No one ever thought that a company started as a metalworking shop will revolutionize the motorcycling world. KTM (Kraftfahrzeug, meaning Automobile, Trunkenpolz Mattighofen), was a repair workshop started by Hans Trunkenpolz in Mattighofen, Austria. The end of the WWII marked their presence as production of their first motorcycle R100 ( 98cc 2 stroke motorcycle) in 1953. By 1954 the 100th KTM R100 was ready and they won the 125 cc National Motocross Championship.  

Kronreif and Trunkenpolz Era

The company strengthened itself when an Austrian businessman and a racing enthusiast Ernst Kronreif became a major shareholder in 1955 and the company was renamed as Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen (KTM), after the name of the owners and the place of its origin. In 1960 Kronreif died followed by Trunkenpolz in 1962.  

The Erich Phase

These incidents put the future of the company into Erich’s ( Trunkenpolz’s Son ) hand. He took the company’s turnover to €3.5 millions. The name of the company was changed to Kraftrader Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. In 1978, US subsidiary, KTM North America Inc. was founded in Ohio. The name of the company was again changed to KTM Motor-Fahrzeugbau KG. In 1986 KTM became the first motorcycle company to offer both front and rear disc brake on an off-road motorcycle. Erich died in 1989 and the downfall began. The company filed for bankruptcy due to financial crisis in 1991.

Stefan takes Over

But destiny had something else in store. Austrian businessman, Stefan Pierer of CROSS group, took over KTM and divided it into 4 separate companies for motorcycles, bicycles, radiators and machines tools to reduce investment in different sources. KTM restarted its operations worldwide by launching the Duke series of naked street fighters, acquiring Swedish enduro bike maker Husaberg AB and the Dutch chassis maker White power suspensions.

KTM sportsmotorcycle AG 

By 2000, KTM dominated off-road racing ny winning six of the eight world titles. In 2001 Fabrizio Meoni gave KTM their first Dakar Rally Victory on the LC4 660R bike. 

Casey Stoner
They entered MotoGP and by 2004 KTM collected overall 104 championships titles overall. The Motogp legend Casey Stoner was the first to give KTM their first GP 125 victory. This marked the beginning of the KTM series.

KTM in India

KTM signed a partnership with Bajaj Auto in 2007. Bajaj Auto Launched the KTM in India in 2012 and the rest what happened after was remarkable. Bajaj holds 48% stake in KTM Sportsmotorcycle AG. KTM  200 Duke has sold more than 12000 units and was the “Indian Motorcycle Of The Year 2012”. This bike surprised the Indian motorcycle enthusiasts with its competitive price and performance

 KTM Today

In 2008 KTM launched its first superbike , the 1190 RC8 and the X-Bow. KTM started 125cc bikes for the Red Bull rookies cup which was the beginning of a successful talent development programme for MotoGP. They could boast of 9 riders', 7 constructors' and Marc Marquez as a result of this. 

In 2010, KTM launched its Duke 125 naked street bike. This bike became the first of the three small capacity Dukes to be developed jointly with Bajaj at the Chakan Plant near Pune. KTM set all off-road records by winning the world championship. The Duke 390 is already rocking the world.

Today KTM  is the largest two wheeler company with young and vibrant minds working in it. The biggest aim of the company is to surpass the US giant Harley – Davidson. The alliance with Bajaj has given them a strong foundation to establish themselves in Asia and they are doing handsomely well here. The duke 200 has already shown its limits in the Indian Raid De Himalaya rally by winning the top three spots on the podium. The orange day initiatives has already gathering many KTM owners to participate in short races, stunts and other activities. Bajaj too has started using KTM engines in their upcoming bikes. The revolution in biking has begun and has begun strongly.

A quick trivia about achievements in KTM. 

  • Total no of dealers – 1225.
  • Subsidiaries – 25.
  • Daily Manufacturing capacity – Motorcycles:400, Engines : 500.
  • Manufacturing Facilities : Austria, India (Duke 125, 200, 390) And Malaysia.
  • Number of bikes sold in 2012 – 107,142.
  • Biggest Market – USA.
  • 2013 KTM Motorcycle range: 44 Motorcycles with engines ranging from 50 cc to 1200 cc, 2 & 4 Stroke.
  • Largest European motorcycle brand present in 76 countries.
  • Net Worth : EUR 254.5 Millions as of 31st December 2012.
  • 20 World Championship titles in 2012.
  • Total championship titles across all categories of racing – 226. 
Credits : BikeIndia Magazine, Wikipedia, Google Images.

 Long Live KTM, and The Orange Revolution. Long live the biking and the Bikers.

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Look how Rok Bagoros, the Famous stunt rider, rolls on KTM Duke 200.

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