KTM’s new range of motorcycles, with a 500 cc parallel-twin engine, will be launched sometime in 2022, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer has confirmed in an interview. The new engine will have two models, the KTM 490 Duke, as well as the KTM 490 Adventure, and will sit between the KTM 390 range and the new KTM 890 models. The new parallel-twin cylinder engine is being developed at Bajaj Auto’s R&D centre in Pune, supported by KTM’s own R&D personnel, but it’s still not certain if the bikes will eventually be manufactured in India, or will be made elsewhere. This is not the first time Pierer has talked about the new 500 cc platform, so it will be only a matter of time when the new 490 range is introduced.
“This is being 100 per cent developed at the Bajaj R&D centre in Pune, but supported by our R&D guys. It’s a parallel-twin similar to the format we have on the 790/890, only 500 cc. This is very important for our 125/200 and 390 Duke customers to trade up to, especially in developed markets as an A2 licence bike, while in the so-called emerging markets it’ll be a premium product. But it’s still under development, and so far we’ve not decided yet where we’re going to be producing that new range of 500cc twin-cylinder models. It could also take place in China, because the transfer of our older 790 engine to CFMoto, our partners there, has worked quite well. Their new production facility which they began building 18 months ago is now ready to go, with production starting at the beginning of 2021,” Pierer has said in the interview.
The new 500 cc parallel-twin engine will be used in several models, including Husqvarna, and possibly even Bajaj’s own version spanning naked, sport touring and adventure bikes. In markets like India, the 490 range will be positioned as premium bikes, above the KTM 390 range, but still be priced at around or just under ₹ 5 lakh, when they do eventually make it to market. But even at that price point, a KTM street bike, and an adventure with a 500 cc parallel-twin engine making around 60 bhp, will make for compelling products in the world’s largest motorcycle market.