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KTM’s Pierer Confirms 800cc Parallel Twin, and Other Interesting Facts to MCN


In a brief, but interesting interview published on the MCN website, Stefan Pierer (boss of both KTM and Husqvarna) has some interesting things to say. The 800cc parallel twin that has been in development will debut soon as a KTM Duke variant with an adventure version on its heels. We are excited about these bikes, because KTM is known for both engine performance and light weight. How does a 100+ horsepower, torquey 800cc twin in a sub-400 pound (wet) package sound to you? It could happen … at least, in the Duke 800 version.

He also discusses the growth of both brands, and other new models on the horizon, including a new superbike. Worth your effort to have a read.

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  1. Mark Mares says:

    As a proud owner of a 950 SMR, I will admit that on first blush KTMs appear overpriced. I now believe that you get what you pay for. There is no suzuki or ??? that is a peer. Dont ask for or expect them to compete on price They engineer, spec and build a higher content and higher quality product. That costs more. If that doesnt work for needs / expectations, buy something that does. After 30 years on the street and more than 30 bikes, my KTM is the best yet. They have a hole in their line up that an 800 will fit perfectly. Also agree on having at least one variant that is low on tech and simple. The best part of my SMR is the simplicity….OHH and the carburetors..and the wheelies. Definitely like the wheelies. Bring it KTM!

  2. JPJ says:

    I like the KTM street models. But most of the models are not priced competitively with the market. Think a 690 Duke is $1000 MSRP+ over a FZ700 or SV650? KTM 800cc Duke will be 85-90 HP, priced around $11,500-$12,900. MSRP higher than a BMW 800R close to a Triumph Speed Triple.

  3. John says:

    What is more interesting to me is that supposedly there is a 500-600cc P2 engine coming. Possibly a year later. I generally don’t like KTM ergos and seat heights, but the Duke 390 makes me think they could actually produce a small ADV variant that doesn’t cause nosebleeds, is not horribly uncomfortable or expensive. Oh, well…..who am I kidding…..

  4. Lenz says:

    An 800cc parallel twin or triple with a dry sump / remote oil reservoir to keep the engine centre of gravity and upper structures as low as possible makes so much sense to me. The in-line triple configuration at approx. 800cc with a remote dry sump has an additionally low profile and smaller piston diameters with all the benefits of handling improvements plus higher cylinder filling / fuel efficiency.

    Add in a light-weight, high spec trellis frame with wheel travel 250mm – 300mm in a 6 speed transmission and we have a bike potentially capable of dealing with the realities of adventure riding and poorly maintained regional road / pathways.

    Don’t need traction control / multiple performance maps / electronically adjustable suspension / clutchless auto transmission. Please stop adding cost increasing, non-essential technology. Minimise weight, maximise simplicity / power / versatility and service life

  5. Provologna says:

    A friend of mine is retired AMA pro bike builder (his Supermotard finished second for the year behind Ben Bostrum). His friend still builds pro bikes, and said BMW’s 800 twin had among the all time highest tuning potential of any 2-wheel motor.

    I suspect the forthcoming described bikes shall be game changers in their categories. This is a real Austria/Germany war we got here between these two brands.

  6. Ross says:

    If they could learn to make it look like a bike instead of an abandoned pile of lego it might be good.

  7. JT says:

    Can you say inherited the motor when they bought Husky….Nuda…

    • Fred says:

      Sorry to spoilt your point, but the motor was a bored out BMW 800cc for the Nuda on licence to 900cc, and ownership stayed with BMW.

  8. ApriliaRST says:

    I’ll be waiting with interest to see what the two bikes look like, especially the ADV even if I might be forced into the street version to carry a passenger. Hopefully, KTM will consider that for both versions.

  9. Tom R says:

    So KTM has just discovered the parallel twin engine configuration.

    Oh my, how earth-shattering.

  10. VForce says:

    Did the guy on his right just roll out of bed? Nice tie…Guess he hasn’t heard of an ironing board.

  11. Stuki Moi says:

    Are they jumping back into the superbike fray now? What happened to last years’ “such bikes having no place on public roads???” A saturated big-ADV market? Some sort of realization that power levels only useful above 100mph aren’t too compatible with no wind protecting fairing? Or, to be a bit more positive, unexpectedly good feedback from the MGP program?

    If they want to go there, they really need a multi. V4 presumably, to jive with the MGP effort, as well as to justify an exclusivity premium over the cut throat I4 competition. Twins are stretched way above their optimal tune at even Superduke/Superadventure power levels, with the latest Panigale basically having traded in all and any charm a twin might once have had, in a Hail Mary effort to hang with the 4s on the top end.

    Not sure if a steel trellis will suffice in a competitive (and fat chance KTM will settle for anything less) superbike these days, either. Tires have gotten so grippy, lean angles so acute, and braking/acceleration/cornering forces so high, frames really need to be STIFF where they are supposed to be stiff, and with very precisely managed flex in other areas. Without getting too heavy.

    Up to a point, trellis frames are quick and simple to build design. And with laser mitering and robot welding, to a high degree of precision. But beyond that, the complexity of differing tube gauges, diameters, welds, gussets etc., makes it more straight forward to just suck it up and build more complex sections as wholes, allowing for finer grained control over force vectors than individual tubes would allow for.

    • Dave says:

      Why would news of an 800cc P2 engine prompt thoughts of a superbike? KTM is more likely taking a page out of Triumph’s playbook and ignoring mainstream racing and building things street riders want to ride.

      As for the steel trellis, Education dominated with it. KTM is dominating off road with steel frames now. Steel and trellis construction provides many advantages, not the least of which are tunability and compact physical dimensions. It has taken decades to get aluminum spar frames working well for racing and even HTC gets it wrong when the perform updates.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        He said in the interview that KTM is producing a new replacement for the RC8.

        • guu says:

          Yes, but that most likely has nothing to do with a 800 cc in-line two engine.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            A superbike doesn’t have anything to do with the P2 of course, but Dave posed the question as to why this would “prompt thoughts of a superbike.” Pierer mentioned it in the interview around which this article is based. So, that’s why is all.

      • Stuki Moi says:

        Trellis’ are great, but up to a point. As you hinted at, their main advantage is ease of tuneability. They are much simpler, quicker and cheaper to build as one off. To test, then modify it a little in an iterative fashion. But as you need more and more precise control of flex vs. stiffness, you end up needing more and more tubes, of more and more varying gauges and tapers. At the limit case, you have an infinite number of tubes. At which point you have backed your way into building a Monocoque…, with highly designed and worked spars as a bit of a midway point.

        You see that in car racing. Steel trellis’ allows for some amazing race cars and carts to be built cost effectively (as race cars go). But at the highest levels and budgets, it’s all Monocoques. Reducing every path of load and force carrying to a very finite set of round tubes, isn’t really optimal, in any theoretical sense. And while theory and practice will never be exactly the same, large enough budgets allow you to force them pretty close together.

        Bicycling is another area, and one where while the forces are much lower, all there really is to the vehicle, is the frame. I’m personally a big fan of tig’ed or lugged steel or titanium in largely round tubes. But again, the guys making a living off of shaving a second here and there, are flocking to more sophisticated approaches with higher up front costs.

        • peter h says:

          With computer modeling, and past experience, it’s probably pretty straightforward.

        • Dave says:

          Monocoque in racing has less to do with load path and tuning than it does with strength-to-weight & shape (aerodynamics).

      • Reggie W. says:

        Why they be jivin’ with MGP?

  12. Dave says:

    Didn’t we see roughly (+100cc, by Rotax) this engine in the Husqvarna Nuda some time ago? Good to see the concept’s return.