A motorcycle manufacturer with a rich history, the German-based KTM was founded by Hans Trunkenpolz in 1934. He initially produced bicycles but eventually switched to motorcycle production. In 1954, he created the company’s first motorcycle. The Yamaha brand has since become synonymous with KTM, and its off-road models have been champions of the rally-RAID “Dakar.” In addition, Yamaha produces rings that are used by many MotoGP riders. A while ago, the company considered developing an ultralight supercar, and its X-Bow model was unveiled.
The motorcycle company’s success began with motocross racing. The company’s first 250cc Motocross World Championship was won by Guennadij Moisseev, and the company expanded into other events such as rally-raids and road racing. KTM later changed its name to KTM Motor-Fahrzeugbau to clarify its direction. In 1980, KTM also became a sponsor of Supermoto and Supermotard motorcycle racing.
While the two-stroke bike market has suffered since its introduction, KTM has continued to manufacture 2-stroke motorcycles. This enables it to capture a large portion of the market. In fact, in 2008, KTM created a 250cc two-stroke Enduro bike to comply with the AMA’s new motocross class changes. This motorcycle has also become more affordable to maintain than its four-stroke competitors. In the US, KTM produces 250cc two-stroke motorcycles.
In 1954, KTM started production and subsequently acquired a Dutch shock absorber manufacturer and the Swedish sports motorcycle company Husaberg. In the same year, KTM produced 12,000 motorcycles and earned 1.1 billion Austrian shillings. The company also acquired Husaberg and WP shock absorbers in the United Kingdom. During the 1950s, KTM produced their first motorcycle, the R100. The factory was staffed with twenty people and produced three motorcycles a day.
In 1971, the company expanded its staff to 400 and sold 42 models. The company’s success in racing was evident. In 1964, KTM made its first scooter, the Mirabell, and began providing factory teams for the International Six Days Trials. By the end of the 1970s, the company sold 42 different models. Despite the success of its motorcycles, KTM continued to develop and refine its production technologies. In 2008, KTM announced its withdrawal from Grand Prix motorcycle racing, but later returned to the sport with the Moto3 class.
The KTM company began life in 1934. Initially, the company operated as a metalworking shop, with only twenty employees. By 1958, the company was producing motorcycles at a rate of three per day. In 1955, Ernst Kronreif bought a majority stake, renaming it Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. Erich Trunkenpolz took over the company in 1962. KTM continues to produce motorcycles and other vehicles around the world.
In addition to producing high-end motorcycles, KTM also produces a series of street-legal vehicles. Their X-Bow is one of the first street-legal supercars built in Austria. The company has already received a grant to design biobased foam materials for the protective packaging market. Eventually, these biobased foam materials may even replace petro-based polyethylene, polystyrene, and polyurethane.