The KTM 490 range that could comprise 490 Duke, RC and Adventure was expected to make its global debut later this year with a new twin-cylinder engine
According to a recent report that emerged on the internet, KTM has shelved the plans of making a range of 490 cc motorcycles. The speculations surrounding the KTM 490 range have existed for years now and it was expected to sit above the existing 390 cc motorcycles with a newly developed twin-cylinder engine producing higher power and torque in comparison.
In 2018, KTM Boss Stefan Pierer announced his brand’s intentions to develop a sub-500 cc twin-cylinder engine in association with Bajaj Auto at the Chakan production facility. In a similar fashion to the market positioning of the 690 cc and 790 cc KTM motorcycles globally, the 490 cc range was believed to carry a different positioning compared to the 390 series.
However, in recent years, the prices of the KTM 390 Duke, RC and Adventure have increased substantially. The 390 Duke is currently priced at Rs. 2.95 lakh while the recently launched new generation 390 RC costs Rs. 3.14 lakh (both prices, ex-showroom). The idea of the KTM 490 range was that it would sit right below the middleweight segment with a more accessible price tag.
If the report stays true, it certainly is a big disappointment for many enthusiasts and whether KTM and Bajaj have missed a jackpot, and a sweet spot in particular, or not is yet unknown and only time will tell. A leaked presentation from KTM’s parent company, Pierer Mobility, indicated that 490 Duke, 490 RC,490 Adventure, 490 Enduro and 490 Supermoto were part of the plan.
The first series of these motorcycles were expected to debut later this year at the 2022 EICMA show in Italy and the report noted the global health crisis and resultant chip shortage are some of the main reasons for KTM pulling the plug on the 490 range. Bajaj’s growing relationship with Triumph could have been a key factor as well considering that the homegrown brand is establishing a new production line for Triumph’s small capacity bikes.
Thus, developing a new powertrain from scratch for KTM might not make much sense for Bajaj as the Bajaj-Triumph motorcycles might also target the same market position. Bajaj and KTM could revive the project in the future but we just don’t have any confirmation yet.