Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to 3,000+ Reviews, Guides, & More

Harley spending big to beat Indian

Harley and Indian big-bore flat trackers race spending snow
Harley and Indian flat trackers

Harley-Davidson is spending big on American flat track racing next year to reverse a humiliating defeat by Indian Motorcycle that points to a showroom war for younger riders

Indian returned to flat-track racing in 2017 after more than six decades and not only beat Harley, it won the top three positions and thoroughly dominated the series.

Then Indian showed a FTR1200 custom at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan last month but has not yet confirmed it will go into production.

Indian Motorcycle FTR1200 smaller spending
Indian Motorcycle FTR1200 smaller custom

Spending record

Now Harley has announced it is spending a record $US562,500 in contingency program money for the 2018 American Flat Track race schedule.

That compares with $350,000 Indian is spending.

It seems Harley is serious about winning back the title wth its XG750R, its first new flat track racer in more than four decades.

That bike is a racing version of the liquid-cooled Street 750 and Street Rod which it hopes will attract a younger breed of rider to the brand.

Harley-Davidson Street Rod - GT750 dark custom spending
Harley-Davidson Street Rod

Win on Sunday, sell on Monday

They must believe in the old sale motto of “win on Sunday, sell on Monday”.

Harley has been winning American flat track titles for years and seems humiliated by the dominance of Indian this year.

It is understandable that it will fight to win back the title.

But the big spend on racing in 2018 may also indicate they believe Indian is about to release a production version of their champion flat track racer.

Indian FTR750 - scout bobber learner bike
Indian’s FTR750 won 14 races in the American flat track championship and took out the top three positions.

FTR1200 imminent

Even if Indian Motorcycle won’t commit to a road-going version of its FTR750 flat-track champion racer, Harley seems to think it’s imminent.

This race for the performance market is important for both companies as their sales are dominated by ageing baby boomer males.

Both need to attract younger riders and racing is an obvious way to display a youthful, performance image.