We all know KTM because this brand has won many off-road racing awards.

The KTM brand focuses on manufacturing off-road motorcycles known for their strong performance. KTM riders are often more adventurous, which is why they enjoy riding on small roads, rough terrain, and muddy trails. That’s why people often say, “KTM loves playing in the mud.”

In 1934, Austrian engineer Hans Trunkenpolz established an assembly plant and automotive repair shop in a place called Mattighofen in northern Austria, and named it KTM.

In 1937, KTM entered the motorcycle field and began selling DKW motorcycles. You may not be familiar with DKW, but you definitely know Audi. Audi is an automobile brand that was formed by the merger of DKW, Audi, Horch, and Wanderer.

In 1939, World War II broke out. During the war, KTM gradually developed into the largest repair shop in Austria, specializing in diesel engine maintenance.

After the end of World War II, the demand for combat repair work drastically decreased, and KTM was forced to switch gears and consider producing its own motorcycles. Germany, as a defeated country, faced restrictions on industrial production, and even BMW had to obtain permission from the United States in 1947 to produce its first motorcycle.

KTM was also affected by these circumstances. It was not until 1951 that their first motorcycle, the R100, was introduced. In the same year, they participated in a local motorcycle race and achieved third place. While the engine was produced by a subsidiary of Bombardier, all other components of this motorcycle were manufactured in-house.

In 1953, the R100 entered mass production, but KTM only had 20 employees at that time, resulting in a production rate of three motorcycles per day. Surprisingly, with this manufacturing speed, KTM delivered 1,000 motorcycles in a year and also won the Austrian National Championship in the 125cc category.

In 1956, KTM participated in the International Six Days Enduro, the oldest off-road motorcycle race in history, and won the championship.

In 1970, KTM started producing its own 250cc engine, marking the first step in independent research and development, laying a solid foundation for future growth.

By 1971, KTM had increased its workforce to 400 employees and offered 42 different models in its product lineup. At this time, KTM not only focused on civilian motorcycles but also produced professional motorcycles exclusively for racing in the motorcycle racing industry.

Regenerate response

In 1973, KTM introduced its highly renowned Enduro models. That same year, the Austrian team, predominantly racing with KTM motorcycles, secured the off-road motorcycle world championship by breaking the world record once again.

In 1988, the four major Japanese motorcycle manufacturers—Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Kawasaki—entered the motorcycle market. With better quality and higher fuel efficiency, the Japanese brands almost overnight dominated the lightweight motorcycle market. As a result, KTM ceased its production of scooter motorcycles that year.

The following year, 51% of KTM’s shares were sold. Despite KTM’s continued success in off-road motorcycle races worldwide, it did not significantly contribute to the company’s financial performance. Austrian politician Josef Taus led the acquisition of KTM in 1989, aiming to bring KTM back to its peak.

In 1991, the poorly managed KTM company filed for bankruptcy. At that time, KTM consisted of four divisions: motorcycles, radiators, bicycles, and tools.

In 1992, the motorcycle division of KTM was restructured and named KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH. The Austrian spirit of perseverance and the mindset of “getting up from where you fall” deeply permeated every KTM employee. Even after the establishment of the new company, KTM continued to strive towards becoming the king of off-road motorcycles.

In 1993, KTM’s perseverance quickly paid off. They achieved victories in all five classes at the American Atlas Rally, once again dominating the racing scene.

Since then, KTM has entered an unstoppable phase. In 2001, they won the Dakar Rally in their second participation and held onto that record for 18 years. In 2010, KTM’s racing bikes claimed the titles of all 172 off-road motorcycle world championships held that year, earning the well-deserved title of “Off-Road King.”

In 2011, the orange storm continued as KTM secured its 10th Dakar Rally trophy, conquering the world’s most challenging off-road race. In the following years, KTM won numerous honors, particularly in off-road and extreme cold weather challenges.

In 2012, two significant events occurred. First, KTM participated in the MotoGP3 championship. Second, they collaborated with Bajaj, the second-largest motorcycle manufacturer in India, to develop the Duke 200 and successfully introduced it to the market, making KTM the second-largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world. As of now, KTM has won a total of 213 world championships.