The partnership was first previewed at CFMoto’s annual dealer meeting in December when the covers were taken off the CFMoto V.02 NK concept powered by KTM’s 999cc 75-degree V-twin LC8 engine.
The LC8 will be produced exclusively in China from 2020, and power an all-new range of CFMoto models.
KTM president Stefan Pierer has also entered into a joint venture with CFMoto owner Lai Guogui that will see the manufacture of KTM’s range of middleweight parallel-twin 799cc LC8c models – including the new 790 Duke – transferred to China from 2020. It’s all part of Pierer’s plan to build 400,000 KTM and Husqvarna motorcycles annually by 2022.
The joint-venture company, known as CFMoto-KTMR2R, sees CFMoto hold a majority stake of 51 per cent.
The Austrian/Chinese alliance stretches back to 2014 when CFMoto began assembling Indian-made 200 and 390 Dukes at its Hangzhou plant, for sale exclusively in China under the KTM R2R brand. Under the new agreement, Hangzhou will become KTM’s third global manufacturing site, alongside Mattighofen and Pune.
CFMoto is presently constructing an all-new manufacturing plant opposite its existing facility. When running at full capacity, producing its own range of 990/1080 V-twin models as well as KTM’s new range of 799cc parallel-twin machines, the plant is expected to produce 50,000 new models annually.
“We have been very positively impressed by CFMoto’s quality of manufacture, attention to detail and engineering capability,” said Florian Burguet, managing director of KTM Sportmotorcycle.
Part of the deal will see CFMoto purchase KTM’s entire first-generation LC8 990 engine platform, which first appeared in the carbureted form in 2003 and developed over a 10-year period.
CFMoto now has exclusive use of this engine to power a range of new models. It has been working with KTM engineers to upgrade the V-twin as well as increasing capacity for a range of 990cc and 1080cc models.
Given the structure of the new agreement, it’s highly likely we will also see an adventure bike from CFMoto, powered by the KTM 790 engine.