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KTM: A Leader in Adventure Sports Motorbike – I

The Indian motorbike market is a fertile soil and one of the biggest in the world and KTM, as you all know, is one of the leading participants.

It has a good share of the consumer market of two-wheelers in India with the production of various ranges of motorbikes including adventure sports and everyday use.

KTM: A Leader in Adventure Sports Motorbike - I

Our article today is divided into two parts:

  • In this part, we shall explore the long and very interesting history behind the birth of KTM.
  • In our second and final part, we shall talk about the wide range of products that KTM offers its consumers.

I am sure you all are quite excited to embark on the KTM exploration.

KTM: A Leader in Adventure Sports Motorbike - I

So, without much ado, let us begin!

How it all Started

KTM: A Leader in Adventure Sports Motorbike - I

KTM is one of the leading producers of motorbikes with a reasonable amount of the Indian two-wheeler market, but as the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day”.

KTM was founded in the year 1934 by Johann (Hans) Trunkenpolz, an Austrian engineer. He started by setting up a car repair and fitters shop in Mattighofen where he eventually began the sales of Opel cars and DKW motorcycles and repair of mostly diesel engines. The shop then had an unregistered name known as Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen (KTM).

The shop thrived during the WWII but sales and repair dropped drastically after the war which prompted Johann to start the production of his own motorcycles.

He began the in-house production of the prototype of his first motorcycle in 1951 and called the R100. Two years later serial production started for the motorcycle with 20 employees producing 3 motorcycles per day.

In the same year, Ernst Kronreif, a businessman became a major shareholder of the company which resulted in the registered rename of the company to Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. The new affiliation saw to the production of further products like the R125 Tourist, the Grand Tourist, and the Scooter Mirabell all within the space of 2 years.

In 1954, KTM secured its very first racing title in Austrian 125cc National Championship and in 1956, Egon Dornauer became a gold medallist at the International Six Days Trials using a KTM motorcycle engine.

KTM hit the market with the production of its first sports motorcycle called the Trophy 125cc in 1957 followed by the Ponny I, Ponny II and Comet in 1960, 1962 and 1963 respectively.

The ownership and management of the company was shifted to Erich Trunkenpolz, Johann’s son after the death of Ernst and Johann in 1960 and 1962.

KTM grew big and started offering 42 different models in 1971. They produced motorbikes for racing and also ventured into the production of motors and radiators for car manufacturers.

KTM: A Leader in Adventure Sports Motorbike - I

After the death of Eric Trunkenpolz in 1989, the management of the company was transferred to a conglomerate of creditor banks following its indebted state.

By the year 1992, the company had to be split into four different and new units each for the different production divisions of the company.

  • The motorcycles division was called KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH,
  • Bicycle division was named KTM Fahrrad GmbH,
  • Its radiator production unit was called KTM Kühler GmbH and
  • Its tool production division referred to as KTM Werkzeugbau GmbH.

So, that was the history of KTM. It is quite inspirational to see how a small start-up can become one of the most loved brands of the motorbike community today.

In our next chapter of KTM, as promised we shall explore the various categories that KTM offers its consumers. So stay tuned!

Disclaimer: This article was prepared or accomplished by it's author in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Motorbikes India or it's owners.

The views and opinions expressed on this web site are soley those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Steve Gerweck, the GERWECK.NET staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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Motorbikes India (MI) is an online magazine about motorcycles in India. Motorbikes news, articles, clubs & events, routes, insurance, finance, maintenance & safety. We welcome contributions, from anyone that is enthusiastic about biking. If you are part of a motorbike club in India, please be sure to keep your club info and events up to date in our clubs section.

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