If you wanted an entry-level KTM street bike, you’d be limited to the 390 range of bikes. If you live either in Asia or Europe, you could get your hands on smaller bikes with 125cc, 200cc, and 250cc engine sizes. While the 390 single-cylinder-equipped machines are certainly a lot of fun for both beginners and seasoned riders alike, there’s no denying that there’s some space to be filled between the 390 series and the 790 and 890 machines.
This is where KTM’s up and coming 490 series slots in perfectly. Conveniently, the rumor mills surrounding the KTM 490 series have been churning for more than a year now, so we more or less have an idea what to expect from the upcoming range of bikes. According to multiple sources, several of which from India, where KTM manufactures a lot of its bikes alongside Indian partner Bajaj, expect that the 490 series will be occupied by Duke, RC, and Adventure models. Furthermore, it’s expected that KTM will be unveiling the model range later in 2022.
Indian automotive publication GaadiWaadi cites a leaked presentation from KTM’s parent company Pierer Mobility to give us an idea of the upcoming bikes in the 490 range. Apart, of course, from the Duke, RC, and Adventure models, it looks like a Supermoto and Enduro model are in the pipeline, too. Now, if you’re as excited as I am, here’s another theory that could further hint that the 490 series is indeed well and truly underway, and it comes from none other than KTM’s Chinese partner CFMOTO.
You see, CFMOTO recently unveiled the 450SR sportbike. Equipped with a full-fairing and a 450cc parallel-twin engine, it seems like it follows a similar formula as other entry-level sportbikes like the Ninja 400 or Honda CBR500R. However, when we look a little closer at the technical specs of the engine, we find that it has a 270-degree crankshaft, similar to what Yamaha has in its 689cc Crossplane parallel-twin engine. This means we can expect the sound and power delivery similar to a 90-degree V-twin—certainly more exciting than a standard 180-degree parallel-twin, and more importantly, very much attune to KTM’s rowdy, torquey nature.
All that being said, it certainly looks like the engine found in the CFMOTO 450SR will be the same one powering KTM’s upcoming 490 series. At this point, however, nothing is official, as KTM has yet to release any statements surrounding the technical specs and specific launch date of the 490 range of bikes. Nonetheless, it looks like the 490 models will be placed a notch above the 390 series. I, for one, certainly hope that the 390 range will stick around, as punchy single-cylinder engines have always been associated with KTM’s Duke range of bikes.