If you wanted an entry-level KTM street bike, you’d be limited to the 390 range of bikes. If you live in Asia or Europe, you can get your hands on smaller bikes with 125cc engines, 200cc and 250cc. While the 390 single-cylinder equipped machines are certainly great fun for beginners and seasoned riders alike, there is no denying that there is some space to fill between the 390 series and the 790 and 890 machines.
This is where KTM’s new 490 series fits right in. Conveniently, the rumors surrounding the KTM 490 series have been swirling for over a year now, so we have more or less an idea of what to expect from the next line of bikes. According to multiple sources, including several from India, where KTM manufactures much of its bikes alongside Indian partner Bajaj, expect the 490 series to be filled with Duke, RC and Adventure models. Additionally, it is expected that KTM will unveil the model lineup later in 2022.
Indian Automotive Publication GaadiWaadi cite a leaked presentation from KTM’s parent company, Pierer Mobility, to give us an idea of the upcoming bikes in the 490 line. Other than, of course, the Duke, RC and Adventure models, it looks like a Supermoto and Enduro model is also in preparation. Now, if you’re as excited as I am, here’s another theory that could imply that the 490 series is indeed in the works, and it comes from none other than KTM’s Chinese partner, CFMOTO.
You see, CFMOTO recently unveiled the 450SR sportbike. Fitted with a full fairing and a 450cc parallel-twin engine, it seems to follow a similar formula to other entry-level sportbikes like the Ninja 400 or Honda CBR500R. However, when we take a closer look at the technical specs of the engine, we find that it has a 270-degree crankshaft, similar to what Yamaha has in their 689cc Crossplane parallel-twin engine. This means we can expect sound and power similar to that of a 90-degree V-twin, certainly more exciting than a standard 180-degree parallel-twin, and more importantly, very much in line with the KTM’s rowdy, torquey nature.
That being said, it sure looks like the CFMOTO 450SR’s engine will be the same as KTM’s upcoming 490 series. At this point, however, nothing is official, as KTM has yet to release any statements regarding the technical specs and specific launch date for the 490 line of bikes. Nonetheless, it looks like the 490 models will be placed a one step above the 390 series. For my part, I certainly hope the 390 line sticks around, because hard-hitting single-cylinder engines have always been associated with KTM’s Duke line of bikes.