KTM - The Company
It was 1934 when Hans Trunkenpolz founded
a repair workshop in Mattighofen, Upper Austria. Three
years later, he started selling DKW motorcycles and
subsequently enlarged the workshop, which became one
of the largest car and motorcycle repair workshops
in Upper Austria.
In 1951, the company started developing
a motorcycle of its own and two years later the KTM
R 100 production series was launched. The company,
which was now officially called 'Kronreif, Trunkenpolz,
Mattighofen', immediately became involved with racing
and the successful results piled up.
Erwin Lechner was among the riders
who enjoyed one victory after another in 1960 on the
KTM motorcycle designed by engineer Rudolf Apfelbeck.
In 1968, KTM entered the US market with a 125 cc motocross
motorcycle, and the sporting victories overseas were
soon mirrored in Europe. Just some of 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.
It was the riders Heinz Kinigadner
and Trampas Parker who laid the foundations for the
current KTM legend with three World championship titles
in the subsequent decade. In 1984, KTM started developing
a liquid-cooled four-stroke motorcycle and in 1987
it began the series production of the first LC4 engine.
The economy hit hard times at the end
of the 1980s and in 1991, KTM Motorfahrzeugbau AG
filed for bankruptcy. One year later, the newly formed
KTM motorcycle division KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH
opened under new management with a new Hard Enduro
concept and a new design.
KTM stormed full speed ahead into the
Rally sector, launched the first Duke in 1994 and
just one year later acquired the company WP Suspension,
which now no longer forms part of KTM but is still
closely linked to the brand, and the sports motorcycle
manufacturer Husaberg. Shane King's Motocross World
championship title in the 500 cc class plus numerous
other victories revived the sporty image of the tradition-filled
KTM brand. In 1999, the company moved to its newly
constructed factory in Mattighofen.
The Upper Austrian company dominated
the Paris-Dakar rallies from 2001 onwards. With its
slogan 'Ready to Race', KTM made racing the brand's
main identifying feature. 2003 saw the debut appearance
of the 950 Adventure travel enduro. In the same year,
Harald Bartol led the Mattighofen team to success
at the 125 cc road racing world championships. Shortly
afterwards, KTM launched its first thoroughbred road
bikes, the 990 Super Duke and the 950 Supermoto. The
first Austrian superbike followed in 2008: the eye-catching
1190 RC8, which the Mattighofen team entered into
the IDM superbike class just one year later.
Since the 1950s, KTM has won more than
165 world championship titles, and one thing is for
sure: this number is going to keep on rising. For
further information, please go to www.ktm.com.