February 08 -- Not too long ago we got a whiff of this, and six months later we finally have a closure. KTM’s much talked about 490cc twin cylinder project has been shelved, as confirmed by KTM top brass at a roundtable, during the recent one-millionth KTM event. But it’s not all sad news, because they also said there’s a bigger Duke on the way - a 690 twin!
I know friends who have waited with bated breath to upgrade from their 390s to a twin cylinder, 490cc KTM Duke (RC in my case). But, sadly guys, the 490cc project for KTM was simply not financially viable and hence has been benched. KTM, however, did say, a dialled-down version of its 790 platform, say, a 690cc twin cylinder could actually make it.
KTM’s plan is simple. After dominating the sub-400cc segment, the next popular segment is the 600-700cc market where brands like Yamaha are ruling the roost with products like the MT-07, YZF-R7 and Tenere 700. KTM wants in on the action, and by scaling down the existing 790cc platform to a 690cc (exact capacity undisclosed) seems logical.
The bike is said to make close to 80PS, nearly twice that of what the 390s make. A better level-up bike for the 390 boys. KTM aims to roll out these new 690s by 2024 with the help of CFMoto, which is anyway managing KTM’s 790 platform, hence the move only makes sense. Should you be excited? Sure. But, given these bikes won’t be produced in India, the 390 boys may miss out on that value-for-money quotient.
Speaking of 390 Dukes, KTM has said it will be globally launching the ‘23 390 Duke towards the second half of this year. Test mules of the bike had been spied on recently too, check this story to know what to expect from the next-generation 390 Duke. But, like in the case of the 2022 KTM RC 390, it is likely that ‘23 390 Duke will be launched in India near the end of 2023, or possibly even by early 2024!