Is KTM’s upcoming 490 series going to be a massive hit? Maybe, maybe not, but KTM’s Indian partner (and partial owner) is reportedly gearing up to build the new 490s. Bajaj is actually building a new motorcycle manufacturing facility that’s supposed to handle the 490’s production.
Bajaj already builds the 200 and 390 platforms for KTM, as well as the Husqvarna 401 series, which is based on KTM’s 390 single. As a massive shareholder in KTM (roughly 49 percent, last we heard), the Indian manufacturer has an obvious vested interest in the Austrian company’s success.
The new factory is expected to open in 2023; it will be located in Chakan. There’s suggestions that Bajaj will also build Triumph motorcycles there. Bajaj and Triumph announced their partnership in January of 2020; Bajaj doesn’t have a large ownership stake in Triumph, like it does in KTM, but it sounds like it will take over much of the British brand’s overseas manufacturing.
Back to the KTM 490 plans. We haven’t seen a big official reveal on the 490 engine, but KTM has included details on the project in its shareholder reports, giving us limited insight.
It seems KTM will basically echo its 790 series with the 490s; there’ll be a naked bike, a sportbike, an adventure bike, a supermoto and probably a dual-sport bike in the line. The 490 engine will be a liquid-cooled parallel twin, not a single, like the current 390 series.
As well as the KTM 490 series, there will also be a Husqvarna 501 series based on the same twin (not the 501 single, which dirt riders are already familiar with). Expect a Svartpilen and Vitpilen neo-retro based around this engine.