A few years ago, CEO Stefan Pierer said that KTM was developing a brand new 490 series of motorcycles that would use a parallel-twin-cylinder engine. These bikes were even featured in the company’s investor presentation at one point and there were talks that Bajaj would make the bike. Naturally, this got Indian enthusiasts looking to upgrade from the 390s very excited, but things then went silent. Now, Pierer has confirmed to Autocar India that the 490 platform has been shelved for good.
490 platform not financially feasible for KTM
New 690cc bike will be built with CF Moto
690 platform expected to launch in 2024
The reason for shutting the 490 platform project has been attributed to the sheer costs involved in developing an all-new parallel-twin engine at such a low capacity. From engine design and development to the cost of testing and validation of a new platform, KTM wasn’t convinced that putting all the cash and effort was worth it for this market segment. Instead, KTM has something else in the pipeline.
KTM has decided to scale down the 790 Duke’s 799cc parallel-twin to what Pierer tells us will be a unit based on a 690 platform (the exact capacity is unknown). He also told us that it would definitely make above 70hp, and we’d expect it to be somewhere above 80hp mark, putting it in the same ballpark of this bike’s direct rivals such as the Yamaha MT-07 and the Triumph Trident 660. Like with the 790 Duke, this may not be the most powerful bike in the class, but KTM is striving for a segment-leading power-to-weight ratio and you can expect a low kerb weight, probably below 190kg.
KTM's decision to develop a bike in the 600-700cc category makes sense, given the fact that, in markets like Europe, the segment is booming and bikes like the Yamaha MT-07 are a big success. With no presence in that segment so far – apart from the current single-cylinder 690 Duke, a rather niche motorcycle – the 690 could help KTM make that crucial step into the market and grab a lucrative share.
The company plans to roll out the new 690 platform in 2024 and bikes based on it will be made by KTM’s Chinese partner CF Moto. This could come as bad news to Indian enthusiasts because if the 690 platform based bikes are launched here, they will cost more due to being imported into the country.
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