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KTM Sportmotorcycle AG is an Austrian motorcycle, bicycle and moped manufacturer. 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 1954 KTM began producing motorcycles.
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 metalworking shop and was named Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. In 1937, it started repairing and selling DKW motorcycles, and Opel the following year.
After the Second World War, Trunkenpolz started thinking about producing its own motorcycles, a first prototype was finished in 1953. Serial production started in 1954, almost all of the components being produced in house, with the notable exception of engines, made most often by company Rotax. With just 20 employees, motorcycles were built at the rate of three per day.
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. Beside, KTM was also able to produced motorcycles for the racing industry.
Kronreif died in 1960 and Trunkenpolz two years later, of a heart attack. Company name was changed back to Krafträder Trunkenpolz Mattighofen with his son Erich taking managing the company until his death (1989). At that time, KTM had about 180 employee and a turnover that would represent €3,5 Millions.
In 1978, US subsidiary KTM North America Inc. was founded in Lorain, Ohio. International business amounted then to 72% of the company turnover.
In 1980, it was renamed KTM Motor-Fahrzeugbau KG.
Insolvency and splitting
Scooter and moped turnover sank rapidly, and production had to be halted in 1988. In 1991, KTM applied for insolvency and its management was taken up by banks who split the company into four new entities:
- KTM Sportmotorcycles GmbH (now KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG), specializing in off-road motorcycles;
- KTM Fahrrad GmbH, for bikes;
- KTM Kühler GmbH, which produces cooling systems for cars and motorcycles since 1984;
- KTM Werkzeugbau GmbH, which has been absorbed by KTM Sportmotorcycles in between.
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.
In 1992 the company became insolvent and was divided into three companies:
- KTM Sportmotorcycles GmbH, was renamed 1994 to KTM Sportmotorcycles AG
- KTM Fahrrad GmbH (Bicycles)
- KTM Kühler GmbH (Radiators)
In the fiscal or business year ending in 2005, KTM Sportmotocycles AG delivered 80,000 motorcycles worldwide and began a partnership with Polaris Industries. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will help one another to extend their brands into the other's home market, KTM extending their reach into North America, and Polaris extending into Europe. This partnership is a two-year trial arrangement, at the end of which both parties are giving the option of merging the two companies into one. In 2006, KTM announced that the partnership with Polaris had been ended early, and would instead only supply their 450 cc and 510 cc RFS engines to the ATV manufacturer.
In November 2007, Indian two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto acquired 14.5% stake in KTM Power Sports AG (parent company of KTM Sportmotorcycles AG). The two companies have signed a cooperation deal, by which KTM will provide the know-how for joint development of the water-cooled 4-stroke 125 cc and 200 cc engines, and Bajaj will take over the distribution of KTM products in India and some other Southeast Asian nations. In December 2007, Bajaj increased their stake to more than 20%. Bajaj increased its share to 38.09% in November 2010. As of March 2012[update] Bajaj Auto holds a 47% stake.
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.
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 150, 250 and 300 two-strokes, and 250, 450, and 525 four-stroke models. The XC line updates and replaces their old MXC bikes. They feature 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 feature 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.
Super Enduro consist of 690 cc and 950 cc machines, mix between an enduro and a trail bike
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) and the LC8 Engine (Adventure 950, 950S, 990), the 640R is the base of the Rally 660 which has won many Dakar Rallies.
KTM 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 piston has closed the exhaust port. 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.
- 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
In January 2012, Bajaj launched the Duke 200 model in India.
In June 2013, Bajaj launched the Duke 390 model in India.
Vice-President of Bajaj Probiking, Amit Nandi has also dropped hints on launches of sub-500cc faired bikes in 2014.
Motorcycles manufactured by KTM include:
- 50 SX Mini
- 65 SX
- KTM 85 SX
- KTM 125 SX
- 250 EXC
- 450 EXC
- KTM 640
- 690 Enduro, 690 Enduro R
- 950 Adventure, 950 Adventure S
- 990 SMT
- 990 Adventure, 990 Adventure S, 990 Adventure R
- 1190 RC8 sportbike
- 1190 Adventure, 1190 Adventure R
- 200 Duke, 390 Duke, 690 Duke, 990 Super Duke R, 1290 Super Duke R
- "KTM: Company History". ktm.com. Retrieved 2007-01-14.
- "Off-the-Shelf Racers; KTM's Supermoto three-pack", American Motorcyclist (American Motorcyclist Association) 58 (4), April 2004: 20, ISSN 0277-9358, retrieved 2011-05-04
- Duke, Olly (Augiust 1994), "KTM Duke: supermotard styling strikes again", Cycle World: 62 (2)
- KTM Motorcycle History
- Kariya, Mark (July 2002). "From rags to riches: How KTM emerged from near-death to become a powerhouse in the sport". Dirt Rider: 89.
- Posted: Wednesday, Nov 03, 2010 at 1953 hrs IST (2010-11-03). "Bajaj hikes stake in KTM to 38.09 pc". Financialexpress.com. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- "Bajaj hikes stake in KTM to 47 pc".
- "Bajaj Increases Stake In KTM to 47%".
- Clarke, Stuart (11 October 2013). "KTM to launch a new team in the UK". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 12 October 2013.
- Rated X: KTM unveils X-Bow sketches - Autoblog
- Kleine Zeitung (German)
- Der Standard (German)
- "Bajaj & Ktm To Jointly Develop New Bikes". Biker Voodoo. 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
- Business & Industry (2011-10-20). "Bajaj launches Duke 200 in India, specifications". Gujaratglobal.com. Retrieved 2012-02-09.
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