Review: Indian eFTR Hooligan 1.2 is huge fun on and off the bike path
Indian’s ebike is made by SUPER73 and branded as an Indian eFTR Hooligan. I took Indian Motorcycles’ ebike for a spin both on and off the pavement and found it's well-named for what it is: a street-OK electric bike that really shines on the dirt trail. It’s also a good introduction to motorcycles without actually getting a motorcycle, which would require separate licensing.
At a Glance
- Cool-looking design
- Not terribly ergonomic
- Goes pretty fast when you want it to
- Battery life is great
The eFTR Hooligan has several features that make it fun. The biggest is its motorcycle-like design and definite Indian Motorcycles looks. Out of the box, with a little wrench work to put it together (handlebars, headlight, and battery come unattached), this is a great-looking ebike. It has a flat banana-style seat, simple BMX-like handlebars, and a fuel tank-like battery. Plus knobby tires and a simple tube frame.
The downside to that simple design is ergonomics. It’s tough to find a comfortable spot, whatever your height, when the handlebars, pedals, and seat aren’t adjustable. For someone my size (6 ft 3 in or 1.9 m), it means hunching over and scooching as far back on that banana seat as possible. Knees will still come up pretty high when pedaling. Once underway, though, this is less problematic than it would seem. But those with any kind of mobility issue may find it a deal breaker for this ebike.
Controls on the Indian Hooligan are simple. On the left is the rear brake handle and digital control for most of the bike’s functions. On the right is a thumb throttle and the front wheel brake handle. Braking on the Hooligan is semi-assisted via motor regeneration and using the brakes in any fashion shuts down all electric propulsion as well, making burnouts really difficult to pull off.
The Hooligan works as a fully electric ride with roughly 13 miles (21 km) of electric-only range from its 960-Wh battery. So if just tooling around without pedaling is your plan, it can go about 15-20 mph (24-32 km/h) depending on several variables like rider weight and incline. From there, four pedal-assist modes can be used to both up speed and lengthen range. These are controlled on the left-hand digital display whose physical buttons go up and down through the speeds sequentially. The assist number (0-4) is displayed for a few seconds when it’s changed and then alternates with the bike’s current speed (mph or km/h). Holding down the “O” button to the right of those will activate and deactivate the headlamp. The tail light on the Hooligan comes on with the headlamp and works as a brake light all the time.
Going through the eFTR Hooligan’s pedal assist modes, Level 0 means no assistance at all – pedaling is the only mode of propulsion. This is good for flat terrain, some downhills, and generally riding around for short distances. Battery recuperation only happens when slowing.
Levels 1-4 add more assistance the higher one goes. These add more and more motor power to the pedaling being done, effectively acting like gears on a standard bicycle to amplify the effort of the rider. The higher the number, the more assistance being added and the faster the ride goes per crank turn. Using these to assist, battery range can stretch to over 50 miles (80 km) per charge, depending on a host of variables.
It’s worth noting that pedal assist drops out if the bike’s speed reaches 28 mph (45 km/h). This is for legal reasons, as most motorized vehicles traveling over 30 mph in the United States are considered motor vehicles and need to be licensed, but under that it can be considered a bicycle in most jurisdictions.
The thumb throttle on the right-hand of the handlebars works like a throttle on a motorcycle or scooter, with the amount of pressure equaling the amount of motor power. This operates independent of the pedal assistance and can give quick bursts or just a long, controlled e-ride. It’s especially useful up steep hills, for quick bursts to get around something or up a short incline, and off-road. The Hooligan’s 1.2-kW motor has a lot of juice.
Riding the Hooligan ebike for a couple of weeks, I learned that using the buttons on the left-hand controller to change pedal assist according to need, as if shifting gears on a standard bicycle, was easiest. When off-road, I left it in Level 4 most of the time to get maximum speed from pedaling while using the throttle to control speed in bursts – much like one would with a dirt bike or ATV where most of the speed control is via engine revs rather than gears.
Because of its BMX-style design, the Indian eFTR Hooligan is easy to adapt to and understand for those of us who grew up in the dirt bike and mountain bike generations. Standing on the pedals during the rough patches (there’s no suspension to speak of) and flinging the pedal and throttle in curves to make a rear-wheel skid are natural. It’s too heavy to pop a wheelie or do bunny hops, of course, but those meaty tires make short work of most curbs and rocks anyway.
It didn’t take long to get very used to the Hooligan ebike. A half-helmet is a must, as a bicycle helmet feels too flimsy and ... well, just doesn’t look very cool with this bike. The battery comes with a 120-A, 3-A charger that fills it in under seven hours and there's an optional 5-A charger cuts that time nearly in half.
The Indian eFTR Hooligan 1.2 retails for US$3,599 plus delivery.
Product Page: Indian Motorcycles eFTR Hooligan 1.2