Erwin Lechner was among the riders who enjoyed victory after victory in 1960, racing the KTM motorcycle with an engine designed by engineer Ludwig Apfelbeck. KTM entered the US market with a 125cc motocross motorcycle in 1968, and word of the overseas race wins soon began to circulate in Europe. The highlights of the 1970s included the powerful 50 cc models and the first motocross World Championship title, won for KTM in 1974 by Russian rider Gennadij Moiseev in the 250cc class.
Riders Heinz Kinigadner and Trampas Parker laid the foundations for the modern KTM legend with three World Championship titles in the next decade and unassailable offroad competences of modern times. In 1984, KTM started to develop a liquid-cooled four stroke motorcycle, commencing mass production of the first LC4 engine in 1987 – also a concept that over decades became a typical KTM success story. The motorcycle industry hit hard times at the end of the 1980s. The KTM Motorfahrzeugbau AG is no exception and is seriously affected. Finally, in 1991, the KTM Motorfahrzeugbau AG had to file for bankruptcy. One year later, the newly formed KTM motorcycle division KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH re-opened under new management with a new Hard Enduro concept and new design styling. Hungry for success, the company began to engage in rally sport, launched the first DUKE in 1994 and just one year later acquired both WP Suspension and the sports motorcycle manufacturer HUSABERG. Shane King’s Motocross World Championship title in the 500cc class and numerous other victories breathed now life into sporting heritage of long-standing KTM brand. In 1999, the company moved into its newly built factory in Mattighofen. The Austrian company has been a dominating force in the legendary Dakar Rally since 2001 and after adopting the now well known “READY TO RACE” philosophy has turned racing into the brand‘s main identifying feature. The 950 ADVENTURE long-distance, dual-sportmotorcycle made its first appearance in 2003. At the same time KTM entered successfully the road racing world championship – Casey Stoner gained the first victory on the orange 125 cc-Grand-Prix motorcycle. Shortly afterwards, KTM launched its first thoroughbred street bikes, the 990 SUPER DUKE and the 950 SUPERMOTO. The first ‘Made in Austria’ Superbike followed in 2008 – the attention grabbing 1190 RC8, which the Mattighofen team entered into the International German Superbike Championship (IDM) one year later, finishing runner-up in their first season.
Over the years, the orange racing strategy is constantly extended. While KTM is still dominating the international Enduro, Motocross and Rally events, it also accelerates its effort in important US Supercross and is rapidly able to celebrate considerable successes and championships. In 2015 the past experiences have once more been exceeded: Ryan Dungey earned the first-ever Supercross title for the Austrian manufacturer and his US Pro Motocross championship win clinches the double success. Not to forget the entry in the newly established Moto3 World Championship with a completely ‘Made in Austria’ developed racing motorcycle in 2012. At the first go, Sandro Cortese won the title, which was successfully defended in 2013 what represents another milestone in KTM history. For 2017, KTM CEO Stefan Pierer announces that KTM will enter the MotoGP-class.
All experiences gained in the international paddocks of numerous race series are continuously integrated into series production and a constantly growing team has the ability to annually present product highlights and innovations. No matter if on tarmac or offroad – KTM already presents itself as globally operating brand with a gapless product range, that in 2015 reaches from 50 cc to 1300 cc. Models like the extremely successful naked bikes 125, 200 and 390 DUKE and RC 125, 200 and 390 also inspire young motorcyclists. At the same time, high end developments in the form of the 1190 ADVENTURE (2013), equipped with the Motorcycle Stability Control MSC jointly developed with BOSCH, and 1290 SUPER DUKE R (2014) underline the intention to be a trendsetter even in high segments. For model year 2015 KTM further extends its ADVENTURE range; with the 1050 ADVENTURE and the fully equipped 1290 SUPER ADVENTURE KTM sets the new benchmark in the travel enduro segment. With regard to new technologies, especially in the area of E-Mobility, KTM takes a leading role in the development of new products and presents two electrically driven offroad motorcycles, like the FREERIDE E-XC and E-SX. In 2015 this lineup is joined by the E-SM, KTM´s electrical solution for road applications.
With unabated power in the offroad segment and a consequently extended street range the former motorcycle workshop now represents itself as an economically healthy, highly motivated and the leading European motorcycle manufacturer, that pursues a two-brand strategy after taking over the Husqvarna brand in 2013. Despite all the success KTM looks permanently ahead. KTM CEO Stefan Pierer’s vision reads as follows: “KTM intends to become the world’s leading provider of sportmotorcycles.”