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ADV NewsTriumph Adding Line of Mid-Range Adventure Bikes Built in India?

Triumph Adding Line of Mid-Range Adventure Bikes Built in India?

Triumph confirms partnership with Bajaj to build new 200-750cc models.

Published on 01.23.2020
Today Triumph Motorcycles announced a new long-term, non-equity partnership with Bajaj Auto India, yup, the same South Asian manufacturing giant that owns much of KTM.

Why should we care? Because not only is this a huge step in Triumph’s own evolution, and sure, a play for a piece of emerging markets in developing countries like India and Indonesia, it’s also a telling snapshot of how globalization of motorcycle manufacturing is set to advance our adventure bike game right here at home.

Triumph’s press release states that Bajaj will help with distribution of product, but more interestingly, it goes on to say the iconic British brand will join with the Indian powerhouse to “build a brand new range of high-quality mid-capacity motorcycles” with “new engine and vehicle platforms in the mid-capacity range (200-750cc) and offer multiple options to address different segments in this class”  

Triumph building new mid-range adventure bikes in partnership with Bajaj

While their statement doesn’t mention specific models, there’s no question the Tiger line would be an obvious target for expansion, especially for developing countries where versatility and durability are as important as cost. 


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And yes! This is the exact range adventure riders in the rest of the world are clamoring for. It doesn’t matter if you’re a veteran or a newbie, no one says well-equipped bikes that are lighter in weight and lower in cost is a bad idea. 

No doubt there are grumblers out there ready to assume any bikes produced by Bajaj in India will be of lower quality than models manufactured elsewhere, and while there might be some truth that the bottom of the range will be bargain spec’d for the Asian markets, there’s also proof Bajaj is willing to invest in building top-spec’d adventure bikes as well. 

A perfect case in point being KTM’s 390 Adventure, one of several new models that really lit up the switchboards during the 2019 EICMA. While presented as a prototype, Brit motojournalist Alan Cathcart was able to test a pre-production unit for Cycle News and found it a winner, offering everything you’d expect from a halo model: a full raft of electronic rider aids, TFT display, WP long-travel suspension and off-road ABS, only without the daunting heft and high price. 

KTM 390 Adventure built at Bajaj factory in India
The new KTM 390 Adventure is another export coming from Bajaj.

According to KTM CEO Stefan Pierer, Bajaj had openly dismissed the notion that adventure-spec’d bikes could be of value to the world’s larger markets, but unable to ignore BMW’s India-built 310GS or the way India’s own Royal Enfield’s Himalayan has gained such remarkable traction world-wide, it agreed to let Pierer run with KTM’s 390 Adventure project. 

Which brings us back to Triumph’s big news today and the future of its Tiger lineup. 

It couldn’t be better timing. With its 800cc Tiger platform being bumped to 900cc there is plenty of room for a new, truly mid-weight line of Tigers: Sub 750cc models that would fit right in with the current crop of approachable adventure bikes headed our way. Rides like KTM and Husqvarna’s forthcoming joint-platform 490/501s, KTM’s 390 ADV, Kawasaki’s rumored Versys-X 400 and Honda’s ever-evolving CB500X. 

Whatever you think of outsourced manufacturing, there is no denying that what Bajaj has done for KTM over the last decade is nothing short of miraculous. The merger has added rocket boosters to production, not only growing Team Orange’s line, but the KTM Group’s assets (Husky, WP, GasGas) at a blistering pace. 

As we reported back in June of 2019, KTM beat both BMW and Harley-Davidson in global unit sales. And yes, a lot of those units were small displacement Bajaj-built bikes for the Asian markets, but who among us is complaining about the exciting KTM products on our own showroom floors today. For KTM, Bajaj has been a huge blessing.  

Triumph to build new mid-range adventure bikes in partnership with Bajaj

So instead of grumbling about globalization, let’s raise a glass in honor of Triumph’s bold move. As the press release states, the partnership (non-equity, so not a purchase) will focus on producing aspirational, affordable machines that will provide a new entry point to the Triumph range. So basically, more people enjoying two wheels for less money. And for all of us adventure riders here in the developed world? Same result: Less cost + more motorcycle choices = 😁

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.

Author: Jamie Elvidge
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Patriot159
Patriot159
January 23, 2020 11:37 pm

Light and middle weight weight ADV bikes are a hot items and will continue to be so for many years. I have a DR650 dual sport and love it but wanted something better on road while still capable of some serious off road riding so bought a KTM 790 Adventure R. The KTM 490 ADV should hit a real sweet spot and will need some competition so step up Triumph!

Bill McStravick
Bill McStravick
January 24, 2020 10:16 am

hopefully they start manufacturing in climate controlled facilities, that was one of the (many) problems with Royal Enfields finishes and overall quality, can’t expect some poor bugger to do a good job working +45 Celsius building.

Glenn Crowder
Glenn Crowder
January 24, 2020 12:17 pm

The real quality problem here is Indian made steel.
India’s steel industry has suffered from poor quality control, having to compete with low cost imports from China and Korea, and uses poor quality coming coal in their processing.

Kind of explains how RE has had issues with frames breaking in half and why BMW has kickstands snapping off their Indian made G310 models requiring complete frame replacements.

https://m.economictimes.com/industry/indl-goods/svs/steel/india-can-compete-with-china-if-it-makes-quality-steel-steel-minister/articleshow/66362194.cmsa

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