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KTM's 20 year dominance: Has any other manufacturer accomplished so much in 2 decades?

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Since 2000, KTM has dominated virtually every aspect of motorcycle racing and recreational riding. 

For the past 2 decades KTM went from a boutique European bike to complete dominance in both racing and recreational riding.  

In the recessional off road world, they are the #1 bike in the woods. Go to any local staging area,  trail,  poker run, or event, and it's a sea of orange.  Their sales far surpass and other competitor.

During the past 20 years KTM has recognized and reacted to the market brilliantly with focusing on the 2-stroke dirt bikes as the Japanese manufacturers abandoned them. They continued to develop their 2-strokes and offered the ever popular 200 and 300's. 

Early on they recognized the desire and need for light weight  4-strokes with electric start, and the RFS line was unbelievably successful. An electric start woods dedicated 4-stroke in 2001 was unheard of.  

They filled voids in lineups with 200's, 400's, 500's etc when the others only offered 250 or 450's. KTM progress pushed and created the 350, which became highly popular and a top seller.

They recognized early that a emissions compliant street legal dirt bike was highly desired and in '07 offered their RFS 450 and 525's and continued ever since in offering these highly desirable bikes. 

KTM jumped into to adventure bikes early as well recognized the huge trend in that arena and when the only high performance adventure bikes available where BMW, KTM offered a variety of cc's to best suit your adventure riding needs from street legal dirt bikes, to the 690, 990, 1190 and now 790. 

KTM during this time period did something that the naysayers said was foolish,  would bankrupt them and could not be done, the created a SX bike to compete with the Japanese dominated MX world.  KTM proceeded to then win in the SX/MX world in a relatively short period of time.  A European manufacturer hadn't successfully been in SX for several decades prior. Now, they have several titles. 

They even have the mini SX series keeping the next generation involved in the sport.  

KTM did the same in motoGP. They entered that arena where Japanese and Ducati had dominance and within 3 years placed bikes on the podium.  No one thought this was possible as historically it takes manufacturers new to the motoGP world many years to figure out how to build a successful bike to compete in this very expensive sport. 

Their off road racing dominance may never be surpassed both here in the US and abroad with GNCC titles from Russell and Mullins dating back for almost 10 years as well as Knight and Salmenin. National Enduro KTM's are the #1 winning manufacturer for over a decade. 

Internationally, Extreme Enduro KTM's have been almost exclusively the winning manufacturer.  Dakar nothing but KTM's for a decade plus until last year.  

You'd be hard pressed to find a form of off road racing where KTM hasn't been either the top or near the top.  Baja is the only one that comes to mind.  

In the meantime,  they absorbed 3 other manufacturers, and have been continuously pushing the progress of dirt bike technology, never resting for long in previous successes. Offering new bikes in their lineups,  leading the way in 2-stroke emissions compliant bikes keeping the 2-strokes alive and well for the future.  

It would be hard to find a more meteoric rise in the history of the industry. Honda in the 70's and 80's possibly. 

It would also be hard to argue against KTM's being instrumental in keeping our sport alive and thriving. Their impact from the last 20 years will be felt for decades to come.

 

Edited by firffighter
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18 year old KDM. Still dominating my wallet. She's worth it though. Note that the RFS 520 debuted in 2000 (you mentioned 2001). The e-start (and kicker) works great.

338BA867-F7AD-4506-8BE9-8A66366B1264.thumb.jpeg.4e468bb6ee9b7752fedee4e1f4c4331e.jpeg

 

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1 hour ago, firffighter said:

Since 2000, KTM has dominated virtually every aspect of motorcycle racing and recreational riding. 

For the past 2 decades KTM went from a boutique European bike to complete dominance in both racing and recreational riding.  

In the recessional off road world, they are the #1 bike in the woods. Go to any local staging area,  trail,  poker run, or event, and it's a sea of orange.  Their sales far surpass and other competitor.

During the past 20 years KTM has recognized and reacted to the market brilliantly with focusing on the 2-stroke dirt bikes as the Japanese manufacturers abandoned them. They continued to develop their 2-strokes and offered the ever popular 200 and 300's. 

Early on they recognized the desire and need for light weight  4-strokes with electric start, and the RFS line was unbelievably successful. An electric start woods dedicated 4-stroke in 2001 was unheard of.  

They filled voids in lineups with 200's, 400's, 500's etc when the others only offered 250 or 450's. KTM progress pushed and created the 350, which became highly popular and a top seller.

They recognized early that a emissions compliant street legal dirt bike was highly desired and in '07 offered their RFS 450 and 525's and continued ever since in offering these highly desirable bikes. 

KTM jumped into to adventure bikes early as well recognized the huge trend in that arena and when the only high performance adventure bikes available where BMW, KTM offered a variety of cc's to best suit your adventure riding needs from street legal dirt bikes, to the 690, 990, 1190 and now 790. 

KTM during this time period did something that the naysayers said was foolish,  would bankrupt them and could not be done, the created a SX bike to compete with the Japanese dominated MX world.  KTM proceeded to then win in the SX/MX world in a relatively short period of time.  A European manufacturer hadn't successfully been in SX for several decades prior. Now, they have several titles. 

They even have the mini SX series keeping the next generation involved in the sport.  

KTM did the same in motoGP. They entered that arena where Japanese and Ducati had dominance and within 3 years placed bikes on the podium.  No one thought this was possible as historically it takes manufacturers new to the motoGP world many years to figure out how to build a successful bike to compete in this very expensive sport. 

Their off road racing dominance may never be surpassed both here in the US and abroad with GNCC titles from Russell and Mullins dating back for almost 10 years as well as Knight and Salmenin. National Enduro KTM's are the #1 winning manufacturer for over a decade. 

Internationally, Extreme Enduro KTM's have been almost exclusively the winning manufacturer.  Dakar nothing but KTM's for a decade plus until last year.  

You'd be hard pressed to find a form of off road racing where KTM hasn't been either the top or near the top.  Baja is the only one that comes to mind.  

In the meantime,  they absorbed 3 other manufacturers, and have been continuously pushing the progress of dirt bike technology, never resting for long in previous successes. Offering new bikes in their lineups,  leading the way in 2-stroke emissions compliant bikes keeping the 2-strokes alive and well for the future.  

It would be hard to find a more meteoric rise in the history of the industry. Honda in the 70's and 80's possibly. 

It would also be hard to argue against KTM's being instrumental in keeping our sport alive and thriving. Their impact from the last 20 years will be felt for decades to come.

 

...just like the big four Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawi from about '75 to 2005...thirty years of dominating innovation. 👍😀

 

 

Edited by SlowDinoDog
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11 minutes ago, SlowDinoDog said:

KTM has a good business model...sell high priced premium toys for the affluent. 👍

Its an old model...winning race teams sell production bikes. 👍

Right, cuz the Japanese bikes are like half the cost of a ktm! :bonk:

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KTM also has done something that the Japanese manufacturers won't do: need to develop a light weight four stroke off road bike but realize your current LC4 is a stupidly overweight pig?  Buy someone who does make that lightweight engine (Husaberg) and refine their engine into the RFS.

The 350 was no brain child of KTM.  You can all thank Luongo for that with his telling all the manufacturers that he was going to make the top class in MXGP a 350cc affair because 450s were too big/fast.  KTM built the bike while all the Japanese manufacturers told him to pound sand.  So they still race 450s, and now KTM has a 350 that sells more than their 250s and 450s combined.  Kind of dumb luck, really.

BMW is still considered the king of Adventure bikes.  Probably always will.  Credit KTM for going with the mantra of making the most dirt worthy versions, and at least starting with just making their Dakar race bikes street legal.  The Japanese just never really would go that far with the 80s and 80s Africa Twins, Teneres, etc...

KTM has done very well in the last 2 decades.

Have they done what Honda did from 1960 to 1980?  I would argue that no, they have not.  Heck, Honda probably did more between 1965 and 1975...  KTM hasn't wiped anyone off the face of the Earth (unless you count buying them up).  Honda destroyed the entire British motorcycle industry with their innovation and success.

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3 minutes ago, eastreich said:

KTM also has done something that the Japanese manufacturers won't do: need to develop a light weight four stroke off road bike but realize your current LC4 is a stupidly overweight pig?  Buy someone who does make that lightweight engine (Husaberg) and refine their engine into the RFS.

The 350 was no brain child of KTM.  You can all thank Luongo for that with his telling all the manufacturers that he was going to make the top class in MXGP a 350cc affair because 450s were too big/fast.  KTM built the bike while all the Japanese manufacturers told him to pound sand.  So they still race 450s, and now KTM has a 350 that sells more than their 250s and 450s combined.  Kind of dumb luck, really.

BMW is still considered the king of Adventure bikes.  Probably always will.  Credit KTM for going with the mantra of making the most dirt worthy versions, and at least starting with just making their Dakar race bikes street legal.  The Japanese just never really would go that far with the 80s and 80s Africa Twins, Teneres, etc...

KTM has done very well in the last 2 decades.

Have they done what Honda did from 1960 to 1980?  I would argue that no, they have not.  Heck, Honda probably did more between 1965 and 1975...  KTM hasn't wiped anyone off the face of the Earth (unless you count buying them up).  Honda destroyed the entire British motorcycle industry with their innovation and success.

KTM ADV bikes are the con.

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I you like KTMs, can feel confident on them, accept the "ready to race"  line as marketing BS, good for you life is easy.  I'm one of the minority I guess.  Like Glock pistols, they just feel very unnatural to me. 

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I anticipated this topic would bring out the typical KTM haters.

The intent was to point to the fact that no other manufacturer has done more in the past 20 years. 

They are not perfect or faultless,  but when you see myriads of 10-20 year old KTM's still being ridden on a regular basis and hundreds of hours and 10's of thousands of miles on them,  it's a testament to their successful run.

They have continually led the way in the industry with electric starters on 2-strokes, the aforementioned 350, 200 and 150 2-strokes, counterbalance, and now TPI. 

Love or hate KTM's, but they are leading the way in the industry and have for a very long time.  Their results in both sales dominance and race superiority are undeniable.  

I personally have zero brand loyalties with a dozen KTM's,  4 Gasgas,  2 Beta's,  and a multitude of Japanese bikes.  

 

 

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There's a really good reason that KTM bikes cost more yet when you line up at a race and look up and down the line it's 80% KTMs (of one color or another).   KTM gives the people what they want.  Watching the Japanese trying to convince everyone that people didn't want 2-strokes anymore was pretty painful.  It's kind of like watching someone try to beat themselves to death with a brick.  Pretty sad for the Japanese.

Doc

Edited by Doc_d
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To have success in 1 arena is one thing,  but to be highly successful in Enduro,  Adventure,  SX/MX, and now MotoGP is really unprecedented. 

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6 minutes ago, firffighter said:

I anticipated this topic would bring out the typical KTM haters.

Don't count me as a hater.  I have a white one and an orange one in my fleet currently, and like them a lot.  Most of my friends have them as well.  Debate is down to another Austrian or a Beta for the next bike.  I'm just not going to run around drunk on the KoolAid posting for clicks; what I really want to say is only appropriate over in Pro.

But KTM hasn't parted the Red Sea.  They have taken advantage of other's financial misfortunes to gobble them up, benefited from others $ (Bajaj and RedBull), have some laws that helped them substantially (the Japanese couldn't legally build something like the EXC at first, the same way Beta can be more lax on some US regs now), had the light manufacturing capability to jump on the 350 when Guiseppe was pushing for it, and have taken advantage of being the small player compared to the significantly larger Japanese companies that have to move at a much slower rate.

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12 minutes ago, firffighter said:

To have success in 1 arena is one thing,  but to be highly successful in Enduro,  Adventure,  SX/MX, and now MotoGP is really unprecedented. 

Throwing Adventure in there is hilarious.

How is KTM doing with nakeds?  Oh wait, the Aprillias are still considered the gold standard by most testers with the Ducs not far behind. 

How is KTM doing with superbikes?  Oh wait, they quit.

How is KTM doing with standards, scooters, cruisers, UTVs, ATVs?  Oh wait, they don't even compete.

You are making me want to sell both my Husqvarna and KTM today and go buy a Beta. 

Honda in the 80s and early 90s excelled at all of those things, at the same time if we are counting Adventure as Dakar because that is all it was back then.  The late 80s/early 90s Africa Twin was the bike to have in the fledgling ADV category over the Tenere, GS, Elefant, etc...

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I think Husky kicked ass in the 60’s to 80’s. Actually Beta has made a meteoric rise surpassing from an rfs motored bike in 2005 to a full Beta line of great off-road bikes now. KTM also has been in the game with enduro bikes since the 60’s too right? It’s a lot longer  than 20 years swinging.. So Penton was a KTM but before. KTM was smart and snatched up failing brands along the way and took advantage of Japan going into an economic recession and pulling back on selling 2 strokes. So they filled the hole of all those japanese bikes leaving and dirt bike riders looking for a decent off-road bike. 

Edited by hawaiidirtrider
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You said:

 Has any other manufacturer accomplished so much in 2 decades?

Then you said:

49 minutes ago, firffighter said:

The intent was to point to the fact that no other manufacturer has done more in the past 20 years. 

So which is it?

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1 hour ago, SlowDinoDog said:

whether Jap or Euro...off-road only bikes.. are high priced premium toys for the affluent.

Define affluent. Middle class? If middle class aren't buying dirt bikes, they'd buy something else. Disposable income always buys stuff the consumer wants. Consumerism. :blah:

A segment of society does not have disposable income. Not my problem. Not KTM's problem. Not Japanese OEM motorcycle manufacturer's problem either.

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16 minutes ago, shrubitup said:

Define affluent. Middle class? If middle class aren't buying dirt bikes, they'd buy something else. Disposable income always buys stuff the consumer wants. Consumerism. :blah:

A segment of society does not have disposable income. Not my problem. Not KTM's problem. Not Japanese OEM motorcycle manufacturer's problem either.

Exactly.. regular middle class and lower Americans can be considered affluent... depending on how one looks at it... Look we are in the midst of a pandemic and people are still buying new bikes and cars etc. Some don’t and a bunch more than I expected are not acting frugal at all. Then again Americans are well versed in living beyond their means and living with lots of debt. 
 
:bonk:

https://www.npr.org/2020/02/13/805760560/u-s-credit-card-debt-hits-all-time-high-and-overdue-payments-rise-for-young-peop

 

This was in Feb 2020. Imagine how &%$#@!ed it is now. What happened to live within your means and save?

Edited by hawaiidirtrider

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