It was in 2012 that KTM came to India with the help of Bajaj and launched the Duke 200 for 1.18 lakh rupee ex showroom (Delhi). During that time they also told us that next year I. E. 2013 they are going to launch a motorcycle in the 350 cc segment and that including this motorcycle they are going to launch three motorcycles in the next three years. 2013 is when we were blessed with the Duke 390 and this monster of a motorcycle became a huge hit in the Indian market. KTM was the only company in India that was selling a bike in the sub 400cc segment at that time. It was mostly popular between youngsters that really wanted to experience a motorcycle, but they did not have a lot of money or the experience on two wheels. The 390 is famous for being an amazing pocket rocket for the city because of its light weight and a great power output.
During the period of 2013 and 2016 KTM had managed to bag a lot of customers with their motorcycles and this also resulted in a massive KTM cult being formed. Whenever anybody had a budget of under three lakhs, they would close their eyes and say that they would want a KTM. It was not until 2016 ending, 2017 that the rivals for the 390 came into the market. It’s straight competitors were the Dominar 400, Apache RR 310 and the BMW G 310 R. But because of the huge cult that was formed throughout the years and the N number of people trusting and relying on KTM motorcycles, majority of new riders went with the 390. In my opinion, KTM is the best bang for buck motorcycle in the under three lakh category.
We knew that KTM also made bikes of bigger displacements, but were unsure if any of it were ever going to come to India. It was on the tip of a lot of people’s tongues that KTM was going to launch the 790 Duke in India. Everyone was really excited with this as the 390 Duke was priced so well, they were expecting the 790 Duke to be in the 7.5 lakh range, which would make it a Banger of a motorcycle and completely through its competition in that segment out of the race. But this was not the case. In September 2019, we were all left a little confused and disappointed because the Duke 790 was launched for an absolutely crazy amount of 8.63 lakhs ex showroom price. I mean, the bike is really good. Its light it’s got traction control and it’s got cornering ABS, but the price tag was just simply unexpected. On road, the bike could cost you a little over 10 lakhs if you are in Maharashtra and in that kind of money you can get the Z 900 from Kawasaki which has more power and the company that has been in the naked superbike making race for a long time, and the Street triple S from triumph, which is quintessentially British and a joy to ride. It was the 790 which made the public looking for a bigger bike, shy away from KTM and go to the companies which have been in the business for longer. Thus, KTM did not sell a lot of 790 Dukes and did not live up to its bang for buck expectation.
But according to reports, KTM is producing five new motorcycles for the year 2021. They are going to feature a brand-new, twin– Cylinder 490 cc engine. These engines are going to come on the respective motorcycles: duke 490, RC 490, 490 adventure, 490 super Moto and 490 Enduro. The engine is supposed to produce anywhere between 55 to 60 BHP and it is rumoured by a lot of sources that the Duke 490 will be priced around 3.5 lakhs ex showroom. Now if the price is true, then KTM will become the only motorcycle company in India that will be selling a 500 cc bike and with that price tag, it will reign over the market as the company that makes bang for buck motorcycles.