EXCLUSIVE: Details Of KTM 490 Range Revealed

Why are these highly anticipated twin-cylinder bikes taking so long?

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It breaks our heart to say this, but KTM’s much awaited 490cc, twin-cylinder project has been shelved. This locally produced 490cc platform promised a proper step up from KTM’s existing 390 range of motorcycles, in terms of both power and refinement. However, it seems like both KTM and Bajaj have good reasons to pull the plug on the project and here’s why:       
Back in 2018 when KTM boss Stefan Pierer disclosed plans for a sub-500cc, twin-cylinder engine with the help of Bajaj Auto in India, at its Chakan plant, a seed of hope was sown. Just like KTM’s 690 and 790 are positioned differently, the 390s and 490s were positioned to further enable sport riding enthusiasts. First of these bikes were supposed to arrive this year, but two things have obstructed the 490’s trajectory.

Firstly, COVID. The pandemic crisis has Bajaj’s sales slowing down and factors like acute shortage of semiconductor chips also delayed the arrival of updated versions of KTM’s popular models like the 2022 KTM RC 390 and the KTM 390 Adventure.

Second reason for the 490 project being given the boot is Bajaj’s recent association with Triumph. The partnership has Bajaj setting up a new line for Triumph’s upcoming small-capacity motorcycles, in addition to the new line it set up for its upcoming EVs. Hence, does it still make sense for both KTM and Bajaj to make a 490cc engine, one that’s likely to make a bit more power and cost a whole lot more?

See, the original idea of KTM’s sub-500cc bikes was offering exciting performance at an affordable price. However, with the KTM 390 Duke retailing at Rs 2,94,082 and the RC 390 at Rs 3,13,922 (all prices ex-showroom Delhi), these motorcycles seem to be sliding into the premium zone now. Under these conditions, the KTM 490s would have easily been priced over Rs 5 lakh (ex-showroom).

Check out our man Jehan’s detailed video above on why the KTM 490 project will not see the light of day.

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