This will be the first time that Bajaj Auto will be developing a twin-cylinder engine in India
Ever since Austrian bikemaker KTM joined its hands with Indian two-wheeler giant Bajaj Auto, Indian biking community has been treated to a plethora of new products for over a decade now. In Bajaj, KTM has found a reliable partner that manufactures and assembles the former’s bikes in India.
The company’s majority stakes are held by PMAG. Recently, in an interaction with an automotive website, PMAG majority owner and KTM CEO Stephan Pierer confirmed that it is developing a new 490cc platform in association with Bajaj in India.
Currently Bajaj Auto develops and manufactures 125cc, 200cc, 250cc and 390cc single-cylinder units for KTM motorcycles. The last three units are also used Husqvarna twins- Svartpilen and Vitpilen. All of these motorcycles are manufactured by Bajaj at its facility in Chakan near Pune in Maharashtra. For reference, Swedish bikemaker Husqvarna is a subsidiary of KTM Industries.
Earlier this year, we had reported that KTM was in discussions with Bajaj to develop a new 490cc parallel-twin engine that could be used for Duke and Adventure range of motorcycles. This powertrain could also power future Husqvarna models as well.
Currently, the high displacement twin-cylinder models using 790cc and 890cc units are imported from overseas. In fact, this new engine is set to be a lot more refined and powerful than the current 390cc unit. It is likely to have a similar format and architecture as 790cc and 890cc units.
Prospects of the new 490cc powertrain
Pierer revealed that the company will target its consumer base who want to upgrade from its 390cc bikes such as RC390, Duke 390 and Adventure 390. He further revealed that this new platform is still under development and the first motorcycle to be based on this platform is likely to be launched in 2022. As mentioned before, this new platform will be developed and used for a streetfighter, an adventure motorcycle and a fully-faired bike.
The report further goes on to mention that these bikes will be fully developed at Bajaj’s R&D centre in Pune and supported by KTM’s R&D. Pierer further adds that these motorcycles could also be developed in China by their partners CFMoto. The bikemaker started building its new manufacturing facility 18 months ago and is completely ready now with production to commence from 2021.
The 490cc bikes will bridge the long gap between the 390cc and 790cc products in terms of specs, power as well as price. The performance gap between the current 390 and 790 stand at 43 bhp and 105 bhp. Going by the KTM’s thirst for manufacturing performance-oriented bikes, we can expect these new 490cc motorcycles to be class-leading in their segments.