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  1. 1-2-9-0: FOUR WAYS THE 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R WILL BLOW YOUR MIND Posted in Bikes A new motorcycle for a new decade. The 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is just the third generation of the LC8-engined ‘BEAST’ since the bike was created in 2014. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R was presented and tested by international press for the first time in and around the Portimao race circuit in Portugal in early February and here – with the help of the bike’s originator – are four reasons why THE BEAST had the experts growling… PC @SebasRomero 1 – is the desired position in the Naked bike market segment, and the newly-reshaped LC8 v-twin is No.1 for weight-to-performance with a hefty 180hp and 140Nm of torque on tap. KTM has squeezed more power but significantly dropped the kilos. This evolution came from a brave decision to get radical with KTM’s most extreme expression of a street bike. “We said: ‘let’s make a clean cut and start with a white sheet of paper’ and the end result has been amazing,” said Product Manager Adriaan Sinke. “A great big v-twin engine really defines what this bike is all about; that character that no other engine can provide,” he adds. “The peak figures are a lot but I’d rather talk about how the bike harnesses the power. The street is not a predictable environment so you cannot always go into a corner with the right amount of RPM and with this LC8 you have so much flexibility. There are bikes that deliver their power and their torque at much later levels: we believe that this [instant torque] is the definition of what the SUPER DUKE is all about. It doesn’t matter what gear you are in; you are always in the right one to pull yourself away. You don’t need to be sitting at some crazy high RPM to be able to overtake traffic.” KTM is using words like ‘ultimate Naked bike’ to encapsulate the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, and the experience of riding it that is both comfortable and confidence-inspiring thanks to refined handling but also pulse-quickening and fiercely capable at speed, as demonstrated by the smiles and antics of riders after six twenty-minute sessions around the Portimao circuit. PC @KISKA For the motorcycle’s creator, Hermann Sporn, his fourth SUPER DUKE (he led the 990 project in 2005) continues to fulfill the definition of what a Naked bike should be, certainly in KTM’s vision of extreme, purity and performance. “When can you really enjoy a superbike on the road? It is pain to ride one, literally,” he reasons. “In the hands, the leg, the seat, the damping was too harsh. Those bikes are made for the racetrack and they are really good where you need the maximum power and want to find the limit. The big advantage with the SUPER DUKE was the huge amount of torque, and it was easy to ride, more comfortable and gave you a better view in traffic.” “Naked bikes are more forgiving: you can use any gear and change the line and that’s not always possible on a sports bike,” he adds. “The front end is really secure and now it has the same kind of feedback as a superbike where riders can get on the gas and slide out of the corner. You can also brake very deep and know where it will slide. You have that sensitivity from the new frame and that also helps for the street and avoid bumps and altering lines. We spend a lot of time working with WP to improve the front fork and the shock absorber. We made a lot of comparison tests with other suspension suppliers and motorcycles and said: ‘we need to be right at the top level’. I believe now we are better. I wanted the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to win comparison tests!” PC @SebasRomero 2 – years. That’s how long Project Leader Sporn and his crew needed to overhaul KTM’s flagship model. It was also a spell in which they had to deduce how to improve what was already a very appealing and attractive motorcycle. The LC8 boasted a rock-solid base. Sporn knew there were gains to be had in other areas. “As soon as the ’16 version was presented we were working on this one,” he explains. “We had a meeting and talked about the behavior of the bike and how we could – and would like – to make it better. We were able to look at each and every part and totally separate the concepts, in fact, the only parts we kept from the chassis of the old bike was the rear axle and the adjuster. When we wanted to redefine the engine that meant a lot of small details and we wanted something lighter, faster-and-easier shifting.” “One of the things we wanted to keep was that easy handling; everybody knew it was an easy bike, even for a non-experienced rider,” he adds. “It was important to keep this and improve it. It was also important to maintain the ergonomics of a road bike, so for the rider that wants a trip over the mountains is not going to be uncomfortable. That meant looking closely at the seat, and again the comfort.” “We had those references but knew there were more places to look,” he goes on. “One was the feeling with the front wheel, and with a completely new frame, we could make a large step. From our calculations we saw that we had to go much higher with the torsional stiffness. We are using the engine to help us with the frame in this respect. We had three times more torsional stiffness compared to the older SUPER DUKE and it made the feeling ‘safer’: you can notice it immediately. It is faster and more stable to turn in and holds the line even over bumps and on the brakes.” PC @KTM “We knew we had to do something better on the rear too. People knew the old SUPER DUKE was a cool wheelie machine but we calculated what would be the right amount of anti-squat behavior to hold the motorcycle more in its position. To do this we raised the engine and we spun it a bit backward and increased the center of gravity. In the beginning, we were testing on the track a lot to find the best solution: why would we do that when we are not making a race motorcycle? It’s simply because when you are riding near the edge you then know what will happen. We had the possibility to move the swingarm pivot higher and we played around with the stiffness of the chassis with the variances of tube and wall diameters and thickness. We have different engine mounts. We were looking for the best compromise to find the best feedback. In the end, the frame is longer, with a stiffer swingarm, and we have a completely different shock mounting. On the old SUPER DUKE, we had a direct mount on the swingarm with higher compression you did not have that many possibilities. Now we have the linkage you have much more travel on the shock and this helps you to control the damping behavior. These main changes to affect the riding behavior.” PC @KTM Fast forward to the EICMA show in Milan in November 2019 and the covers come away from the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and Sporn’s vision becomes public. PC @MarcoCampelli 9 – Could be for the fact that 90% of the motorcycle is fresh; the 2020 incarnation is no mere makeover. A strong element of the new range of attributes is a revitalized electronic package with the ability to engage 9 levels of traction control in Track mode. The Rider Aids and engine management capabilities are part of the large modern heart of the SUPER DUKE with Motorcycle Traction Control, Motor Slip Regulation, Lean angle ABS, Supermoto ABS, and a 6D lean angle sensor (side-to-side, forward-and-back and drift) among the filters through the ride by wire throttle that are enhanced to give the rider a close and more sensitive feeling of what is going on with the bike. PC @KISKA The ability to tweak and explore the different ‘shapes’ of the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R on the narrow Portuguese B roads and then around the grippy expanses of Portimao illustrated the versatility and fun factor of the motorcycle. Helping analyze and sharpen this aspect of performance was former MotoGP™ rider Jeremy McWilliams. The Northern Irelander’s input was particularly useful for the TRACK mode (alongside the default STREET, RAIN & SPORT) where that 9 level of traction control comes into play: 1 being a very limited quantity for slick tires on a track and 9 the equivalent of race setting. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R was tremendous, stable and slidey fun at 4 around Portimao. “The idea was to come up with new software that will allow more connection between the bike and the rider,” explains McWilliams. “It’s new logic. With our nine-channel TC and track mode, we wanted to make that riders who are at a high level are happy to use traction control rather than switch it off. There is little point in having the feature if riders want to disengage it because it was interfering with their ride. You can use traction control to full power in the wet and then drop it down to between 3-6 for, say, the A-group riders.” “With these bikes now you have to rely on traction control to make everything safe but you also want to enjoy the ride. We wanted people to have the feeling that you are accelerating as fast as you possibly can without – what our R&D guys call – ‘hold back’, so you can play around with that. Sport mode is designed to be level 4; anything below is sportier.” Fear not though. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is not being smothered by cutting-edge bike tech. “Electronics will progress and much more will be possible but at the same time I think we have to be careful not to go too far with it, especially for this type of motorcycle,” says Sinke. “I think we need to work on making the bike better and more fun and more accessible. We should not be taking things away. The motorcycle should be central, and the electronics should be peripheral to help you enjoy the bike more.” 0 – zero fat. KTM has ‘doubled-up’ in various aspects of the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. How? Well, the styling and looks convey the ethos of the brand while also serving an acute design purpose. The components that create the aesthetics are made with the same function/form duality. “If you can design a part that is functional and make it visible and look nice then you don’t have to cover it up,” reasons Sinke. “It means less parts and you can save weight.” An example: the subframe. “The first part is cast aluminum – which we use on several other KTMs, which is very light – but the cool and interesting part is the rear end: it’s composite and not a plastic cover,” he says. “It is actually the load-bearing part and where the passenger sits, has their footpegs and also the number plate. Everything bolts onto it and there is no need for brackets and extra parts: it means we can again save weight. The composite part of the subframe weighs 900 grams and can hold 1000kg. It’s incredibly strong and incredibly light.” PC @KTM The 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is slim, compact and striking. It’s in the heavyweight division but looks and moves like a robust lithe pugilist. With some of the KTM PowerParts accessories – an array was on display at Portimao – then it becomes even meaner (credit as well for the blue/orange paint job that is a classier look compared to the Beast 2.0). “The bike is ‘in-your-face’ and that is our brand in every possible way,” smiles Sinke. “If you park this bike by the side of the road little boys run-up to it. It turns heads. It looks cool, it sounds cool, it feels cool.” PC @SebasRomero The minimal design is countered by a raft of impressive detailing. The improved LED headlight now houses the central air-intake, there are new handlebar switches next to the position-adjustable and high-res TFT display (KTM’s best and clearest dash yet), new tank shape, WP APEX suspension and specially-designed Bridgestone S22 tire resists the power and augments the positive traits of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The wheels are CAD-crafted and molded for more ‘dieting’ and the thorough approach to weight-loss even applies to the construction of the plastics. “It’s a small thing but the central part of the plastics is thinner – you don’t need the same thickness throughout because they don’t have a load-bearing capacity and we were able to save more grams,” says Sinke. The beauty of THE BEAST is that the motorcycle can appear and feel like something so raw but then also offer all the facilities and options a rider could ever want to suck-out the very best of the ultimate Naked bike.
  2. 1-2-9-0: FOUR WAYS THE 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R WILL BLOW YOUR MIND Posted in Bikes A new motorcycle for a new decade. The 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is just the third generation of the LC8-engined ‘BEAST’ since the bike was created in 2014. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R was presented and tested by international press for the first time in and around the Portimao race circuit in Portugal in early February and here – with the help of the bike’s originator – are four reasons why THE BEAST had the experts growling… PC @SebasRomero 1 – is the desired position in the Naked bike market segment, and the newly-reshaped LC8 v-twin is No.1 for weight-to-performance with a hefty 180hp and 140Nm of torque on tap. KTM has squeezed more power but significantly dropped the kilos. This evolution came from a brave decision to get radical with KTM’s most extreme expression of a street bike. “We said: ‘let’s make a clean cut and start with a white sheet of paper’ and the end result has been amazing,” said Product Manager Adriaan Sinke. “A great big v-twin engine really defines what this bike is all about; that character that no other engine can provide,” he adds. “The peak figures are a lot but I’d rather talk about how the bike harnesses the power. The street is not a predictable environment so you cannot always go into a corner with the right amount of RPM and with this LC8 you have so much flexibility. There are bikes that deliver their power and their torque at much later levels: we believe that this [instant torque] is the definition of what the SUPER DUKE is all about. It doesn’t matter what gear you are in; you are always in the right one to pull yourself away. You don’t need to be sitting at some crazy high RPM to be able to overtake traffic.” KTM is using words like ‘ultimate Naked bike’ to encapsulate the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, and the experience of riding it that is both comfortable and confidence-inspiring thanks to refined handling but also pulse-quickening and fiercely capable at speed, as demonstrated by the smiles and antics of riders after six twenty-minute sessions around the Portimao circuit. PC @KISKA For the motorcycle’s creator, Hermann Sporn, his fourth SUPER DUKE (he led the 990 project in 2005) continues to fulfill the definition of what a Naked bike should be, certainly in KTM’s vision of extreme, purity and performance. “When can you really enjoy a superbike on the road? It is pain to ride one, literally,” he reasons. “In the hands, the leg, the seat, the damping was too harsh. Those bikes are made for the racetrack and they are really good where you need the maximum power and want to find the limit. The big advantage with the SUPER DUKE was the huge amount of torque, and it was easy to ride, more comfortable and gave you a better view in traffic.” “Naked bikes are more forgiving: you can use any gear and change the line and that’s not always possible on a sports bike,” he adds. “The front end is really secure and now it has the same kind of feedback as a superbike where riders can get on the gas and slide out of the corner. You can also brake very deep and know where it will slide. You have that sensitivity from the new frame and that also helps for the street and avoid bumps and altering lines. We spend a lot of time working with WP to improve the front fork and the shock absorber. We made a lot of comparison tests with other suspension suppliers and motorcycles and said: ‘we need to be right at the top level’. I believe now we are better. I wanted the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R to win comparison tests!” PC @SebasRomero 2 – years. That’s how long Project Leader Sporn and his crew needed to overhaul KTM’s flagship model. It was also a spell in which they had to deduce how to improve what was already a very appealing and attractive motorcycle. The LC8 boasted a rock-solid base. Sporn knew there were gains to be had in other areas. “As soon as the ’16 version was presented we were working on this one,” he explains. “We had a meeting and talked about the behavior of the bike and how we could – and would like – to make it better. We were able to look at each and every part and totally separate the concepts, in fact, the only parts we kept from the chassis of the old bike was the rear axle and the adjuster. When we wanted to redefine the engine that meant a lot of small details and we wanted something lighter, faster-and-easier shifting.” “One of the things we wanted to keep was that easy handling; everybody knew it was an easy bike, even for a non-experienced rider,” he adds. “It was important to keep this and improve it. It was also important to maintain the ergonomics of a road bike, so for the rider that wants a trip over the mountains is not going to be uncomfortable. That meant looking closely at the seat, and again the comfort.” “We had those references but knew there were more places to look,” he goes on. “One was the feeling with the front wheel, and with a completely new frame, we could make a large step. From our calculations we saw that we had to go much higher with the torsional stiffness. We are using the engine to help us with the frame in this respect. We had three times more torsional stiffness compared to the older SUPER DUKE and it made the feeling ‘safer’: you can notice it immediately. It is faster and more stable to turn in and holds the line even over bumps and on the brakes.” PC @KTM “We knew we had to do something better on the rear too. People knew the old SUPER DUKE was a cool wheelie machine but we calculated what would be the right amount of anti-squat behavior to hold the motorcycle more in its position. To do this we raised the engine and we spun it a bit backward and increased the center of gravity. In the beginning, we were testing on the track a lot to find the best solution: why would we do that when we are not making a race motorcycle? It’s simply because when you are riding near the edge you then know what will happen. We had the possibility to move the swingarm pivot higher and we played around with the stiffness of the chassis with the variances of tube and wall diameters and thickness. We have different engine mounts. We were looking for the best compromise to find the best feedback. In the end, the frame is longer, with a stiffer swingarm, and we have a completely different shock mounting. On the old SUPER DUKE, we had a direct mount on the swingarm with higher compression you did not have that many possibilities. Now we have the linkage you have much more travel on the shock and this helps you to control the damping behavior. These main changes to affect the riding behavior.” PC @KTM Fast forward to the EICMA show in Milan in November 2019 and the covers come away from the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R and Sporn’s vision becomes public. PC @MarcoCampelli 9 – Could be for the fact that 90% of the motorcycle is fresh; the 2020 incarnation is no mere makeover. A strong element of the new range of attributes is a revitalized electronic package with the ability to engage 9 levels of traction control in Track mode. The Rider Aids and engine management capabilities are part of the large modern heart of the SUPER DUKE with Motorcycle Traction Control, Motor Slip Regulation, Lean angle ABS, Supermoto ABS, and a 6D lean angle sensor (side-to-side, forward-and-back and drift) among the filters through the ride by wire throttle that are enhanced to give the rider a close and more sensitive feeling of what is going on with the bike. PC @KISKA The ability to tweak and explore the different ‘shapes’ of the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R on the narrow Portuguese B roads and then around the grippy expanses of Portimao illustrated the versatility and fun factor of the motorcycle. Helping analyze and sharpen this aspect of performance was former MotoGP™ rider Jeremy McWilliams. The Northern Irelander’s input was particularly useful for the TRACK mode (alongside the default STREET, RAIN & SPORT) where that 9 level of traction control comes into play: 1 being a very limited quantity for slick tires on a track and 9 the equivalent of race setting. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R was tremendous, stable and slidey fun at 4 around Portimao. “The idea was to come up with new software that will allow more connection between the bike and the rider,” explains McWilliams. “It’s new logic. With our nine-channel TC and track mode, we wanted to make that riders who are at a high level are happy to use traction control rather than switch it off. There is little point in having the feature if riders want to disengage it because it was interfering with their ride. You can use traction control to full power in the wet and then drop it down to between 3-6 for, say, the A-group riders.” “With these bikes now you have to rely on traction control to make everything safe but you also want to enjoy the ride. We wanted people to have the feeling that you are accelerating as fast as you possibly can without – what our R&D guys call – ‘hold back’, so you can play around with that. Sport mode is designed to be level 4; anything below is sportier.” Fear not though. The KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is not being smothered by cutting-edge bike tech. “Electronics will progress and much more will be possible but at the same time I think we have to be careful not to go too far with it, especially for this type of motorcycle,” says Sinke. “I think we need to work on making the bike better and more fun and more accessible. We should not be taking things away. The motorcycle should be central, and the electronics should be peripheral to help you enjoy the bike more.” 0 – zero fat. KTM has ‘doubled-up’ in various aspects of the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. How? Well, the styling and looks convey the ethos of the brand while also serving an acute design purpose. The components that create the aesthetics are made with the same function/form duality. “If you can design a part that is functional and make it visible and look nice then you don’t have to cover it up,” reasons Sinke. “It means less parts and you can save weight.” An example: the subframe. “The first part is cast aluminum – which we use on several other KTMs, which is very light – but the cool and interesting part is the rear end: it’s composite and not a plastic cover,” he says. “It is actually the load-bearing part and where the passenger sits, has their footpegs and also the number plate. Everything bolts onto it and there is no need for brackets and extra parts: it means we can again save weight. The composite part of the subframe weighs 900 grams and can hold 1000kg. It’s incredibly strong and incredibly light.” PC @KTM The 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R is slim, compact and striking. It’s in the heavyweight division but looks and moves like a robust lithe pugilist. With some of the KTM PowerParts accessories – an array was on display at Portimao – then it becomes even meaner (credit as well for the blue/orange paint job that is a classier look compared to the Beast 2.0). “The bike is ‘in-your-face’ and that is our brand in every possible way,” smiles Sinke. “If you park this bike by the side of the road little boys run-up to it. It turns heads. It looks cool, it sounds cool, it feels cool.” PC @SebasRomero The minimal design is countered by a raft of impressive detailing. The improved LED headlight now houses the central air-intake, there are new handlebar switches next to the position-adjustable and high-res TFT display (KTM’s best and clearest dash yet), new tank shape, WP APEX suspension and specially-designed Bridgestone S22 tire resists the power and augments the positive traits of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R. The wheels are CAD-crafted and molded for more ‘dieting’ and the thorough approach to weight-loss even applies to the construction of the plastics. “It’s a small thing but the central part of the plastics is thinner – you don’t need the same thickness throughout because they don’t have a load-bearing capacity and we were able to save more grams,” says Sinke. The beauty of THE BEAST is that the motorcycle can appear and feel like something so raw but then also offer all the facilities and options a rider could ever want to suck-out the very best of the ultimate Naked bike.
  3. 5 THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2020 MXGP Posted in Racing Who, what and where will make the 2020 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship worth watching in 2020? We identify five potential key markers of the forthcoming season… Jorge Prado & Antonio Cairoli – PC @JP-Acevedo Twenty rounds mean a massive sixty starts across seventeen countries in seven months for the 2020 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship with each Grand Prix consisting of two motos and a Saturday Qualification Heat: it’s a vast number of races and risk involving a variety of tracks, terrain, conditions and climate from Argentina to Asia. As the series gets ready for the 63rd year there is already sizeable buzz around Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: a team that have won both MXGP and MX2 classes on seven occasions in the last decade and who have seen eight different riders crowned (and a total of twelve titles) in sixteen years in MX2 alone. The factory fields works KTM 450 SX-F and KTM 250 SX-F motorcycles in each category and the MXGP division carries special significance in 2020 for the presence of Tony Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado and a total of fifteen world championships between them… 2018 MXGP – PC @RayArcher 1) BATTLE LINES RE-DRAWN Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli get ready to tussle again for the MXGP crown from the confines of the same awning. The duo has swung from extremes of fortune since both lined-up on the KTM 450 SX-F together in 2017. In that first year Cairoli returned from two seasons of injury problems to toast his ninth championship as Herlings started to dominate the second half of the campaign and once the Dutch rookie had recovered from a broken hand. They finished 1st and 2nd in the standings. 2018 promised a battle royal and the opening round in Argentina gave a taste of Herlings’ supremacy: each rider won a moto but #84 relegated Cairoli to second place on the final lap to claim the second race and a powerful first statement in a term that would see him win 17 from 19 Grands Prix (classifying as runner-up in the other two fixtures). Herlings’ efforts represented one of the most dominant seasons in FIM World Championship history as the teammates swapped overall positions but still ended 1-2. 2019 saw both out of action: Herlings derailed by a winter foot fracture (which he would re-injure in his mid-season comeback) and Cairoli banished by round nine due to a dislocated shoulder. Despite the adversity the pair still totalled six wins from twelve outings. For 2020 Herlings is fully fit, even wiser after a fourth year disturbed by physical problems and is unbeaten in pre-season International meets. Cairoli has only completed one race since June 2019 but, at 34, is the oldest and most experienced rider in the gate and knows how to construct a title-bid based on consistency. While there are strong threats from Yamaha, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, GasGas and reigning champs Honda, the orange bikes are expected to take up residency at the front of the field once again. Jorge Prado – PC @JP-Acevedo 2) THE BEST ROOKIE? Still, only 19 years of age Jorge Prado’s debut in MXGP is the most anticipated since Herlings’ arrival in 2017 and one eagerly awaited considering the Spaniard’s ruthlessness with holeshots, victories and trophies in just three years of MX2 racing where he gained 31 wins and two consecutive championships in 2018 and 2019. Pushed into the MXGP division partly by desire and mostly by regulation (a rider cannot defend an MX2 title twice in a row) Prado is in a similar predicament to Herlings where he’ll be playing ‘catch-up’ in his first taste of the premier class. A broken left femur in December meant the youngster only recently warmed the saddle and is in a dash against the calendar to make the opening rounds of Grand Prix. Circumstances could be better but the effortless riding style, technique and maturity (coupled with that peerless system of getting out of the start gate) means that Prado’s competitiveness in MXGP is a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’. Tony Cairoli won his first season in MXGP in 2009. Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser repeated the distinction as rookies in 2015 and 2016 and Herlings managed eleven podiums and six wins in 2017 as a precursor to his masterful opus. Prado will have a mammoth task on his hands to both recover, learn and excel but the most successful rider ever from his country has more than enough time on his hands. Tom Vialle – PC @RayArcher 3) THE ORANGE SPEAR POINT Of the entire 2020 MX2 entry list there are only two riders with experience of winning a Grand Prix and one of those is Red Bull KTM’s Tom Vialle: the French rookie star from 2019 came into the year as an unknown ‘gamble’ by the factory team and delivered seven podium finishes – one of those being the milestone success in Sweden – and a 4th place championship finish. The imminent MX2 contest is an open book but 19 year-old Vialle is one of the names on the first pages courtesy of his form and rapid development in ‘19 and his ability to maintain the excellent starting prowess of the KTM 250 SX-F that has set the benchmark for speed, performance and results since its introduction to the scene in 2004. Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher Race fans were accustomed to seeing the MX2 pack frequently tipping into the opening corner with an orange ‘tip’ and there is every indication that the slight but technical form of Vialle will again be at the sharp point in 2020. KTM is hoping that the ‘rookie effect’ could have a similar spread on Rene Hofer as the teenage Austrian completes his scale through the EMX European Championship levels to earn his shot at the highest level. Hofer is the first ‘home-grown’ racer to represent the factory crew since 2001. Jeffrey Herlings – PC @RayArcher 4) NEW CHALLENGES The additions of Argentina, Indonesia, Turkey (although there was a one-off Grand Prix in Istanbul in 2009) and China in the last five years means that MXGP is continuing to evolve and find new territories and circuits. For every visit to a historical site like Maggiora in Italy or Valkenswaard in Holland, there are newer, more experimental rounds, such as the temporary builds at Imola or Palembang in Indonesia or Shanghai. For 2020 there are potentially four ‘unseen’ venues on the slate. Riders and teams will have to learn the characteristics of Intu Xanadu Arroyomolinos just outside of Madrid for round five, find a new track in Jakarta at the end of June for round twelve, venture into KymiRing in Finland for the seventeenth race and then perhaps contend with a new location for the Chinese Grand Prix in mid-September for the penultimate outing of the year. Of the twenty dates, only four should involve a dip into sand while the rest constitute a mix of hard-pack and mud with just the Grand Prix of Argentina at Neuquen occurring in the unusual volcanic ash found in the region. Antonio Cairoli – PC @JP-Acevedo 5) THE LONG GAME Even though MXGP passes in a rush – with the exception of July there are three fixtures every month from March until September – the quantity of GPs means a special approach to the calendar and the phrase ‘it’s a long season…’ will frequently emerge from the mouths of riders as the competition gets underway at Matterley Basin in England on March 1st. The rate of travel and racing will be relentless, and a considered strategy of avoiding injury and hefty points loss in order to tackle the diversity of the Grands Prix and capture that treasured final championship position could see different riders shining at different moments to meet the conditions. As an example of the variance then the very first Grand Prix in the UK at the tail end of winter could be a mudder, while two years ago there were sub-zero temperatures and snow for what will be round two at Valkenswaard near Eindhoven a week later. Just six weeks on and the paddock will encounter warmer temperatures in Spain and Portugal while the Indonesian back-to-back double in June is usually a sweltering test of heat and humidity. The speed and openness of a track like Kegums in Latvia and the hard-pack of Orlyonok in Russia are a contrast to the compact and tight layouts at Arco di Trento and Imola in Italy. The slick, slippery and hard surface at Loket in the Czech Republic is a total contrast to the sapping bumps and sand of Lommel in Belgium found just seven days apart: in fact, that week in the summer is usually once of the most fascinating microcosms of the championship in terms of demands on the racers. It will be a ‘long season’…but also a comprehensive and exciting one! One of the best places to watch every minute of MXGP race action is through the official online streaming package available at www.mxgp.tv
  4. 5 THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2020 MXGP

    5 THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2020 MXGP Posted in Racing Who, what and where will make the 2020 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship worth watching in 2020? We identify five potential key markers of the forthcoming season… Jorge Prado & Antonio Cairoli – PC @JP-Acevedo Twenty rounds mean a massive sixty starts across seventeen countries in seven months for the 2020 FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship with each Grand Prix consisting of two motos and a Saturday Qualification Heat: it’s a vast number of races and risk involving a variety of tracks, terrain, conditions and climate from Argentina to Asia. As the series gets ready for the 63rd year there is already sizeable buzz around Red Bull KTM Factory Racing: a team that have won both MXGP and MX2 classes on seven occasions in the last decade and who have seen eight different riders crowned (and a total of twelve titles) in sixteen years in MX2 alone. The factory fields works KTM 450 SX-F and KTM 250 SX-F motorcycles in each category and the MXGP division carries special significance in 2020 for the presence of Tony Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado and a total of fifteen world championships between them… 2018 MXGP – PC @RayArcher 1) BATTLE LINES RE-DRAWN Jeffrey Herlings and Tony Cairoli get ready to tussle again for the MXGP crown from the confines of the same awning. The duo has swung from extremes of fortune since both lined-up on the KTM 450 SX-F together in 2017. In that first year Cairoli returned from two seasons of injury problems to toast his ninth championship as Herlings started to dominate the second half of the campaign and once the Dutch rookie had recovered from a broken hand. They finished 1st and 2nd in the standings. 2018 promised a battle royal and the opening round in Argentina gave a taste of Herlings’ supremacy: each rider won a moto but #84 relegated Cairoli to second place on the final lap to claim the second race and a powerful first statement in a term that would see him win 17 from 19 Grands Prix (classifying as runner-up in the other two fixtures). Herlings’ efforts represented one of the most dominant seasons in FIM World Championship history as the teammates swapped overall positions but still ended 1-2. 2019 saw both out of action: Herlings derailed by a winter foot fracture (which he would re-injure in his mid-season comeback) and Cairoli banished by round nine due to a dislocated shoulder. Despite the adversity the pair still totalled six wins from twelve outings. For 2020 Herlings is fully fit, even wiser after a fourth year disturbed by physical problems and is unbeaten in pre-season International meets. Cairoli has only completed one race since June 2019 but, at 34, is the oldest and most experienced rider in the gate and knows how to construct a title-bid based on consistency. While there are strong threats from Yamaha, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, GasGas and reigning champs Honda, the orange bikes are expected to take up residency at the front of the field once again. Jorge Prado – PC @JP-Acevedo 2) THE BEST ROOKIE? Still, only 19 years of age Jorge Prado’s debut in MXGP is the most anticipated since Herlings’ arrival in 2017 and one eagerly awaited considering the Spaniard’s ruthlessness with holeshots, victories and trophies in just three years of MX2 racing where he gained 31 wins and two consecutive championships in 2018 and 2019. Pushed into the MXGP division partly by desire and mostly by regulation (a rider cannot defend an MX2 title twice in a row) Prado is in a similar predicament to Herlings where he’ll be playing ‘catch-up’ in his first taste of the premier class. A broken left femur in December meant the youngster only recently warmed the saddle and is in a dash against the calendar to make the opening rounds of Grand Prix. Circumstances could be better but the effortless riding style, technique and maturity (coupled with that peerless system of getting out of the start gate) means that Prado’s competitiveness in MXGP is a question of ‘when’ not ‘if’. Tony Cairoli won his first season in MXGP in 2009. Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser repeated the distinction as rookies in 2015 and 2016 and Herlings managed eleven podiums and six wins in 2017 as a precursor to his masterful opus. Prado will have a mammoth task on his hands to both recover, learn and excel but the most successful rider ever from his country has more than enough time on his hands. Tom Vialle – 2019 – PC @RayArcher 3) THE ORANGE SPEAR POINT Of the entire 2020 MX2 entry list there are only two riders with experience of winning a Grand Prix and one of those is Red Bull KTM’s Tom Vialle: the French rookie star from 2019 came into the year as an unknown ‘gamble’ by the factory team and delivered seven podium finishes – one of those being the milestone success in Sweden – and a 4th place championship finish. The imminent MX2 contest is an open book but 19 year-old Vialle is one of the names on the first pages courtesy of his form and rapid development in ‘19 and his ability to maintain the excellent starting prowess of the KTM 250 SX-F that has set the benchmark for speed, performance and results since its introduction to the scene in 2004. Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher Race fans were accustomed to seeing the MX2 pack frequently tipping into the opening corner with an orange ‘tip’ and there is every indication that the slight but technical form of Vialle will again be at the sharp point in 2020. KTM is hoping that the ‘rookie effect’ could have a similar spread on Rene Hofer as the teenage Austrian completes his scale through the EMX European Championship levels to earn his shot at the highest level. Hofer is the first ‘home-grown’ racer to represent the factory crew since 2001. Jeffrey Herlings – PC @RayArcher 4) NEW CHALLENGES The additions of Argentina, Indonesia, Turkey (although there was a one-off Grand Prix in Istanbul in 2009) and China in the last five years means that MXGP is continuing to evolve and find new territories and circuits. For every visit to a historical site like Maggiora in Italy or Valkenswaard in Holland, there are newer, more experimental rounds, such as the temporary builds at Imola or Palembang in Indonesia or Shanghai. For 2020 there are potentially four ‘unseen’ venues on the slate. Riders and teams will have to learn the characteristics of Intu Xanadu Arroyomolinos just outside of Madrid for round five, find a new track in Jakarta at the end of June for round twelve, venture into KymiRing in Finland for the seventeenth race and then perhaps contend with a new location for the Chinese Grand Prix in mid-September for the penultimate outing of the year. Of the twenty dates, only four should involve a dip into sand while the rest constitute a mix of hard-pack and mud with just the Grand Prix of Argentina at Neuquen occurring in the unusual volcanic ash found in the region. Antonio Cairoli – PC @JP-Acevedo 5) THE LONG GAME Even though MXGP passes in a rush – with the exception of July there are three fixtures every month from March until September – the quantity of GPs means a special approach to the calendar and the phrase ‘it’s a long season…’ will frequently emerge from the mouths of riders as the competition gets underway at Matterley Basin in England on March 1st. The rate of travel and racing will be relentless, and a considered strategy of avoiding injury and hefty points loss in order to tackle the diversity of the Grands Prix and capture that treasured final championship position could see different riders shining at different moments to meet the conditions. As an example of the variance then the very first Grand Prix in the UK at the tail end of winter could be a mudder, while two years ago there were sub-zero temperatures and snow for what will be round two at Valkenswaard near Eindhoven a week later. Just six weeks on and the paddock will encounter warmer temperatures in Spain and Portugal while the Indonesian back-to-back double in June is usually a sweltering test of heat and humidity. The speed and openness of a track like Kegums in Latvia and the hard-pack of Orlyonok in Russia are a contrast to the compact and tight layouts at Arco di Trento and Imola in Italy. The slick, slippery and hard surface at Loket in the Czech Republic is a total contrast to the sapping bumps and sand of Lommel in Belgium found just seven days apart: in fact, that week in the summer is usually once of the most fascinating microcosms of the championship in terms of demands on the racers. It will be a ‘long season’…but also a comprehensive and exciting one! One of the best places to watch every minute of MXGP race action is through the official online streaming package available at www.mxgp.tv
  5. 3 REASONS TO VISIT THE KTM MOTOHALL Posted in Interactive An orange homage to motorcycling: KTM’s combination of museum, exhibition, interaction and education – the ‘KTM Motohall’ – has been open for almost a year and has so far welcomed more than 50,000 visitors. PC @SebasRomero KTM’s factory has spread significantly through Mattighofen and into the neighboring Munderfing in recent years but the ribbon-cutting of the KTM Motohall in 2019 marked an aesthetic and necessary reference point for the company in the upper Austrian town and away from the assembly line buildings, engine and spares plants and R&D offices. Located smack-bang in the center of Mattighofen (just a few kilometers from the hub of KTM production) and with a car park and principal high street only meters away from the entrance, it has become a new mecca for fans of ‘the orange’ and motorcyclists generally. Here are three big reasons or calling cards to re-program the GPS and discover the facility at some point in 2020… THE HEROES AREA The KTM Motohall takes you on a path upwards, through the technical, engineering as well as historical story and showcasing the achievements of KTM. The shapes of the walls and the architecture is sometimes as eye-catching as the machinery. The vast ‘web’ of race trophies suspended from the ceiling is particularly striking, but it is the Heroes area on the top floor and at the peak of the exhibition ramp that is the highlight of the KTM Motohall experience. PC @SebasRomero As if the collection of almost thirty motorcycles and head-to-toe race kit of the distinguished athletes wasn’t enough then the whole room is an audio-visual assault on the senses. Floor-to-ceiling screens show the full range of KTM’s racing activities (more than 300 FIM World titles accumulated) with a highly stylized selection of imagery and reflective interviews from many of the sportsmen whose gear and former rides are on show. There is space to sit, watch and listen and then appreciate the scope of the display. PC @SebasRomero Some of the highlights include the KTM 250 MC that took Russian Gennady Moiseev to the company’s first title (Motocross) in 1974 to the KTM 950 Rally that carried the late Italian Fabrizio Meoni to his Dakar success in 2002 as well as pillar-shaking bikes and individuals that rocked Motocross, Supercross and Enduro. For road racing there is Casey Stoner’s KTM 125 FRR – the bike that the Australian used to snare KTM’s very first Grand Prix win on the asphalt in Malaysia in 2004 – Sandro Cortese’s inaugural – championship-winning Moto3TM 250cc and up to the current KTM RC16 steered in MotoGPTM by Pol Espargaró. The Austrian link is honored through the Dakar and Motocross conquering winning tech used by Heinz Kinigadner and Matthias Walkner. PC @SebasRomero THE JOURNEY The slight gradient to the racing room sees the timeline of KTM illustrated through various key and pristine motorcycles: such as the daddy of them all – the KTM R 100 – and the KTM Mecky 50, a lime moped-scooter formed in the late 1950s and featuring the very first all-KTM engine made in Mattighofen. Did you know that KTM only stopped making scooters in 1988? Pc @SebasRomero For the first time, the full two-wheeled trajectory of the company is laid-out. The bikes are accompanied by photographs of every era (the pics of Erwin Lechner and his national and central European success on the roads in the 1950s is a reminder of KTM’s long competitive past) and the accompanying short texts do not only give the details of the model but why it was important for KTM and what is especially different or significant about it. For instance, when KTM built and started to produce the R 100 they could only finish three a day! PC @SebasRomero The growth of the brand is evident by the ‘down ramp’ where the Naked Bikes and Adventures are positioned in their generative entirety with some parked away from the stand and available for visitors to hop on. It is almost laughable to see how KTM have progressed with their modern Street catalog and from the first KTM DUKE in 1994 to the force of multi-national fabrication and R&D that exists today. In this area, the ‘story’ is seen in the technical advancement of KTM motorcycles compared to the basic and almost romantic beginnings of the opposing display. Further down and then overhead KTM’s excellence as an offroad manufacturer is well represented with the fantastic arch of suspended Dirt Bikes and the Enduro section is nothing short of comprehensive. THE KNOWLEDGE There is an attempt to explain how KTM have evolved and arrived through many of their design and engineering philosophies in several dynamic sections; ‘dynamic’ due to the fact that you don’t only find text and drawings on the walls: there are monitors, components and interactive elements to chart things like findings in bodywork, engine construction, rider assistance aids and suspension (kids can match motor sounds and stamp a ‘Rookie–Tour’ booklet at specific stations). This is an important reveal for a company like KTM; a firm that sculpts their motorcycles around a clear identity and set of brand values. It is worth taking a moment to look, read and touch why a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R looks so edgy and extreme. There are ‘nuggets’ of trivia dotted around the place, such as the line that reveals 20,000 spare parts and accessories are gathered and packed every day at Mattighofen. PC @SebasRomero PC @SebasRomero The final part of the KTM Motohall belongs to the prototypes (the 2010 version of the KTM FREERIDE E is particularly striking and the 2012 concept KTM scooter for the Tokyo Motor Show) and the current models. Fresh additions include the latest versions of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM DUKE and KTM ADVENTURE families (1290, 890, 790, 390) which for many visitors who haven’t attended a show or not walked into a motorcycle dealership will see for the first time. PC @SebasRomero Before leaving the curved doors, the KTM shop is well-stocked. Curious wanderers will also spot the tuition and educational spaces the Innovation Lab in the basement which usually opens three times a week on Fridays 2pm – 4pm |  Saturdays 11am – 1pm | Sundays 11am – 1pm (booking required!) with Soldering- and Doodle Workshops can extend what is a good one-two hour stay. PC @SebasRomero (AND…4. THE GARAGE RESTAURANT) Whether it’s coffee, lunch or a Red Bull – there is also a long list of craft beers and plenty of options for a sweet waffle – then the Garage restaurant adjacent to the KTM Motohall is a fine stop before or after the trip to the main building. The interior decoration is orientated around bikes and components (such as the design sketches in the toilets), a large RC16 is suspended in the middle of the dining space and a wall full of autographed cards of racing heroes and figures is one of those features that has you spending time to see ‘who is who?’. The menu is not huge but has plenty of options –the taste, the size of the portion and the presentation is impressive (the sharing platter for two comes in a miniature ‘toolbox’, so details are clearly key, witness the workstation style rolls of tissue at the end of the tables). The sun pours through the vast windows at a certain period in the afternoon and it adds to the feeling of being in a new, modern and welcoming space. The KTM Motohall is open from Wednesday to Sunday 9.00 a.m.- 6 p.m! Details on tickets, prices and events can be found on the official KTM Motohall website.
  6. 3 REASONS TO VISIT THE KTM MOTOHALL

    3 REASONS TO VISIT THE KTM MOTOHALL Posted in Interactive An orange homage to motorcycling: KTM’s combination of museum, exhibition, interaction and education – the ‘KTM Motohall’ – has been open for almost a year and has so far welcomed more than 50,000 visitors. PC @SebasRomero KTM’s factory has spread significantly through Mattighofen and into the neighboring Munderfing in recent years but the ribbon-cutting of the KTM Motohall in 2019 marked an aesthetic and necessary reference point for the company in the upper Austrian town and away from the assembly line buildings, engine and spares plants and R&D offices. Located smack-bang in the center of Mattighofen (just a few kilometers from the hub of KTM production) and with a car park and principal high street only meters away from the entrance, it has become a new mecca for fans of ‘the orange’ and motorcyclists generally. Here are three big reasons or calling cards to re-program the GPS and discover the facility at some point in 2020… THE HEROES AREA The KTM Motohall takes you on a path upwards, through the technical, engineering as well as historical story and showcasing the achievements of KTM. The shapes of the walls and the architecture is sometimes as eye-catching as the machinery. The vast ‘web’ of race trophies suspended from the ceiling is particularly striking, but it is the Heroes area on the top floor and at the peak of the exhibition ramp that is the highlight of the KTM Motohall experience. PC @SebasRomero As if the collection of almost thirty motorcycles and head-to-toe race kit of the distinguished athletes wasn’t enough then the whole room is an audio-visual assault on the senses. Floor-to-ceiling screens show the full range of KTM’s racing activities (more than 300 FIM World titles accumulated) with a highly stylized selection of imagery and reflective interviews from many of the sportsmen whose gear and former rides are on show. There is space to sit, watch and listen and then appreciate the scope of the display. PC @SebasRomero Some of the highlights include the KTM 250 MC that took Russian Gennady Moiseev to the company’s first title (Motocross) in 1974 to the KTM 950 Rally that carried the late Italian Fabrizio Meoni to his Dakar success in 2002 as well as pillar-shaking bikes and individuals that rocked Motocross, Supercross and Enduro. For road racing there is Casey Stoner’s KTM 125 FRR – the bike that the Australian used to snare KTM’s very first Grand Prix win on the asphalt in Malaysia in 2004 – Sandro Cortese’s inaugural – championship-winning Moto3TM 250cc and up to the current KTM RC16 steered in MotoGPTM by Pol Espargaró. The Austrian link is honored through the Dakar and Motocross conquering winning tech used by Heinz Kinigadner and Matthias Walkner. PC @SebasRomero THE JOURNEY The slight gradient to the racing room sees the timeline of KTM illustrated through various key and pristine motorcycles: such as the daddy of them all – the KTM R 100 – and the KTM Mecky 50, a lime moped-scooter formed in the late 1950s and featuring the very first all-KTM engine made in Mattighofen. Did you know that KTM only stopped making scooters in 1988? Pc @SebasRomero For the first time, the full two-wheeled trajectory of the company is laid-out. The bikes are accompanied by photographs of every era (the pics of Erwin Lechner and his national and central European success on the roads in the 1950s is a reminder of KTM’s long competitive past) and the accompanying short texts do not only give the details of the model but why it was important for KTM and what is especially different or significant about it. For instance, when KTM built and started to produce the R 100 they could only finish three a day! PC @SebasRomero The growth of the brand is evident by the ‘down ramp’ where the Naked Bikes and Adventures are positioned in their generative entirety with some parked away from the stand and available for visitors to hop on. It is almost laughable to see how KTM have progressed with their modern Street catalog and from the first KTM DUKE in 1994 to the force of multi-national fabrication and R&D that exists today. In this area, the ‘story’ is seen in the technical advancement of KTM motorcycles compared to the basic and almost romantic beginnings of the opposing display. Further down and then overhead KTM’s excellence as an offroad manufacturer is well represented with the fantastic arch of suspended Dirt Bikes and the Enduro section is nothing short of comprehensive. THE KNOWLEDGE There is an attempt to explain how KTM have evolved and arrived through many of their design and engineering philosophies in several dynamic sections; ‘dynamic’ due to the fact that you don’t only find text and drawings on the walls: there are monitors, components and interactive elements to chart things like findings in bodywork, engine construction, rider assistance aids and suspension (kids can match motor sounds and stamp a ‘Rookie–Tour’ booklet at specific stations). This is an important reveal for a company like KTM; a firm that sculpts their motorcycles around a clear identity and set of brand values. It is worth taking a moment to look, read and touch why a KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R looks so edgy and extreme. There are ‘nuggets’ of trivia dotted around the place, such as the line that reveals 20,000 spare parts and accessories are gathered and packed every day at Mattighofen. PC @SebasRomero PC @SebasRomero The final part of the KTM Motohall belongs to the prototypes (the 2010 version of the KTM FREERIDE E is particularly striking and the 2012 concept KTM scooter for the Tokyo Motor Show) and the current models. Fresh additions include the latest versions of the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R, KTM DUKE and KTM ADVENTURE families (1290, 890, 790, 390) which for many visitors who haven’t attended a show or not walked into a motorcycle dealership will see for the first time. PC @SebasRomero Before leaving the curved doors, the KTM shop is well-stocked. Curious wanderers will also spot the tuition and educational spaces the Innovation Lab in the basement which usually opens three times a week on Fridays 2pm – 4pm |  Saturdays 11am – 1pm | Sundays 11am – 1pm (booking required!) with Soldering- and Doodle Workshops can extend what is a good one-two hour stay. PC @SebasRomero (AND…4. THE GARAGE RESTAURANT) Whether it’s coffee, lunch or a Red Bull – there is also a long list of craft beers and plenty of options for a sweet waffle – then the Garage restaurant adjacent to the KTM Motohall is a fine stop before or after the trip to the main building. The interior decoration is orientated around bikes and components (such as the design sketches in the toilets), a large RC16 is suspended in the middle of the dining space and a wall full of autographed cards of racing heroes and figures is one of those features that has you spending time to see ‘who is who?’. The menu is not huge but has plenty of options –the taste, the size of the portion and the presentation is impressive (the sharing platter for two comes in a miniature ‘toolbox’, so details are clearly key, witness the workstation style rolls of tissue at the end of the tables). The sun pours through the vast windows at a certain period in the afternoon and it adds to the feeling of being in a new, modern and welcoming space. The KTM Motohall is open from Wednesday to Sunday 9.00 a.m.- 6 p.m! Details on tickets, prices and events can be found on the official KTM Motohall website.
  7. DAKAR 2020: A CAPTIVATING RACE OVER SOME OF THE MOST INCREDIBLE TERRAIN As the dust settles on the 2020 Dakar Rally, which marked a new chapter for the event at a new location in Saudi Arabia, we at the KTM Blog have been taking a look through the breath-taking images from this year’s race. The Dakar Rally is known as one of the most notoriously difficult races on the planet; covering a total distance of over 8,000km with around 5,000 of those being timed specials, the 12-stage event is incredibly tough yet iconic, as riders from all over the world take on the challenge to journey and compete over some of the world’s most incredible terrain. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team endured a challenging race this year, although Australian-ace Toby Price continued his podium record for all Dakar races he’s completed with an impressive third place overall. 2018 Dakar champion Matthias Walkner from Austria finished fifth overall after a tough first week hampered his potential, with Argentinian racer Luciano Benavides earning his best finish yet in sixth aboard his KTM 450 RALLY. Whilst we reflect on the race that has captivated the world in the opening part of the year, we welcome you to look through some of the best images of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team in action during Dakar 2020. Matthias Walkner creates a wall of dust as he battles stage two of the 2020 Dakar Rally. Sam Sunderland tackles the tricky terrain and navigation on Dakar stage two. Luciano Benavides enjoyed his best Dakar finish yet with sixth overall after finishing inside the top 10 for all but one stage of the race. Matthias Walkner loads in his roadbook ahead of stage four of the rally. Toby Price navigates the sandy terrain at speed on his way to winning stage five of the Dakar. Matthias Walkner took a top three finish on a very fast stage Dakar stage six. Toby Price is followed by the helicopter capturing him in action during stage six of the race. Luciano Benavides contemplates his possibilities during the Dakar 2020 rest day. Toby Price the Bivouac Barber – a little downtime on rest day during the Dakar. Stage 7 is one many riders will wish to forget due to the passing of a fellow competitor. Matthias Walkner tackles the difficult Saudi Arabian dunes. Luciano Benavides tries to keep the power down aboard his KTM 450 RALLY on the changing terrain during Dakar stage nine. After a grueling race Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price takes his fifth podium from six Dakar starts.
  8. DAKAR 2020: A CAPTIVATING RACE OVER SOME OF THE MOST INCREDIBLE TERRAIN As the dust settles on the 2020 Dakar Rally, which marked a new chapter for the event at a new location in Saudi Arabia, we at the KTM Blog have been taking a look through the breath-taking images from this year’s race. The Dakar Rally is known as one of the most notoriously difficult races on the planet; covering a total distance of over 8,000km with around 5,000 of those being timed specials, the 12-stage event is incredibly tough yet iconic, as riders from all over the world take on the challenge to journey and compete over some of the world’s most incredible terrain. The Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team endured a challenging race this year, although Australian-ace Toby Price continued his podium record for all Dakar races he’s completed with an impressive third place overall. 2018 Dakar champion Matthias Walkner from Austria finished fifth overall after a tough first week hampered his potential, with Argentinian racer Luciano Benavides earning his best finish yet in sixth aboard his KTM 450 RALLY. Whilst we reflect on the race that has captivated the world in the opening part of the year, we welcome you to look through some of the best images of the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team in action during Dakar 2020. Matthias Walkner creates a wall of dust as he battles stage two of the 2020 Dakar Rally. Sam Sunderland tackles the tricky terrain and navigation on Dakar stage two. Luciano Benavides enjoyed his best Dakar finish yet with sixth overall after finishing inside the top 10 for all but one stage of the race. Matthias Walkner loads in his roadbook ahead of stage four of the rally. Toby Price navigates the sandy terrain at speed on his way to winning stage five of the Dakar. Matthias Walkner took a top three finish on a very fast stage Dakar stage six. Toby Price is followed by the helicopter capturing him in action during stage six of the race. Luciano Benavides contemplates his possibilities during the Dakar 2020 rest day. Toby Price the Bivouac Barber – a little downtime on rest day during the Dakar. Stage 7 is one many riders will wish to forget due to the passing of a fellow competitor. Matthias Walkner tackles the difficult Saudi Arabian dunes. Luciano Benavides tries to keep the power down aboard his KTM 450 RALLY on the changing terrain during Dakar stage nine. After a grueling race Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Toby Price takes his fifth podium from six Dakar starts.
  9. HOW DO YOU GET READY FOR A MOTOGP™ BIKE? In a matter of a few weeks, Brad Binder will be able to answer the question that many race fans regularly have: what does it feel like to pin a MotoGP™ factory bike?! The South African chats about three ways in which he’ll get set for the challenge… Brad Binder – PC @SebasRomero Red Bull KTM MotoGP™ teams will field two rookies in 2020: Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona with the combined age of 43 years. Binder comes into the factory squad with a Moto3™ world championship and fifteen Grand Prix victories in two categories to his name including five wins in Moto2™ last year. The South African has earned his MotoGP™ shot thanks to his results, attitude and attacking riding style; something that paddock insiders seem to think will suit him well on the RC16 and a motorcycle that Pol Espargaró aggressively throttled to 100 world championship points in 2019. Brad Binder – PC @LukasLeitner Binder first threw his leg over the KTM Grand Prix bike at the summer test in the Czech Republic. The laps he made at the Brno circuit were like a preview for what he might have in store for 2020. At the Valencia and Jerez MotoGP™ tests in November the new #33 was able to deepen his appreciation for the 350kmph missile. Already an eight season ‘veteran’ of FIM world championship competition, Binder, who works between bases in Dubai and Spain, identified three areas in which he’s been focussing on to face the increase of speed, power and the best racers in the world. Brad Binder – PC@LukasLeitner A PHYSICAL PRESENCE “I had my first taste of MotoGP™ at Brno last summer and I realized straight away that it is a lot harder on the forearms and also your heart rate goes a bit harder than in Moto2™. I think generally it is something that will be a lot more physical but also something you get used to.” “I’d like to try and pick up a bit more muscle, and a bit more power for the new season can only help. Body weight is obviously an important factor in Moto3™ and Moto2™ but I can honestly say that I struggle to gain weight. I think it has a lot to do with the amount of cardio I do but also how much I eat. Normally my heaviest point comes when I start riding in February: I want to start the season like that because when races go on I start to lose it.” Brad Binder – PC@LukasLeitner “I don’t worry about training that much because it is something I take very seriously, and I do it very hard. I love cycling. I don’t do some of the insane mileage like the other riders, but I enjoy getting out on the bicycle and will mix it up between road and the enduro bicycle. You can do downhill loops and still peddle back to the top. I’m doing just as much if not more than anyone else and I know physically I’m very lucky because I’ve always felt just as strong at the end of the races, more than my competitors from what I see on the track. For sure this year will be a different story! There you are with the elite guys I suppose.” I’ve worked with a few different trainers and lately I’ve been using the same guy that trained other MotoGP riders and have learned a good few pointers. I want to learn as much as I can from everybody and make a program that suits me. I’m sure there is room to improve. I’ve spoken to Pit [Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director] about working with Aldon Baker [famed South African Supercross/motocross trainer] and I think we’ll get around to it at some point. I did go to the Red Bull diagnostic training center recently with the other guys [riders] and that was an eye-opener. It is impressive how they can tailor special plans to the smallest detail.” Brad Binder – PC @LukasLeitner A CHANGE OF TECHNIQUE “I just need to ride the thing a bit more!” “Brno was very much a ‘get your feet wet’ situation. I have a lot to learn but I don’t want to think about it too much. I always believe that if you over-think things or have expectations that end up not existing then it’s only negative. Better to try and then work out what you need to do and to change.” Brad Binder – PC @SebasRomero “MotoGP™ will mean keeping an open mind. Taking it one day at a time. You can almost try and ‘jump-start’ situations but then you can also go a bit mad. In 2019 I made big improvements and my riding was much better. Moto2™ was hard at the beginning and that was mainly because of my arm; it was buggered for six months basically. Once it started to feel normal again then I started to find my way.” “I’m sure electronics will be a big factor and getting my head around all that stuff. Learning to find set-up and how to save the tire; that’s not something you have to worry about too much in Moto2™. It is all-guns-blazing from lap one until the end. We had more electronic options in Moto2™ last year but, to be honest, I don’t know too much about them: I turned them off!” Pit Beirer & Brad Binder – PC @SebasRomero MINDFUL OF THE MINDSET “First of all, I don’t want to repeat what I did in the past: trying to make everything happen at once. That’s how I ended up hurting myself, by pushing for too much too soon. We are working through everything in testing and I need to take advantage of it.” “I know I’ll be starting nearer the back of the grid, especially compared to what I achieved in Moto2™, but that’s definitely not where I am going to end up. I believe that if you work at something hard enough then there is every chance you will improve and that is how I have been throughout my career. I’ve never started by being the fastest guy in the beginning…but I got there in the end.” “I wouldn’t say I’m a patient guy – by any means – but I do believe that you have to aim at progression. If you are just looking at results then it can send you mad, but if you just try and tick off little things every single day then you’ll end up getting there. In a way it is quite simple: ride the bike and tell them what I think and I guess the team does the rest. For sure it will be a hundred times more technical…but I just want to try and keep it simple to do my job.” Brad Binder – PC @SebasRomero “I’m excited about being on track with those riders we all know about. I think it will be awesome. I remember shouting at the TV for Rossi when I was a little kid, way before I knew what MotoGP™ was just because my Dad cheering him on…so to line-up against legends of the sport will be an incredible feeling.” “I’m quite an easy-going guy so I don’t think the extra duties of being a factory rider will bother me too much. I know there will be extra attention and back home is pretty insane. When I travel back to South Africa I always have a solid week of media work every day but it has to be done suppose!”
  10. HOW DO YOU GET READY FOR A MOTOGP™ BIKE?

    HOW DO YOU GET READY FOR A MOTOGP™ BIKE? In a matter of a few weeks, Brad Binder will be able to answer the question that many race fans regularly have: what does it feel like to pin a MotoGP™ factory bike?! The South African chats about three ways in which he’ll get set for the challenge… Brad Binder – PC @SebasRomero Red Bull KTM MotoGP™ teams will field two rookies in 2020: Brad Binder and Iker Lecuona with the combined age of 43 years. Binder comes into the factory squad with a Moto3™ world championship and fifteen Grand Prix victories in two categories to his name including five wins in Moto2™ last year. The South African has earned his MotoGP™ shot thanks to his results, attitude and attacking riding style; something that paddock insiders seem to think will suit him well on the RC16 and a motorcycle that Pol Espargaró aggressively throttled to 100 world championship points in 2019. Brad Binder – PC @LukasLeitner Binder first threw his leg over the KTM Grand Prix bike at the summer test in the Czech Republic. The laps he made at the Brno circuit were like a preview for what he might have in store for 2020. At the Valencia and Jerez MotoGP™ tests in November the new #33 was able to deepen his appreciation for the 350kmph missile. Already an eight season ‘veteran’ of FIM world championship competition, Binder, who works between bases in Dubai and Spain, identified three areas in which he’s been focussing on to face the increase of speed, power and the best racers in the world. Brad Binder – PC@LukasLeitner A PHYSICAL PRESENCE “I had my first taste of MotoGP™ at Brno last summer and I realized straight away that it is a lot harder on the forearms and also your heart rate goes a bit harder than in Moto2™. I think generally it is something that will be a lot more physical but also something you get used to.” “I’d like to try and pick up a bit more muscle, and a bit more power for the new season can only help. Body weight is obviously an important factor in Moto3™ and Moto2™ but I can honestly say that I struggle to gain weight. I think it has a lot to do with the amount of cardio I do but also how much I eat. Normally my heaviest point comes when I start riding in February: I want to start the season like that because when races go on I start to lose it.” Brad Binder – PC@LukasLeitner “I don’t worry about training that much because it is something I take very seriously, and I do it very hard. I love cycling. I don’t do some of the insane mileage like the other riders, but I enjoy getting out on the bicycle and will mix it up between road and the enduro bicycle. You can do downhill loops and still peddle back to the top. I’m doing just as much if not more than anyone else and I know physically I’m very lucky because I’ve always felt just as strong at the end of the races, more than my competitors from what I see on the track. For sure this year will be a different story! There you are with the elite guys I suppose.” I’ve worked with a few different trainers and lately I’ve been using the same guy that trained other MotoGP riders and have learned a good few pointers. I want to learn as much as I can from everybody and make a program that suits me. I’m sure there is room to improve. I’ve spoken to Pit [Beirer, KTM Motorsport Director] about working with Aldon Baker [famed South African Supercross/motocross trainer] and I think we’ll get around to it at some point. I did go to the Red Bull diagnostic training center recently with the other guys [riders] and that was an eye-opener. It is impressive how they can tailor special plans to the smallest detail.” Brad Binder – PC @LukasLeitner A CHANGE OF TECHNIQUE “I just need to ride the thing a bit more!” “Brno was very much a ‘get your feet wet’ situation. I have a lot to learn but I don’t want to think about it too much. I always believe that if you over-think things or have expectations that end up not existing then it’s only negative. Better to try and then work out what you need to do and to change.” Brad Binder – PC @SebasRomero “MotoGP™ will mean keeping an open mind. Taking it one day at a time. You can almost try and ‘jump-start’ situations but then you can also go a bit mad. In 2019 I made big improvements and my riding was much better. Moto2™ was hard at the beginning and that was mainly because of my arm; it was buggered for six months basically. Once it started to feel normal again then I started to find my way.” “I’m sure electronics will be a big factor and getting my head around all that stuff. Learning to find set-up and how to save the tire; that’s not something you have to worry about too much in Moto2™. It is all-guns-blazing from lap one until the end. We had more electronic options in Moto2™ last year but, to be honest, I don’t know too much about them: I turned them off!” Pit Beirer & Brad Binder – PC @SebasRomero MINDFUL OF THE MINDSET “First of all, I don’t want to repeat what I did in the past: trying to make everything happen at once. That’s how I ended up hurting myself, by pushing for too much too soon. We are working through everything in testing and I need to take advantage of it.” “I know I’ll be starting nearer the back of the grid, especially compared to what I achieved in Moto2™, but that’s definitely not where I am going to end up. I believe that if you work at something hard enough then there is every chance you will improve and that is how I have been throughout my career. I’ve never started by being the fastest guy in the beginning…but I got there in the end.” “I wouldn’t say I’m a patient guy – by any means – but I do believe that you have to aim at progression. If you are just looking at results then it can send you mad, but if you just try and tick off little things every single day then you’ll end up getting there. In a way it is quite simple: ride the bike and tell them what I think and I guess the team does the rest. For sure it will be a hundred times more technical…but I just want to try and keep it simple to do my job.” Brad Binder – PC @SebasRomero “I’m excited about being on track with those riders we all know about. I think it will be awesome. I remember shouting at the TV for Rossi when I was a little kid, way before I knew what MotoGP™ was just because my Dad cheering him on…so to line-up against legends of the sport will be an incredible feeling.” “I’m quite an easy-going guy so I don’t think the extra duties of being a factory rider will bother me too much. I know there will be extra attention and back home is pretty insane. When I travel back to South Africa I always have a solid week of media work every day but it has to be done suppose!”
  11. THE HOT SEAT – RENE HOFER INTERVIEW In 2020 seventeen-year old Rene Hofer will be the first Austrian this century to represent the most decorated team in MXGP. What’s it like to feel the full glare of orange? Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher Red Bull KTM will field the best motocross line-up of all-time in 2020. The combination of Tony Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado means a total of fifteen world titles in the MXGP class. In MX2 2019 Rookie of the Year Tom Vialle is already touted as one of the pre-season championship favorites after seven podiums and 4th place in his maiden term during 2019. Converting this quartet into a quintet is Rene Hofer. The teenager has FIM Junior, 125cc and European Championship honors all in orange (and was leading EMX125 in 2018 before a season-ending injury) but compared to all the clout and success of his teammates Hofer has a unique narrative. “He’s a local!” smiles Team Manager and Team Technical Co-ordinator Dirk Gruebel. “The best motocross rider from Austria at the moment and the best since [2018 Dakar winner] Matthias Walkner who tried MX2 and ended up being good in the old MX3 class. There will be a spotlight on Rene but we think it is nice to have a guy from the country where the headquarters is. In terms of pressure, we don’t know how it will be for him…” Rene Hofer – PC @ReneHofer Instagram Red Bull KTM has fielded the leading riders from Italy, France, Holland, Germany, South Africa, Spain and Latvia in recent years, and there is now a special link to the Mattighofen factory and Munderfing race workshop. Hofer earned his shot after just one season in the EMX250 European Championship (the feeder series to Grand Prix) thanks to two factors. Firstly, two eye-catching MX2 wildcards where he not only scored points but also the ability to break into the top ten with a seventh place overall in the Grand Prix of Italy. Secondly, the immediate impact of 2020 teammate Vialle. The eighteen-year-old Frenchman had not excelled in EMX and was considered as a ‘gamble’ and investment by the factory and the race team for 2019. Vialle’s skills and mentality (and the crew’s work) meant he was able to forge an outstanding campaign. So, why can’t Hofer achieve a similar effect? “Tom had a couple of moto wins in EMX in 2018, Rene didn’t reach the same results in 2019 but was consistent and then he also scored points in the Czech Republic Grand Prix as well as a top ten finish in Italy; that was really good and maybe too good because you don’t want riders to think ‘this is too easy’,” Gruebel says. “We’ll approach 2020 as we did with Tom this year: Rene is a newcomer to the class. From the outside, he might not have the same style as Jorge and Tom but he has a big heart and he is putting in the hours. He wants to be here. He will do good.” 2019 – Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher Hofer, from Linz, might have the right passport to generate sizeable interest in the corridors of Mattighofen but once ‘across the border’ of the race team that status carries more weight. “The opportunity to have an Austrian [in the race team] doesn’t happen very often so if it’s there then we try to grab it,” says KTM Offroad VP Robert Jonas. “I would definitely not say it is easier for him though by virtue of the fact he is Austrian.” Jonas should know. The former 125cc star was the last home-grown rider to come within the sphere of the works set-up and the sought-after SX technology at the end of the 1990s. Jonas suffered a serious knee injury before he could really show what he could do on the world stage in the first year of the new millennium. It happened two years before Hofer was even born. “I remember a little bit how it was,” he recalls. “At the final round of the Austrian Championship In ’99 I won the title and on the Sunday evening the manager responsible for the Austrian riders at that time received a phone call from Mr. Pierer [Pierer Mobility CEO] with the information that I would have a spot in the factory team. For me, it was a surprise and I was not counting on that opportunity. For sure I was thinking and working towards it…but it was a big surprise.” “I don’t think that is quite so much the case for Rene,” he reflects. “He was closer because of some good form in the European Championship [six top-five results from the eight rounds in 2019] and due to Jeffrey [Herlings] being injured he had the chance to be with us under the tent and to smell the factory team environment.” 2019 – Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher “It is a big opportunity and for sure a big challenge,” Jonas adds, “but I feel he also deserves it because he made some good progress. He surprised us with his two GP opportunities this year. He didn’t get those results for free because he didn’t have the best starts and worked his way through.” It is Hofer’s mindset and commitment that has strengthened his case with KTM race management and earned the total belief and conviction of people like Motocross Manager Joel Smets and former KTM Junior Team Manager Didi Lacher, whose judgment is highly valued in the Munderfing Race HQ. “He doesn’t give up. He always finishes the races and there are no complaints about circumstances,” assesses Gruebel. “He knows when he has made a mistake. I see him training hard. He is not shining in the sand races yet, but it was the same with Tom; the more time they spend in Belgium – there are not too many sand tracks in Austria – the more they improve and that will happen with Rene.” PC @RayArcher “He is a guy that can perform when he has to and you need to have that,” stresses Jonas. “He has a lot of work ahead, but I think he has a good chance to make it.” True to cliché, Hofer is the archetypal ‘old head on young shoulders’ and is aware that his 2020 is more than just a dream slot with the best factory team in the FIM World Championship paddock. “My phone was blowing up when I got confirmation,” he grins. “For me, it is such a big thing, and for some other people too, but I try to go smoothly with it.” “Tom had an unbelievable season this year, and this is not ‘usual’ [as a rookie],” he claims. “But it will be a learning year and I hope to get some results and confidence.” Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher Hofer has yet to race in a major international meeting away from European shores. The twenty-date MXGP calendar will be a vast education for an aspiring athlete that is still in school (“officially I’m in year 12 so just one more and I have the possibility to leave when I’m eighteen but we’ll decide this in January”). “Traveling, cultures, overseas, food, time zones: I’m not used to this…. but Tom coped fine so I’m sure I can,” he says. Aside from the attention, the setting and the pressure, Hofer will also have to gain a full appreciation and understanding of the demands of MX2. “Well, there is much more riding time compared to EMX, which means getting used to the track,” he explains. “The starts are also so much more difficult. All the guys are super-close together and the braking points are much later. I need to get used to this a bit more. The speed is not too different, and you can see riders like [Roan] Van de Moosdijk or [Alberto] Forato have the pace to run near the top five. The starts are even more important in MX2 than EMX. Overall it is so much different in terms of intensity.” Intense is probably a fitting word for the experience that lays ahead for Hofer. But yet more spoils for Red Bull KTM with a native flavor might taste that little bit sweeter.
  12. THE HOT SEAT – RENE HOFER INTERVIEW

    THE HOT SEAT – RENE HOFER INTERVIEW In 2020 seventeen-year old Rene Hofer will be the first Austrian this century to represent the most decorated team in MXGP. What’s it like to feel the full glare of orange? Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher Red Bull KTM will field the best motocross line-up of all-time in 2020. The combination of Tony Cairoli, Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado means a total of fifteen world titles in the MXGP class. In MX2 2019 Rookie of the Year Tom Vialle is already touted as one of the pre-season championship favorites after seven podiums and 4th place in his maiden term during 2019. Converting this quartet into a quintet is Rene Hofer. The teenager has FIM Junior, 125cc and European Championship honors all in orange (and was leading EMX125 in 2018 before a season-ending injury) but compared to all the clout and success of his teammates Hofer has a unique narrative. “He’s a local!” smiles Team Manager and Team Technical Co-ordinator Dirk Gruebel. “The best motocross rider from Austria at the moment and the best since [2018 Dakar winner] Matthias Walkner who tried MX2 and ended up being good in the old MX3 class. There will be a spotlight on Rene but we think it is nice to have a guy from the country where the headquarters is. In terms of pressure, we don’t know how it will be for him…” Rene Hofer – PC @ReneHofer Instagram Red Bull KTM has fielded the leading riders from Italy, France, Holland, Germany, South Africa, Spain and Latvia in recent years, and there is now a special link to the Mattighofen factory and Munderfing race workshop. Hofer earned his shot after just one season in the EMX250 European Championship (the feeder series to Grand Prix) thanks to two factors. Firstly, two eye-catching MX2 wildcards where he not only scored points but also the ability to break into the top ten with a seventh place overall in the Grand Prix of Italy. Secondly, the immediate impact of 2020 teammate Vialle. The eighteen-year-old Frenchman had not excelled in EMX and was considered as a ‘gamble’ and investment by the factory and the race team for 2019. Vialle’s skills and mentality (and the crew’s work) meant he was able to forge an outstanding campaign. So, why can’t Hofer achieve a similar effect? “Tom had a couple of moto wins in EMX in 2018, Rene didn’t reach the same results in 2019 but was consistent and then he also scored points in the Czech Republic Grand Prix as well as a top ten finish in Italy; that was really good and maybe too good because you don’t want riders to think ‘this is too easy’,” Gruebel says. “We’ll approach 2020 as we did with Tom this year: Rene is a newcomer to the class. From the outside, he might not have the same style as Jorge and Tom but he has a big heart and he is putting in the hours. He wants to be here. He will do good.” 2019 – Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher Hofer, from Linz, might have the right passport to generate sizeable interest in the corridors of Mattighofen but once ‘across the border’ of the race team that status carries more weight. “The opportunity to have an Austrian [in the race team] doesn’t happen very often so if it’s there then we try to grab it,” says KTM Offroad VP Robert Jonas. “I would definitely not say it is easier for him though by virtue of the fact he is Austrian.” Jonas should know. The former 125cc star was the last home-grown rider to come within the sphere of the works set-up and the sought-after SX technology at the end of the 1990s. Jonas suffered a serious knee injury before he could really show what he could do on the world stage in the first year of the new millennium. It happened two years before Hofer was even born. “I remember a little bit how it was,” he recalls. “At the final round of the Austrian Championship In ’99 I won the title and on the Sunday evening the manager responsible for the Austrian riders at that time received a phone call from Mr. Pierer [Pierer Mobility CEO] with the information that I would have a spot in the factory team. For me, it was a surprise and I was not counting on that opportunity. For sure I was thinking and working towards it…but it was a big surprise.” “I don’t think that is quite so much the case for Rene,” he reflects. “He was closer because of some good form in the European Championship [six top-five results from the eight rounds in 2019] and due to Jeffrey [Herlings] being injured he had the chance to be with us under the tent and to smell the factory team environment.” 2019 – Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher “It is a big opportunity and for sure a big challenge,” Jonas adds, “but I feel he also deserves it because he made some good progress. He surprised us with his two GP opportunities this year. He didn’t get those results for free because he didn’t have the best starts and worked his way through.” It is Hofer’s mindset and commitment that has strengthened his case with KTM race management and earned the total belief and conviction of people like Motocross Manager Joel Smets and former KTM Junior Team Manager Didi Lacher, whose judgment is highly valued in the Munderfing Race HQ. “He doesn’t give up. He always finishes the races and there are no complaints about circumstances,” assesses Gruebel. “He knows when he has made a mistake. I see him training hard. He is not shining in the sand races yet, but it was the same with Tom; the more time they spend in Belgium – there are not too many sand tracks in Austria – the more they improve and that will happen with Rene.” PC @RayArcher “He is a guy that can perform when he has to and you need to have that,” stresses Jonas. “He has a lot of work ahead, but I think he has a good chance to make it.” True to cliché, Hofer is the archetypal ‘old head on young shoulders’ and is aware that his 2020 is more than just a dream slot with the best factory team in the FIM World Championship paddock. “My phone was blowing up when I got confirmation,” he grins. “For me, it is such a big thing, and for some other people too, but I try to go smoothly with it.” “Tom had an unbelievable season this year, and this is not ‘usual’ [as a rookie],” he claims. “But it will be a learning year and I hope to get some results and confidence.” Rene Hofer – PC @RayArcher Hofer has yet to race in a major international meeting away from European shores. The twenty-date MXGP calendar will be a vast education for an aspiring athlete that is still in school (“officially I’m in year 12 so just one more and I have the possibility to leave when I’m eighteen but we’ll decide this in January”). “Traveling, cultures, overseas, food, time zones: I’m not used to this…. but Tom coped fine so I’m sure I can,” he says. Aside from the attention, the setting and the pressure, Hofer will also have to gain a full appreciation and understanding of the demands of MX2. “Well, there is much more riding time compared to EMX, which means getting used to the track,” he explains. “The starts are also so much more difficult. All the guys are super-close together and the braking points are much later. I need to get used to this a bit more. The speed is not too different, and you can see riders like [Roan] Van de Moosdijk or [Alberto] Forato have the pace to run near the top five. The starts are even more important in MX2 than EMX. Overall it is so much different in terms of intensity.” Intense is probably a fitting word for the experience that lays ahead for Hofer. But yet more spoils for Red Bull KTM with a native flavor might taste that little bit sweeter.
  13. AN EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK AT THE BEAST PROTOTYPE

    AN EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK AT THE BEAST PROTOTYPE When everyone was expecting KTM to unveil the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R prototype, the leading European motorcycle manufacturer surprised the world by pulling the covers off the production version of the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R at EICMA 2019. With no one seeing the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R prototype in the flesh, 10 orange blooded fans had the unique opportunity to get face to face with THE BEAST prototype. @lissimorephoto The week prior to EICMA, KTM ran a social media competition asking fans to comment with a picture with them and their DUKE. KTM social media platforms were flooded with an overwhelming number of interest and many great images being shared. Five lucky winners and an orange bleeder friend were invited to fly to Austria and were given the opportunity to be the first to get face to face with THE BEAST prototype. @lissimorephoto Saturday 16 November saw 10 anticipated DUKE fans arrive at the home of KTM at the KTM Motohall. Cameras where ready and anxious faces walked into the private viewing room known as the RC16 arena, where they were welcomed by two BEASTS lurking and ready to pounce on center stage! @lissimorephoto A high intensity READY TO RACE video captivated everyone’s attention and then the moment of reveal saw jaw-dropping action with the ready cameras rolling frantically. After an in-depth run-through of some of the many changes and benefits from the KTM team, the lucky few had the opportunity to sit, touch and make use of this time to ask any in-depth questions they had. @lissimorephoto The hardest task was to pull the winners away from THE BEAST. Once all was in focus and drool was wiped away, the participants could proceed to take a guided tour of the KTM Motohall, where special attention was given on the 25 years of DUKE and the progression of the range. Gift bags were handed out with a custom-made t-Shirt and even a signed knee slider from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star Pol Espargaro. It wasn’t long and each winner had their shirt on and ready to pose with THE BEAST! @lissimorephoto The evening was concluded with a team dinner at The Garage Restaurant, here the lucky 10 got to enjoy some of the best Austrian cuisines in true KTM style. Surrounded by KTM memorabilia from yesteryears and even a KTM RC16 hanging from the wall made this the perfect setting to end the night. @lissimorephoto Sunday morning saw all SNEAK PEEK winners streaming through the KTM Motohall door to get a second tour done before the live viewing of the final round at Valencia of the MotoGP™ season. With KTM flag and cap in hand, our winners cheered on Red Bull KTM Ajo racer Brad Binder to his third victory in a row in the Moto2 class and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro achieved a top 10 in the premier class onboard his KTM RC16 machine. @lissimorephoto “First of all, thank you for this weekend and this opportunity you offered me,” commented Quentin Harroch.“The visit to the KTM Motohall was just exceptional. And to be among the first to see THE BEAST prototype was just out of the ordinary. It was just a magical weekend! Well, of course, it makes me love the KTM brand even more than it already did! I can’t wait to order my new KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R.” “It was just an amazing weekend for us! The welcome that we received and all little attention to details … everything was great!” commented Yohann Girard. “I can’t thank KTM enough for the privilege to be the first to see the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R Prototype, and this at the home of KTM in the KTM Motohall.” @lissimorephoto With smiles and many memorable memories made we send our winners on their way. Photos: @lissimorephoto / KTM
  14. AN EXCLUSIVE SNEAK PEEK AT THE BEAST PROTOTYPE When everyone was expecting KTM to unveil the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R prototype, the leading European motorcycle manufacturer surprised the world by pulling the covers off the production version of the 2020 KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R at EICMA 2019. With no one seeing the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R prototype in the flesh, 10 orange blooded fans had the unique opportunity to get face to face with THE BEAST prototype. @lissimorephoto The week prior to EICMA, KTM ran a social media competition asking fans to comment with a picture with them and their DUKE. KTM social media platforms were flooded with an overwhelming number of interest and many great images being shared. Five lucky winners and an orange bleeder friend were invited to fly to Austria and were given the opportunity to be the first to get face to face with THE BEAST prototype. @lissimorephoto Saturday 16 November saw 10 anticipated DUKE fans arrive at the home of KTM at the KTM Motohall. Cameras where ready and anxious faces walked into the private viewing room known as the RC16 arena, where they were welcomed by two BEASTS lurking and ready to pounce on center stage! @lissimorephoto A high intensity READY TO RACE video captivated everyone’s attention and then the moment of reveal saw jaw-dropping action with the ready cameras rolling frantically. After an in-depth run-through of some of the many changes and benefits from the KTM team, the lucky few had the opportunity to sit, touch and make use of this time to ask any in-depth questions they had. @lissimorephoto The hardest task was to pull the winners away from THE BEAST. Once all was in focus and drool was wiped away, the participants could proceed to take a guided tour of the KTM Motohall, where special attention was given on the 25 years of DUKE and the progression of the range. Gift bags were handed out with a custom-made t-Shirt and even a signed knee slider from Red Bull KTM Factory Racing star Pol Espargaro. It wasn’t long and each winner had their shirt on and ready to pose with THE BEAST! @lissimorephoto The evening was concluded with a team dinner at The Garage Restaurant, here the lucky 10 got to enjoy some of the best Austrian cuisines in true KTM style. Surrounded by KTM memorabilia from yesteryears and even a KTM RC16 hanging from the wall made this the perfect setting to end the night. @lissimorephoto Sunday morning saw all SNEAK PEEK winners streaming through the KTM Motohall door to get a second tour done before the live viewing of the final round at Valencia of the MotoGP™ season. With KTM flag and cap in hand, our winners cheered on Red Bull KTM Ajo racer Brad Binder to his third victory in a row in the Moto2 class and Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pol Espargaro achieved a top 10 in the premier class onboard his KTM RC16 machine. @lissimorephoto “First of all, thank you for this weekend and this opportunity you offered me,” commented Quentin Harroch.“The visit to the KTM Motohall was just exceptional. And to be among the first to see THE BEAST prototype was just out of the ordinary. It was just a magical weekend! Well, of course, it makes me love the KTM brand even more than it already did! I can’t wait to order my new KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R.” “It was just an amazing weekend for us! The welcome that we received and all little attention to details … everything was great!” commented Yohann Girard. “I can’t thank KTM enough for the privilege to be the first to see the KTM 1290 SUPER DUKE R Prototype, and this at the home of KTM in the KTM Motohall.” @lissimorephoto With smiles and many memorable memories made we send our winners on their way. Photos: @lissimorephoto / KTM
  15. THE EXPERIENCE OF RALLY – HEINZ KINIGADNER TALKS DAKAR AND OASIS RALLY Heinz Kinigadner is passionate about motorsport. A two-time Motocross World Champion, the former Austrian racer has played a pivotal role in the development of KTM’s highly successful rally project, which has enjoyed 18 consecutive wins at one of the most notoriously difficult races on the planet – the Dakar Rally. ‘Kini’ is well-known for his involvement with KTM Motorsports, as well as important charitable initiatives such as ‘Wings for Life’. Kini also enjoys passing on the possibilities for riding and exploring incredible places onto KTM’s customers with the OASIS Rally, which has been running since the 1990s. @HeinzKinigadner On a very rainy, wet day at the Motocross of Nations, we caught up with Kini (who was there supporting KTM’s racers and the Austrian team) to talk dirt biking, rally riding and to explain about a special opportunity for KTM Adventure riders at the Oasis Rally. “First of all, I have a passion for motorcycles in general, motorsport in general, but still for me motocross is my real sport.” Kini began. “Rally and enduro are all part of the adventure. It’s something you can do for the rest of your life because motocross can be limited on a high level (when it comes to the body). I started doing the long-distance rallies in the beginning of the 90s – I did a championship in Spain, and later on I started doing some smaller rallies in Northern Africa.” @HeinzKinigadner “When I was doing the Motocross World Championship these guys doing enduro or rally, they were seen as the ones who couldn’t really do motocross. For us it wasn’t interesting (laughs), but then if you have been once in Northern Africa in the Sahara Desert, it’s difficult to explain to somebody who has never been there how amazing it is. Especially to someone like me; a Tirolian who is used to high mountains and small valleys, the endless desert where you can go as far as you have fuel to take you is just immense. If you’ve done it once, you’ll always want to go back,” said Kinigadner. Kini won two world motocross titles in the 1980’s and took part in his first Dakar, which took a route from Paris, France to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1992. The Austrian racer completed around six days of the near two-week long race, when unfortunately his bike broke – “it wasn’t a KTM,” Kini laughs when recalling the experience. Despite his previous concept of what rally racing was all about, Kinigadner soon realized that the media attention for the Dakar was not comparable to motocross, as the global interest was simply huge – people wanted to know about the areas traveled, they wanted to see the incredible images that were received from these races and that’s when Kini began pushing for KTM to go to the big rallies. He knew it would bring a lot of global exposure. Kini explained that over the years rally has changed a lot – but the interest remains. Now the sporting side of Dakar is really competitive – with riders racing down to the minutes. It’s taken seriously, the athletes are on a high level, although with the incredible locations the world continues to watch and marvel at what is reported from these extraordinary events. @HeinzKinigadner “In 1994 I prepared the first KTM team for Dakar. It was a real, real adventure. Now, the Dakar is much more a racing sport than in my time – when I raced we had no GPS, it was incredibly difficult to navigate. We had to start in Libya and I had to start first because I won the prologue. There was 100km where the roadbook said follow compass direction 180 and then you will find a few trees in the middle of the desert. I arrived there and I found no trees. The problem was when you opened the throttle on the bike the compass was turning around and being a few km left or right was quite easy. Then I started to search for the right place and I easily covered 20km more – I knew I would run out of fuel if I didn’t find the correct place soon. It was completely different compared to today; they are really fighting for the seconds and minutes. Whereas before gaining or losing an hour in a day was normal,” explained Kinigadner. “Today riding and driving in normal life and racing has become more and more driven by electronics, in fact maybe one day there is more autonomous riding, but I believe there is still a lot of room for adventure. I believe the wish of the human is for us to want to do something by ourselves and it won’t change when it comes to going on an adventure. In fact, we have known this for a long time and in the middle of the 90’s we began a rally in Northern Africa – the Oasis rally, which is a rally for beginners,” said Kinigadner “It doesn’t matter how fit you are, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first rally, or your first time in Africa – we try to make it so that everyone has fun there. It makes rally riding accessible, so KTM customers get to feel the experience of rally. The difference to other rally events is that if you’re not fit enough to ride every day, then you can ride every second day. We are there with spare parts, we usually have a KTM Factory racer with us talking about their experiences, we have medical cover and we have trackers there so we can ensure everyone’s safety. It’s a great opportunity for those with Adventure bikes to ride in a rally situation, but still with a comfortable safety net around them.” Kinigadner explains that the idea is for KTM customers can bring their bike – such as a KTM EXC or one of the new KTM 790 Adventure R – to take part in this exceptional experience. They can bring their bike to Kinigadner’s dealership in Tyrol, Austria, and everything is handled from there (some European dealers are willing to organize bike shipment, and support is available from the organizers for groups to ship their bikes together to Tyrol). The bikes are then transported to the Island of Djerba, Tunisia and the riders are fully accommodated from arrival – staying in the desert, in comfortable hotels where everything is included. @HeinzKinigadner “Where we are based you can go 1500km and that’s just in the desert. However, if you’d prefer to stay within viewing distance of the hotel, then you can go and play for hours in the dunes. It’s very adaptable to a rider’s experience – if you have a technical problem, or an issue, then in 20 minutes you can walk back to the hotel. Each day we create a roadbook – it’s around 150km per day and we’ve spent a lot of time creating something that people will enjoy. If somebody doesn’t want to do the roadbook, they don’t have to do it. We have an opening up vehicle and a following vehicle each day – so a rider can follow the group with the follow-up vehicle and we also plan some exits from the route so if they’ve had enough, they can head back to the hotel. It’s about enjoying the experience and doing as much or as little as you like,” said Kini. @HeinzKinigadner “At the next OASIS Rally we’ll also run a twin-cylinder guided tour. In Tunisia there’s a lot of interesting places like where they filmed Star Wars and we will visit them on the guided tour. They have more distance to travel than the other group, maybe around 160km, but there are some asphalt roads included as well. We try to combine the groups as much as possible – single cylinders are using the roadbook and the others are guided. They will see some incredible things, and they can truly enjoy their KTM Adventure bikes in the perfect surroundings for the bike.” For more information visit: www.kini.at
  16. THE EXPERIENCE OF RALLY – HEINZ KINIGADNER TALKS DAKAR AND OASIS RALLY Heinz Kinigadner is passionate about motorsport. A two-time Motocross World Champion, the former Austrian racer has played a pivotal role in the development of KTM’s highly successful rally project, which has enjoyed 18 consecutive wins at one of the most notoriously difficult races on the planet – the Dakar Rally. ‘Kini’ is well-known for his involvement with KTM Motorsports, as well as important charitable initiatives such as ‘Wings for Life’. Kini also enjoys passing on the possibilities for riding and exploring incredible places onto KTM’s customers with the OASIS Rally, which has been running since the 1990s. @HeinzKinigadner On a very rainy, wet day at the Motocross of Nations, we caught up with Kini (who was there supporting KTM’s racers and the Austrian team) to talk dirt biking, rally riding and to explain about a special opportunity for KTM Adventure riders at the Oasis Rally. “First of all, I have a passion for motorcycles in general, motorsport in general, but still for me motocross is my real sport.” Kini began. “Rally and enduro are all part of the adventure. It’s something you can do for the rest of your life because motocross can be limited on a high level (when it comes to the body). I started doing the long-distance rallies in the beginning of the 90s – I did a championship in Spain, and later on I started doing some smaller rallies in Northern Africa.” @HeinzKinigadner “When I was doing the Motocross World Championship these guys doing enduro or rally, they were seen as the ones who couldn’t really do motocross. For us it wasn’t interesting (laughs), but then if you have been once in Northern Africa in the Sahara Desert, it’s difficult to explain to somebody who has never been there how amazing it is. Especially to someone like me; a Tirolian who is used to high mountains and small valleys, the endless desert where you can go as far as you have fuel to take you is just immense. If you’ve done it once, you’ll always want to go back,” said Kinigadner. Kini won two world motocross titles in the 1980’s and took part in his first Dakar, which took a route from Paris, France to Cape Town, South Africa, in 1992. The Austrian racer completed around six days of the near two-week long race, when unfortunately his bike broke – “it wasn’t a KTM,” Kini laughs when recalling the experience. Despite his previous concept of what rally racing was all about, Kinigadner soon realized that the media attention for the Dakar was not comparable to motocross, as the global interest was simply huge – people wanted to know about the areas traveled, they wanted to see the incredible images that were received from these races and that’s when Kini began pushing for KTM to go to the big rallies. He knew it would bring a lot of global exposure. Kini explained that over the years rally has changed a lot – but the interest remains. Now the sporting side of Dakar is really competitive – with riders racing down to the minutes. It’s taken seriously, the athletes are on a high level, although with the incredible locations the world continues to watch and marvel at what is reported from these extraordinary events. @HeinzKinigadner “In 1994 I prepared the first KTM team for Dakar. It was a real, real adventure. Now, the Dakar is much more a racing sport than in my time – when I raced we had no GPS, it was incredibly difficult to navigate. We had to start in Libya and I had to start first because I won the prologue. There was 100km where the roadbook said follow compass direction 180 and then you will find a few trees in the middle of the desert. I arrived there and I found no trees. The problem was when you opened the throttle on the bike the compass was turning around and being a few km left or right was quite easy. Then I started to search for the right place and I easily covered 20km more – I knew I would run out of fuel if I didn’t find the correct place soon. It was completely different compared to today; they are really fighting for the seconds and minutes. Whereas before gaining or losing an hour in a day was normal,” explained Kinigadner. “Today riding and driving in normal life and racing has become more and more driven by electronics, in fact maybe one day there is more autonomous riding, but I believe there is still a lot of room for adventure. I believe the wish of the human is for us to want to do something by ourselves and it won’t change when it comes to going on an adventure. In fact, we have known this for a long time and in the middle of the 90’s we began a rally in Northern Africa – the Oasis rally, which is a rally for beginners,” said Kinigadner “It doesn’t matter how fit you are, it doesn’t matter if it’s your first rally, or your first time in Africa – we try to make it so that everyone has fun there. It makes rally riding accessible, so KTM customers get to feel the experience of rally. The difference to other rally events is that if you’re not fit enough to ride every day, then you can ride every second day. We are there with spare parts, we usually have a KTM Factory racer with us talking about their experiences, we have medical cover and we have trackers there so we can ensure everyone’s safety. It’s a great opportunity for those with Adventure bikes to ride in a rally situation, but still with a comfortable safety net around them.” Kinigadner explains that the idea is for KTM customers can bring their bike – such as a KTM EXC or one of the new KTM 790 Adventure R – to take part in this exceptional experience. They can bring their bike to Kinigadner’s dealership in Tyrol, Austria, and everything is handled from there (some European dealers are willing to organize bike shipment, and support is available from the organizers for groups to ship their bikes together to Tyrol). The bikes are then transported to the Island of Djerba, Tunisia and the riders are fully accommodated from arrival – staying in the desert, in comfortable hotels where everything is included. @HeinzKinigadner “Where we are based you can go 1500km and that’s just in the desert. However, if you’d prefer to stay within viewing distance of the hotel, then you can go and play for hours in the dunes. It’s very adaptable to a rider’s experience – if you have a technical problem, or an issue, then in 20 minutes you can walk back to the hotel. Each day we create a roadbook – it’s around 150km per day and we’ve spent a lot of time creating something that people will enjoy. If somebody doesn’t want to do the roadbook, they don’t have to do it. We have an opening up vehicle and a following vehicle each day – so a rider can follow the group with the follow-up vehicle and we also plan some exits from the route so if they’ve had enough, they can head back to the hotel. It’s about enjoying the experience and doing as much or as little as you like,” said Kini. @HeinzKinigadner “At the next OASIS Rally we’ll also run a twin-cylinder guided tour. In Tunisia there’s a lot of interesting places like where they filmed Star Wars and we will visit them on the guided tour. They have more distance to travel than the other group, maybe around 160km, but there are some asphalt roads included as well. We try to combine the groups as much as possible – single cylinders are using the roadbook and the others are guided. They will see some incredible things, and they can truly enjoy their KTM Adventure bikes in the perfect surroundings for the bike.” For more information visit: www.kini.at
  17. THE ALL-NEW KTM 390 ADVENTURE IN ACTION Locate those lesser-known roads outside the city and let the KTM 390 ADVENTURE take care of the rest. Built to satisfy your restless spirit, this versatile single-cylinder travel-enduro machine has a sporty attitude that is ideally demonstrated in the action highlight clip accompanying its recent launch. @KISKA Combining the DNA from the popular KTM 790 ADVENTURE and combining it with development feedback collected from nearly two decades of Dakar Rally success, the all-new KTM 390 ADVENTURE is an accessible motorcycle that offers added versatility for touring and light offroading. .embed-container { position: relative; padding-bottom: 56.25%; h: 0; overflow: hidden; max-w: 100%; } .embed-container iframe, .embed-container object, .embed-container embed { position: absolute; top: 0; left: 0; w: 100%; h: 100%; } [embedded content] Using elements of the KTM 390 DUKE as a base, the KTM 390 ADVENTURE offers proximity to the feeling and performance found at the root of the all-conquering KTM 450 RALLY but with crucial A2 license compatibility and current Euro emissions standards as part of the package. The smaller displacement, light weight, narrow and agile chassis and host of electronic rider aids mean the KTM 390 ADVENTURE is the ideal enticement for riders keen to fit motorcycle adventuring into their daily life and those eager to explore the easy roads away from the asphalt. The KTM 390 ADVENTURE is a reference-setting multi-use motorcycle that will deliver a comfortable and effective commute on a weekday but will also be a fun and appealing attraction for the weekends when riders fancy a less-travelled route. Images: Kiska
  18. THE ALL-NEW KTM 390 ADVENTURE IN ACTION

    THE ALL-NEW KTM 390 ADVENTURE IN ACTION Locate those lesser-known roads outside the city and let the KTM 390 ADVENTURE take care of the rest. Built to satisfy your restless spirit, this versatile single-cylinder travel-enduro machine has a sporty attitude that is ideally demonstrated in the action highlight clip accompanying its recent launch. @KISKA Combining the DNA from the popular KTM 790 ADVENTURE and combining it with development feedback collected from nearly two decades of Dakar Rally success, the all-new KTM 390 ADVENTURE is an accessible motorcycle that offers added versatility for touring and light offroading. [embedded content] Using elements of the KTM 390 DUKE as a base, the KTM 390 ADVENTURE offers proximity to the feeling and performance found at the root of the all-conquering KTM 450 RALLY but with crucial A2 license compatibility and current Euro emissions standards as part of the package. The smaller displacement, light weight, narrow and agile chassis and host of electronic rider aids mean the KTM 390 ADVENTURE is the ideal enticement for riders keen to fit motorcycle adventuring into their daily life and those eager to explore the easy roads away from the asphalt. The KTM 390 ADVENTURE is a reference-setting multi-use motorcycle that will deliver a comfortable and effective commute on a weekday but will also be a fun and appealing attraction for the weekends when riders fancy a less-travelled route. Images: Kiska
  19. TECH FOCUS: BREAKING DOWN THE LATEST MOTO-LINGO The race to produce high performance, efficient and safe motorcycles pushes manufacturers to employ new technologies from industries such as motorsport and aerospace, as well as developing state of the art electrical systems to improve a rider’s performance and comfort. @KTM The KTM Blog takes a look at some of those used by the Austrian manufacturer and breaks down the technical jargon behind them. HILL HOLD CONTROL (HHC) Imagine the scene… passenger on the back, fully loaded with luggage, wet winter gloves, adverse camber, then you have to stop on a hill while you wait to pull out onto the next road. This can be a stressful for most riders. Trying not to roll back, keep a solid footing and eventually pull off without stalling can be a real balancing act. So, put simply, HHC is an electronic function that allows you to keep a solid footing by holding your bike stationary whilst on a hill, leaving you free to place both feet down and use the throttle without the awkward one finger on the brake lever too. When active, HHC uses the bike’s in-built sensors to detect incline, speed and use of brakes, then when needed automatically takes over the braking aspect of the controls until you are ready to pull away again. The rear brake is held on by the ABS system. @KTM MOTOR SLIP REGULATION (MSR) Traction control is a feature most are familiar with. Open the throttle too much or too early then the rear wheel will start to spin faster than the front, causing the bike to lose traction. Sensors detect the differences in speeds and warn the bikes ECU which then slows electronic fuel injection and power output to bring them back inline. So how does this relate to MOTOR SLIP REGULATION? Well, because it is the complete opposite process. V-twin engines are known for their relatively high engine braking which under rapid downshifts or when abruptly closing or chopping the throttle can cause a difference of speed between the motor and the rear wheel. This creates a torque feedback, a set of opposing forces. The tire brakes traction with the surface and hops in the air momentarily potentially causing instability. A rider may describe this sensation as rear wheel “chattering”. A slipper clutch like the PASC system used on LC8 models alleviates most torque feedback, but on slippery surfaces MSR comes into action. The system opens the throttle slightly for the rider to bring the engine speed up to that required to equal the forces of the rear wheel, preventing any chatter and maintaining constant contact with the road. Any difference in wheel speeds is therefore avoided keeping the bike stable, and rider safe. @KTM DLC COATING Engineers in the KTM R&D department face a difficult set of challenges daily. Develop engines with superior performance, with service lives and maintenance durations that improve cost of ownership, all whilst meeting the demands of hened environmental awareness and legislation. This pushes them to analyze every aspect of efficiency inside a KTM’s beating heart, and there’s one force that cannot be avoided in a complex system of moving parts: friction. Friction losses in a vehicle can amount to 10 to 15% of an engine’s output so selection of the optimal materials is essential. One solution is DLC coating, a technology used originally in helicopter transmissions and the pinnacles of motorsport. DLC stands for Diamond Like Carbon, it is a material coating that achieves properties of two other carbon-based materials, diamond and graphite. This makes it one of the toughest material coatings available today. Carbon molecules are applied as a film to metal parts replicating the structure of these materials. Diamond is extremely hard, and graphite is known for its low friction, so it is ideal for parts moving at high speeds in contact with one another, like the surface of the cam finger followers in an LC8’s valvetrain. @KTM QUICKSHIFTER+ So why does this quickshifter deserve a plus? And how does it really work? A quickshifter is a device for clutchless gear shifts. An aftermarket kit is composed of a module that interferes with either the electronic fuel injection or ignition systems and a sensor built into the shift rod that detects pressure when shifting. When activated the device will slow down or cut off either system for a set time, reducing power and load on the transmission while the gear is engaged. Typically, as the devices are designed for racing, they are calibrated only for aggressive shifts at high RPMs. Now this is where the KTM QUICKSHIFTER+ differs. Rather than building a sensor into the shift rod, two sensors are utilized inside the transmission itself – one on the selector shaft and the gear position sensor mounted on the shift drum. The benefit of this is accuracy and flexibility. The system can detect direction of change (up or down), when to interrupt fuel injection and slow ignition timing, which gear is being engaged and when to reinstate fuel supply. It can also open the throttle valve to speed up the engine, this achieves slick down changes, removing the need manually “blip” the throttle. So, for the KTM rider it certainly is a plus because it all equates to clutchless shifts, up and down the box, that responds to their riding – so the shift action is fast when needed, but buttery smooth at half-throttle. IMAGES : KTM
  20. TECH FOCUS: BREAKING DOWN THE LATEST MOTO-LINGO

    TECH FOCUS: BREAKING DOWN THE LATEST MOTO-LINGO The race to produce high performance, efficient and safe motorcycles pushes manufacturers to employ new technologies from industries such as motorsport and aerospace, as well as developing state of the art electrical systems to improve a rider’s performance and comfort. @KTM The KTM Blog takes a look at some of those used by the Austrian manufacturer and breaks down the technical jargon behind them. HILL HOLD CONTROL (HHC) Imagine the scene… passenger on the back, fully loaded with luggage, wet winter gloves, adverse camber, then you have to stop on a hill while you wait to pull out onto the next road. This can be a stressful for most riders. Trying not to roll back, keep a solid footing and eventually pull off without stalling can be a real balancing act. So, put simply, HHC is an electronic function that allows you to keep a solid footing by holding your bike stationary whilst on a hill, leaving you free to place both feet down and use the throttle without the awkward one finger on the brake lever too. When active, HHC uses the bike’s in-built sensors to detect incline, speed and use of brakes, then when needed automatically takes over the braking aspect of the controls until you are ready to pull away again. The rear brake is held on by the ABS system. @KTM MOTOR SLIP REGULATION (MSR) Traction control is a feature most are familiar with. Open the throttle too much or too early then the rear wheel will start to spin faster than the front, causing the bike to lose traction. Sensors detect the differences in speeds and warn the bikes ECU which then slows electronic fuel injection and power output to bring them back inline. So how does this relate to MOTOR SLIP REGULATION? Well, because it is the complete opposite process. V-twin engines are known for their relatively high engine braking which under rapid downshifts or when abruptly closing or chopping the throttle can cause a difference of speed between the motor and the rear wheel. This creates a torque feedback, a set of opposing forces. The tire brakes traction with the surface and hops in the air momentarily potentially causing instability. A rider may describe this sensation as rear wheel “chattering”. A slipper clutch like the PASC system used on LC8 models alleviates most torque feedback, but on slippery surfaces MSR comes into action. The system opens the throttle slightly for the rider to bring the engine speed up to that required to equal the forces of the rear wheel, preventing any chatter and maintaining constant contact with the road. Any difference in wheel speeds is therefore avoided keeping the bike stable, and rider safe. @KTM DLC COATING Engineers in the KTM R&D department face a difficult set of challenges daily. Develop engines with superior performance, with service lives and maintenance durations that improve cost of ownership, all whilst meeting the demands of hened environmental awareness and legislation. This pushes them to analyze every aspect of efficiency inside a KTM’s beating heart, and there’s one force that cannot be avoided in a complex system of moving parts: friction. Friction losses in a vehicle can amount to 10 to 15% of an engine’s output so selection of the optimal materials is essential. One solution is DLC coating, a technology used originally in helicopter transmissions and the pinnacles of motorsport. DLC stands for Diamond Like Carbon, it is a material coating that achieves properties of two other carbon-based materials, diamond and graphite. This makes it one of the toughest material coatings available today. Carbon molecules are applied as a film to metal parts replicating the structure of these materials. Diamond is extremely hard, and graphite is known for its low friction, so it is ideal for parts moving at high speeds in contact with one another, like the surface of the cam finger followers in an LC8’s valvetrain. @KTM QUICKSHIFTER+ So why does this quickshifter deserve a plus? And how does it really work? A quickshifter is a device for clutchless gear shifts. An aftermarket kit is composed of a module that interferes with either the electronic fuel injection or ignition systems and a sensor built into the shift rod that detects pressure when shifting. When activated the device will slow down or cut off either system for a set time, reducing power and load on the transmission while the gear is engaged. Typically, as the devices are designed for racing, they are calibrated only for aggressive shifts at high RPMs. Now this is where the KTM QUICKSHIFTER+ differs. Rather than building a sensor into the shift rod, two sensors are utilized inside the transmission itself – one on the selector shaft and the gear position sensor mounted on the shift drum. The benefit of this is accuracy and flexibility. The system can detect direction of change (up or down), when to interrupt fuel injection and slow ignition timing, which gear is being engaged and when to reinstate fuel supply. It can also open the throttle valve to speed up the engine, this achieves slick down changes, removing the need manually “blip” the throttle. So, for the KTM rider it certainly is a plus because it all equates to clutchless shifts, up and down the box, that responds to their riding – so the shift action is fast when needed, but buttery smooth at half-throttle. IMAGES : KTM
  21. READY FOR SUPERCROSS 2020: KTM UNVEILS ITS FACTORY AND SUPPORTED TEAMS The KTM Blog brings you a quick run-down of KTM’s 2020 Supercross line-up along with some of the pictures from the official team introduction, which took place just over one week ago at the ‘RD Field’ test track facility close to KTM North America’s base in Murrieta, California. Cooper Webb @SimonCudby It’s officially the ‘off-season’ in US Motocross and Supercross racing terms, after an exhilarating year of competition for KTM’s athletes. The few weeks between the final event of 2019 and the start of Anaheim 1 on January 4th, 2020 will surely fly-by as KTM’s Factory and KTM supported teams prepare for their assault on the 17-round Supercross campaign in what is known as one of the most intense dirt bike competitions in the world. Cooper Webb / Ian Harrison / Marvin Musquin @SimonCudby RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING Headlining KTM’s premier factory effort is the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo of Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin, who are both set to contest the 2020 AMA Supercross and Pro Motocross Championships. Webb will be aiming to defend his 450SX Supercross championship crown in the new year and was pleased to reveal the number one on his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION machine to the press at the recent media event where he took to the track to showcase the new Red Bull KTM livery aboard his Factory machine. French-racer Musquin, who recently signed a further two-year agreement with KTM, is currently recovering from an injury but is looking forward to being fully ready for the new season in the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing outfit, which is led by Team Manager, Ian Harrison. Brian Moreau / Brandon Hartranft / Tyler Keefe / Derek Drake / Pierce Brown @SimonCudby TROY LEE DESIGNS / RED BULL / KTM Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM was presented once again as the official KTM 250 Factory Team and this exciting squad features a brand-new line-up of young, talented riders -Brandon Hartranft, Brian Moreau, Derek Drake and Pierce Brown. The team was created by high-adrenaline sports design mastermind Troy Lee and continues to be overseen by Team Manager Tyler Keefe. The 250 squad has close KTM relations with the goal of achieving the ultimate success in 250cc competition whilst helping the riders extract their potential. Forrester Butler / Justin Bogle / Blake Baggett / Michael Byrne @SimonCudby ROCKY MOUNTAIN ATV/MC – WPS – KTM The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC – WPS – KTM team will field two riders in the 450cc division in 2020 for both AMA Supercross and Pro Motocross. Michael Byrne will continue to lead the team as manager along with Team Owner Forrester Butler, who has many years of experience in the industry. Riders Blake Baggett and Justin Bogle will look to build on the team’s first wins in the 450SX and 450MX classes this season (clinched by Baggett) with the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION. The RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING @CudbySimon It’s an exciting new line-up for KTM – we can’t wait for Supercross to start! Image: Simon Cudby
  22. READY FOR SUPERCROSS 2020: KTM UNVEILS ITS FACTORY AND SUPPORTED TEAMS The KTM Blog brings you a quick run-down of KTM’s 2020 Supercross line-up along with some of the pictures from the official team introduction, which took place just over one week ago at the ‘RD Field’ test track facility close to KTM North America’s base in Murrieta, California. Cooper Webb @SimonCudby It’s officially the ‘off-season’ in US Motocross and Supercross racing terms, after an exhilarating year of competition for KTM’s athletes. The few weeks between the final event of 2019 and the start of Anaheim 1 on January 4th, 2020 will surely fly-by as KTM’s Factory and KTM supported teams prepare for their assault on the 17-round Supercross campaign in what is known as one of the most intense dirt bike competitions in the world. Cooper Webb / Ian Harrison / Marvin Musquin @SimonCudby RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING Headlining KTM’s premier factory effort is the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing duo of Cooper Webb and Marvin Musquin, who are both set to contest the 2020 AMA Supercross and Pro Motocross Championships. Webb will be aiming to defend his 450SX Supercross championship crown in the new year and was pleased to reveal the number one on his KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION machine to the press at the recent media event where he took to the track to showcase the new Red Bull KTM livery aboard his Factory machine. French-racer Musquin, who recently signed a further two-year agreement with KTM, is currently recovering from an injury but is looking forward to being fully ready for the new season in the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing outfit, which is led by Team Manager, Ian Harrison. Brian Moreau / Brandon Hartranft / Tyler Keefe / Derek Drake / Pierce Brown @SimonCudby TROY LEE DESIGNS / RED BULL / KTM Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM was presented once again as the official KTM 250 Factory Team and this exciting squad features a brand-new line-up of young, talented riders -Brandon Hartranft, Brian Moreau, Derek Drake and Pierce Brown. The team was created by high-adrenaline sports design mastermind Troy Lee and continues to be overseen by Team Manager Tyler Keefe. The 250 squad has close KTM relations with the goal of achieving the ultimate success in 250cc competition whilst helping the riders extract their potential. Forrester Butler / Justin Bogle / Blake Baggett / Michael Byrne @SimonCudby ROCKY MOUNTAIN ATV/MC – WPS – KTM The Rocky Mountain ATV/MC – WPS – KTM team will field two riders in the 450cc division in 2020 for both AMA Supercross and Pro Motocross. Michael Byrne will continue to lead the team as manager along with Team Owner Forrester Butler, who has many years of experience in the industry. Riders Blake Baggett and Justin Bogle will look to build on the team’s first wins in the 450SX and 450MX classes this season (clinched by Baggett) with the KTM 450 SX-F FACTORY EDITION. The RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING @CudbySimon It’s an exciting new line-up for KTM – we can’t wait for Supercross to start! Image: Simon Cudby
  23. 2019 MXGP – A PHOTO REVIEW OF THE TOP 6 BEST KTM MOMENTS Some of the finest memories, stories and imagery from the eighteen rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship Tony Cairoli @RayArcher Still leading the way Tony Cairoli, MXGP of Great Britain, Matterley Basin, March 24th The sun shines down on Tony Cairoli as the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider and MXGP world championship leader powers along the long start straight at Matterley Basin and the British Grand Prix. This was round two of 2019, the first in Europe, and at a venue where many were wary of the March date and the notoriously unreliable UK weather. The weekend turned out to be dry and Cairoli would triumph in England for the second of four victories in the first five races. The Sicilian was victorious several weeks previously at the opening fixture in Argentina – a personally satisfying success considering how narrowly he was defeated by teammate Jeffrey Herlings at the same circuit in 2018 – but Matterley showed that, even at 33 years of age, Cairoli was still the reference for the premier class. After this photo Cairoli would total another four successive podium results and then a crash in qualification for the Grand Prix of Russia followed by another season-ending fall shortly after in Latvia would sadly curtail #222’s ambitions for a tenth world title. Jorge Prado & Tom Vialle @RayArcher Happy Holeshots Red Bull KTM MX2 duo! MXGP of Czech Republic, Loket, July 28th In the MX2 class the sights of the two Red Bull KTM 250 SX-Fs of Jorge Prado and Tom Vialle leading the pack around the first turn were frequent throughout a series that started in South America and finished in Asia. Across eighteen Grands Prix the two eighteen year olds were proficient and scarily unbeatable out from the gate (as neatly displayed in the second image at Kegums in Latvia which shows the advantage they enjoyed away from the line). Incredibly, from a grand total of 36 moto starts the Spaniard and Frenchman owned 30: an essential ingredient in the combined tally of 17 Grand Prix wins between both of them and 31 moto checkered flags for Prado. The photograph here is the unmistakable first turn from Loket and the Grand Prix of Czech Republic. Jeffrey Herlings @RayArcher A brief reply Jeffrey Herlings, MXGP of Latvia, Kegums, June 16th A torn expression on the face of the defending MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings here at Kegums in Latvia. This is lockeround nine in June. The Dutchman has returned to Grand Prix duty a few weeks after riding and building pace from what was a three month convalescence due to a badly broken right foot: courtesy of a pre-season training accident. The soft and sandy Kegums circuit had been the scene of Herlings’ first win with the KTM 450 SX-F in 2017 and amazingly the champion claimed victory in his very first MXGP moto of the year. The slight grimace hides the truth. Herlings had suffered a small fall on the sighting lap of the race and his right foot had been hit by the unsuspecting Arminas Jasikonis. Herlings had lined up and another fracture in the same area as the previous injury would mean another operation and another frustrating period on the sidelines. Jorge Prado @RayArcher That’s two: and goodbye MX2 Jorge Prado, MXGP of Sweden, August 25th Jorge Prado is swamped after the first moto at Uddevalla for the Grand Prix of Sweden and upon confirmation of his second MX2 world title (KTM’s third back-to-back MX2 championship winner since 2009). There were still two Grands Prix to go after the trip to Scandinavia. 2019 was a tale of utter domination for the talented Spaniard: 16 GP victories from 17 appearances, 14 qualification heats, 31 motos from 34. Prado’s decimation of the MX2 class ironically casts him out of the division according to FIM rules as a double winner. He would make his debut on the KTM 450 SX-F at the Motocross of Nations over a month after this photograph and is now due to form the greatest Grand Prix line-up of all time for 2020 MXGP alongside Cairoli and Herlings: fifteen world championships under one awning. Tom Vialle @RayArcher Behold the rookie Tom Vialle, MXGP of Sweden, August 25th While Red Bull KTM uncorked the champagne at Uddevalla for Prado there was also big celebrations for Tom Vialle. The French rookie is hard on the gas here, coming out of the pit lane chicane and on the way to a 2-2 scorecard that would give him the overall Grand Prix and disrupt Prado’s successive streak of spoils. Sweden would be the only time that Prado stood on a Grand Prix podium away from the top step. For Vialle, this was the peak of an astonishing rookie season that delivered seven podiums and 4th place in the world. Glenn Coldenhoff & Jeffrey Herlings @RayArcher Remember me? Jeffrey Herlings & Glenn Coldenhoff, MXGP of Turkey, Afyon,quali September 8th Jeffrey Herlings swaps congratulations with countryman and fellow KTM rider Glenn Coldenhoff at the climax of the Grand Prix of Turkey and the penultimate round of MXGP 2019. Herlings made his second comeback of the campaign and dramatically caught and passed the in-form Coldenhoff in the second moto to toast his first victory (the 85th of his career) of the year. It was an emotional moment for the sensitive champion who had watched from the sofa as Tim Gajser lifted the 2019 crown three races previously in Italy. Herlings, still not 100% race fit here in Afyon, would also tussle and defeat Coldenhoff a week later in China to end the season with his tail up. For his part, Standing Construct KTM’s Coldenhoff embarked on a career-high run of two wins and five podiums in the last five events of 2019 and would then dazzle the Motocross of Nations for the second year in a row. Images : KTM, Ray Archer
  24. 2019 MXGP – A PHOTO REVIEW OF THE TOP 6 BEST KTM MOMENTS

    2019 MXGP – A PHOTO REVIEW OF THE TOP 6 BEST KTM MOMENTS Some of the finest memories, stories and imagery from the eighteen rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship Tony Cairoli @RayArcher Still leading the way Tony Cairoli, MXGP of Great Britain, Matterley Basin, March 24th The sun shines down on Tony Cairoli as the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing rider and MXGP world championship leader powers along the long start straight at Matterley Basin and the British Grand Prix. This was round two of 2019, the first in Europe, and at a venue where many were wary of the March date and the notoriously unreliable UK weather. The weekend turned out to be dry and Cairoli would triumph in England for the second of four victories in the first five races. The Sicilian was victorious several weeks previously at the opening fixture in Argentina – a personally satisfying success considering how narrowly he was defeated by teammate Jeffrey Herlings at the same circuit in 2018 – but Matterley showed that, even at 33 years of age, Cairoli was still the reference for the premier class. After this photo Cairoli would total another four successive podium results and then a crash in qualification for the Grand Prix of Russia followed by another season-ending fall shortly after in Latvia would sadly curtail #222’s ambitions for a tenth world title. Jorge Prado & Tom Vialle @RayArcher Happy Holeshots Red Bull KTM MX2 duo! MXGP of Czech Republic, Loket, July 28th In the MX2 class the sights of the two Red Bull KTM 250 SX-Fs of Jorge Prado and Tom Vialle leading the pack around the first turn were frequent throughout a series that started in South America and finished in Asia. Across eighteen Grands Prix the two eighteen year olds were proficient and scarily unbeatable out from the gate (as neatly displayed in the second image at Kegums in Latvia which shows the advantage they enjoyed away from the line). Incredibly, from a grand total of 36 moto starts the Spaniard and Frenchman owned 30: an essential ingredient in the combined tally of 17 Grand Prix wins between both of them and 31 moto checkered flags for Prado. The photograph here is the unmistakable first turn from Loket and the Grand Prix of Czech Republic. Jeffrey Herlings @RayArcher A brief reply Jeffrey Herlings, MXGP of Latvia, Kegums, June 16th A torn expression on the face of the defending MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings here at Kegums in Latvia. This is lockeround nine in June. The Dutchman has returned to Grand Prix duty a few weeks after riding and building pace from what was a three month convalescence due to a badly broken right foot: courtesy of a pre-season training accident. The soft and sandy Kegums circuit had been the scene of Herlings’ first win with the KTM 450 SX-F in 2017 and amazingly the champion claimed victory in his very first MXGP moto of the year. The slight grimace hides the truth. Herlings had suffered a small fall on the sighting lap of the race and his right foot had been hit by the unsuspecting Arminas Jasikonis. Herlings had lined up and another fracture in the same area as the previous injury would mean another operation and another frustrating period on the sidelines. Jorge Prado @RayArcher That’s two: and goodbye MX2 Jorge Prado, MXGP of Sweden, August 25th Jorge Prado is swamped after the first moto at Uddevalla for the Grand Prix of Sweden and upon confirmation of his second MX2 world title (KTM’s third back-to-back MX2 championship winner since 2009). There were still two Grands Prix to go after the trip to Scandinavia. 2019 was a tale of utter domination for the talented Spaniard: 16 GP victories from 17 appearances, 14 qualification heats, 31 motos from 34. Prado’s decimation of the MX2 class ironically casts him out of the division according to FIM rules as a double winner. He would make his debut on the KTM 450 SX-F at the Motocross of Nations over a month after this photograph and is now due to form the greatest Grand Prix line-up of all time for 2020 MXGP alongside Cairoli and Herlings: fifteen world championships under one awning. Tom Vialle @RayArcher Behold the rookie Tom Vialle, MXGP of Sweden, August 25th While Red Bull KTM uncorked the champagne at Uddevalla for Prado there was also big celebrations for Tom Vialle. The French rookie is hard on the gas here, coming out of the pit lane chicane and on the way to a 2-2 scorecard that would give him the overall Grand Prix and disrupt Prado’s successive streak of spoils. Sweden would be the only time that Prado stood on a Grand Prix podium away from the top step. For Vialle, this was the peak of an astonishing rookie season that delivered seven podiums and 4th place in the world. Glenn Coldenhoff & Jeffrey Herlings @RayArcher Remember me? Jeffrey Herlings & Glenn Coldenhoff, MXGP of Turkey, Afyon,quali September 8th Jeffrey Herlings swaps congratulations with countryman and fellow KTM rider Glenn Coldenhoff at the climax of the Grand Prix of Turkey and the penultimate round of MXGP 2019. Herlings made his second comeback of the campaign and dramatically caught and passed the in-form Coldenhoff in the second moto to toast his first victory (the 85th of his career) of the year. It was an emotional moment for the sensitive champion who had watched from the sofa as Tim Gajser lifted the 2019 crown three races previously in Italy. Herlings, still not 100% race fit here in Afyon, would also tussle and defeat Coldenhoff a week later in China to end the season with his tail up. For his part, Standing Construct KTM’s Coldenhoff embarked on a career-high run of two wins and five podiums in the last five events of 2019 and would then dazzle the Motocross of Nations for the second year in a row. Images : KTM, Ray Archer
  25. AROUND THE WORLD ON A KTM 500 EXC When Aaron Steinmann got on his KTM 500 EXC to ride from the bottom to the top of New Zealand in 2016, he had no idea where the road would take him. Three years later, the likeable Kiwi has completed more than 125.000km crossing 50 countries on all six continents on this planet. @braaping_kiwi While most motorcycling explorers prefer the added comfort and bigger fuel tank capacity of KTM’s twin-cylinder ADVENTURE machines, for riders like Aaron it is all about the extra fun a light and highly capable offroad bike can offer. KTM Blog caught up with the extreme world traveler after he had finished exploring the relatively unknown trails of Korea. “I fell in love with motorcycling during a short trip to Laos many years ago. Instead of being stuck in a minivan full of backpackers, I rented a bike and decided to explore the area at my own pace. I always liked having my own freedom to do things and travel and a motorcycle was the perfect tool for me to do so.” Catching the adventure motorcycling bug during his first trip to southeast Asia, Aaron set his eyes on his first major bike traveling project upon his return to New Zealand. @braaping_kiwi Why a KTM 500 EXC? “I’ve lived in New Zealand for a few years and when I decided to move back to Oregon in the States, I thought what a better way to get there than ride a bike instead of dealing with another 12hr plane ride! The next question was which bike to ride…” “I knew I wanted something light I could ride in the dirt and pick up easily with the extra bags on, even if I was on my own. I wanted something with enough power to keep things interesting and put a smile on my face. I also needed something simple to work on and the 500 kept ticking all the boxes. Besides, I always thought it is a great looking bike, so for me it was a pretty easy choice.” @braaping_kiwi Picking up a KTM 500 EXC from a local dealer in late 2015, Aaron set off to plan the crucial details of his upcoming trip. “I bought my bike from a shop. I didn’t really consider any other options. The sales guy was trying to steer me towards a KTM 690 ENDURO R when I told him what my intentions were, but I insisted on the 500 EXC. He thought I was nuts but wasn’t going to turn down a sale.” “I’ve always been telling myself that if I ever stayed long enough in one place to have a dog, I would name it Tess after a working dog my uncle had when I was a kid. Few weeks into my trip, I decided to name my bike Tess.” @braaping_kiwi Traveling light… Moving on with his planning and preparations for the upcoming trip, Aaron quickly realized that he had to pack and travel light… “During the initial part of my trip, I was planning to ride New Zealand from the bottom of the South Island to the top of the North Island. While preparing my gear, really it was working out what not to pack. Ever since then, selecting the items I am carrying on the bike is an ongoing process that changes depending on what countries I’m heading towards and what weather conditions I can expect.” “For example, when I decided to ride solo up to over 5.500m on the famous Sairecabur volcano on the frontier between Bolivia and Chile, I left some of my gear in San Pedro de Atacama and did a day trip there. That was one of the highlights of my trip so far. The view was absolutely amazing, and it was one of the first times I felt I was somewhere very remote and alone. Also, my bike was a true blast to ride in that extreme terrain.” @braaping_kiwi Every end is a new beginning. A few months after setting off for his return trip through New Zealand and onto US territory, Aaron finally reached the end of the first part of his trip. Little did the KTM 500 EXC mounted rider know that this was just the beginning of something even bigger. “Reaching Portland, Oregon was another great moment in my trip. At that stage, I thought I was finished with traveling and the goal I had set was accomplished. I had so many people telling me that I had picked the ‘wrong’ bike, it felt awesome to have reached my goal. Soon enough the ‘Forrest Gump effect’ kicked in and I was back on the road heading north.” @braaping_kiwi “Another highlight of my trip was reaching Deadhorse in North Slope Borough, Alaska. I was at the very top of the North American continent and it felt damn good. It was a stunning day and I did the turn and burn not staying there, so it was a 720km day on the saddle. I had great conditions and it was just a fun day on the bike.” “That day I was having a bit of a race with some guys on big Travel bikes and throughout the ride back to Coldfoot I leap frogged them a few times. I would stop to take photos and they would pass me, but soon later I would catch up pass them back. Sitting in a bar in Coldfoot with a beer in hand I saw them roll in. They walked into the bar and one said: “Who’s riding the KTM?” I slowly raised my hand and they came over shook it and we spent the rest of the evening chatting.” @braaping_kiwi From Alaska to Sahara. After three years traveling the world on his KTM 500 EXC, Aaron has collected a wealth of experiences riding in some of the coolest places on this planet. “Riding over the last rise and seeing the Sahara Desert was another massive moment in my journey. It is just a stunning view and I had the perfect bike to go play in the dunes. It was also one of those tick of the box moments as I had always wanted to see it.” “My time in the Sahara Desert was another little milestone at that time. It was as far south as I was going to go before heading back to Europe and crossing Asia, so it was kind of a mental halfway point. Later during my trip, I would find out it wasn’t even close to halfway.” “For years I’ve been reading stories of people riding in Magadan and the depths of Russia. For me, it took a year longer than I had originally expected but I managed to get there. After coming out of Morocco, I was originally planning to ride to Vladivostok. I had the choice to put in huge back to back days to make it across Russia or throw the plan out the window and take it as it comes.” @braaping_kiwi “I did the latter, which allowed me to ride the Trans European Trail through the Balkan countries. I stored my bike in Georgia for the winter. I pulled the motor out and pulled it to pieces, taking it back to the States in a couple suitcases to get it rebuilt there. Few months later, I flew back to Georgia to continue my trip. During my time in Europe, I went by KTM’s headquarters in Mattighofen. Pulling a wheelie down the road outside the factory was another highlight. It felt like taking my bike back to its birth place.” “Throughout my whole trip, there’s a lot of moments I cherish… Waking up to the sound of a hot air balloon while camping in Cappadocia and riding with Dakar Rally racer Serkan Ozdemir in Turkey were some cool moments. Also, riding in Mongolia was awesome. The place is so vast and remote and allows you to choose your own path through the steppes. Riding there was simply fantastic, the food and toilets not so much.” “Of course, I’ve met some great people along the way. I’ve had so many people reach out offering me a place to stay when I’m in their area. The people who walk up to me in a campground and say I bet you can’t carry cold beer on your bike, here have one. I love listening to other people’s stories of their travels.” @braaping_kiwi Bike maintenance basics To ensure a problem-free trip, Aaron knows how to properly take care of his machine. “The number one question I get asked is about oil changes. I do a lot of them. I started doing them every 1.500km to 2.000km max, but now I will go for 3.000km without worrying so much. They are so quick and easy on my bike, so I don’t know why people think it’s a big deal. It also gives you a chance to give the bike a quick once over looking for anything loose etc.” “If I am fully pinned in the desert or in race mode, I do oil changes more often. If I’m clicking some easy miles through a country like Uzbekistan or parts of Siberia – where it’s back to back 500km days with the bike just purring along at 110km/h – I stretch them. I always carry two spare pre-oiled air filters. I carry a front sprocket and I change it as soon as I see the teeth start turning around. Usually it’s around the 5.000 or 6.000km mark and that’s helped my chain and rear sprocket last longer. I use a Supersprox stealth sprocket from the KTM PowerParts catalog and they last amazingly.” @braaping_kiwi “I do a bit of preventative work also. Before I crossed into Morocco, I replaced the clutch thinking I might be doing lots of sand. Did it next to my tent and it wasn’t that hard. I did my first top end rebuild at 870hrs as the bike needed it. Then I did my second at around 1.300hrs but it didn’t need it. I did it because I did the bottom end and thought while it is all in parts I might as well do it all. At that time, I was heading from Georgia across Mongolia and Siberia so it was good piece of mind to know it was all done. When traveling alone in those type of areas piece of mind is a massive thing.” At the time of writing, Aaron is at Port Klang, Malaysia and waiting to get his bike delivered. Expecting to jump back on his bike soon, the extreme motorcycling traveler will continue his trip all the way back to where it all started from three years ago, in the bottom of New Zealand. @braaping_kiwi You may follow Aaron’s adventures via his profile on Instagram: @braaping_kiwi Photos: @braaping_kiwi
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