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Pierer Confirms 500cc Adventure Bikes for KTM & Husqvarna Coming

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For those of us still waiting for the ideal middleweight adventure bike, KTM Group CEO Stefan Pierer has confirmed a 490 parallel-twin based Adventure model, as well as an alter-ego Husqvarna Norden 501, are definitely on their way. 

In an interview with France’s Le Repaire Des Motards, Pierer told journalist Alan Cathcart the Pierer Group, which owns KTM, Husqvarna and recently acquired trails bike marque GasGas, is fully committed to fleshing out the long-neglected middleweight adventure bike market, saying that despite the ongoing global pandemic, his company is actually accelerating production of the 500cc category projects. 

Pierer, whose brands have enjoyed an unexpected upswing in sales during the Covid-19 pandemic, also cites the crisis as a reason the light- and middleweight all-terrain market is more important than ever, predicting that economic uncertainties will keep consumers from splurging on larger displacement models “for a long time,” though later in the interview he suggests there was already a lull in sales of flagship models like the 1290 Super Adventure R and S. 


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Big surprise since everyone here already knows “heavier” and “more expensive” aren’t qualities on any adventure rider’s wish list. 

As we reported late last year after a Pierer shareholder prospectus documenting a slew of forthcoming light- and middleweight models was made public, the new 500cc mill (based on 790 twin technology) is slated for multiple applications across the Duke and Adventure platforms. However, since the images in that document were intentionally blurred, there was no real clue given as to the bikes’ spec level. 

ktm-490-adventure-coming-1024x624.jpgManagement presentation by Pierer Mobility reveals plans for a 490 adventure. A KTM 890 adventure model is also shown, suspected to replace the current 790 model.

This more recent scoop doesn’t go much further to address the more important question of the KTM 490 Adventure’s or Husqvarna Norden 501’s prowess. Hopefully they will be more off-road leaning than the recently launched 390 adventure. Can you say: “Pretty please, with 21/18-inch spoked wheels and long-travel suspension?”

Pierer did say he expects the 490 and 501 to land as 2022 models, so we have at least a year to wait before seeing the real thing. In the meantime, KTM’s new 390 Adventure an answer to many a newbie’s prayer — is also scoring big points with adventure riders.

All of Pierer Group’s sub-600cc models are manufactured in partnership with Bajaj Auto Ltd. in Pune, India, a savvy partnership that has catapulted the European-based brands into broader global markets, while positively affecting consumer costs, even here in the States. 

Husqvarna Norden 501 Adventure BikeA rendering included in an official investor document about planned smaller displacement Husqvarna models. Is this what the 501 Norden will look like?

Also confirmed as a 2022 model is the RTW-ready Husky Norden 901, which Pierer says will be very true to the adventure-based concept bike unveiled at the EICMA show last year. That “new” 890 twin, actually a pumped-up version of the 790 adventure mill, will likely be applied across the platform, perhaps as early as model year 2021.    

As for GasGas, which has also seen an uptick in sales under Pierer’s magic touch, it will be held true to its off-road roots. Pierer says he’s applying the same successful strategy he used for Husqvarna, creating brand new GasGas models that use existing KTM engine platforms, though in this case of GasGas, models will be limited to enduro and motocross applications.  

With so many markers across the board the KTM empire will undoubtedly continue its winning streak, though in the end it’s the consumer, finally awash in a full array of choices, who’s sure to reap the ultimate benefit. 

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Author: Jamie Elvidge

Jamie has been a motorcycle journalist for more than 30 years, testing the entire range of bikes for the major print magazines and specializing in adventure-travel related stories. To date she’s written and supplied photography for articles describing what it’s like to ride in all 50 states and 43 foreign countries, receiving two Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writer’s Awards along the way. Her most-challenging adventure yet has been riding in the 2018 GS Trophy in Mongolia as Team AusAmerica’s embedded journalist.

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