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KTM’s story reaches back to 1934 when Hans Trunkenpolz opened a car and motorcycle repair workshop in Mattighofen, Austria. Trukenpolz enjoyed success in his business, expanding his operation in subsequent years to sell new vehicles as well, which included DKW motorcycles and Opel automobiles. Once the war concluded, he expanded his repair business further and decided to take on the task of manufacturing a motorcycle. This resulted, in 1951, in the R100, and by 1953 the company officially became KTM (Kraftfahrzeuge Trunkenpolz Mattighofen).
Hardships forced the brand to cease motorcycle production in 1959, entering into a new phase focused on moped production. KTM’s hiatus from motorcycle manufacturing didn’t last long, with additional motorcycle models coming to life during the final years of the decade. The most substantial of these, the Penton 125, marked a major shift toward dirt bikes and off-road racing successes. This led, in the early ’70s, to KTM creating its own 250cc motocross machine as well as an enduro motorcycle.
Later decades saw KTM further develop its line of engines and models, marking milestones such as creating the first liquid-cooled 125cc motocross dirt bike and being the first company to utilize disc brakes front and rear on an off-road motorcycle. However, more difficulties lay ahead, with the brand filing bankruptcy in 1991. Stefan Pierer took over and leveraged the company’s relationship with designer Gerald Kiska to introduce many of the aesthetic and mechanical elements that have come to define KTM since.
Later years saw KTM acquire brands like Husaberg, WP Suspension, Husqvarna, and GasGas. It reclaimed its off-road racing dominance in series like the Dakar Rally, American Motocross and Supercross, as well as in countless FIM-sanctioned international series. Its road division expanded with unmistakable models like the Duke and Adventure ranges, and development of a race division that pushes the brand’s motorcycles further in MotoGP and other roadrace series. Today, KTM has some of the most sought-after adventure motorcycles, a diverse range of off-road bikes, and an impressive array of streetbikes for all skill levels.