Two years ago, dealers at the KTM North America business meeting in Nashville were teased by a display of the company's 990cc Superduke. They were told the bike signified the future of the Austrian company's on-road effort. What they weren't told is how long they would have to wait for it.
While the 990cc Superduke appeared in Europe as a 2005 model, the bike wasn't made available on this continent. Furthermore, dealers at the manufacturer's most recent business meeting, held last month in Columbus, Ohio, didn't see it there as an '06 model either.
Company officials told Powersports Business that the decision to keep the 990 out of the United States for another year resulted from the dealer network itself.
“With KTM, you have a company that has always been doing business in the off-road market, so the move to a product for the road is something that we feel is best accomplished in stages,” said KTM Sportmotorcycle Strategic Product Planner Winfried Kerschhaggl. “Many of our dealers in Europe have experience selling product for the road. Here, we have a network experienced in selling our off-road product.”
Kerschhaggl, responsible for future development of the KTM model line, said the plan is to slowly introduce an on-road product line to North America in an effort to allow dealers to adjust to the new market.
He said the company's initial on-road offering, the 2004 950 Adventure, was an on-road/off-road bike that appeared to be home in the dirt. He said the company's 2006 950 Supermoto ($12,998) is an on-road/off-road bike more suited to road-going endeavors.
Now expected for 2007, the 990 should serve as KTM's pinnacle on-road offering.
Sure, it's called a supermoto, and it kind of looks like a supermoto, but look a little closer and you'll see the makings of a super agile naked sportbike.
Check out the specifications: The carbed 75° four-stroke V-twin displaces 942 cc and produces 96 hp at 8.000 rpm and 69 ft. lb. of torque at 6.500 rpm. Power is transferred via a six-speed dog-clutch engagement.
The 421-lb. bike rides on an upside-down 48 mm WP fork and rear WP-Monoshock and features 200 mm of suspension travel in front and 210 mm in the rear. Stopping power to the 120/70 ZR 17 front comes from dual Brembo four-piston calipers and radial mounted dual 305mm brake discs. The 180/55-17 rear tire is reeled in hard with a two-piston Brembo caliper and 240mm rear disc.
Born with off-road roots but equally at home on the road is the 2006 625 SMC ($8,598). Featuring a liquid-cooled 625cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine, the carbed bike produces 28 hp at 6000 rpm and 30 ft. lb. of torque at 3250 rpm. Power is transferred through a five-speed, dog-clutch engagement.
Chassis set-up on the 322-lb. bike includes a 48mm upside-down WP fork and rear Monoshock suspension. Brembo four-piston floating calipers and 320 mm discs halt the 120/70-17 front rubber while a single-piston floating caliper and 220 mm disc slows the 160/60-17 rear.
The final road-going offerings from KTM for 2006 are the returning 950 Adventure ($13,898) and 950 Adventure S ($13,998).
For riders interested in competition, there's the track-only 450 SMR ($7,698) and 560 SMR ($7,998) supermotard bikes; two-stroke SX bikes including the 85 SX ($4,298), 125 SX ($5,398) and 250 SX ($6,298); and four-stroke SX bikes including the 250 SX-F ($6,598), 450 SX ($6,998) and 525 SX ($7,098).
The enduro line-up consists of the 400 EXC ($7,398), 450 EXC ($7,598) and 525 EXC ($7,798); and cross-country enthusiasts should look for the two-stroke 200 XC ($5,748), 200 XC-W ($5,998), 250 XC ($6,348), 250 XC-W ($6,498), 300 XC ($6,548) and 300 XC-W ($6,698), as well as the four-stroke 450 XC ($7,448) and 525 XC ($7,648).
Finally, KTM's 2006 mini line features the air-cooled 50 Mini Adventure ($1,798) and 50 Senior Adventure ($2,148); and the liquid-cooled 50 SX Junior ($3,298), 50 SX ($3,598) and 65 SX ($3,748).
“We just had a dealer survey completed regarding the results of the business meeting and had a lot of positive comments about the new bikes, training, and the break-out sessions that were offered,” said KTM's Scot Harden. “I think there was a lot there that really enthused folks.”
KTM Sportmotorcycle AG, Mattighofen, Austria, had sales of approximately $490 million in 2004. KTM North America, Inc. just ended its 2005 fiscal year with sales of more than 21,000 units producing in excess of $100 million. KTM officials said sales in the U.S. and Canada averaged a nearly 20% annual increase per year during the past 10 years.
- Guido Ebert