Ever since the first Duke 390 was announced in 2013, the dual-sport and ADV community eagerly awaited the announcement of a small displacement, off-road capable, street bike from KTM. Sadly, our hopes still haven’t come into fruition, although we’ve seen some European spy shots of a production ready bike and scrambler-converted baby Dukes (made by some of you) that really got us excited. We expect the 390 Adventure to be showcased in production form before year’s end. But what else could KTM have up their sleeves?
With EICMA and INTERMOT right around the corner, it’s time once again to take a stab at what concepts and prototypes will show face at the biggest international motorcycle events of the year. At the end of 2018, KTM’s CEO, Stefan Pierer confirmed that several bikes sporting 500ish cc parallel-twin engines were in the works. We expect these bikes to be the Duke 490, RC 490, and 490 Adventure. Continuing the production trend of KTM’s small displacement motorcycles, the new engine will likely be manufactured by Bajaj in India.
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The 490s won’t replace the 390s, at least in other parts of the world outside of the US. Bajaj produces a 125 Duke and 250 Duke, alongside the 390. These bikes sell really well and tailor to licensing limitations in Europe and Asia.
Of course, at this point we can only speculate what a 490 Adventure could look like, and to us it looks completely new from the ground up. The current frame for the 390cc bikes is likely too narrow, and the chromoly tubular frame from the 790 would increase costs too much. Another steel trellis frame makes sense to support multiple variants of the 490 (the RC and Duke). The new 490cc DOHC engine would be Euro 5 compliant; probably putting out 50-60 hp. A six-speed transmission with a slipper clutch is also expected.
As far as suspension goes, we don’t expect anything extraordinary, providing about 6 inches of travel on both sides. It’ll have limited adjustability (probably only rear preload) but it’ll be well dampened for the average rider. That’s okay with us, considering the intended market. Besides, bikes like this keep companies like Rally Raid busy.
Fancy electronics? None needed.
Finally, the KTM 490 Adventure could roll out on 19”/17” alloy wheels as a 2021-2022 model. A bike of this stature would place it right in the middle of the adventure bike category, as well as KTM’s line-up (if they finally announce the 390 Adventure this year).
That’s enough dreaming for us. What do you hope will showcase at EICMA and INTERMOT? If KTM announces a 390 Adventure and/or 490 Adventure, what would the bike need for you to leave a deposit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!