Penton was a brand of off-road motorcycle introduced in 1968 by John Penton, a noted enduro rider on the dirt bike competition circuit, who was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1998.
Penton approached the KTM company, which at the time made bicycles and mopeds, to build a light-weight off-road motorcycle. The first Penton motorcycles used a modified small-capacity Sachs engine with improved suspension and details.
The early motorcycles made their mark in International Six Days Trials (now called the International Six Days Enduro) competitions, Enduro races like the Michigan Jack Pine Endurance Run, Scrambles and Motocross with riders such as future Motorcycle Hall of Fame members Billy Uhl and Carl Cranke. The most popular size was the 125cc (Six Day), but they were also made in 100 cc (Berkshire) and later, in 175 cc (Jackpiner, in 1972), 250 cc (Hare Scrambler, in 1973), and 400 cc (Mint, in 1974).
Beginning in 1972 fiberglass gas tanks were introduced and all of the 175 cc and larger models used KTM engines. In 1974 longer travel gas forks with laid-down rear shocks for longer suspension travel, lightweight plastic fenders and frames of high grade chrome-moly steel were introduced. In 1976 two distinct models appeared for the first time differentiating between Motocross use (MC5) and Enduro (Cross County). The MC5 MX series used longer travel leading-axle, magnesium slider forks to complement the high lever-ratio rear suspension configuration making all but the 125 a competitive Motocross model.
Other, less-common models included the Mudlark observed-trials motorcycle (made by Wassell in England), the Cafe MX (a dual purpose version of the Mudlark), the Hiro 125 (the Six Day with an Italian motor), the Woodsman (an enduro version of the Mudlark) and the K-R (Kenny Roberts) short-track racer.
Production, development and distribution was taken over completely by KTM Austria in 1978.
The 1997 KTM Jackpiner 200 LE was a limited production run of the first 200 cc KTM enduro motorcycle. It was built to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Penton KTM motorcycle. It came with Penton blue plastics and John Penton’s signature on a sticker attached to the front fender.
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