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The 500 cc platform could spawn more than one body style.

By Nithyanandh Karupp

KTM is all set to strengthen its presence in the medium displacement segment with a new twin-cylinder sub 500 cc motorcycle. While the existence of this project is not a new update, in a recent interview, Stefan Pierer, CEO of KTM, confirmed that the motorcycle in question would be made by Bajaj in India. This means, that it will be aggressively priced, and could start from as low as Rs 3.5 lakhs.

Bajaj is already producing the 125, 200, 250, and 390 variants of the naked Duke and fully faired RC. The Adventure variant of the 390 will soon be added to this lineup. The upcoming 500 cc motorcycle platform could also spawn multiple variants but as of now, details are not forthcoming. First variant could be a Duke.

Image of 790 Duke used for reference.

It is reasonable to expect the new KTM twin-cylinder medium displacement motorcycle to borrow quite a bit from both its smaller (390) and bigger (the new 790) siblings. That means, we would be looking at a trellis frame, WP suspension system with inverted telescopic fork upfront and a rear monoshock, alloy wheels, fully digital instrument console, standard ABS, edgy styling, meaty tyres, and best-in-class power-to-weight ratio.

We expect new KTM 500 Duke twin to feature double front discs. It is also likely to incorporate multiple riding modes. If the Duke 790’s power output of 105 hp is anything to go by, the 500 cc motorcycle is estimated to dish out somewhere in the ballpark of 80 hp. Of course, the bike will come with slipper assist clutch, and a 6-speed transmission.

Styling will be similar to 390 / 790 Duke

The KTM 500 will spearhead the Austrian motorcycle maker’s charge in emerging markets such as India where the 500-800 cc motorcycles form the major chunk of premium segment. This sector is growing in India at a promising rate and having a locally manufactured contender (read competitive pricing) with stellar performance credentials would go a long way in disrupting the market.

In international markets, the new KTM product will attempt to steal the show from its well established Japanese rivals like the Yamaha R3 and the Kawasaki Ninja 400. The new 500 cc KTM twin-cylinder bike could be revealed at next year’s EICMA in Milan, Italy.

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