Exclusive: Out In The Flesh, The Adventurous...
- Apr 1, 2019
- Views : 15116
Adventure segment in India:
Years before the Royal Enfield Himalayan arrived, the Indian mid-size adventure segment was pretty much reserved for well-heeled two wheeler enthusiasts. However, being an ingenious lot, we were able to find one way or the other to make our road-going motorcycles off-road ready. The Hero Impulse instilled excitement in many off-road enthusiasts’ hearts, but failed to take off due to its underpowered engine.
Later, the Himalayan came into the picture and manufacturers realised the huge potential in the adventure segment, particularly in the mid-capacity space. This segment works exceptionally well in India as the bikes in this category are relatively lighter, less complex and easy to handle than full-fledged adventure motorcycles that come packed with all kinds of technology. Kawasaki wanted to grab a portion of the pie with the Versys-X 300, but didn’t exactly succeed due to its stratospheric (but justified) pricing.
Though BMW Motorrad also yearned to be in this segment, the German marque wanted to make sure it does things right, including setting up the infrastructure required to handle its upcoming entry-level twins - the G 310 R and G 310 GS. Last week, BMW Motorrad announced that it has started accepting bookings for both bikes. Unlike KTM, BMW Motorrad says it isn’t focussing on outright sales numbers. Instead, it wants to provide customers with a premium riding experience. However, the real shot of adrenaline came when KTM confirmed the launch of the much-awaited 390 Adventure, which is slated for next year.
KTM has been silently working on the 390 Adventure ever since the 390 Duke gained popularity. The powerplant of the 390 Duke was more than enough for Indian roads, and the chassis setup was brilliant for spirited riding. Thanks to its partnership with Bajaj, the Austrian bike maker was even able to manufacture it in a cost-efficient manner and price it at the affordable end of the 300cc segment. So, it was only logical for the Mattighofen-based motorcycle manufacturer to develop an adventure variant for riders with a certain sense of wanderlust. The 390 Adventure was spotted testing in Europe back in 2016. The Dakar-inspired motorcycle looked crude, hinting at the need for a lot more work to be done.
The motorcycle was spotted again in October last year. This time, its featured a more toned down design and in line with the brand’s 790 Adventure concept (remember 2017 EICMA?). If KTM wants to launch the bike in 2019, it is safe to say that it will unveil the 390 Adventure concept at this year’s EICMA.
KTM’s word on the upcoming model:
KTM says the new model will be placed under the Adventure range of motorcycles and will be sold alongside its existing products. According to the manufacturer, the upcoming model will ‘provide the motorcycle-touring community a state-of-the-art package to ride long distances and conquer any terrain’.
The auto major has also confirmed that the bike will be inspired by the 1290 Super Adventure. It will also draw its lineage from KTM’s rally racing history. This could hint at bulletproof build quality and impressive touring capability.
What we think:
Going by the Duke’s feature-laden proposition, we expect the 390 Adventure to be loaded with ride-enhancing goodies. Expect the multifunction colour display to have navigation capability in the Adventure. We expect the Adventure to sport a larger 17-18-litre fuel tank for enhanced range too. The ergonomics should be upright, with the footpegs positioned for easy stand-up riding. The WP suspension setup will have more travel than the Duke’s.
While the bike is likely to share the engine with the Duke, we expect it to be tuned for more bottom-end torque. Also, since it already has ride-by-wire, it does open up the possibility of having multiple ride modes like ‘Road’ and ‘Rain’. Amit Nandi - president of Probiking, Bajaj Auto Ltd., said, “KTM is a niche brand for a select few. With the 390 Adventure we would be making our long awaited entry into the niche premium dual-sport segment which is a very apt segment for Indian roads.” Going by his statement, it’s likely that the bike will be offered with the option of both spoke wheels (likely a 21-inch front and a 17-inch rear, shod with knobbies) for the off-road variant and alloy wheels (possibly 17-inch units on both ends with road-biased tyres) for the touring version. Click here for a more detailed take on the possibility of two variants.
Considering the propensity of the target audience to add more touring friendly features on their bikes, we expect KTM to provide a range of official accessories, either at the time of launch or at a later stage. This could include parts like panniers, saddle stays, headlight guard, auxiliary lamps, crash guards, sturdier bash plate, centre stand and radiator guard. Click here to see how the 390 Adventure slots in among its rivals.
We expect the bike to be priced at a premium of Rs 60,000-Rs 70,000 over the 390 Duke, which retails for Rs 2.4 lakh (ex-showroom Delhi). With such value for money, the bike will surely garner the attention of a lot of riding enthusiasts. The Indian two-wheeler segment just got a whole lot more interesting!
[KTM 1290 Super Duke & KTM 790 Adventure R concept images are for representative purposes only]
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