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Motorcycles Indian Motorcycle Goes Hill Climbing

05:17  22 august  2020
05:17  22 august  2020 Source:   dirtrider.com

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Indian backs John Koester on an FTR750 in new AMA hill climb twins class. By Morgan Gales. Large Forces Are Necessary To Go Fast On A Motorcycle .

A motorcycle hill climb competition, staged somewhere near Colorado Springs in 1938, featuring several models of Indian motorcycles , the best in the world

Hill climb racing makes flat track look like MotoGP. Sure it’s fast, it’s dangerous, it’s exciting, but it just doesn’t garner the views that other forms of two-wheeled racing do—yet. Indian Motorcycle announced this week that it will be backing a professional hill climb racer on a modified FTR750 in an all-new AMA twins class. It’s the first time the company is officially entering the sport since 1939.

When Indian got into American Flat Track in 2016, the twins class had been dominated by Harley-Davidson for decades, aside from a few years that Honda’s RS750 mixed things up in the mid-‘80s. A predictable race is a boring race, but with Indian quickly proving that its team was serious competition for H-D, the fans showed up to watch. Now with larger crowds, we’re seeing flat track races of all kinds popping up in new locations from the Sturgis Buffalo Chip to the Hooligan Moto Beach Classic, and people seem to love it. Now the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) wants to do the same thing for hill climbing.

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Join the Motorcycle .com Weekly Newsletter to keep up to date on all things motorcycling . Indian FTR750 is Going Hill - Climbing .

Join the Motorcycle .com Weekly Newsletter to keep up to date on all things motorcycling . Indian FTR750 is Going Hill - Climbing .

a bicycle is parked next to a motorcycle: Indian and the Koesters worked with S&S through several prototype exhaust systems. © Provided by Dirt Rider Indian and the Koesters worked with S&S through several prototype exhaust systems.

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a wheel with grass: John Koester fabricated the extended swingarm for the FTR himself. © Provided by Dirt Rider John Koester fabricated the extended swingarm for the FTR himself.

Representatives from the AMA reached out to Indian’s racing department with an offer it couldn’t refuse. Of course, the company had reservations at first. “Spending that much money on that sport probably isn’t the best investment, but they made it so easy for us it kind of turned into a no-brainer,” says Gary Gray, Indian Motorcycle’s vice president of Racing, Technology, and Service. “They set us up with John ‘Flying’ Koester, who’s a five-time national champion.”

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Join the Motorcycle .com Weekly Newsletter to keep up to date on all things motorcycling . Indian FTR750 is Going Hill - Climbing .

Hillclimbing (also known as hill climbing , speed hillclimbing or speed hill climbing ) is a branch of motorsport in which drivers compete against the clock to complete an uphill course. It is one of the oldest forms of motorsport, since the first known hillclimb at La Turbie near Nice

a man sitting on a motorcycle: Once the exhaust was finalized, S&S helped with the bike’s engine tuning as well. © Provided by Dirt Rider Once the exhaust was finalized, S&S helped with the bike’s engine tuning as well.

The rules in the new twins class require the bike to run a knobby tire, as opposed to a paddle-stye tire often seen in hill climbing. “They were pushing us toward the FTR 1200,” Gray continues, “But with having only a knobby tire, it’s similar to flat track. At some point you just overpower the tire.” So the decision was made to go with the lighter-weight FTR750. But being designed for flat track racing, the 750 would need some serious modifications, both in engine and chassis, to go hill climbing.

a close up of a motorcycle: Dirt bike plastics and a motocross-style seat change the ergonomics and style of the FTR750. © Provided by Dirt Rider Dirt bike plastics and a motocross-style seat change the ergonomics and style of the FTR750.

“We made some mods to the heads, pistons, and cylinders just to make some more horsepower than we do in flat track. We worked with Rekluse on locking up the clutch, because there definitely will be more traction with that knobby tire and long swingarm. And then S&S on the exhaust and tuning.” But the chassis? Well, that was up to Koester and his dad Gordy.

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Join the Motorcycle .com Weekly Newsletter to keep up to date on all things motorcycling . Indian FTR750 is Going Hill - Climbing .

Join the Motorcycle .com Weekly Newsletter to keep up to date on all things motorcycling . Indian FTR750 is Going Hill - Climbing .

a close up of a motorcycle: The front end of the FTR is set up like a motocross bike—a big change from its original flat track style. © Provided by Dirt Rider The front end of the FTR is set up like a motocross bike—a big change from its original flat track style. Having previously found success on many different motorcycles, Koester no doubt is finding the FTR a new type of beast. © Provided by Dirt Rider Having previously found success on many different motorcycles, Koester no doubt is finding the FTR a new type of beast.

Initially, the Koesters were sent an FTR750 while Indian’s team worked on the engine mods, allowing the racer and his father to start working on the suspension setup and tuning. Front suspension, wheel, and handlebars were set up like a motocross bike, according to Koester. A custom rear subframe, dirt bike plastics, and a motocross seat were installed. The swingarm was custom fabricated by John and adapted to work on the FTR750. The engine upgrades were then sent out and installed before everything was brought to S&S back in July for exhaust installation and tune. With it weighing in at 310 pounds as they began practice, Gray estimates engine output to the wheel at 94 hp.

a close up of a motorcycle: A clutch from Rekluse is a key component of getting the 750’s power to the ground. © Provided by Dirt Rider A clutch from Rekluse is a key component of getting the 750’s power to the ground. a motorcycle parked on top of a grass covered field: Although the twins are required by the AMA to run a knobby tire, there are no wheelbase restrictions. © Provided by Dirt Rider Although the twins are required by the AMA to run a knobby tire, there are no wheelbase restrictions.

John Koester is 26 years old and has been climbing hills professionally and winning races for a decade. “It has a really broad power range, which was proven in flat track. It comes out of corners hard, it goes down the straightaway fast—which is really what you need in hill climb,” Koester says when asked about choosing the FTR750 as his racebike. “It’s going to be a learning year for all of us. These are all brand-new bikes; we’re all really great riders. They keep me on my toes and I do the same for them.”

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Join the Motorcycle .com Weekly Newsletter to keep up to date on all things motorcycling . Indian FTR750 is Going Hill - Climbing .

Join the Motorcycle .com Weekly Newsletter to keep up to date on all things motorcycling . Indian FTR750 is Going Hill - Climbing .

a motorcycle parked on the side of a dirt field: The finished FTR750, ready to race in Pennsylvania on September 19. © Provided by Dirt Rider The finished FTR750, ready to race in Pennsylvania on September 19.

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a group of people standing around a motorcycle: Indian’s first hill climb race team since 1939. © Provided by Dirt Rider Indian’s first hill climb race team since 1939.

With the addition of a twins class and backing of a major OEM, we can’t wait to see how the sport of hill climb racing grows in the years to come. For more information, check amaprohillclimb.com.

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