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KTM Duke 620, KTM's first stock supermoto bike

KTM 990 SuperDuke, Circuit Carole

KTM 690 Duke Orange
The company was founded in 1934 by engineer Hans Trunkenpolz  in Mattighofen. It started out as a metalworking shop and was named Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. It wasn't until 1953 that KTM began production of motorcycles. With just 20 employees, motorcycles were built at the rate of three per day. In 1955, a businessman Ernst Kronreif became shareholder of the company, on acquiring a sizable portion of the company. It was then renamed Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. Trunkenpolz died unexpectedly in 1989. During these early years of motocycle production at KTM, almost all components for the motorcycles were built in-house by KTM.


Since 1990, KTM motorcycles and automobiles (X-Bow) have been designed by KiskaDesign, a Salzburg-based design firm with over 100 employees that offers transportation, product, environmental, identity and branding to an international clients. It is responsible for the overall branding for KTM; including the design of the vehicles, shops, exhibits and printed material. The firm applies a method IDD (integrated design development) to all of its client projects. Gerald Kiska is the principal.

Financial structure

In 1992 the company became insolvent and was divided into three companies:
  • KTM Sportmotorcycles GmbH, was renamed 1994 to KTM Sportmotorcycles AG
  • KTM Fahrrad GmbH (Bicycles)
  • KTM K├╝hler GmbH (Radiators)
In the fiscal or business year ending in 2005, KTM Sportmotocycles AG delivered 80,000 motorcycles worldwide and began a partnership with Polaris Industries. Under the terms of the agreement, the two companies will help one another to extend their brands into the other's home market, KTM extending their reach into North America, and Polaris extending into Europe. This partnership is a two year trial arrangement, at the end of which both parties are giving the option of merging the two companies into one. In 2006, KTM announced that the partnership with Polaris had been ended early, and would instead only supply their 450 cc and 525 cc RFS engines to the ATV manufacturer.
In November 2007, Indian two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd. acquired 14.5% stake in KTM Power Sports AG (holding company of KTM Sportmotocycles AG). The two companies have signed a cooperation deal, by which KTM will provide the know-how for joint development of the water-cooled 4-stroke 125 cc and 250 cc engines, and Bajaj will take over the distribution of KTM products in India and some other Southeast Asian nations. In December 2007, Bajaj increased their stake to more than 20%.
Bajaj Auto currently holds 31.72% stake.
The Swedish motorcycle company Husaberg AB and Dutch WP Suspension are now subsidiaries of the KTM Group.

Racing sponsorship

Mika Kallio's 125 cc road race motorcycle.

Samuli Aro's WEC E2 class bike
KTM began in motorsports with Motocross Racing. In the last few years KTM has gained more success in motorsports by dominating rally-raid events such as the Paris-Dakar Rally and the Atlas-Rally. In 2003, KTM started sponsoring and supporting Road racing in various capacities, with the most successful results stemming from their SuperMotard or Supermoto efforts. KTM's new road racing focus will soon grow to include Superbike competition with the help of their newly developed V-Twin engine dubbed the LC8 as employed in the 950 Adventure dual-sport motorcycle, and more specifically the 2005/2006 990 Super Duke followed by the superbike contender known as the 1190 RC8. The Super Duke will have a higher output, second generation version of the LC8 engine, geared for high rpm peak power as required in road racing and superstreet applications while the RC8 will sport a 1,190 cc version of the LC8 for more midrange.

KTM offers a range of different engines for its larger motorcycles, all liquid-cooled.
KTM's official company/team colours are Orange, Black and Silver. To create a strong brand identity, all competition-ready KTMs come from the factory with bright orange plastic with "KTM" emblazoned on the side of the radiator shrouds. All KTM bikes also come from the factory with a Motorex sticker on the outside of the motor. All first fills of oil come from Motorex as well. Some official KTM teams use different colors for their bikes, most noticeably in the Dakar Rally.
The 2004 documentary series Long Way Round follows actors Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on their extraordinary 20,000 mile journey from London to New York City. KTM were originally approached to provide the motorcycles used for this trip, but abruptly pulled their support from the venture only a few weeks before the team were set to depart from London. BMW then donated BMW R1150GS Adventure all-terrain motorcycles for this adventure.