KTM has confirmed that it will be rolling out a new lightweight parallel twin engined range of street bikes. However, exactly what shape and form this new range of bikes will take, as well as the technical specifications of the new engine, have yet to be confirmed. For a few years now, KTM’s hotshot 390 Duke has received critical global acclaim. The same can be said for the RC 390, and more recently the 390 Adventure, both of which, receiving generally positive feedback. This is largely in part due to the 390 range of motorcycles' affordable price point and impressive performance.
With this, KTM has taken the entry level big bike segment a notch higher by confirming the development of the 490 platform. With a 500cc parallel twin engine at its heart, the 490 range of bikes will likely slot right in between the 390 singles and the 790 twins. KTM has confirmed that development of the 490 series of engines is currently ongoing and will be 100-percent developed in Pune, India, at Bajaj's R&D center. After all, KTM is partly owned by Bajaj—in fact, the Indian motorcycle manufacturer owns 47.97% of KTM AG.
So, just how punchy will the new engine be? Will it be as peppy as the 373cc single we’ve grown to love so much? Unfortunately, the exact specifications of the new 500cc parallel twin have yet to be confirmed. Reports suggest that it will likely have the same configuration as that of the 790 bikes. So we could soon have a 490 Duke with a 75-degree crankshaft. It is also expected that the new 490 bikes will be equipped with premium features and be targeted towards riders seeking an upgrade from their 390 machines.
As far as the actual production of the motorcycles is concerned, there's a possibility that once Bajaj has completed the R&D of the new mill, manufacturing will subsequently be outsourced to KTM's chinese partner, CFMoto. At present, CFMoto manufactures KTM motorcycles for multiple markets across Asia. The Chinese company has also acquired the rights to KTM's LC8 799cc parallel twin engine, as well as the 990cc V-twin found in the first generation of Super Dukes.