A tracker/standard would be an awesome addition to their product line and fill the Sportster niche that (was) uniquely Harley’s. Must be something to the scrambler/bobber/tracker trend if other manufacturers are jumping in (Yamaha being the latest).

    • mugwump says:

      If the water cooled HD or this engine don’t result in a street tracker the wins on Saturday night will not result in a sale on Tuesday from me. But there’s only one of me so it doesn’t really matter then does it. Actually I’d rather see a street legal 450 that I could make into a street tracker or super moto.

  12. Tank says:

    Polaris is doing a great job with the Indian brand. Maybe they should take over Harley.

  13. waitman says:

    I’m hangin’ with Smokin’ Don Fraser on this one.

  14. rapier says:

    Is traction control illegal in AMA dirt track racing? Maybe it’s considered unseemly? Or maybe there is no substitute for a heavy flywheel twin?

    • Tyler says:

      TC would prevent the bikes from breaking loose the back end and “backing in” around the turns. So no, traction control would be the fundamental opposite of flat track.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        I don’t know. Flat track is the ultimate exercise of traction control. GP bikes can still back it into and slide out of turns, so I think traction control systems today are probably sophisticated enough to get the job done. It sure would make for an expensive flat track bike though, and computer-managed traction in flat track just seems wrong. But I bet it could be done.

      • On a (distantly) related note – that being traction control on a dirt bike – KTM just introduced the same on some off-road four-stroke models. So ruling out traction control for vehicles inherently designed to spin somewhat may be premature. Let’s see!

  15. John says:

    If history is any indication, it will just be a bauble that they dangle in front of us for the hell of it.

  16. Hot Dog says:

    Parallel twins are the future. This engine is too old school, they want to play the nostalgia game, not the technology game.

    • HS1.... says:

      Parallel twins have made a recent comeback, but I wouldn’t discount other configurations based on this. Both of the configurations involved in your comment (narrow-angle VTwins and parallel twins) have wretchedly bad, fundamental flaws. Picking one to exalt over the other is about as silly as making the case for one of our current presidential candidates being “a bright path to the future” based on how poorly a person views the other. The laws of physics are against both types of engines. Thus, both require either living with the serious warts or adding strange trickery that brings in it’s own baggage. Both got a toe-hold before World War One, and both have long ago been left in the dust when performance is paramount over heritage or cost savings. If a proportional cross-section of motorcyclists were asked to name their least favorite engine layout, these two would likely top the list at one and two. Sure, they have their fan bases, but many guys don’t like one or both of them. I personally think Indian would have been much better off making this a 75 degree VTwin.

      • Hot Dog says:

        You’re probably right that the V splay should/ve been wider. A parallel twin is smaller and only has one head to contend with. Seems like Kawasaki and Yamaha (Honda too) are doing well with the parallel twin.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Parallel twins are the easiest to produce and package into a motorcycle, but nostalgia probably sells more motorcycles than practicality of production for a brand like Indian. BMW, Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha are employing the configuration with great success. However, no manufacturers currently use the P2 configuration in any flagship model except for Triumph. But for Triumph, the P2 is a nostalgia engine.

      As far as technology goes, there is nothing about any cylinder arrangement currently in use that makes one engine more advanced than another. It has all been seen before.

      • mickey says:

        Versys 650, NC 700, Africa Twin, Super Tenere’, FZ-07 depends on what you label “flagship” I guess.

        A v twin probably makes sense for a flat tracker. It has obviously worked for Harley for a number of years and since Indian is reviving the old rivalry and due to the fact that their Scout (Indians original flat tracker model) has a V twin currently, it certainly makes sense,from a marketing stand point.

        BTW Jeremy, I just test rode a Scout yesterday. Uh, no thanks. Think I will stick with my CB.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I would consider both the Tenere and the Africa Twin to be a flagship models for that particular segment from Yamaha and Honda, so I stand corrected. Don’t know how those two slipped my mind.

          I haven’t sampled a Scout yet. I think they are cool looking bikes, but I know I would never get past the cruiser ergonomics and lack of cornering clearance.

      • HS1.... says:

        Yes, every configuration has been around the block. All have a shortcoming or more somewhere with either cost, packaging, weight distribution, balance, vibration, torque, willingess to rev, fuel efficiency, or some other parameter involved in powering a motorcycle. The severity of these shortcomings varies by displacement size and intended use. Engineers have also tried many elegant and inelegant methods to compensate for these issues. The narrow Vtwin has really high shortcomings when performance or smoothness is important. The P2 is cheap to make and it packages very well, but it takes a lot of inelegant work-arounds to not “shell out” (a term invented by the British P2 riders of yesteryear) when sized above about 500cc’s and ridden at moderate highway speeds. Even with the newer firing orders, these still require all sorts of balancing apparati. Some run almost a dummy cylinder with an extra journal and con-rod like, hammer or lever sort of thingys. If tuned to rev they don’t seem to have much torque and vice versa. At some speed ranges the FZ07 feels more anemic than my much more spec-sheet impaired, 1974 CB550.

        I like L2’s, V4’s and I3’s a lot for how they ride. They aren’t perfect, either. I don’t like the buzzy vibration of traditional I4’s, but I do like the way they are willing to rev. I have never ridden a cross-plane I4, but am very intrigued. When multi-cylinders become in-play, narrow V2’s and P2’s just seem to be the least desireable options if smoothness and power characteristics are highly valued.

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          I’ve ridden good and bad variations of just about every engine configuration I think. Whether I like them or not really depends on how they are tuned and how well vibrations are managed.

          • Cyclemotorist says:

            This what first appealed to me about motorcycles. It was the contrast between the various cylinder layouts and configurations. Each layout has such a distinctive quality. That blew my mind. I appreciate the narrow angle V-Twins and the 180° BMW V-Twins. Then there are the 0° Triumph V-Twins to consider.

  17. Doc says:

    Okay, no one on here wants another cruiser. Fine and dandy. If it were up to you, what would you build? If it’s a sport bike, let’s make it enjoyable to ride. In other words, comfy. I had an RC51 and it was not comfortable. But it sounded great. Some of you may remember, back in the day, the UJM. A bike that could be made into anything you like. All these niche bikes, and that’s what they are, cruisers, touring, sport, super sport, sport touring, are nice but what we really need or at least what I would like to see, is a bike that can do it all, within reason. Good power, clean styling, the ability to adapt. And it might even make the initial cost of the ride a little cheaper. Then make exactly what you want.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I’d build a relatively light, flat track inspired street bike with a spunky engine. Not a cruiser with flat track inspired design elements, but a real motorcycle.

    • Scott says:

      I’d like to see Victory do just that: Make a UAM!

      Yamaha is doing this with their 900 triple and 750 twin. The FZ/FJ/XSR 900’s all use the same exact engine and chassis, and more variants may come. This is a great direction. Victory could build a nice, stout frame to use with, ideally, their big Scout/156 motor, and it could be outfitted with different components to be a naked standard… a sportbike… a touring bike… a scrambler… a street tracker… You name it. All from one platform! If they did it right, they could convert tens of thousands of japanese and European motorcycle riders to buy an American bike.

      So far, despite all the work they’ve put into their Pike’s Peak racer, their Isle of Man electric racer, and now apparently a 750 flat tracker, there’s still no sign of them ever producing anything for the buying public but cruisers. (Yes, they sell Brammos with their sticker on the tank, I know…) There has to be SOME kind of point to all this raciness, right?

      • Auphliam says:

        Yes! Exactly this! ^^^

      • Doc says:

        It’s funny you put it that way. Harley has done that to a certain extent in that they really have only 2 platforms (I’m talking air cooled) and build something with a slightly different flavor without changing the whole machine. This keeps cost down. If you have multi engine designs,(biggest design cost) it just adds more to the bottom line. And updates are made on a more leisurely time frame. Love the idea of a street tracker. The 750 is the perfect size. The engine in the picture looks very polished and production like for something that is for racing only. Something is coming with that engine in it. Flood Indian with emails, letters, whatever, telling them what you want. Couldn’t hurt, especially if enough people do it. Street tracker? Yeah, I could do that.

      • Dave says:

        Re: “, there’s still no sign of them ever producing anything for the buying public but cruisers”

        There still aren’t many signs that a meaningful enough number of Americans would buy something other than a cruiser. Remember, none of the foreign bikes we buy are designed just for the US market and I wonder if they have enough motorcycle distribution outside of North America to capture enough volume.

      • MGNorge says:

        They do have some character don’t they? But like other Italians, their sparse dealer network will keep many from even thinking of them. I’m lucky as I have a dealer within an hour away but I hardly need them. My Norge has proven itself and is easy to work on although not everyone wants to do wrench time. Not super high horsepower but a very satisfying low and mid-range.

        I don’t know, what came first, the dealer or the customer?

    • Randy in Ridgecrest says:

      I own a first gen Street Triple 675 – handles great, wonderful engine, and it’s comfortable enough for my 61 years. It’s in the UJM spectrum for sure.

      But i’m with Jeremy on this question – light, powerful, and more street tracker for me.

  18. Ya’ll need to realize that this is a racing engine and that Mees has been hired to make it work. Frames will be built, probabaly by more than one shop. There is no starter, no emissions considerations, think KX or YZ or CR, only for dirt track. There has been an article written by the best, Kevin Cameron, on Cycle World website. HA/DA is adapting their new 750 water cooled motor, Kawasaki 650’s are being modified and do very well, Yamaha is slowly working on an FZ-07 package, KTM, Ducati, and Suzuki engines are also being used by a few. The dirt track thing seems to be on the way up.

  19. Skybullet says:

    Encouraging, lets hope the race engine leads to a performance street bike.

  20. andy1300 says:

    Sweet

  21. jim says:

    This had better lead to something other than another freakin cruiser!

    • Bob says:

      You won’t likely see that engine in a cruiser. It’s compact, short crankcases tell me there’s no counterbalancer shaft to add weight and contribute to parasitic power loss, and probably no charging system. It truly does appear to be a purpose built racing engine and wouldn’t be used in a street legal application.

  22. beasty says:

    This should be interesting.

  23. Scott says:

    Now, Victory, PLEASE do something cool with this besides create an “entry level” cruiser…

  24. Scoot says:

    I put my ear to the ground and heard a 750 Scrambler coming. Shhhhhhhhh

  25. Bob says:

    Timely with the release of info on Harley’s liquid cooled, XG750 based replacement for the venerable XR750. Let the water cooler games begin!

  26. Morgan says:

    Let’s get one of these engines and build a street bike with it!

  27. Tony says:

    Congrats! You scooped Cycle News on this one!

    • GKS says:

      Actually, Cycle News posted the same press release from Indian on 6/14 also. The real scoop is Cycle World’s Kevin Cameron article on his visit to Indian/SwissAuto.
      Usually, these press releases, new bike announcements, etc. are orchestrated so that all news outlets (websites, magazines) post the information on the same day. Kevin likey visited SwissAuto a week or two ago, however his Cycle World article could not be posted until the official release day of 6/14.

  28. mechanicus says:

    Hmmm… waiting for the chassis details…