Mergi la conţinut

KTM Blog

Autentifica-te  
  • postări
    232
  • comentarii
    0
  • vizualizări
    13.829

LONG LIVE THE DUKE! CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF KTM DUKE HISTORY – PART 1

Autentifica-te  
Dementor

81 vizualizări

1.1994-Duke1-1024x708.jpg

LONG LIVE THE DUKE! CELEBRATING 25 YEARS OF KTM DUKE HISTORY – PART 1

Celebrating 25 years from the release of the very first KTM 620 DUKE back in 1994, we take a closer look at the impressive history of KTM’s iconic single-cylinder machine through the last quarter of a century.

1.1994-Duke1-800x553.jpg

KTM 620 DUKE MY1994 @ KTM

With KTM starting its journey as a motorcycle manufacturer in 1953, visitors at the KTM Motohall will find three milestones in the brand’s 66-year-long history on display in Mattighofen. Alongside the R 100 [1953] and the Penton Six Day 125 [1968] – which kickstarted KTM’s rise into becoming the world’s leader for off-road bikes – visitors at the KTM Motohall can admire the model year 1994 KTM 620 DUKE, KTM’s first road bike with a 4-stroke engine.

After the former KTM Motor-Fahrzeugbau AG became insolvent, KTM Sportmotorcycle GmbH was launched in January 1992. The new company was keen to learn from the mistakes of the past when, at times, over 40 different types of machine had been in production at the same time, from bicycles to numerous different mopeds right through to off-road bikes. With this in mind, KTM focused in particular on the ultra-modern LC4 engine, a liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke engine, making it the envy of its Japanese competitors. The concept was simple: stick to just the essentials and build a high-performance and high-quality machine around the potent single-cylinder engine that was already winning in top level enduro competition.

Even the E-starter was left out to begin with. Of course, it was clear that KTM would not be able to survive in the long term with just the Hard Enduro and a small range of 2-stroke Enduros and e-start bikes, so the developers soon started thinking about a road bike, also powered by the LC4 engine. At the time, supermotard replicas were vastly popular: these were easy-to-handle motorcycles based on Enduros, but with 17-inch road wheels—the term “supermoto” was still unknown at this point. Riding these fun bikes along windy lanes could drive the riders of significantly larger motorcycles to distraction. A bike like this—practically a go kart on two wheels—was a logical choice as there was already a suitable vehicle to base it on in the KTM 620 ENDURO.

2.1993_Terminator-800x499.jpg

Terminator prototype @ KTM

KTM designer Gerald Kiska’s initial design still bore the now-long-forgotten project name “Terminator”. Nonetheless, it was nearly impossible to tell that this bike was based on the Hard Enduro. A striking front fairing with ellipsoid double headlights combined with an orange-metallic paint job gave the DUKE its unique appearance. With 50 hp, the KTM 620 DUKE was the most powerful single-cylinder on the market at the time.

There is also a nice story behind the name. Two weeks before the presentation, the exhibition bike still needed a distinctive name. Project Manager Wolfgang Felber recalls that he was on his way to the executive floor with a list of different suggestions when he ran into Kalman Cseh, who was responsible for these matters, on the stairs. Cseh liked the suggestion “Duke” right away; not so much due to its reference to legendary racer, Geoff Duke—who was almost unstoppable in the 1950s on his Norton single-cylinder bikes—but more for its royal connotations. Ultimately, the stickers designed by the graphic designers did include the English multiple world championship winner’s nickname, “The Duke”, so he was indeed honored after all.

3.1995-Duke-2nd-edit-800x527.jpg

KTM 620 DUKE MY1995 @ KTM

The DUKE—today often called DUKE I to distinguish it from later models—was only available each year in a limited run and in a certain color: orange in 1994, black in 1995, yellow in 1996, black again in 1997 and the “last edition” in 1998, which already had the larger 640-cc engine, was orange once again. So, exclusivity was also included in the price.

After this, between 1999 and 2006, the KTM 640 DUKE II was built, still considered by many to be another two-wheeled piece of art. Gerald Kiska had perfected the edge design familiar from the automotive sector for motorcycles and since then all KTM motorcycles have borne Kiska’s angular lettering. And long before anyone in the automotive industry had thought of LED headlights, the KTM 640 DUKE II was the only motorcycle recognizable as a KTM just from a glance in the mirror. This was due to its two ellipsoid headlights, one on top of the other, a unique styling element in the motorcycle sector.

For many years after the “original DUKE”, there weren’t even any KTM bikes with two headlights, let alone with two of them positioned one on top of the other. With slender cast aluminum wheels and two silencers directly underneath the seat, it was no longer possible to tell that this bike was based on an Enduro. As with the first DUKE before, the DUKE II was available in a different color each year. Titanium, orpheus black, arctic white, chili red and lime green were just a few of the options. The DUKE II also remained rather exclusive, not least due to its elevated price.

8.2008_690Duke3_white-800x520.jpg

KTM 690 DUKE MY2008 @ KTM

The highlight at the 2006 INTERMOT 2006 motorcycle show was the polarizing KTM 690 SUPERMOTO, which was to be the forerunner to a whole range of sporty KTM single-cylinders. The completely redesigned single-cylinder with electronic fuel injection reached 63 hp, meaning KTM could still boast the ‘blue ribbon’ of the most powerful single-cylinders among its portfolio.

The third generation of the DUKE, which followed in 2008, was different to its two predecessor models in that it bore no similarity to an Enduro, either visually or technically, but had been designed from scratch as a road bike. Highlights included the steel tube frame, a cast swingarm and above all the short silencer underneath the engine, as previously featured on the KTM RC8 superbike. In 2010, the KTM 690 DUKE R followed, upgraded with a host of KTM PowerParts and easily recognizable thanks to its orange frame, a feature of all KTM R models.

9.2010_Duke3-R-800x658.jpg

KTM 690 DUKE MY2010 @ KTM

A successor to the KTM 690 DUKE III then came in 2012, with space for a passenger and long-distance capability. The engine now had a full 690-cc capacity, so the DUKE retained its status as the most powerful single-cylinder engine available. The KTM 690 DUKE R was considerably more sporty in terms of its look, tuning, and seat position.

The current version of the KTM 690 DUKE has been around since 2016. With an advanced electronic engine management system and a second balancer shaft, the 690 LC4 engine offers a level of sophistication previously unseen in a single-cylinder engine, while delivering an impressive 73 hp.

What began 25 years ago with a now legendary cult classic continues today with the KTM 690 DUKE, with its modern styling and state-of-the-art technology. All this means that the DUKE has remained the most powerful series-production single-cylinder motorcycle for a quarter of a century.

Long Live the DUKE!

12.209419_KTM-690-DUKE-MY-2018-800x533.j

KTM 690 DUKE MY2018 @ KTM

The very first KTM 620 DUKE and some of the most iconic DUKE models ever produced can be viewed at the KTM Motohall.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of our special feature celebrating 25 years of KTM DUKE history.

1993 KTM 620 DUKE prototype @ KTM

Images: KTM, Kiska


Autentifica-te  


0 comentarii


Recommended Comments

Nu există comentarii.

Creează un cont sau autentifică-te pentru a comenta

Trebuie să fii membru pentru a putea lăsa comentarii

Creează un cont

Înregistrează-te în comunitate. Este uşor!

Înregistrare

Autentifică-te

Ești deja membru? Autentifică-te aici.

Autentificare

  • Conținut Similar

    • De Dementor
      Posted in Racing Red Bull KTM Factory Racing gets a new MotoGP™ rider for 2021 and the team composition starts again. We asked Crew Chief Paul Trevathan about the challenge of molding the next Grand Prix star.
      In the four years that Red Bull KTM Factory Racing have graced the MotoGP™ grid they have relied on the right hands of four different full-time riders. One of those has remained constant throughout and is responsible for the milestones of the fledgling KTM RC16 race bike so far. Pol Espargaró’s team has been headed by Paul Trevathan who has been part of the KTM framework for half a decade after having previously worked in MXGP and for a suspension firm. The combination of the aggressive and committed Catalan and the easy-going Kiwi has helped the factory in their eye-catching progress against competitors with decades of Grand Prix racing experience.
      Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Paul Trevathan is Pol Espargaró’s Crew Chief
      PC @PhilipPlatzer (2019)While Espargaró heads onto a fresh challenge for 2021, Trevathan and his crew also welcome a change of scene with the arrival of Portugal’s first MotoGP™ athlete and current Red Bull KTM Tech3 rep Miguel Oliveira. The task will be to help the 25-year old achieve new levels of performance (after demonstrating top-ten speed already in his rookie season in 2019) and try to emulate the evolution enjoyed with Espargaró. To do that Trevathan knows that brewing an effective chemistry with his rider inside and outside of the small MotoGP™ pitboxes of circuits around the world is essential.
      “You need to control the situation around the rider, especially if it’s tense at any moment,” he reveals. “You need to know what to say at any time: does he need to be hyped-up a little bit more or does he need to be calmed-down? What are you asking him to do for you? You have to respect those moments, and you end up bonding with a guy. That makes you a great team or creates a great relationship. There are guys who are very open and others that go into a dark place where you think ‘wow, how can I help him here?!’ This is a big part of it.”
      Trevathan says ‘it’s the rider that leads and we just try to put the best tools together for him’ PC @PolarityPhotoTrevathan has learned to deal with the demands and intricacies of elite sportsmen. MotoGP™ exists in a technical and often risky world dominated by fractions of a second but the riders themselves are differentiated by their attitude as much as their supreme skill to guide a motorcycle. “These guys spend so much time in that ‘world’ of trying to improve themselves and believing they can be world champion but every Sunday they have to go out alone and show everyone how good they are,” he explains. “I always respect that part so much, and I want to help them go through that motion. I don’t just want to help them with the technical side because that can be such a small part of it. For sure their job is not easy, and it is very interesting – from my side – to assist with the other factors. If you can ‘click’ on the emotional part, then this can make you a great team.”
      Trevathan asserts that “it’s the rider that leads and we just try to put the best tools together for him” but, as Crew Chief, he also needs to ensure that an immediate unit of seven – eight people and then the wide resources of KTM are working in harmony. The whole structure needs to be a slick and efficient ‘tool’ itself. “If you look at what a Crew Chief does then success in the job comes through the personal side: you have to take the reins and be there for everyone. We all come from different countries and there are different personalities; getting those to gel in this game is a massive thing.”
      “We are lucky that we hired very good people at the beginning of the project, and we grew as a team,” he continues. “It’s a real mix: you have mechanics with years and years of experience and others with technical degrees and qualifications that could aspire to work in NASA! To be in the middle of that and to get the best out of those people has been a big lesson for me.”
      It’s important not just to focus on the technical side – the relationship with the rider is vital both in and out of the pitbox
      PC @PolarityPhotoEspargaró has repeatedly credited the ‘human’ aspect of his team. It has been a component of his preparation that has allowed the former Moto2™ world champion to move from the back of the grid and two-seconds from the fastest lap-time at the first race in Qatar 2017 to the front row and mere slices of the stopwatch from Pole Position by 2019.
      “Pol was right,” says Trevathan. “If, for example, someone misses a test and another person slots-in then it just works. We have the right environment and level of calm to relax the rider and get the work done. You keep your cool and make any changes in the right way: things like this help a lot. I think you either have this personality or you don’t. Of course, you can get better at handling situations, but I think managing people in the right way is a massive part of the job these days.”
      Trevathan is accessible, cheery and friendly. It’s hard to imagine him stressed or angry, even if there have been difficult and frustrating moments as the whole Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team find their way against the toughest opponents and under very public scrutiny. For every podium result, such as Valencia 2018, and brilliance in qualification, there have been races when KTM have been handicapped by grip issues or rogue problems such as the one that ended Espargaró’s race early at the Red Bull Ring in 2019. Trevathan tries to keep the balance around what is a tight and crucial bond. “When it is work then it’s work, when it’s time to relax and have some fun then I like that. Pol has a similar character,” he says. “I feel like he’s my rider but also my friend and almost my son: you want to ‘protect’ him because, honestly, the guy has no limits.”
      Miguel Oliveira will move over to the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing squad for 2021
      PC @PolarityPhotoEspargaró is part of the KTM story through talent and brute force. “He always gave you the lap-time and – in the beginning – you could judge things by whether he was faster or slower,” Trevathan explains. “That stuck, and meant he never took us down a wrong path. Did his stuff suit every rider? Maybe not, but we never thought ‘we’ve made a mistake here’. He was good with engine feeling and development.”
      But now Oliveira will have to assume that mantle. Currently moving through his MotoGP™ education within the confines of Red Bull KTM Tech3, Oliveira has scaled the ranks at KTM: winning Grands Prix in both Moto3™ and Moto2™. This familiarity is another valuable ‘short-cut’ which means Trevathan already knows his charge. “Miguel comes across as a very intelligent man and I know him well enough,” he says. “In 2015 I was responsible for KTM Track Support and I was in the Red Bull KTM Ajo team with him and Brad [Binder]. So that line-up will not be a big shock to us! It will be interesting to see if we can get more out of Miguel than he’s showing, which is already pretty good. I’m looking forward to the challenge and to see if we can get to the same level we are now or maybe better.”
      Oliveira will work with the team to make the next step in his MotoGP™ career and develop the KTM RC16
      PC @PolarityPhotoAside from results and recognition, improvement is the principle target for Trevathan’s side of the pitbox for 2021. With Brad Binder attempting just his second term in MotoGP™ the onus will arguably fall more on Oliveira’s shoulders to fill Espargaró’s leathers. “But I think he’s ready,” Trevathan believes. “He will have to learn to take the load that Pol took-on and there might be different pressures.”
      Aligning parameters of the rider, team and factory is another vital ingredient for forward momentum. Oliveira might lack the results in the premier class of a rider like Johann Zarco but his feeling for the methods and the philosophy behind the whole Red Bull KTM operation will be a distinct advantage compared to any new racer who comes into the set-up. “I think Johann believed he would come here and thought everything would be given to him on a plate – not [realizing] that he’d have to make the choices himself,” insights Trevathan. “We can give the riders more tools, but it is about the work involved to make things better. For example, when we test with Pol at Sepang then he is riding all those days [six] and the only time he can do – or work on – something for himself is when we give him a new tire. For the rest he is always trying something different on the bike and every outing is an assessment of what is better, what works and where and what is it going to be like for the rest of the year: that workload is massive! I’m interested to see how Miguel will handle that and how he will lead us.”
      Oliveira will be teammates with #33 rider Brad Binder in 2021
      PC @PolarityPhotoA 25-lap MotoGP™ race can be a story of drama, surprises, pain and glory but sometimes the construction of everything behind that narrative can be equally as fascinating.
    • De Dementor
      Posted in Racing As seasons go, 2019 will always be one to remember for Germany’s Manuel Lettenbichler. Winning the WESS Enduro World Championship, the then privateer claimed his place as one of the leading riders in the sport.
      Lettenbichler will race for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team when the 2020 season finally begins.
      PC @KTMCollectively proving himself a true enduro all-rounder, amongst many stand-out performances Mani took a podium at the high-speed Hawkstone Park Cross-Country and became the youngest winner of the arduous Red Bull Romaniacs hard enduro before victoriously clinching his debut world crown on home soil at the GetzenRodeo.
      With time to savor the season past, Mani recalls some of his personal highlights of 2019…

      Extreme Lagares Prologue – City Street
      “Racing through the streets of Porto is such a sick atmosphere. The streets are so narrow, the stairs are steep and there’re so many people – it’s insane. It’s so unique. I get a massive buzz from it. I loved starting the season there and it’s cool to present our sport to the public like that.”
      Lettenbichler enjoys the buzz on the streets of Porto.
      PC @Future7MediaExtreme Lagares Race Day – Down To Business
      “Sunday is business day at Extreme Lagares. It’s when it all counts. I felt like I put a good race together last year. I led for one and a half laps (of two) and got beat on the final few riverbeds. Part of me was disappointed to lose when the win was so close, but getting on the podium at round one was always the target and I achieved that. Leaving Portugal with third place was a strong start to the year.”
      Lettenbichler led the Extreme Lagares until the final stages in 2019.
      PC @Future7MediaTrefle Lozerien – Learning Fast
      “As a rider that began in trials, racing Trefle LozerienAMV for the first time in 2018 was like jumping into the deep end of classic enduro. One year later and I was much faster, but I’m still not comfortable with that type of racing. Getting to race against the top guys in this part of the sport is motivation to improve. The technique they use and how they position the bike is so precise.”
      Trefle Lozerien – Manuel is improving for these kinds of races.
      PC @Future7MediaRed Bull Erzbergrodeo – Carl’s Dinner
      “Carl’s Dinner is like the pain cave of Red Bull Erzbergrodeo. It’s brutal. I led the race for a long time on my KTM 300 EXC, but I couldn’t match Graham Jarvis in that section. I rode it pretty good, but he makes that section his own. The gap he made on everyone was unreal. I’m not disappointed though – I’ve still a few things to dial in on the Iron Giant, but I’m getting closer to winning.”
      Manuel hopes to win the Red Bull ErzbergRodeo in future – here he is at the notorious Carl’s Dinner section in 2019. PC @Futue7MediaHixpania Hard Enduro – Lakeside
      “This section of Hixpania was gnarly as hell. It was a really long off-camber rocky bank that ran along the edge of the lake. We had to ride it every lap in Sunday’s race. One mistake and you would end up in the water. It was probably one of the toughest things we had to ride last year.”
      Lakeside at the Hixpania event – one of the toughest parts to ride in WESS 2019.
      PC @Future7MediaLights, Camera, Action – Vlogging Life
      “The vlogging lifestyle came about by accident. I was asked by Red Bull to fill in when Paul Bolton got injured. I did two races, but then stayed on for the rest of the season. I was nervous at first but found my style as the year went on. It’s been fun to show behind the scenes stuff and home life. We’ll be back with season 2 soon!”
      Lettenbichler entertained fans after he took on vlogging duties for Red Bull last season.
      PC @Future7MediaRed Bull Romaniacs – History Maker
      “Moments like this are what we race for. To win the toughest enduro in the world against guys like these is huge for me. Winning Red Bull Romaniacs also carries a little more meaning to me because it is so long and physical – everything has to go right all week. We put all we had into that race and came out on top. It was my first WESS victory, I became the youngest rider to win it and it happened 10 years after my father won, so it was very special for sure.”
      A historic day – Lettenbichler won the Red Bull Romaniacsy.
      PC @Future7MediaRed Bull Romaniacs – Beer & Buddies
      “Anyone who’s ever finished Red Bull Romaniacs will tell you that a beer after finishing day five tastes amazing. After a big week of racing and all the pressure that went with it, it was nice to share a beer with my best mate Jeff like that. Racing is important, but times like these remind you of what’s really important in life.”
      Manuel enjoys a beer with his friend Jeff after one of the Red Bull Romaniacs – one of the toughest enduro races in the world. PC @Future7MediaHawkstone Park Cross-Country – Beyond Expectation
      “Finishing runner-up at Hawkstone Park Cross-Country came as a surprise to me. I wasn’t expecting that because I’m not the fastest guy in the paddock in these types of races. But coming into it I had worked hard to improve, and I was riding my KTM 350 EXC-F really well. I put a clean race together and stayed strong the whole way. I would rate it as one of my best rides of 2019 because I was out of my comfort zone.”
      Manuel mastered the speed of Hawkstone Park in 2019 to take a surprise podium finish.
      PC @Future7MediaFun is Fast
      “I enjoy my racing. Every time I’m on my bike I have a smile on my face. I’m a firm believer that fun is fast, and I try to live the Flatschingfast spirit by always giving your best in every situation, no matter what. Every day I wake up stoked that I get to ride my dirtbike for a living.”
      Wheelies for fun – Lettenbichler explains how enjoying riding makes a difference.
      PC @Future7MediaFlatschingfast Dream Team
      “The dream team of 2019! To have my father and best friend Jeff by my side last year was amazing. I couldn’t have done what I did without them – it was a true team effort. They won this title as much as I did. We also showed that even if you are a privateer you can still dream big and achieve big.”
      The ‘Flatschingfast’ team of 2019 – Jeff, Mani and Mani’s dad Andreas celebrate winning the WESS Enduro World Championship.
      PC @Future7MediaGetzenRodeo – Becoming World Champion
      “Every rider dreams of becoming a world champion, but to do it by winning your home race in front of family and friends was on another level. It was easily the best moment of my life so far. We worked so hard all year for it and to cross the finish line as world champion was incredible. I was totally destroyed during those final few meters, but I made it and we made history.”
      Manuel fights exhaustion to take victory and the championship at the GetzenRodeo in front of a home crowd.
      PC @Future7MediaNow signed with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for 2020, Manuel Lettenbichler will look to claim further race wins and successfully defend his WESS Enduro World Championship crown.
    • De Dementor
      Posted in Bikes Robbie Maddison is a freestyle motocross legend and a world record holder. He’s also a household name thanks to his many daredevil stunts such as riding the waves of Tahiti in his ‘Pipe Dream’ video, back-flipping over Tower Bridge in London, jumping his motorcycle off a ski jump, and jumping off the Arc de Triomphe in front of Paris Las Vegas. While Maddison himself has some incredible and gravity defying motorcycle skills two of his sons – Kruz and Jagger – are developing their moto talent and recently took delivery of two KTM SX-E 5 electric motorcycles.
      Robbie Maddison with his boys Kruz and Jagger on the KTM SX-E 5.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @TedescophotoKruz (9) and Jagger (6) soon got to grips with the electric bikes – Jagger’s machine had the optional lowering kit fitted for his smaller size, and the duo geared up to take on the experience at the famous ‘Maddhouse’ track at Maddison’s home. Robbie explained that the boys just loved the bikes and he’s seen such an interesting development in their ability while in a safe, controlled environment over the last few months thanks to the KTM SX-E 5’s adaptability for each rider’s skill level as they improve.
      Kruz gets some air on the KTM SX-E 5 at the Maddhouse track.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @Tedescophoto“Since the boys got on the KTM SX-E 5 it’s been an amazing experience. I’m really just checking air pressures and making sure the battery is charged and that’s it. As a father or race dad it’s really simple and user-friendly. We are just having a fantastic time. Their level of riding has gone up and we’re able to change the settings on the bike to follow that; Kruz is getting faster with the top setting on the bike, and Jagger is now on setting five. They absolutely love them!” said Robbie.
      Jagger couldn’t wait to ride the electric KTM.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @Tedescophoto“My kids were just stoked to be riding these bikes. For those of us who grew up being into 2-strokes and combustion bikes we might look at an electric bike and feel like something is missing, but for the kids of the modern day they look at them and think ‘oh this is more in line with what we like’ – if it’s newer, modern and different then I think the kids are really accepting of it. They were just super stoked right away; they knew that they were onto something different and they knew that the bikes were special. When the bikes were first turned on and there’s no running or operating noises, and at the touch of the button there was just a little zing, their little eyes lit up like bonfires,” continued the FMX legend.
      Robbie selects one of the KTM SX-E 5’s six riding modes for Jagger.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @TedescophotoRobbie explained that the six riding modes are ideal for the developing rider and as a parent how important this is to help keep their child safe. He did let Jagger ride the bike on a higher setting than he was ready for – Jagger had been asking his dad for the same setting as Kruz, probably because he’s got Maddison’s fearless motorcycle madness in the blood, but Robbie quickly realized he was a little out of his depth. Maddison loved the fact that he could alter the performance and power of the bike with a quick touch of a button to get Jagger back in his comfort zone. The bikes’ arrival was also noted nearby the Maddisons’ residence, as the low-noise offers a real benefit for riding places in more urban areas.
      Jagger chases down Kruz on the KTM SX-E 5.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @Tedescophoto“When he (Jagger) wasn’t comfortable we could just change it easily and he’s not made a mistake since. Then the ability for them to become absolute race bikes at just the touch of a button is great. For Jagger, with him being a bit younger he’s on the same bike as his brother, but a few settings behind. It’s just good as a parent to know my son is out there riding within his comfort zone when operating the bike and he is much more likely to be in control. With a regular bike not having that controllability or option to program it, for someone who’s not an experienced rider there is always the potential for more problems there.”
      “Where we live noise is quite accepted, but the sound of a dirtbike can be a nuisance to non-riders. With the electric bike when it’s out zinging around, even my neighbors have said ‘oh yea I heard like a little bit, it’s hard to hear the electric bike’. If motorcycles go this way perhaps they will be accepted more in an urban setting one day,” continued Maddison.
      Jagger has the optional lowering kit fitted to his KTM SX-E 5 to suit his small size.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @TedescophotoThe KTM SX-E 5 is a READY TO RACE machine with the main advantage that it’s perfect for the absolute beginner right up to the fast racer. The bike grows with the rider and is aimed at juniors aged three to 10 years old thanks to its fully adjustable ride h with six riding modes. Robbie explained it’s definitely a go-to machine for a parent that wants to ensure their child is learning gradually and safely, whilst still having the ability to provide race bike performance with a sharp power delivery as the child develops. Maddison also enjoys the free time he’s gained with the minimal maintenance required – it’s basically a wash, charge and go operation!
      Kruz loves the modern technology on the bike and how fast it is.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @Tedescophoto“To someone who’s just stepping into the market having the ability to tone it down, make the power softer, limiting the output, it’s just such a great safety feature for a little child that could easily get out of control. You’re eliminating the possibility of whiskey throttle which is so comforting. As a parent the number one worry is that if you put your child on a motorcycle are they going to get out of control. When you put it on setting one, you can jog alongside them and also it’s great that the maintenance needed is minimal. It’s changed the game, it’s made introducing motorcycling safer, and a step by step, super safe learning curve for the young racer – while the bike can still be made to be as powerful or if not more so than a KTM 50 SX.”
      Riding buddies: The same bike but prepared for both of their individual abilities.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @Tedescophoto“With Kruz he already had three motorcycles getting to the age of nine years old, which is a significant investment. For Jagger he could literally be on one for that time with the adjustable seat h and so on with the KTM SX-E 5. It’s really a cool thing, we have the lowering kit and there’s three or four stages of growth before he gets to full h, which could be a few years down the track. The fact I’m not washing air filters or worrying about gasoline is like a miracle in motorcycling (laughs) it’s a breath of fresh air to me. Coming in I wash the bikes, put them on charge and literally we’re good to go. I check the air pressures once a week or so, which don’t change too much, there’s no air filter checks, no pre-mixing, no issues with dirty fuel, blocked jets, bikes not starting, fouling plugs, it’s all eliminated.”
      “I’ve had a few friends down and the reaction has been basically ‘great, now I need to buy one of these’ (laughs). They are super interested, they have asked about my experience – they are all blown away by it. It’s quiet, it’s fast, it’s competitive with the same size combustion engine – their minds start running about the possibilities. It really changes the possibilities for riding. It’s exciting for the motorcycle industry and takes away that noise element that is unfortunately an issue for dirtbiking.”
      Jagger and Kruz explain to father Robbie about their KTM SX-E 5 experience.
      PC: CHRIS TEDESCO / @TedescophotoMaddison explains that the bike is charged up in around 20-minutes between each ride, which is about the time of a drink and a snack for the boys. He explains they’ve never had to worry about the batteries being charged, and that the bike will do more than a moto-worth of riding. It certainly has the stamp of approval from Kruz and Jagger who think ‘it’s awesome’ and we look forward to seeing how their riding progresses over the next few months.
      “The electric bike doesn’t have any limitations compared with the combustion bike, only additional positives. It jumps just as far, it turns quickly, it’s completely comparable and possibly even better than a combustion engine. The boys have the confidence to ride it just like a combustion bike, and that’s impressive to see. The battery life is of course what some will see as a question mark, but this has not been an issue for us. It’s literally changed the hours we ride, how we ride and the vibe through the house – it’s four o clock in the afternoon and they are like ‘dad can I ride?’ – normally I’d say no as it’s that time when people are coming home from work, but they can now with the KTM SX-E 5 and we absolutely love them,” concluded Robbie.
    • De Dementor
      There is a lot more thought and design that goes into a pair of motocross goggles than you think. Scott Sports shares some of their secrets…
      PC @MitterbauerHGoggles have been stretched awkwardly across helmets, smashed remorselessly by roost, thrown away by motocross racers during motos but also lovingly prepared, washed and placed on shelves with old helmets for posterity. They are often an under-appreciated piece of riding kit but utterly essential for anyone who has followed a friend or competitor on a stony trail or tried to plow across a muddy track in the rain.
      PC @RayArcherThere is a wealth of products on the market and several specialized brands in the optics business; goggles can cost 50 euros and last a few rides or can be than three times as expensive with some serious engineering behind them. Scott Sports are one of the proponents of goggle technology for bikes and the snow and have been introducing new concepts and innovations like face-fitting frames, lens-locking and a wide field of vision for three decades.   
      The American-Swiss company also has a strong link with KTM. For four years Scott has held a special place in the KTM PowerWear catalog, and they have provided wares for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team in both Enduro and Motocross, meaning the crucial race-tested and dependable eyewear for the likes of Josep Garcia, Nathan Watson, Jorge Prado, Tom Vialle and Rene Hofer.
      There is also another quirky connection: Mattighofen, Austria, is not only the fount of the finest offroad bikes but also Scott’s main European hub for goggle production. In the same town, only a few kilometers away from the KTM assembly lines, is the GBM Kunststofftechnik & Formenbau factory with a workforce of around 100 people; half of which is dedicated to Scott with almost half a century of molding experience. GBM churns out nearly 1,000,000 goggles a year at full tilt.
      PC @SchedlR.Watching how a goggle like Scott’s Prospect – and the new Fury model – goes from a complex CAD diagram to a boxed item ready for shipping is a revealing process. It might look like a lump of brightly colored composite, plastic and fabric but a seemingly basic piece of kit can actually take up to three years from conceptualization to design and manufacturing, and then small refinements of the product to ensure things like the widest possible fit in the largest spread of helmets. The Prospect has to protect and be highly functional in terms of preventing things like sweat, dust and sand dropping into the goggle. It also has to provide optimum vision and lenses that don’t fog, don’t distort and even react to ambient light. It has to stay firmly fixed on the face and around the helmet. It has to allow ventilation and airflow. It has to be versatile and effective when it comes to the application of tear-offs and roll-offs. Lastly – or perhaps most importantly for some riders – they have to look pretty cool and fit together with bike graphics or other kit.
      The heart of all this service begins with the steel mold. It can take five-six people up to three months to craft this large lump of metal that casts the frame of the Prospect. The steel can be ground to 1000th of a millimeter and a very precise outline. The most complicated molds can cost in the region of a quarter of a million euros: not much room for failure! The steel casing has to withstand 400 bars of pressure and eventually is used to make thousands and thousands of goggle frames a month. When Scott eventually come up with a successor to the Prospect – as they did with their previous Tyrant and Hustle goggles – then the mold goes into storage and is kept in an ‘archive’. Scott could easily make a 30-year old goggle again if they wanted to.
      PC @RayArcherIn production the mold will contain colored resin that is melted at 220 degrees and then the frames are popped out while at a quarter of the temperature. The colors of the Prospect frames come from a resin decided between Scott & GBM and there is a wide palette of choice. The material can also be manipulated so the nearly indestructible frames can be flexible and then very tough in other areas. For example, construction around the nose bridge.
      For the most fanciful color schemes Scott/GBM have used a technique called Water Transfer Decoration. Fine films of paint and design are suspended on top of a water tank and a set of blank goggle frames are then dipped into the solution. They are dried, washed (to remove excess film), dried, varnished and dried again. The slight imprecision of WTD means every pair of goggles created like this is almost unique.
      PC @SchedlRThe dry frame passes to the foam stage where Scott’s special triple layer technology is glued by hand. The goggle moves along the line for the lenses, which are also clipped into place by GBM’s workers. Very light TruView lenses are cut from massive sheets of Lexan (polycarbonate) and are then treated with anti-scratch and anti-fog formulas. There are 10 different colors alone for the Prospect. Once cut and punched in the giant press and piled ready for use the lenses are heated and bent into frames and where the advantageous lock system – thanks to four pins – comes into play.
      The lenses pass a strict (and dramatic) ballistic test in the factory. At one stage Scott were shooting a 3mm steel ball at 112 meters per second from a few meters distance at sample goggles. The pellet would dent but not break the lens. This resilience is almost three times what is required for CE regulation for motocross and more than half of what is necessary for street visors on helmets. Scott’s parameters for safety are therefore far advanced of the minimum level. Their demand for pristine optical performance comes from a second examination at GBM where a laser tests for clarity. It measures UV (all of the Prospect lenses are 100% UV protective) and if there is any distortion or disorientation as a final quality control.
      PC @TaglioniSThe last room before boxing contains the large machines with reels and reels spitting out kilometers of wildly colored straps and the advanced but secretive fastening system that allow Scott to be proud of this particular aspect of the Prospect’s specs.
      Advanced-level goggles have not become any cheaper in the last ten years but the likes of the Prospect and competitors such as Oakley’s Front Line and 100%’s Armega mean that riders are getting well-thought and carefully crafted products that could make the difference in a race, rally or ride-out.
      Click here to see the latest KTM PowerWear Scott goggles.
    • De Dementor
      Posted in Bikes Are Naked bikes still the rage? Looking at KTM’s Street portfolio then you’d think so with at least two new models coming to showrooms this year in the forms of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and the KTM 890 DUKE R. We asked some key figures in orange – as well as ex-racers like Jeremy McWilliams and Chris Fillmore – if the genre remains vibrant and in-demand as the new decade begins…
      We call them ‘Naked’ but, really, they are definitive motorcycles: the way bikes used to be and have always been since the 1980s boom towards sports machines and the notion of the superbike. The fact that virtually every major manufacturer has a significant interpretation of ‘Naked’ is indicative of the choice and versatility that riders want on crowded and patrolled roads.
      For KTM the ‘Naked’ motorcycle is still utterly relevant. On the KTM website there are options for Travel, Sports Tourer, Naked, Supermoto and Supersport but in 2019 the DUKE range accounted for 100,000 of global sales (almost 40% of the total) with the accessibility, young appeal and build quality of the KTM 125 DUKE hoisting the bike as the best-seller in the range.
      2020 represents the fourth year that the manufacturer will be present on the MotoGP grid and with four works bikes they already equal Yamaha and Honda and surpass Suzuki and Aprilia in terms of presence. With an emphasis on performance the factory push their 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to the fore. The crazy depth of torque and a brand-new chassis from the overhauled roadster gives new impetus to the ‘BEAST’ tag: a bike without the clothes but very much in disguise as a rip-roaring sports machine if desired.
      PC @KTM“It is definitely our top-of-the-range Street performance product,” confirms Head of Product Management Adriaan Sinke. KTM are forging ahead with their belief in Naked bikes. In a dizzying eighteen-month spell of development-and-launch the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R now has the KTM 790 DUKE and KTM 890 DUKE R for company.
      The Euro5 emission-ready KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is at the top of the tree and boasts the kind of output, refined handling (a vastly stiffer and superior chassis/frame concept) and electronics (MTC, MSR, varying ABS, 6D lean angle sensor) to match most 2020 incarnations on the market. Therein lies a paradox: how do KTM continue to fabricate a simplistic motorcycle that provides the sensations, comfort and thrills that customers demand while also hiking the level of sophistication?
      “It’s really tough actually,” Sinke admits. “The market demands more technology. For even the biggest Naked bike stalwart you cannot ride them without electronic fuel injection or throttle management… Traction control is becoming more and more of a standard feature and is slowly becoming a must have for daily riding. It is possible but not in an everyday situation. One of the keys with this bike was trying to give the rider the feeling of control more than on the previous model. We have always had quite good traction control, but we wanted the rider to have more depth of feeling, how the power was coming in, that the bike was sliding and it was helping them to drive forward. We wanted them to have that sense of ‘I’m the master of what my motorcycle is doing’. You don’t want a good rider to switch off the traction control, you want a good rider to enjoy the possibilities he can explore by using traction control.
      PC @KTMTo explore the extremities and advantages of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM let journalists and testers have free reign around the technical Portimao racetrack in southern Portugal for the official presentation. Circulating the WorldSBK venue opens up the valves. It allows the 180hp and 140Nm potential of the LC8 engine to boom, and the new handling shine throughout the weave of dips and turns. Riders also toggle through the full range of the nine-level Traction Control setting and revitalised Track Mode; innovations that former MotoGP rider Jeremy McWilliams helped refine.
      The Irishman has been a key figure in the evolution of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R since the first ‘BEAST’ in 2013. His track work has allowed KTM R&D to examine the limits of the motorcycle and create a stable-and-secure yet thrilling offering for the road. “I think we like Naked bikes because we have a bit more control of them,” he opines. “We’re on top of them, we have more leverage and a wide bar position. You have more torque on this motorcycle than I think anything else out there on the market today. Torque is our friend: when you have that much on tap it makes the riding experience that much more fun. It doesn’t really matter what gear you exit the corner on this bike. We never use second gear here at Portimao. We don’t need it because third has so much push to get it off the corner at any speed. You can become a bit of a hooligan on this and you can also ride it as sedately as you want. There is a lot of variety thanks to the electronic settings. A lot of options.”
      PC @KTMMcWilliams is clocking laps with another ex-Grand Prix star, Alex Hoffmann and also American Chris Fillmore, who used to compete in AMA Superbike with the RC8. “When it comes to Naked bikes then it depends on your goals with motorcycling,” Fillmore says. “If your goal is not to be a full-on racer then they are ten times more comfortable than a sportsbike on the street. They still work unbelievably well on the track and I was getting within 2-3 seconds of my RC8 lap-times on the old generation of the SUPER DUKE and this version is even better thanks to that stiffer frame. It is like a comfortable superbike: you still have all the technology and the performance, but everything is geared more towards being comfortable on the street…although, honestly, you don’t lose that much for the track.”
      PC @KTMThe idea of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R on a circuit seems a little alien, especially considering the latest fad brands have towards the production of high-performing and highly expensive track models in the last half a decade. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R does not disappoint however and can be tweaked to get as ragged or as assuring as any rider wants. “If you are a good rider then you can be very fast on a SUPER DUKE R,” promises Sinke. “The chassis, torque and brakes: it’s a really good package. We hope we are able to convince a few track riders to pick it up and I’m sure we will. You will ride the SUPER DUKE R on the streets but if you want to go to the track then you won’t need two bikes.”
      The new KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R’s engine numbers are eye-widening for a v-twin. For ‘scratching’ or a competitive environment then it’s a clear asset. But are those figures still appealing for customers in 2020? Fillmore believes so. “I think riders are still hung up on horsepower because it is an ego-thing,” he smiles. “My father owns a bike and he had to buy the fastest, biggest, latest, greatest and, for me, I think if people took a step back and even looked at the midweight category – I think the KTM 790 DUKE is one of the best bikes for everybody – then their experience would be just as good as any sports bike. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is great because it has all the torque and all the power but it is all very manageable with the electronics. I think people are too hung-up on a number. On the street there is always a speed limit. This is one of the best streetbikes because of the torque. At 3000rpm you are immediately in the meat of the power on this bike. You don’t get to use much power on the street and the torque gives you that excitement instantly. In comparison – inline fours – you have to be screaming and already going 100 to get into the power and where they pull at the top end. This is a bottom-end fun.”
      “I think in our hearts there are still a lot of ‘youngsters’ out there who have grown up, made their money and can buy these types of bikes,” concurs Sinke. “The fun factor of controlling something with so much power is still there, and it will take quite a while before that attraction dies down. In fifteen years we might have electric superbikes but I think that fascination with power and speed will always be present. Being a bit of a bad boy and being a bit naughty almost defines a bike like this: something powerful but playful at the same time.”
      In that sense KTM almost seem duty-bound to fashion something as radical and extreme as the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. “Yeah, probably,” Sinke confesses. “The bike is ‘in-your-face’ and that is our brand in every possible way. It is amazing to ride this bike and be shot out of the corners. Do I need this bike? Of course I don’t. A KTM 790 DUKE has plenty of power to tackle any mountain road…but to have that power and torque under your right hand is really a lot of fun.”
      A Naked bike doesn’t hide much, and in the case of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R then even less with that edgy and purposeful styling but the truth is that there is a vast world of experience within, and with the slightest touch of that right handlebar grip. That mystery and sense of discovery is what keeps KTM striving towards the ‘ultimate’ Naked bike. They have hit the mark with the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R: a creation with MotoGP nuance drip-feed into its DNA and an influence that trickles down into the rest of the DUKE line. “Naked bikes are almost the epitome of what a motorcycle is about,” concludes Sinke. “We sell immense volumes of the small DUKEs so there is definitely a big market for it. It doesn’t have a big fairing or a bunch of stuff that you don’t need on a bike. It’s an important market for us and it is definitely continuing.”
×