About KTM Bikes
The all-bright orange, white and black minimalistic two-wheelers, from the brand KTM, are a common sight in the urban and metro cities in India today. These ktm bikes are ‘naked’ bikes (a naked bike is a sport bike stripped of its fairing and adapted to regular street use[i]), and meant for the city use. They have a monocoque body and are designed for urban road conditions and easy maneuvering.
KTM is an Austrian brand, and its inception dates to the 1940’s. Johann Trunkenpolz, was the known founder of the company, who started off as a locksmith with metal works in his hometown, Mattighofen. His shop was named ‘Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen’, when he started selling motorcycles and cars, towards the end of the decade. They dealt with repairs also and towards the turn of the decade, they got into manufacturing.
By 1953, Ernst Kronreif, a businessman, owned a considerable stake in the company and rechristened the unit as ‘Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen’[ii]. This name was popularly abbreviated as KTM after the founder, the town where the firm originated and the businessman behind the expansion of the company. The brand pre-dominantly manufactured motorcycles, with an inclination towards racing events, owing to the fact that Racing was their testing ground for technology and production abilities.
In 1980’s, the two founders passed away, and the heir of Trunkenpolz took over the company and renamed it to ‘Kraftfahrzeug Trunkenpolz Mattighofen’. Under his leadership, the company went into production of scooters and mopeds. The company did not do as well and filed for insolvency in 1991. The company was split into 4 different subsidiaries in 1992, after acquisition by the banks.
By 1994, the company viewed stability and by 1995, acquired the Swedish motorcycle manufacturer Husaberg. The taglinie of KTM, ‘Ready to Race’[iii] was adopted from Husaberg post the acquisition. The Duke series of motorbikes was started during this time-frame at the production unit at Mattighofen.
In 2007, Bajaj Auto announced the acquisition of 14.5% stake in the Power sports division of KTM. By 2012, Bajaj auto had 78% stake in KTM in India. Chakan, Pune in India houses the manufacturing unit of KTM. The four bikes manufactured in Chakan — Duke 200 and Duke 390 in the naked bike category and RC 200 and RC 390 in super-sports bikes[iv] — are co-developed by KTM and Bajaj for the global market.
KTM Track Days and Orange days are an aggressive marketing strategy by the company to popularize the sport-spirit within the bike. This strategy has worked extremely well and is evident from the expansion of the ktm bike sales within the country. The track day and orange days are events where a venue is hired exclusively for the event and bikers can enjoy the thrill of motorbiking by turning the throttle on a KTM bikes!