With an eye on the future, Austrian motorcycle maker KTM is developing a twin cylinder engine with its Indian partner and stakeholder, Bajaj Auto. This twin cylinder motor is expected to be used in future KTM and Bajaj products. Other details regarding the cubic capacity and the exact products that the new twin cylinder engine developed by KTM-Bajaj are things that remain unknown at this point in time. Even so, this is a very exciting development as it has the potential of resulting in the first twin cylinder motorcycle from an Indian motorcycle maker, in this case, Bajaj Auto, after more than 2 decades.
The last twin cylinder motorcycles that were built in India were the likes of the Yamaha RD350 and the Yezdi 350. While many twin cylinder motorcycles like the Kawasaki Ninja 250R, the Ninja 650R, the Hyosung GT250R and GT650R are assembled in India, the kits for these motorcycles are imported from South East Asian countries like South Korea and Thailand. On the other hand, the engine that Bajaj and KTM are jointly developing could feature high localization levels, and that could make the engine very affordable for use in a wide range of Bajaj and KTM motorcycles.
Apart from the twin cylinder engine, Bajaj and KTM are also jointly developing two new motorcycle platforms. As is the case with the new engine, details about the two new platforms that are being developed by Bajaj and KTM remains unknown at this point in time. Bajaj Auto holds a stake close to 50% in KTM and also manufactures motorcycles for KTM at the Chakan plant. KTM exports these motorcycles to countries across the world, leveraging the advantage of low labour costs, low cost of manufacture and low spare part costs of India.
In turn, KTM supplies Bajaj Auto with its latest cutting edge technology, that have now begun appearing on Bajaj motorcycles. For instance, the latest flagship motorcycle in Bajaj Auto’s range, the Pulsar 200 NS shares many of its engine parts with the KTM Duke 200. In 2013, both Bajaj and KTM are expected to launch a 375cc motorcycle under their respective brand names. While the KTM motorcycle is expected to be branded the Duke 375, Bajaj might call their version the Pulsar 375. Like the Duke 200 and the Pulsar 200 NS, the 375cc motorcycle from KTM and Bajaj are expected to share many engine parts.