KTM 690 Duke to be launched in India by 2015
The launch of the 200 Duke and then the 390 Duke in India has proven to be a winning move by the Bajaj-KTM alliance, and they are not finished yet. At a recent press conference held in New Delhi, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer said that the Austrian manufacturer is considering the naked 690 Duke for India by 2015.
At the event, Pierer also reiterated KTM's plans to bring the Husqvarna brand to India, with production starting at Bajaj Auto Limited's Chakan plant within the next two years.
Currently KTM manufactures the 125 (not sold here), 200 and 390 Duke in India and also exports them. It has already announced plans to launch the RC series in India next year.
The 690 Duke boasts a single-cylinder 690cc liquid cooled engine. This particular engine makes nearly 70PS (68 to be exact). A 6-speed transmission, a standard with all the KTMs, helps transmit this power to the rear wheel. This combined with 149.5kg dry weight makes this another one of those pocket rockets that KTM is well known for. 320mm/240mm front/rear discs handle braking with standard Bosch ABS keeping things safe when you are trying to have some fun.
Suspension at the front is WP up side down while at the rear is WP with Pro-Lever linkage. The 690, while staying true to the Duke lineage, stands out among other Dukes thanks to the use of a proper side slung exhaust rather than the underbelly ones that its smaller siblings have. It also has a higher fuel tank capacity of 14 litres.
The time this current generation bike came out, the 690 has been on the India radar. But CBU pricing was working out too high and added to low potential volumes and the hassle of homologation meant that the 690 wasn't a natural India fit even though it's size-displacement-power configuration holds great potential for India.
It appears that Bajaj and KTM may have reached a new level in their work together where Chakan will in the near future handle KTM platforms and motorcycles outside those jointly developed by both the companies. Local assembly isn't the only way to achieve price competitiveness but it certainly is simpler than local production for low volume products like the 690 Duke.
On the sidelines, Bajaj will also be launching the Kawasaki Z1000 in India next month. There are also talks of bringing in the Z250 - a naked version of the Ninja 250 that is. Bajaj's stall at the upcoming Auto Expo 2014 will then definitely be a treat for the enthusiast.
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