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KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG
Industry Motorcycle
Founded 1934
Founder Hans Trunkenpolz
Headquarters Mattighofen, Austria
Key people
Stefan Pierer (CEO)
Dr. Rudolf Knünz (Chairman)
Parent KTM AG
Subsidiaries Husaberg Husqvarna
Slogan Ready to Race
Website .comktm

KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG is an Austrian motorcycle manufacturer, which was formed in 1992 but traces its foundation as early as in 1934. In 1992 the company was spun off from its parent company KTM when it ran into financial troubles. KTM was split into four companies, all of which shared the same KTM branding, and in present have many more subsidiaries with the same branding. However, KTM-Sportmotorcycle is most commonly associated with the iconic KTM branding, because it still continues the flagship business of its parent company.

KTM is known for its off road motorcycles though in recent years it has expanded into street motorcycle production and also developing a sports car.


  • History 1
    • Foundation 1.1
    • KTM Era 1.2
    • KTM-Sportmotorcycle 1.3
  • Ownership 2
  • Subsidiaries 3
  • Joint ventures 4
  • Design 5
  • Racing sponsorship 6
  • Off-road motorcycles 7
  • Street bikes 8
  • Two-stroke development 9
  • X-Bow 10
  • KTM models 11
  • References 12
  • External links 13


KTM in 2012


KTM Duke 620 – KTM's first stock supermoto bike[1][2]
KTM 990 SuperDukes lined up at Circuit Carole, France
KTM 690 Duke

In 1934 an Austrian engineer Johann (Hans) Trunkenpolz[3] set up a metalworking and locksmith shop in Mattighofen. In 1937 he started selling DKW motorcycles and Opel cars the following year. His shop was known as Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen but the name was unregistered. During the Second World War his wife took care of the business which grew mainly of diesel engine repairs.[4]

After the war, demand for repair works fell sharply and Trunkenpolz started thinking about producing his own motorcycles. The prototype of first motorcycle R100 was produced in 1951.[5] All of the components of the motorcycle were produced in house, except for the Rotax engines which were made by Fichtel & Sachs.


In 1953, businessman Ernst Kronreif became a sizable shareholder of the company which was then renamed and registered as Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. KTM started serial production of R100 in 1954. With just 20 employees, motorcycles were built at the rate of three per day.

The company’s first title was secured shortly thereafter with the 1954 Austrian 125 national championship. KTM first made an appearance at the International Six Days Trials (Enduro) in 1956 where Egon Dornauer secured a gold medal. Racing continued to be a testing ground for production technology, but next in line was its first scooter, the Mirabell. It started providing a factory team for the ISDE in ’64. As the company continued to expand, the workforce totaled 400 in 1971, and forty years after it was founded, KTM was offering 42 different models

In 1955 Tourist 125cc model was developed. In 1957 KTM built the first sports motorcycle Trophy 125cc. KTM's first moped, called Mecky was launched in 1957, followed by Ponny I in 1960 and Ponny II in 1962. The 1960s saw the beginning of the bicycle production. Beside, KTM was also able to produce motorcycles for the racing industry.

Ernst Kronreif died in 1980. Two years later in 1982 Hans Trunkenpolz also died of a heart attack and his son Erich Trunkenpolz took charge of the company's management. Its name was changed back to Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen.[6] At that time, KTM had about 180 employee and a turnover of €3.5m.

In 1988, US subsidiary KTM North America Inc. was founded in Lorain, Ohio. International business then amounted to 72% of the company turnover. In 1990, it was renamed KTM Motorfahrzeugbau AG.

Scooter and moped turnover sank rapidly, and production had to be halted in 1982. Erich Trunkenpolz died in 1989 and in 1991 KTM applied for insolvency. Its management was taken up by banks who split the company into four new entities in 1992:

  • KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH, motorcycles division
  • KTM Fahrrad GmbH, bicycles division
  • KTM Kühler GmbH, radiators division
  • KTM Werkzeugbau GmbH, tooling division


KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH started operation in 1992 and later took over the sibling tooling division KTM Werkzeugbau. In 2004 KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH was renamed KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG. In the same year it started production of Duke series of road motorcycles.

In 1995 KTM acquired Swedish motorcycle maker Husaberg AB.[7]

In 1997 LC4 Supermoto and LC4 Adventure motorcycles are introduced by KTM.


KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG is fully owned by KTM AG (formerly known as KTM Power Sports AG). In November 2007, Bajaj Auto Limited of India acquired 14.5% stake in KTM Power Sports AG and increased their shareholding to 47% by 2012.[8]

At present KTM AG is 51% owned by CROSS KraftFahrZeug Holding GmbH, a subsidiary of CROSS Industries AG[9] and 47% owned by Bajaj Auto. CROSS Industries is founded by KTM's current CEO Stefan Pierer.[10]


In present KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG has the following subsidiaries:

  • KTM-Racing AG
  • KTM Events & Travel Service AG
  • KTM Dealer & Financial Services GmbH
  • Husaberg AB
  • Husqvarna

Joint ventures

KTM started exporting their GS model to USA in 1968 through an American importer, John Penton under the Penton brand. This JV lasted until KTM established KTM America Inc. in Ohio in 1978.[11]

In 2005, KTM-Sportmotocycle began a partnership with ATV manufacturer Polaris Industries with the goal of shared R&D, and more importantly shared distribution networks. This partnership was a two-year trial arrangement, at the end of which both parties had the option of merging the two companies into one. In 2006, KTM announced that the partnership with Polaris had been downgraded, and would instead only supply their 450cc and 510cc RFS engines to Polaris.[12]

In January 2008, Bajaj announced that it would jointly develop two new 125cc and 200cc bikes for Europe and the Far East. The bikes would be badged KTM.[13] In January 2012, Bajaj launched the Duke 200 model in India.[14]


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.

Racing sponsorship

Mika Kallio's 125 cc road race motorcycle
Samuli Aro's WEC E2 class bike

KTM began in motorsports with Motocross Racing. In the last few years KTM has gained more success in motorsports by dominating rally-raid events such as the Paris-Dakar Rally and the Atlas-Rally. In 2003, KTM started sponsoring and supporting Road racing in various capacities, with the most successful results stemming from their Supermotard or Supermoto efforts. KTM's new road racing focus will soon grow to include Superbike competition with the help of their newly developed V-Twin engine dubbed the LC8 as employed in the 950 Adventure dual-sport motorcycle, and more specifically the 2005/2006 990 Super Duke followed by the superbike contender known as the 1190 RC8. The Super Duke will have a higher output, second generation version of the LC8 engine, geared for high rpm peak power as required in road racing and superstreet applications while the RC8 will sport a 1,190 cc version of the LC8 for more midrange.

KTM offers a range of different engines for its larger motorcycles, all liquid-cooled.

KTM's official company/team colours are orange, black and silver. To create a strong brand identity, all competition-ready KTMs come from the factory with bright orange plastic with "KTM" emblazoned on the side of the radiator shrouds. All KTM bikes also come from the factory with a Motorex sticker on the outside of the motor. All first fills of oil come from Motorex as well. Some official KTM teams use different colors for their bikes, most noticeably in the Dakar Rally.

KTM announced plans to launch a UK-based UCI Continental cycling team.[15] The team, known as KTM Cycling Team – Road and, made its debut in 2014, albeit without UCI Continental status.[16] Subsequently in November 2014 it was announced that they would supply bikes to Team La Pomme Marseille 13 from 2015, with the team becoming Team Marseille 13 KTM.[17]

Off-road motorcycles

KTM 640 Adventures with rally fairings
A KTM Supermoto with an aftermarket Akrapovic exhaust
KTM 950 Adventure trail riding

The term off-road refers to a driving surface that is not conventionally paved. This is a rough surface, often created naturally, such as sand, gravel, a river, mud or snow. This type of terrain can sometimes only be travelled on with vehicles designed for off-road driving (such as SUVs, ATVs, snowmobiles or mountain bikes) or vehicles that have off-road equipment. KTM manufactures vehicles for these environments.

Motocross – The 2010 SX line includes 65, 85, 105, 150 and 250 cc two-stroke models, and 250, 350, 450 four-stroke models. In 2005 KTM released the new 250SX-F to the general public. For the 2007 model-year, all of KTM's four-stroke SX motors were re-designed similarly to the 250 SX-F, in a dual-overhead cam 4-valve line dubbed the "RC4". The SX-F's are KTM's new racing motocross range introduced in 2007.

KTM now produce a 150SX (144 cc), which was developed to take advantage of AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) rule changes in the amateur classes.

Cross-Country The XC line includes a 250 and 300 two-strokes, and 250, 450, and 525 four-stroke models. The XC line updates and replaces their old MXC bikes. They have a close-ratio gearbox, stiffer suspensions, and the four-strokes have a shorter-stroke design, mimicking their SX line. In 2007, they introduced the 250XC-F which is based on the 2006 SX model.

KTM's XC-W offroad bikes are 200, 250 and 300 two-strokes, and 250, 450 and 530 (actually 510 cc) four-strokes. They have plusher suspension and a wider-ratio transmission than their XC line counterparts. The XC-W replaced their old EXC two-strokes, a move the company made in order to comply with EPA restrictions in the United States. Two-strokes are still designated as EXCs in Europe markets.

Enduro The 2009 EXC line consists of 250, 450, 530 (actually 510 cc) four-strokes, and 125, 200, 250 and 300 cc two strokes. The EXC line has been a long-time favourite for Enduro market, and outsell other larger-volume brands to Enduro racers. The RFS motor (2000–2007) was replaced with the XC4 motor for the 2008 model year.

Street bikes

Supermoto KTM produces several supermoto race bikes with displacements ranging from 450 (a supermoto version of the 450sx-f) to 690 cc. They also make four non race-oriented models in 625, 654, 950 and 990 cc displacements. KTM was the first manufacturer to offer a competition-ready Supermoto bike to the public, and their sponsored racers currently sit atop the US Supermoto racing circuit. The new LC8 SuperMoto 950 has received rave reviews from all the bike magazines and newspapers in the United Kingdom.

Dual-sport Adventure bikes offered with both the LC4 Engine (Adventure 640, 640R, 660, and 690) and the LC8 Engine (Adventure 950, 950S, 990), the 640R is the base of the Rally 660 which has won many Dakar Rallies.

Two-stroke development

Since the major rule changes in Motocross to make 4-stroke bikes more competitive in motocross and being given a 125 cc 2-stroke to 250 cc 4-stroke advantage the cheaper, simpler 2-stroke bikes have been dying out.

Since other manufacturers have decided to discontinue their 2-stroke models, KTM has continued with creating and improving their 2-stroke models and taking up a very high proportion of the 2-stroke bike market.

KTM has also created a new 2-stroke MX bike with 144 cc to comply with the 2008 AMA motocross class changes. This change has been made to bring back the 2-stroke bikes to encourage more entry to the market as the 2-stroke bikes are cheaper to maintain and repair than the expensive 4-stroke bikes.

Environmental agencies have tried to remove 2-stroke machines because they produce more pollution than 4-strokes. However, with newer advances in technology 2-strokes have begun to burn cleaner and pass stricter green standards.

In recent interviews KTM has revealed that they will continue to produce and improve 2-stroke bikes and have already begun looking at DFI (Direct Fuel Injection). A DFI fuel induction system injects fuel at high pressure, over 100 bars (1,500 psi) into the combustion chamber, after the exhaust port has been fully closed. This eliminates almost any unburnt fuel escaping the combustion process and entering the atmosphere.

In 2011 KTM changed the look of their two-strokes, and in 2012 they re-introduced linkage suspension (KTM dropped linkage suspension in favor of their PDS system in 1998), on the SX and XC models.


KTM X-Bow front

KTM has a lightweight street legal (Europe) car known as the X-Bow.[18] It uses an Audi engine and a Dallara sourced chassis. This car seats two people.

  • weight: 790 kg
  • length: approximately 3.6 m
  • engine: 1,998 cc, 237 hp (240 PS, 176 kW), 310 NM (229 ft-lbs) (Audi 2.0 TFSI); Topversion 300 hp
  • 6-speed gearbox
  • price: about 45,000 Euro[19][20]

KTM models

2014 KTM 690 Duke

Motorcycles manufactured by KTM include:


  1. ^ "Off-the-Shelf Racers; KTM's Supermoto three-pack",  
  2. ^ Duke, Olly (August 1994), "KTM Duke: supermotard styling strikes again",  
  3. ^ "Hans Trunkenpolz". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  4. ^ "KTM-Motorfahrzeugbau KG, Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  5. ^ "A Short Background of KTM Bicycles". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  6. ^ Kariya, Mark (July 2002). "From rags to riches: How KTM emerged from near-death to become a powerhouse in the sport". Dirt Rider: 89. 
  7. ^ "Everything about Husaberg". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  8. ^ "Bajaj hikes stake in KTM to 47 pc". 
  9. ^ "CROSS Industries AG Organizational Chart". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  10. ^ "KTM Management". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  11. ^ "KTM Motorcycle History". Motorcycle USA. February 23, 2008. Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  12. ^ Gardiner, Mark. "KTM Motorcycle History". Retrieved 2013-06-23. 
  13. ^ "Bajaj & Ktm To Jointly Develop New Bikes". Biker Voodoo. 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  14. ^ Business & Industry (2011-10-20). "Bajaj launches Duke 200 in India, specifications". Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  15. ^ Clarke, Stuart (11 October 2013). "KTM to launch a new team in the UK".  
  16. ^ "KTM Cycling Team – Road and 2014". Cycling Archives. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  17. ^ Clarke, Stuart (19 November 2014). "La Pomme Marseille team up with KTM".  
  18. ^ Rated X: KTM unveils X-Bow sketches – Autoblog
  19. ^ Kleine Zeitung (German)
  20. ^ Der Standard (German)
  21. ^

External links

  • KTM International website
  • KTM Bicycles website
  • KTM Car Company
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