It's no secret that one of KTM's keys to success has been outsourcing the production of certain models to its partners in Asia. Indeed, KTM and Indian manufacturer Bajaj have had a long-standing relationship wherein the Indian company developed and manufactured platforms for KTM. In a similar manner, KTM and Chinese brand CFMoto have been collaborating on more models, more particularly, the 790 model range.
That said, some of you may be wondering what ever happened to the supposed 490 lineup from KTM. The small-displacement parallel-twin-powered models were highly anticipated, particularly in the Asian market. It was also hoped that these bikes were to be developed and manufactured by Bajaj in India. Unfortunately, Pierer Mobility determined that the 490 segment would not result in the desired returns for the company, and so the project was shelved. What the company saw work for them, however, was the Chinese-made 790 platform from CFMoto, and now, it appears that KTM will be working on a 690 platform based on the same.
The news comes to us from Indian motoring publication Auto Car, and it's anticipated that the upcoming 690 models will be based on the existing 790 models. Furthermore, Bajaj is set to take the helm in the development of the model range. The revival of the 690 line could very well provide a happy medium for those looking to upgrade from models like the KTM 390 Duke, but don't feel quite ready just yet to hit the road on a 790 Duke. It's worth noting, however, that the new 690 bikes will likely have much smoother power deliveries than the previous models, as the punchy single-cylinder engine has will be replaced by a more refined twin.
At present, the specifics of the new bikes are yet uncertain. While we do know that the engine will be based on the 790, we don't know to what extent the engines will be tweaked, or if it'll be a new engine entirely. On top of that, the specific models to be produced have yet to be confirmed. Chances are the 690 range will mirror the 790 lineup with a Duke street bike and an Adventure model. However, it would surely be cool if KTM were to develop an RC 690 sportbike, or perhaps even a touring model like a scaled-down Super Duke GT.
Sources: Auto Car India, Rush Lane