Kronreif & Trunkenpolz Mattighofen (KTM) produced in 1954 the first serious motorcycle, but it's taken 50 years to produce the big-bore V-twin RC8 engine. KTM has an ambitious target for the future. They want to be bigger than BMW, Ducati and Triumph. Bigger than every European motorcycle manufacturer. It's a huge goal and while KTM have the expertise to make it possible, it's far from certain.
Their first serious sportsbike, the 1190 RC8, went into production almost 3-years ago. In the world of cutting-edge-performance motorcycles, we'll have seen three models of GSX-R1000 from the day the RC8 was first introduced. The motorcycle market is always moving, sometimes as fast as the fastest motorcycle.
KTM, as everybody knows, is most commonly known for its off-road motorcycles, but that was not always so, and with the help of technical partners KTM is for the last year developing road going motorcycles for specific markets. According to president Stefan Pierer, a KTM 250 Duke is being developed which could even be ready within 18 months’ time. The only way KTM are going to become a big force is by having the best products, and products people love to buy. 'We need to be the best' as KTM like to say. KTM needs motorcycles for specific markets. The engine needs more performance than anything comparable in the market.
But by showing a concept motorcycle early, KTM runs the risk of one of the most striking performance motorcycles ever designed becoming stale before its time. The timescale for the coming new KTM motorcycle is admittedly long, but it takes a long time to get things right – especially when we're entering a new sector of business. We want the new motorcycle to be the best around. The light sportsbike market is one of the most competitive and we need to tempt people from other machines.
There are currently two prototypes built for dynamic evaluation, but the motorcycle will be in the dealers by 2012. Some people might think that it has its impact by then, but KTM will not release the motorcycle until it is very good. It will be worth the wait.
Off-road machines will always be the key to the business, but KTM sees building a strong road motorcycle arm as being very important for growth. We want people to respect and be impressed by them, KTM said.