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KTM plans mid-sized parallel twin bikes

KTM parallel twin streetfighter: Motorrad magazine
KTM parallel twin streetfighter: Motorrad magazine

German and Indian internet media have published spy photos of a new naked KTM motorcycle powered by a parallel twin engine.

It is no secret that the Austrian manufacturer is working on a parallel twin platform, breaking from its tradition of singles and V-twins.

CEO Stefan Pierer confirmed the engine development program earlier this year and there has been a lot of speculation about a mid-sized adventure bike to combat the BMW and Triumph offerings or a naked bike to challenge the Street Triple, Kawasaki Z800 and Ducati Monster 821.

From the spy photos, it appears the naked bike is the winner, although we expect KTM would use the engine across a few different platforms and the mid-sized adventure bike seems a fair bet.

As for the size of the motor, it is believed the bike in the photos is powered by a 790cc or 800cc water-cooled engine, although Stefan also mentioned a 500cc.

Apart from the camouflage paintwork which is used to disguise the shape, the bike looks production ready and could be unveiled at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan in November 2015.

It is believed the bike is destined for the Indian market and could even be built there under the co-ownership arrangement with Bajaj Auto.

However, it is also likely to find favour in other markets around the world.

A mid-sized adventure bike would definitely be welcomed in Australia and the US as a desert-conquering machine with a perfect balance between power and weight.

Aussie adventure riders have been crying out for a replacement for the single-cylinder 640 Adventure for years. However, KTM executives told me that we are a small market and there is not much call for such a bike.

However, a mid-sized parallel twin adventure bike might have more global appeal.