The Illustrated History of KTM
Below you will find a timeline showing the history of KTM, as I know it, including photographs provided by KTM. This is a living document that will be updated as more information and photos become available. If you have any information that you would like to contribute to this timeline please feel free to leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
1934 – Austrian engineer Hans Trunkenpolz opens a metal-working shop in Mattighofen, Austria. The name of the business is Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen. The Trunkenpolz company appears as an official supplier of motorcycles for the first time (sale of DKW motorcycles).
1938 – The Trunkenpolz company expands continuously, becoming one of the biggest motorcycle and car repair workshops in Upper Austria.
1951 – The company’s first motorcycle is developed – the R100 a lightweight 98cc motorcycle
1953 – The company becomes officially known as ‘Kronreif, Trunkenpolz, Mattighofen’ (KTM). A team of 20 employees is producing three motorcycles per day.
1954 – The 100th KTM motorcycle is delivered. KTM wins the Austrian 125 category national championships for the first time.
1955 – A businessman, Ernst Kronreif becomes a sizeable shareholder of the company, which is renamed Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen.
KTM Tourist (125cc) model is developed.
First Road races
1956 – First participation in the International Six Days; Egon Dornauer wins gold.
1957 – KTM builds first sports motorcycle – the Trophy 125cc.
First scooter developed – (Mirabell)
1958 – Erwin Lechner keeps on winning off-road with KTM’s new racing motorcycle, constructed by engineer Ludwig Apfelbeck.
1959 – Motorcycle production ceases as the result of the crisis in the two-wheel industry. First KTM Pony scooter and moped are introduced.
1963 – The Comet moped is introduced.
1964 – Bicycle production commences. Cross-country racing resumed; birth of the first KTM works team participation in the Six Days.
1966 – The 10,000th Comet rolls off the line. KTM wins three gold medals at the international Six Days in Sweden.
1968 – The cross-country Penton Six Days dirt bike is produced and exported to the United States.
1970 – KTM begins producing its own engines. (Previously, many of the dirt bikes had been equipped with Sachs motors.) New 250cc motocross bike is developed. Manfred Klerr wins the Austrian national championships on the newly developed 250 cc Motocross bike.
1971 – KTM’s workforce reaches 400.
1973 – Serial production of the 250 (Cross & Endure) commences. First WC points and Grand Prix wins for KTM (P. Roulev & G. Moissev).
1974 – KTM’s product range consists of 42 different models. Series production of KTM Hobby III commences. Russian Gennadij Moissev wins the first 250 cc Motocross World Championship title for KTM
John Franklin 3rd place 250MX Penton Gran-Am Motocross Park
Buck Murphy 2nd 250SX Penton Daytona
1975 – Introduction of the road model Comet Grand Prix 125 RS. KTM works rider Sigi Lerner becomes Austrian Motocross road champion. Alessandro Gritti becomes European Enduro Champion. Gennadij Moissev wins his second 250 cc Motocross World Championship on KTM.
1976 – Construction of our own 125 cc engine. International success for the Italian Farioli racing team (two European Championships).
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.
Frank Stacy 5th 500MX KTM Red Bud
Billy Grossi – Motox 338 5th 500MX KTM
Frank Stacy Motox 338 3rd 250MX KTM
Boo Stitcher Lakewood 4th 250MX KTM
Boo Stitcher High Point 5th 250MX KTM
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.
1982 – Motocross models fitted with the new “Pro Lever” back wheels suspension. Development of a KTM 4-stroke engine with water-cooling commences (first supplier on the market).
John Finkeldey – Road Atlanta 5th 500MX KTM
John Finkeldey – Broome-Tioga 3rd 500MX KTM
1984 – Manufacture of KTM radiators commences. First order for the Austrian Army. Heinz Kinigadner becomes 250cc Motocross World Champion on KTM.
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.
1986 – KTM becomes the first manufacturer to offer disc brakes front and rear. KTM wins every category at the Six Days in Italy.
1987 – Series production commences of the KTM 4-stroke engine (1 cylinder, 560ccm, overhead camshaft). Production of 98,000 radiators, 93,700 bicycles, 12,600 mopeds and 10,600 motorcycles.
1988 – KTM stops production of scooters.
1989 – Hans Trunkenpolz, founder, dies.
1991 – KTM files for bankruptcy. The company is split into four independent arms – radiators, motorcycles, bicycles and tooling.
1992 – The newly formed motorcycle division – KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH – opens up under new management, new Hard Enduro concept and a new motorcycle design. KTM Enduro World Championship title 1990 goes to Paul Edmondson (125), Peter Hansson (500), 1991 and 1992 to Jeff Nilsson (125), 1992 to Mario Rinaldi (350).
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.
1995 – Acquisition of Swedish Husaberg AB and takeover of White Power Suspension (NL). Production of 12,000 motorcycles, turnover ATS 1.1 billion. 2 Enduro World Championship titles, wins at the Master Rally and the Tunisia Rally.
1996 – First series production of KTM LC4 engine with e-starter. Other subsidiaries set up (Germany and Switzerland). KTM-Motorradholding AG listed on the Vienna stock exchange. 500cc Motocross World Championship title with Shayne King, countless wins in Enduro and Rally competitions.
1997 – Market introduction of the LC4 Supermoto for the road, and LC4 Adventure, KTM’s first cruising bike. 3 Enduro World Championship titles: Shane Watts (125), Mario Rinaldi (400) and Kari Tiainen (500).
1998 – PDS (Linkless Suspension System) on the 2-stroke models, new engine generation 125/200cc, new Z design. Construction of a new assembly plant with a new R&D centre. Marketing subsidiary KTM UK opens. KTM wins 2nd to 12th position at the 20th Paris-Dakar Rally.
Robbie Horton Tampa 125 East SX 3rd KTM
1999 – Production commences at KTM’s new manufacturing facility. Production of KTM’s new 4-stroke engine with separate lubrication 125/200cc.
Marketing subsidiary KTM Spain opens. Withdrawal from the stock exchange. Enduro World Champion Juha Salminen (125), overall winner of the Enduro World Championship (Giovanni Sala). Thierry Magnaldi wins the new Rally World Cup
2000 – Introduction of KTM’s 2-cylinder project at the Intermot Munich. Marketing subsidiary KTM France opens. Extremely good year for competitions: KTM wins 6 World Championships! 125cc Motocross World Champion (Grant Langston), 500cc Motocross World Champion (Joel Smets), 125cc Enduro World Champion (Juha Salminen), 250 4T Enduro World Champion (Matteo Rubin), 400cc Enduro World Champion (Mario Rinaldi), 500cc Enduro World Champion (Kari Tiainen).
Rodrig Thain – Houston 125 West SX 3rd KTM
Kelly Smith – High Point 125 MX 1st KTM
2001 – FMove to the new spare parts warehouse in Mattighofen. 5 times victory for KTM at the Dakar Rally: Fabrizio Meoni wins the Dakar. Juha Salminen takes World Enduro Championship title and James Dobb wins 125cc Motocross Championship.
Grant Langston – Phoenix 125 West SX 2nd KTM
Grant Langston – AZ 125 West SX 3rd KTM
Grant Langston – Irving 125 West SX 1st KTM
Brock Sellards – Vegas 125 Shootout 3rd KTM
Brock Sellards – Atlanta 125 East SX 2nd KTM
Kelly Smith – St. Louis 125 East SX 3rd KTM
2002 – Move to the new engine assembly plant in Munderfing. Therry van den Bosch becomes World Supermoto Champion. Fabrizio Meoni wins the Dakar Rally riding the new 950 Rally twin. Juha Salminen wins the World Enduro Championship again.
2003 – Launch of the 950 Adventure. Presentation of the 990 Duke. Entrainment in the new development centre in Mattighofen. 70,514 motorcycles sold worldwide with a total revenue of 376 million Euros.
KTM enters the 125cc Moto GP Road Racing World Championship. World Champions 2003: Juha Salminen (Enduro), Steve Ramon (125 MX), Joel Smets (650 MX), Rally world cup victory for Cyril Despres. National US Champions 2003: Grant Langston (125 Supercross), Mike Lafferty (Enduro).
2004 – KTM launches the 990 Super Duke and introduces the 990 RC8 Venom and the 950 Supermoto at the Intermot in Munich.
After earlier agreeing in principle to supply motorcycles to two out-of-work actors, so they can make a documentary about a trip across Eurasia and North America, KTM abruptly drops the project. Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman get BMWs instead, and make “The Long Way Round.”
2005 – Launch of the 950 Supermoto. Presentation of the 990 Adventure and the 950 Super Enduro R. Cooperation with Polaris Industries Inc. Worldwide sales of 80,356 motorcycles and a total revenue of 451.2 million Euros.
16 World Championship titles, 120 titles in total, KTM wins the Contractor title in the 125cc Road Racing World Championship. Cyril Despres wins the Dakar. All 6 Enduro World Championship titles go to KTM.
2006 – The partnership with Polaris is dramatically downgraded. KTM announces that from now on, the company will simply supply Polaris with a few motors for ATVs.
In the business year 05/06 record sales at KTM – for the first time over EUR 500 million were achieved. A total of 84,421 motorcycles sold. This positive growth has been caused in the offroad segment by the introduction of further models and in the street segment by the successful presentation of the new models (990 Adventure, 950 Super Enduro) and the in sales (950 Supermoto) in the 2-cylinder segment. 9 riders world championship titles, 7 manufacturers titles – 136 World Championship titles overall.
2007 – The company supplies all the 125cc motorcycles for the Red Bull Rookies Cup.
The extremely positive feedback at the world premiere of the KTM X-Bow at the Geneva International Motor Show has turned the balance: The Upper Austrian company will go into series production with the lightweight sports car.
An experiment if there ever was one, KTM builds the ultimate go-kart in the X-Bow.
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 – Wanting to get its feet wet in road racing, KTM enters a factory-backed team fielding RC8s in the IDM (German) championship. At the end of the year, factory rider Stefen Nebel ties for the championship.
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.
2010 – KTM does the impossible and brings home all Motocross World Championship titles. Antonio Cairoli wins the MX1 class on the revolutionary 350 SX-F while Marvin Musquin secures the MX2 title and Steffi Laier the WMX title.
The long awaited 125 Duke is successfully launched worldwide.
The 990 SMR and SMT models are introduced
2011 – Marc Coma wins the motorcycle class in the Dakar rally first time out on a KTM 450 Rally, marking his third win and KTM’s 10th consecutive win.
The Duke 690 4 is unveiled at EICMA. Also introduced is the Duke 200.
2012 – 2012 marks the most successful year in the history of KTM. With more than 107,000 vehicles sold and a turnover of the EUR 610 million KTM steps up to the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in Europe. 20 world championship titles, the 12th successive victory at the Dakar and the first rider’s title on asphalt with Sandro Cortese in Moto3 underline this outstanding performance. Ryan Dungey’s took home the 450cc Motocross Championship.
Cyril Despres wins the motorcycle class in the Dakar rally on a KTM 450 Rally; an unbelievable 11th straight win for KTM, and a fourth win for Despres.
European Junior Cup series launched.
The Duke 690 R is unveiled at EICMA. A new model, the Duke 390 is also introduced.
2013 – KTM kicks off the year with a strong team representation in the Dakar including South Africans Darryl Curtis and Riaan van Niekerk in the Broadlink KTM ‘B’ Team. When the rally ends in Santiago on 19th January, Cyril Despres has won his fifth Dakar title, KTM a 12th consecutive win and KTM riders and machines occupy the top five places.
Ken Roczen wins The 250cc West Supercross Championship
*Photos provided by KTM