Motorcycle enthusiasts in the United States will be pleased to note that the KTM Duke 390 is indeed heading their way. Come 2014, KTM plans to launch the made-in-India KTM Duke 390 in the US market, as the entry level street bike in the Austrian motorcycle maker’s American range. The KTM Duke 390 will sit below the Duke 690, which goes on sale in the USA later this year. The export of the Duke 390 to USA will be Bajaj Auto’s maiden foray into the US market. Thus far, the only Indian motorcycle maker to have a significant presence in the United States has been Royal Enfield.
Royal Enfield’s 500cc range of single cylinder retro motorcycles have received a warm response by US motorcycle buyers. That said, Royal Enfield sells its 500cc retro singles in limited numbers given that most US motorcycle buyers tend to prefer much faster rides. With Bajaj Auto making inroads into the US market through brand KTM, it wouldn’t be too far fetched to imagine the Indian motorcycle giant eventually selling a flagship motorcycle from its Pulsar range in Uncle Sam country. KTM has a major presence in the US of A, where the Austrian motorcycle brand sells a range of off road motocross motorcycles apart from a select range of road bikes.
Incidentally, Bajaj Auto holds a 47% stake in KTM. While KTM supplies motorcycle technology to Bajaj, the latter’s expertise in low cost sourcing and manufacturing has meant that KTM has been able to build motorcycles like the Duke 125/200 and 390 very profitably. KTM plans to expand production in India, from the current 17,000 motorcycle to a whopping 100,000 motorcycle over the next five years. This big capacity expansion will take place at Bajaj Auto’s Chakan factory and with the production bump up, every second KTM sold globally will be built in India.
The Duke 390 is expected to be launched in India in the next few months. Apart from India, many European countries will also see the Duke 390 going on sale later this year. In India, the Duke 390 is expected to be priced close to the INR 2 lakh mark. The Duke 390 is powered by a 373cc single cylinder four stroke engine that features liquid cooling, a DOHC 4 valve layout and finger type cam followers. The motor is mated to a 6 speed manual gearbox and comes with an underbody exhaust for optimum weight distribution. The Duke 390 is expected to hit a top speed in excess of 160 Kph with the sub 5 second 0-100 Kph sprint to boot. With such performance levels, the KTM Duke 390 at about 2 lakh rupees will simply represent the best bang for the buck in India, a motorcycle market which until recently had been starved of affordable high performance motorcycles.