The twin-cylinder motor is likely to be a derivative of CF Moto’s 450 cc unit
KTM has been busy benefiting from impressive economies of scale by sharing platforms across several body styles as well as across the brands it owns. The 390 for example has Duke, RC and Adventure derivatives in addition to powering Husqvarna’s street fighter range. The 125 and 690 architectures too have multi-product, multi-brand derivatives.
It has emerged that the Austrian two wheeler giant is gearing up to enter a new sub-segment in the highly lucrative medium displacement segment. The brand is reportedly eyeing to plug the gap between its 390 and 690 family of products with a new series of 490 models.
KTM 490 family on the anvil
According to MotorcycleNews, KTM is working on an array of models based on a twin-cylinder 450 cc motor first of which is expected to arrive as early as this year. KTM’s new 450 cc twin-cylinder liquid-cooled motor is said to be a derivative of a similar unit used by the company’s Chinese arm CF Moto.
The 490 family is strongly expected to consist of the usual suspects – Duke, RC and Adventure. We expect the new family of models to have sufficient differentiation in terms of market positioning and performance to let it coexist with the current single-cylinder 390 range.
If the CF Moto’s 450SR is anything to go by, the future KTM 490 family might employ a parallel twin unit with a 270 degree crankshaft. The power output is likely to exceed 50 hp mark by a fair margin but expect detuned A2 versions (output less then 48 hp) to cater to the popular European segment. In a typical KTM fashion, the 490 series will be positioned as the most powerful offerings in the twin-cylinder medium displacement segment which is currently led by Kawasaki Ninja 400.
Where will the KTM 490 be made?
KTM now has a lot of experience in making quality products in a cost effective manner in Asia, thanks to its partner Bajaj Auto. We expect a similar production arrangement for the 490 family with CF Moto in China. Such a collaboration will be a win-win situation for both the brands. Europe being a production base is not entirely ruled out either.
Given the KTM Group’s inclination to diversify its motor, it is not outrageous to expect the upcoming twin-cylinder motor to find its way onboard an array of new enduros and off-roaders as well. The Husqvarna Vitpilen and Svartpilen 501 could also be on the cards.
Will it launch in India? The idea of a KTM 390 Duke or Adventure does sound appealing for our market. However, pricing may not be as competitive as the locally made 390 family. Anyway, it is too early to talk about it as of now.