Indian Motorcycle jumps into the e-bike craze
Nearly every motorcycle brand is jumping into the electric pedal-assist bicycle world these days, partnering with a manufacturer in the space and affixing their name and logo to a bike or two of said manufacturer’s lineup. Harley-Davidson has done it with Serial 1, Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki and others have full lineups of e-bikes, and now Indian Motorcycle has entered the market with the eFTR Hooligan 1.2. Indian’s marketing partner The Brand Amp reached out to us and asked if we’d be interested in sampling the bike, and of course we said yes. Heck, why not? We’re a motorcycle media, but who doesn’t enjoy something of a different flavor on occasion?
This could be fun.
Some back story- as I approach the big 6-0 the end of this summer, I’ve begun focusing more on my health for the decade ahead, trying to eat better and get myself back into a regular routine of exercise. I used to be an active athlete in multiple disciplines in my younger years (running, lifting, various “combat sports”), but injuries and age have forced me to modify my regimen, so my wife and I have taken up bicycling, among other things. We’re not hard-core like Neale Bayly is, but we love early evening bike rides, riding out regularly for a few miles in the rolling countryside around our north Georgia home.
Bicycling is a fantastic form of exercise for motorcycle riders, both off-road and on, working the legs and lungs like few other forms of exercise can for our sport. There’s a reason why most motorcycle racers in all disciplines cycle as part of their training. The stronger your legs and lungs are, the better rider you can be. So sampling the new Indian Motorcycle e-bike offering was a no-brainer for me.
Developed in partnership with Super 73, a pedal-assist e-bike company with vast experience in the space, Indian Motorcycle has managed to carve itself a little niche with the most unique eFTR Hooligan. Looking out across the ever-expanding electric bicycle landscape there’s clearly nothing else like it, at least that we’ve found so far. It’s styling screams something different, something in a class by itself. Is it a small electric motorcycle, with pedals? An electric bicycle with old school minibike styling? Is it both? Neither?
I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.
The first time I stepped over and thumbed the system to life, I knew I was in for a new experience. The ergos are definitely designed for us smaller riders, as in 5’10” and under, and yet when Road Dirt’s 6’2″ tall “media guru” Phil threw a leg over and pedaled/throttled out, even folded up on the eFTR, he exclaimed, “This is one fun little bike!” Not only was I given the bike to ride for a few weeks, but my wife was approved to ride it as well. And she loved it immediately, comfortable on the 31” seat height and upright neutral riding position.
Lisa pedaling/throttling out on the cool little eFTR.
The Indian eFTR Hooligan 1.2 is powered by a Super 73 1200W rechargeable battery and electronics package, with a small “jet ski” style thumb throttle on the right handlebar, and a small scroll-through LCD screen and button array on the left. The electronics package includes miles ridden, battery level, mph, and five ascending pedal-assist ride modes, 0-4. Starting in 0, no pedal assist, and climbing to 4, extreme pedal assist, the rider (cyclist?) can dial in however much or little help as needed when out riding, switching up on the fly. Coupled with the right thumb throttle, all of which is propelled by a drive motor in the rear hub, you can pretty much customize and easily adjust your ride at any time, for any circumstances and terrain.
Removable battery pack, rear drive, and a nice “Indian Motorcycle” touch at the back of the seat.
And that’s another point of interest here. Those massive knobby tires. This e-bike is clearly comfortable off-road, eating trails, dirt, gravel and grass with aplomb. The size and tread of the Vee Moto Grzly tires make it a bit more effort-filled to push on pavement, but I’m fine with that, as I’m trying to push my legs and lungs more anyway. The little e-bike is equipped with some serious stopping power as well, pinching on Tektro brakes front and rear. Oh, attested range is just over 75 miles, overall weight is 73 lbs., and charge time is 6-7 hours on the standard 3A charger.
Solid pinching power fore and aft with these Tektro brakes. And those tires!
Okay, everyone wants to know how a machine performs, as in handling, top speed, etc. Both the Indian Motorcycle and Super 73 sites state the Hooligan makes 2000W peak power and throttles up to about 20 mph without pedaling, yet can hit 28 mph when in Level 4 pedal-assist as well as full throttle. I hit 32 mph with it, which my wife thought was insane of me, given my riding garb or lack thereof. Maybe I shouldn’t have told her. It’s also equipped with a switchable LED headlight and bright taillight, making for safer twilight and evening rides. It’s not equipped with rear mirrors, but I’m guessing those can be purchased and installed via the OEM parts bin.
I found that, out riding the little Indian, if I was having difficulty pushing up a hill, I’d either apply a hint of throttle assist at the right wrist, or tap up a level in pedal assist on the left to help reach the summit, able to meter it out while still pushing my legs and lungs. As the rider gets stronger, less electric assist is needed, but it’s still quite entertaining to apply, especially bouncing around off-road. The Hooligan is a hard tail in the rear, but sports a nice set of adjustable forks in the front. And with those huge tires and fairly cushy seat, the bike is not badly suspended and sprung.
Road or Dirt, the little Hooligan was a hoot to ride.
When we first received the eFTR, the Brand Amp folks had fully charged the removable battery pack, and in the three weeks Lisa and I rode the bike (almost nightly, taking turns), I never had to put it on a charge. In fact, it still had about 20 percent charge when I returned it. Yeah, I know, I should have recharged it for them first, but honestly I tried, somehow unable to get the charging cable correctly inserted in the charge port on the battery. Kind of tricky, but it did show me the remaining charge left in the pack.
The night before I had to return the eFTR, Lisa wanted to ride it again. She took off in the fading light of day, and wound up doing about 3-4 miles before pulling back in, headlight activated as darkness settled. Removing her helmet, she exclaimed, “I love this little bike! This is the closest to a real motorcycle that I’ve ever ridden myself, and it’s been such a fun electric bicycle to ride. I want one!” Oh geez.
Piercing the gathering dark with a serious headlight.
As with nearly every offering we’ve looked up in the current e-bike market, the Indian/Super 73 eFTR Hooligan 1.2 is a bit pricey at around $3600-3700 USD. You can find lower priced ones in the electric bicycle world, even in the Super 73 lineup, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bike with this look, feel and vibe. It’s in a class by itself. From what I’m reading, buyers who own them absolutely love them. It’s not for everyone, and heck, electric bicycling isn’t for everyone I guess, but this is a worthy entrant into the e-bike space. And if it’s fun and gets people off their screens, off their butts and out active again, then I’m all for it.
Go test ride one at an Indian Motorcycle or Super 73 dealership near you, and tell them you saw it on Road Dirt.
*Check out our video ride review without ever leaving this page-