Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM has revealed that they are working on 500cc motorcycles for India. The engine will be a parallel-twin based on 790/890 engines. However, the engine will be re-engineered to produce 500cc. The engine will be used in a bunch of motorcycles. KTM might spawn a Duke, an adventure and even an RC with this engine. The new range of motorcycles will be hitting the Indian market by 2022.
The new engine will also be used Husqvarna who will develop their own range of motorcycles that might include a scrambler and a cafe racer just like the Husqvarna 250 twins. The new engine is being developed at the Bajaj R&D centre at Pune with the help of the R&D department of KTM. It is not yet confirmed where the production of the new range of motorcycles is going to happen. Stefan says that the manufacturing of the new motorcycles can be placed in China because that is where the 790 was produced and it received a good response even after being a CKD or Completely Knocked Down unit. However, we hope that the new motorcycles are produced right here in India which will help KTM to price them very aggressively against the competition.
This is what CEO of KTM commented about the first parallel-twin engines “This is being 100% 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 500cc. 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.”
Being a parallel-twin, the engine will be a lot smoother than the current single-cylinder ones. We expect the new engine to produce somewhere around 60 PS. It will be mated to a 6-speed gearbox with slip-assist clutch and a bi-directional quick shifter. The power delivery will still be reserved at the top-end of the rev range just like we have seen on other KTM motorcycles. This is one of the unique characteristics of the KTM engines. Braking duties on the new motorcycle will be done by discs at both the ends. Expect the design language of the upcoming motorcycles to resemble a lot to the 790 Duke and the 390 Duke. There would be features available such as traction control, ride by wire, riding modes and a switchable ABS. KTM will also offer a digital TFT screen that could be connected to Bluetooth and show various information. The adventure series and the RC should also join the line-up at a later stage.