The fabled Austrian motorcycle manufacturer, KTM, has brought the cult of naked bikes in India. The company has been indulged in motorcycle making since decades and has collected several appraisals for the endurance of its bikes in world’s toughest rallies and championships. KTM has been involved in business ventures with India’s leading two-wheeler brand, Bajaj Auto, since 2007 and Bajaj Auto has also been manufacturing the Duke 125 at its Chakan plant for the International markets. However, KTM made its public presence in early 2012 in India with the launch of its orange monster, Duke 200.
Last year, KTM sold around 8000 Dukes in India and while considering the young enthusiasm and market opportunities, KTM announced to expand its product lineup in the coming years in India. Arguably, KTM has a year strategy to introduce a new model every year in our country. The company introduced itself with the debut of the Duke 200 in 2012 and the current year’s aim is achieved with the launch of the Duke 390, than what should be expected for 2015? We all know KTM plans to launch faired bikes in India next year, based on the Duke 200 and Duke 390.
The potential for middleweight motorcycles is emerging in our country and to slice a major share out of the market, it is more likely KTM will introduce the Duke 690 by 2016 in India. KTM has been selling the Duke 690 in Europe and Indonesia and the response the company is getting from the respective markets is admirable. The KTM’s 690cc LC4 engine is the largest capacity single-cylinder engine on any production motorcycle in the world. The 690cc powerplant features dual ignition with drive by wire technology that performs astonishingly well and the advance balancer shaft sheds the fallbacks of a single-cylinder engine.
The KTM Duke 690 produces 67 BHP of power at 7500 RPM while the peak torque figures stand at 70.5 Nm at just 5500 RPM. The known and the most advantageous fact about KTM Duke bikes is their extremely light body-weight character. The kerb weight of the Duke 690 is only 149.5 kgs resulted by the advance construction of the chassis and swing arm. The tubular space frame is made from chrome molybdenum steel that weighs only 9 kgs and helps to maintain the best power-to-weight ratio in its segment. The KTM Duke 690 will only rival the Hyosung GT650N and Ducati Monster 795 on Indian roads. There is also an R version (picture right below) of the Duke 690 which is tauter and lighter producing slightly more power.
However, due to the existing local assembly plant, the Duke 690 might reach our shores via the CKD route, thereby we could expect the price to be competitive enough against rivals. Considering the aforementioned year strategy for launch of new products, we can expect the launch of Duke 690 before the end of 2015 with a price tag of around Rs. 4 lakhs in Indian market. Additionally, last month we have exclusively reported that KTM will also introduce the Super Duke 1290 R in India. The Super Duke 1290 R will reach to our shores via the CBU route initially, hopefully in limited numbers after its launch in Europe which is due for 2013-end. By the way, Top Gear’s Richard Hammond owns a KTM Duke 690.