KTM Duke 390 will share engine with sporty Bajaj

KTM's new 375cc lump to spawn a range-topping new Pulsar

EARLIER this year we told you about Indian motorcycle company Bajaj buying a bigger share in KTM. The sweet and juicy fruits of that collaboration have been the KTM Duke 125 and 200. But as Bajaj also makes its own sporty little motorcycles, the Pulsar range, overlap was inevitable…

The long-rumoured KTM Duke 350 is finally expected to make its debut at the EICMA show in Milan next month, christened the Duke 390 and brandishing a 375cc motor kicking out about 45 bhp. While it should be a cracker in a KTM, the engine is said to also be set to find its way into a range-topping new Pulsar.

The Pulsar 375 will be Bajaj's first homegrown 250cc-plus motorcycle (the current top of the tree is the Pulsar 200NS, pictured) - the right kind of 'coming of age' product to take into mature motorcycling markets. 

As European big bike sales nosedive, manufacturers are returning to the neglected 250-500cc sector with renewed enthusiasm, and the likes of Hyosung, Daelim and some Chinese brands have shown that recession-buffeted riders are accepting enough of Asian brand names at the right price and quality.

Now, Bajaj sells a staggering million bikes a quarter and exports a third of them (mainly to Asia, Africa and Latin America), but with its aggressive plans to bump this up to 50 per cent by 2015, we reckon European markets would be a logical next step a few years down the line. 

With competitive prices thanks to Indian production, KTM levels of quality and perhaps even tapping into the Austrian company's European distribution network, it's entirely conceivable that you soon won't need a telescope to look at a Pulsar...