KTM seems to be stepping up their game when it comes to the highly-contested expressway-legal (400cc and above) entry-level market. Although the existing Duke and RC 390 models are expressway-legal here in the Philippines, their actual displacement is just 373cc.
Soon, however, these Dukes and RC's will be bonafide expressway-legal bikes because the Ausrian giant and Bajaj are working on bigger brothers to the Duke and RC, powered by a new 490cc, parallel-twin engine.
To give you an idea what the new 490 Duke might look like, here's the KTM 790 Duke prototype from 2017 with its parallel twin powerplant
News circulating around the internet, particularly from Indian Autos Blog, seems to confirm this. Besides larger Dukes and RC's, the new powerplant could also be used for a small adventure bike, supermoto, and enduro model.
The new 490 powerplants were said to have an output of 56 to 61 Ps and will be paired to a 6-speed gearbox with a slipper clutch.
To keeps costs low, KTM could use the existing chassis of Duke and RC models, but with slight tweaks to accommodate the new engine. As for the enduro and supermoto models, the current EXC-F 500 frame will be modified to fit the new engine. True or not, let's just keep our eyes open in the upcoming EICMA in Milan which is just around the corner.