KTM Sportmotorcycle AG is an Austrian motorcycle, bicycle and moped manufacturer. KTM is most commonly known for its off road motorcycles though in recent years it has expanded into street motorcycle production.
The company was founded in 1934 by engineer Hans Trunkenpolz in Mattighofen. It started out as a metal working shop and was named Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. In 1937, it started repairing and selling DKW motorcycles, and Opel the following year.
In 1954 KTM began producing motorcycles, almost all of the components being produced in house, with the notable exception of engines, made most often by company Rotax.
In 1955, a businessman Ernst Kronreif became shareholder of the company, on acquiring a sizable portion of the company. It was then renamed Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen.
KTM's first moped, called Mecky was launched in 1957, followed by Ponny I in 1960 and Ponny II in 1962, and the decade saw the beginning of the bicycle production.
Kronreif died in 1960 and Trunkenpolz two years later, of a heart attack. Company name was changed back to Kraftrader Trunkenpolz Mattighofen with his son Erich taking managing the company. In 1978, US subsidiary KTM North America Inc. was founded in Lorain, Ohio. In 1980, it was renamed KTM Motor-Fahrzeugbau KG.
Since 1990, KTM motorcycles and automobiles (X-Bow) have been designed by KiskaDesign, a Salzburg-based design firm. It is responsible for the overall branding for KTM; including the design of the vehicles, shops, exhibits and printed material.
KTM first participated in motorsports events in 1953 in the 5th Gaisberg competition in which it won the first three places. One year later, KTM won the Austrian 125 national championship. Two years later, in 1956, KTM participated in the International Six Days race for the first time and Egon Dornauer won the gold. 1966 year marks the winning of the Austrian national championship by Manfred Klerr using the new 250cc Motorcross bike. In 1973, the Austrian team records the first World Championship points and the first Grand Prix wins.
Tue, 18 Nov 2008
Volkswagen has been teasing Birkenstock wearing Grateful Dead fans for years with futuristic yet retro-inspired concepts of their famed Micro-bus. Discussion and speculation have been passed around bongs like bags of Doritos for years about whether or not the cherished hippie mover will ever be resurrected. Will they build it?
Thu, 06 Nov 2008
After attending a large consumer show of any kind, be it car, RV, boat or motorcycle, it often feels like the entire event was a blur. For that reason, I thought I would highlight some of the more noteworthy models shown at the EICMA show in Milan, starting with KTM. KTM is getting ready to race next year with the RC8 R, a superbike, which they unveiled in Milan this week.
Mon, 03 Nov 2008
I have had a little walk around checking out the preparations for the show. I havenít seen anything that I havenít already seen or heard about previously, but hereís a selection from three of the halls. Yamaha are the only manufacturer to use an industrial crane to place some of its bikes up on high rise stands.
Sat, 01 Nov 2008
KTM introduced its prototype electric motorcycle earlier this week, and electric bike manufacturer Zero Motorcycles almost immediately responded by opening sales on its 2009 Zero X dirt bike (look for our review of the 2008 model next week!). But these two companies arenít the only ones exploring the possibilities of electric-powered motorcycles. In September, Japanís largest industrial information journal Nikkei Business Daily reported that both Honda and Yamaha have set target dates for launching their own electric-powered motorcycles.
Mon, 20 Oct 2008
As the off-road market continues its tailspin, Austriaís KTM is hedging its bets with a continued surge in its street motorcycle category. Its on-road push began with the liter-size V-Twins in the Adventure, Super Duke, and Supermoto bikes, followed most recently by the RC8 superbike. Now we hear word that the Austrian manufacturer will soon enter the supersport class.