The coronavirus pandemic has put a lot of strain on the world economy, and may possibly alter some consumer trends and habits in the future. Companies like KTM need to adapt, and a recent statement with its CEO, indicates they're already considering some changes.
In a recent interview, KTM CEO, Stefan Pierer, has confirmed that the Austrian motorcycle manufacturing giant is developing a new 500cc platform with its partner Bajaj. This new platform may manifest itself into upcoming 2021-2022 and onwards motorcycle models.
As the worldwide economic impact of COVID-19 becomes more widespread and impactful, KTM has decided to shift all the R&D for this platform to Bajaj at their Pune center. Pierer stressed, however, that KTM’s very own R&D team will also be hands-on with the development, design, and testing of the new platform.
The new 500cc engine will be a parallel-twin, according to Pierer. This also means that a new trellis frame could be in the works to accommodate the wider parallel-twin. Or they could use the existing frame of the 790 series to cut development costs. Naturally, this platform will be used to create possibly five distinct models, including an ADV, two dual-sports, a naked bike, and a sportbike. In true KTM fashion, expect these models to take on the '490' name. As such, they could be called the 490 Duke, Adventure, RC, with a couple or R models in between.
Like the current 200, 390, and 790 platforms, we can expect that the new 500cc platform being developed will be shared across KTM, Husqvarna, and Bajaj motorcycle models.