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Rogue_Ryder

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  1. KTM has fast become a viable player in the Motorcycle World: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-12/motorcycle-maker-ktm-passes-harley-and-aims-at-kawasaki Motorcycle Maker KTM Passes Harley and Aims at Kawasaki An Austrian upstart wants to break into the top three globally. By Richard WeissJune 11, 2019, 10:01 PM MDT In 1991, Stefan Pierer took over KTM, a failing Austrian manufacturer of motorcycles trying to counter aggressive rivals from Japan. A no-nonsense turnaround expert who at age 35 had already revived and auctioned off makers of ski boots and building materials, Pierer figured he’d spend a few years fixing KTM before moving on to the next challenge. Fast forward 28 years, and KTM is building as many bikes in a week as it did in the whole year when Pierer took over. It just surpassed Harley-Davidson Inc. as the leading motorcycle maker outside of Asia. And Pierer is still in charge, with a fortune valued at more than $1 billion thanks to his success at KTM. “The quality at the time was so poor we were mocked,” he says. “But every crisis is also an opportunity.” KTM is now gunning to become one of the top three manufacturers of full-size motorcycles. In the past decade, Pierer has more than quadrupled sales even as the European market for two-wheelers shrank 14%. He says new designs and a greater focus on Asia will help him reach annual sales of 400,000 by 2022, which would put him within striking distance of today’s No. 3, Kawasaki Motors Co. Still, by many measures KTM remains a bit player. Although last year it sold 261,000 bikes—35,000 more than Harley did—the American company generates three times KTM’s revenue of $1.75 billion, because most of its bikes are far more expensive. Including smaller models such as mopeds and scooters, KTM is still behind Piaggio Group (the maker of Vespa) in Europe. And globally it’s an also-ran. Honda Motor Co., for instance, sold 20 million two-wheelers last year, and No. 2 Yamaha Motor Co. sold 5.4 million. Being based in Europe presents assorted challenges: Sales in the region have stagnated since 2010, at about 1 million bikes per year, and stricter rules on emissions and noise threaten to further depress them. “Making motorbikes cleaner and quieter costs a lot of money, and so does developing electric engines,” says Jürgen Pieper, an analyst at Bankhaus Metzler in Frankfurt. “A brand like KTM that’s known for sports and racing may find it difficult to maintain its image while adopting more environment-friendly technologies.” KTM dominates Mattighofen, the town of 6,000 just south of the German border where it was founded in 1934. As Austria emerged from the rubble of World War II, KTM churned out inexpensive, durable two-wheelers to help a broken nation hit the road again. Over the next four decades, founder Hans Trunkenpolz and his son Erich built KTM into a national icon with bikes suited to Austria’s rugged Alpine terrain. But when Erich died on Christmas Eve in 1989 at age 57 with no heirs, the company ended up in the hands of outside investors with little industry knowledge who soon rode it into insolvency. Enter Pierer, who’d been introduced to KTM by acquaintances working with the company. He paid only $4 million ($7 million today) and quickly dropped mopeds and street bikes to focus on off-road motorcycles. In 1993 he sent a team on the three-week Paris-Dakar rally, an unforgiving trek across the Sahara Desert. After a bumpy start, KTM has won the competition every year since 2001, creating a mystique that’s made the bikes must-haves for motocross fans worldwide. Pierer reintroduced road models two decades ago, and today they make up about half of sales. Then in 2007 he formed a partnership with India’s Bajaj Auto Ltd. The company is the world’s largest maker of three-wheelers—used as taxis in developing countries—but it lacked technologies such as four-stroke engines, fuel injection, and anti-lock brakes. In exchange for updating Bajaj’s offerings, KTM gained a manufacturing base with wages just a fraction of those in Austria and a strong dealership network in the world’s biggest market for motor­cycles. The companies are developing small electric models to be built in India and sold under both brands. In 2013, Pierer spotted an opportunity to supercharge his expansion: buying Husqvarna from BMW AG, which had bought the Swedish nameplate a few years earlier but decided the off-road brand didn’t fit the German com­pany’s lineup of highway rockets. Husqvarna helped KTM achieve something akin to the auto industry’s strategy of making multiple models based on almost identical parts. The two brands today share engines, suspensions, gearboxes, and other components but retain separate identities vis-à-vis consumers. “KTM and Husqvarna are rivals on the racetrack and when it comes to sales,” Pierer says. “For everything else, they are family.” His aim now is to do something similar with Ducati, the spicy Italian nameplate that Volkswagen AG is considering selling, and Triumph, a venerable British brand that’s been struggling to sustain its growth. The companies each sold about 60,000 motor­cycles last year—too small, Pierer says, to effectively compete. He’s seeking tieups that would benefit all parties by spreading development costs across a larger number of bikes. “We’re savaging ourselves in Europe,” Pierer says. “Let’s create a united European motorcycle company.” Triumph says it has no plans to sell. Pierer has made his share of missteps. A partnership with U.S. off-road vehicle maker Polaris Industries Inc., which owns the classic Indian Motorcycle brand, foundered over strategic differences. KTM’s first four-wheeler, a $135,000 roadster called the X-Bow that was introduced in 2007, never really took off. Dealers say aggressive sales targets in recent years have required heavy discounts to move inventory, threatening the brand’s value. And Pierer missed an opportunity to buy KTM’s bicycle business, which is now thriving under a separate owner. The pedal-bike unit would have given Pierer a stronger foothold in electric bikes, which he expects to account for the bulk of commuter cycles within five years. Although he’s sold 5,000 full-size electric motorcycles since 2014, he says the technology is expensive and ill-suited to such bikes, because the high voltage needed to power them can be dangerous. But he predicts that about a quarter of KTM’s 2025 revenue will come from battery-powered mopeds and pedal-electric cycles. “E-bikes are becoming a huge deal,” Pierer says. “The market has exploded, and as a large manufacturer, you have to be there.” —With Matthias Wabl
  2. Of all the places I've ridden in the West; UTAH hands down is where I'd move. California has the best riding without a doubt. Talk all the trash you want about traffic (only really an issue in SFbay & LA) and leftists, the riding is top notch even fairly close to the big cities. They really have it all there, technical mountain single track, dunes, desert, and the weather is amazing. BUT it's difficult to live there and be a working stiff. So I can't recommend it unless you're independently wealthy. Colorado another hot bed, GREAT place to live (or was); BUT there is not much in the way of legal single track on the front range (where most people live and work). The largest concentration of single track on the front range is at a place called Rampart but everyone knows it and if you value your neck you won't want to ride there on the weekend as everything is 2 way traffic and head ons do occur. There is really good stuff in the state but you'll need to drive hours to get to it (Montrose, Fruita, Gould, Salida/BV). Boulder County has 0 miles of legal single track, but 100s of miles of trails that you can ride at the risk of loosing your bike and getting a steep fine. Utah, just as beautiful as Colorado, has industry and loads of amazing trails. Winters can be cold but there's almost a year round riding season between the mountains and desert. Plus in the Winter it's a good excuse to go powder skiing or get a sled. If I could move my job from Boulder to Provo I'd do it in a minute. Better Skiing, Better Riding, Cheaper cost of living, etc. Although I'm not a big drinker and I don't use drugs; which from my limited perspective is why a lot of the transplants in Denver turn their noses up when someone talks about UT. Well that and the whole Mormon thing; and while I'm not in the LDS I've had nothing but positive experiences with members of the LDS. Buddy of mine just got back from Sandpoint Idaho was looking to move there from Golden; said he won't do it because the short days in the winters and long drive to the airport. The short winter days and lack of sun were something I never thought of until he mentioned it (we get 300 days of sun in Colorado). Said he'll keep going back for trips but logistically not the best place to take up permanent residency.
  3. If he's out riding the 150F's suspension he'll be out riding the 230s suspension as well. The 230F engine and gearing is definitely adequate for going slow up goat tracks but once you wick it up the low end suspension quickly rears its ugly head. You get 50% more engine but 5% better suspension (not exactly, but hopefully you can get the point). The best bike (if you were tall enough) to graduate to was the XR250 it was a real tame engine and unless you were an A rider you weren't going to find the limits of the suspension if you wanted to pick up the pace. The 150R(B) could be a good interim bike before you go to a fullsize bike IF you can find one cheap enough. Doing or paying for mods to make it more trail worthy add up fast AnimalMother85 has a good list of mods; but if you look at the cost of the bike plus all that stuff you might be better off going with a more suitable trail bike like a Beta Xtrainer or KTM Freeride (they have ergos closer to a 230 trail bike than a race bike).
  4. Even the German bikes have had plenty of reliability problems and warranty claims. I think there's a lot more to do with the number of warranty claims than country of production and even complexity (the more complex a bike is the lower the reliability; and BMW across the board has nothing but highly complex bikes). BMWs also tend to get ridden and ridden a lot (like 2 Iron Butts in 24hrs or how about 1,000 miles a day for 20 days), not uncommon to see 100K miles on them (especially on the boxers and K bikes). There is definitely some inherent design flaws on some of the BMW models, but number of claims per bike instead of rate of claims per mile is not a totally fair comparison. Honda and Yamaha build arguably the most reliable bikes, but they also have lots of bikes that are fairly simple bikes or models that won't get ridden many miles (e.g. race reps). BMW sells more R1200GS than any other model and guys that shell out that kind of money for an ugly motorcycle are going to be riding it and not parking it in the garage and looking at it or riding it for 20mins because that's all they can tolerate (R6?) Honestly I've put a lot of miles on BMWs and the only show stopper for me in over a decade of riding them and 10s of thousands of miles, was I had sidestand safety switch fail on me on a rental bike which just happen to be one of them Chinese G650s. It's a tough balancing act, the latest and greatest bikes are a dream to ride compared to the bikes of the 70s and 80s; but they give have computers and complex electronics that can't be easily field repaid. We love to remember how "good" the bikes were back then from a simplicity standpoint but remember the braking and suspension of that era? no thanks.
  5. I've had 2 DRZs and back when there weren't many alternatives (mid-00s) it was worth doing the upgrades even after most of them you were still several thousand a head of a street legal KTM 400/450/525 EXC. Today I'd never put the money into one. If riding in comfort 2up is a high priority the RE Himalayan can't be beat! It's CHEAP too. I rode one 2up through the foothills of the Himalayas with gear and over lots of rough roads. definitely not as trail worthy but surprising capable. The G650GS Sertao is another single that I've got a lot of saddle time on and it handled offroad and interstate really well loaded up with me and camping gear (didn't do any 2up but wouldn't hesitate to take a pillion). Although it's way more expensive than a DRZ or Himalayan. The 800GS is also a good bike and it's been awhile since I rode one, but as others have said it's in another league of bike. Expensive and too heavy for real trail riding; I've taken the DRZ400 really deep into the woods in places I'd never get an F800 out of. The DRZ was a great bike when it came out in 2000. There wasn't really any competition back then, yeah the KTM RFS existed but not that many were being sold because KTM was just starting to prove themselves. The faults you cite aren't even what keeps me from ever buying one again; it's the fact that the gearing is atrocious. No 6th for the road and the 1-2 shift is so wide you could fit a gear between the 2! To the group who say "Euro bikes are too expensive" is true IF you keep your less expensive antiquated big 4 Japanese bike stock. The first time I rode a 525 I was actually mad at myself for spending so much time and money tweaking a DRZ. The fist thing that came into my head was "This is what I always wanted to the DRZ to be!". And that was a bike that was developed at the same time. I can only imagine how good the 500 is! I wouldn't recommend the 500 to the OP though as it's more geared to trail riding and not cruising 2up. But from someone who bought a DRZ and modding it they would have spent less just buying the 500 in the first place.
  6. Any larger riders riding this bike at high altitude? I'm 6' 1", 210# and ride mostly above 8,000' with some desert stuff (Fuita/Moab; single track not 90mph baja). I'm thinking about consolidating down from my yz250F and XR600 to a KTM 2T. The last one I had was a 2008 300-XC and coming from an RM250 (06) to that bike, the 300 did not fit my riding style. It turned like a truck compared to the RM and the motor was an animal when you got it on the pipe! It was nothing like your typical 250 MX two stroke. The only way I could ride that thing in the woods was a gear high all the time. I can ride the 250F like it was meant to be ridden most of the time, and it's almost the perfect bike except it gets a little heavy in the real gnarly rocks and can get a bit hot when the going gets slow.
  7. To be fair, you'd need to do a back to back test of Stock Muffler to Slip on with no Jetting mods, then Stock with ReJetting and Slip on with rejetting. Stock Jetting is extremely lean on the XR650L and just rejetting will pick up quite a few ponies and torques. Best Mod over any pipe is swapping the stock carb for a Kehin FCR carb. In my experience an unbaffled and/or no core/insert yields the most power; BUT at the expense of being extremely loud. Loud is NOT cool, I personally don't mind it, but every anti-acess tree hugger hates it as well as most of the cage drivers if riding on the street. I like my bike to be quiet so I don't draw unwanted attention and try not to be the one responsible for getting riding areas shut down.
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