History of a Motorcycle Brand: KTM

in #life4 years ago


KTM was founded in 1934 by an engineer named Hans Trunkenpolz in Mattighofen, Austria. The name of the company, which started as a metal workshop, was chosen as Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen.

Hans Trunkenpolz

In the early years, and in war years, the Trunkenpolz’ company solely focused on vehicle repairs. In time, company evolved to be the biggest repair workshops in Upper Austria after the war. Due to the war damage at the known vehicle manufacturers, there was an enormous lack of supply parts for motorized vehicles. Trunkenpolz made a virtue out of necessity and manufactured the most urgently needed spare parts inside his own company.

The economic miracle loomed in Austria and the industry rapidly bounced back from setbacks and recessions. The Trunkenpolz family did not only benefit from these developments: the repair orders for trucks dropped remarkably and only the manufacturing of spare parts generated some revenue. It is hardly surprising that Trunkenpolz had to search for new options after the loss of revenues from the repair workshop. The population´s wish for motorized transport came at a proper time.

At that time, only a few rich people could afford a car. Therefore, Trunkenpolz decided to develop a lightweight motorcycle. The terms were set quickly – it should be a “real motorcycle” with footpegs, without the pedal-drive known from the motor-driven bicycles. The 98cc Rotax engine with pull starter build in the little town Gunskirchen seemed to be the perfect choice. In 1953 the motorcycle was presented to the public and for the first time the three letters “KTM” appeared to represent Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen, as you can see in the picture below.

KTM R 100


  • 1954
    Delivery of the 1000th KTM motorcycle. KTM wins the Austrian 125 category national championships for the first time.

  • 1955
    Development of the KTM Tourist model (125 cc); first road races.

    Baederpreiss Race

  • 1956
    First participation in the International Six Days; Egon Dornauer wins gold.

  • 1963
    Range increased to include the Comet.

  • 1964
    Bicycle production commences. Cross-country racing resumed; birth of the first KTM works team participation in the Six Days.

  • 1966
    Production of the 10,000th Comet moped. KTM wins three gold medals at the international Six Days in Sweden.

  • 1968
    Production of the cross-country Penton Six Days for export to the USA.

  • 1970
    Production of the first KTM engines commences. Manfred Klerr wins the Austrian national championships on the newly developed 250 cc Motocross bike.

    Engine Assembly line 1970

  • 1978
    “KTM America Inc.” established in Lorain, Ohio; the company’s first US subsidiary. 50 cc product range extended. Third 250 cc Motocross World Championship title for KTM and Moissev.

  • 1980
    Company name changed to “KTM Motor-Fahrzeugbau KTM”. Intensive further development of the sports models (weight reduction, membrane steering).

  • 1981
    Production of the first water-cooled 125 cc Motocross bike. 700 employees achieve an annual turnover of ATS 750 million, 76% of the production is exported to 13 countries.

  • 1985
    Production of the 100,000th KTM engine (500cc, liquid cooled, over 50 bpm). Heinz Kinigadner wins the 250cc Motocross World Championship for the second time.

  • 1988
    Scooter manufacture ceases.

  • 1989
    KTM and Trampas Parker (USA) become 125cc Motocross World Champion, and Motocross World Champions in the sidecar category with the Huesser twins (CH). Majority shares sold by KTM to GIT Trust Holding. Company manager Erich Trunkenpolz dies.

  • 1993
    KTM Rally commitment begins (win at the Atlas Rally in 5 categories).

  • 1994
    KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH renamed KTM-Sportmotorcycle AG. Workforce 212. Company commences production of the road model of the Duke series.

  • 2004
    Launch of the 990 Super Duke, Presentation of the 990 RC8 Venom and the 950 Supermoto at the Intermot Munich. Construction of a new administration building in Mattighofen. Successful placement of the KTM bond at the capital market.

    Super Duke 990

  • 2008
    The new highly modern KTM parts and logistics centre was finished and related products distribution starts taking place from this facility which guarantees a highly reliable and time efficient spare parts supply to the entire KTM world.
    2008 was another very successful year in racing. The KTM factory teams win 9 riders and 7 constructors World Championship titles which lead to an amazing total of 162 titles.

  • 2009
    At the EICMA show in Milan KTM presented a revolutionary 350cc MX race bike along side two highly attractive 125 concept bikes, that brought out cheers, not only in the youth scene. The official racers provided a more than positive result again. The Motocross and Enduro teams achieved 4 out of 6 possible World Championship titles and a first KTM Superbike project resulted in a vice championship title at the IDM. The motorsport enthusiastic company now holds 173 World Championship titles.

Jeremy McWilliams – RC8 at Assen IDM Superbike series

  • 2014
    The 2014 Dakar kicks off in January with KTM facing its stiffest competition in years from Yamaha, Honda and Sherco. At the finish in Valparaiso, Chile on the 18th January Marc Coma seals his fourth Dakar victory and KTM’s 13th consecutive win. KTM riders occupy seven of the top 12 places. Riann van Niekerk finishes in 12th spot, one place better than his 2013 result.

    Marc Coma celebrates in Valparaiso

Austrian KTM's official corporate colors are orange, black and silver. Aiming to create a strong brand identity, KTM manufactures all race version engines as KTM logos with radiator protections. All KTM motorcycles are delivered on a Motorex label outside the factory. The first oils of all engines are Motorex production. Some official KTM teams use different colors on their engines, especially the Dakar Rally.

KTM is considered by many as the world's single best Cross, Enduro and Supermoto producer.

Motorcycles are a passion of mine and I like to share about them!
Thanks for reading!



Wow!!!! A great Salute to you. Many many respect to you!

Wonderful post! I've never owned a KTM, but it could happen. Clearly a superior motorcycle.

I'm glad you at least mentioned Penton. David Penton was at least partially responsible for taking KTM off road. The Penton here in the US is a seriously collectible motorcycle.

Thank you for a terrific post.

Great post - following you now

Very nice post, thanks for sharing the evolution of KTM motorcycle

@mstfdmn You just posted about my DREAM BYKE. KTM has the sexiest bikes ever. Thanks for sharing with us.

it has been indeed a long way

Upvoted with 77.24% by @randofish

This post has received a 1.26 % upvote from @booster thanks to: @mstfdmn.

Very usefull information! @originalworks

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Verry nice post

Great post - following you now

Thanks for sharing. This is an awesome quality motorcycle. I just looked at some at the dealer.

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