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Building a KTM (video)

The Austrian manufacturer KTM is known for its racing roots. These roots have led to development of minimalist street legal machines.  If KTM has a credo, it is low weight and high performance.

The video below gives some insight into how KTM product developers think.  It proves that KTM’s focus has not changed from the days it built, almost exclusively, racing motorcycles.


  1. GP says:

    I just bought a new 350 EXC-F, and it was very encouraging to see this video. It did, however, give me pause to see them run up that 250SX motor WFO, dead cold, after initial assembly. I have to wonder if my 350F motor endured the same treatment…

    • danall says:

      You were viewing only a video clip and really have no idea if the engine was properly warmed up or just “dead” cold. I have no problem with momentarily running the RPMs up on a fresh engine, it’s excess heat in a new engine that you must avoid, not RPMs, I trust the KTM engineers to know what they are doing with dyno runs.

  2. richard says:

    i have a 2008 KTM 990 Super Duke……400lbs of sheer fun and high end performance….cant wait to see the new one…im sold !

  3. mk says:

    The need to start building the 690 Duke and bring it here to America. It was supposed to be here in Mid March, now Im hearing may or july WTF

  4. Norm G. says:

    i’m actually fortunate enough to have a KTM dealer in my area (been there for years), but strangely don’t think i’ve ever seen a single KTM street bike actually on the street… EVER. they’ve always focused on KTM’s dirt offerings. i wanna test ride an RC8 so bad it makes my teeth hurt.

  5. skybullet says:

    The enthusiasm and effort this guy radiates is reflected in their products. KTM is still small enough to keep the bean counters from cutting corners and the enthusiasts are in charge. Even the dealers as a group seem to be more into bikes than the typical big volume bike shops.

  6. motowarrior says:

    I hope that KTM is finally realizing that its street bikes are ridden on the street, not in the dirt or on the track. Their engineering has always been excellent, but some of their street bikes have not been competitive due to poor ergonomics, seats, riding position, etc. Now that they seem to realize that performance and practicality can coexist, they should make inroads against BMW and Ducati with bikes like the new 1190 Adventure. They also are starting to figure out that all KTMs don’t have to be orange any more than all Kawasakis are lime green. Now if they only had a few more US dealers…

    • John says:

      I agree. I always was interested in a KTM until I sat on a bunch of them and realized there was no purpose in a test ride. It’s like sitting on a block of cement. The new 350s look promising, but so far the projected costs seem stratospheric for what is basically an around town bike, so if they’re uncomfortable too, I don’t see the point.

    • Brad says:

      It is curious to me to hear of a lack of Ktm dealers in US. I’m in oz (Australia) and there are almost as many Ktm dealers here as any other brand bike. I’ve owned 3 different exc’s. love em! Wouldn’t buy anything else. Saving pennies now for a new 1190 adventure!!

  7. casatomasa says:

    Neil said it right “KTM makes a product that is designed to function unlike a Harley Sportster which has an old motor in an ancient frame that looks good sitting in a parking lot but is horrible to ride.” My very thoughts when viewing this video, KTM embodies the very spirit of motorcycles and motorcycling IMHO. Any enterprise that dose not strive for perfection in performance in everything they do or build is second rate and is not worthy of my time or investment. “Ready to race” is their moto and should be the moto of anyone striving to be anything. Hats off to KTM!!!

  8. denny says:

    Brave and capable people, on top of it in country I came from. Thumbs up KTM!

  9. Norm G. says:

    ya know who should watch this…? ezpelata. this way he can be reminded he has ZERO business dictating price caps to anyone. he’s likely never manufactured anything in his life, nor has the technical skills to do so. those building engines are in charge. if engines didn’t exist, we’d be searching the channel guide every week for the tour de france.

    • Neil says:

      Good point, Norm. KTM makes a product that is designed to function unlike a Harley Sportster which has an old motor in an ancient frame that looks good sitting in a parking lot but is horrible to ride. The KTM is designed to ride, to function well. It is also like the Buells should have been.

      • Crim says:

        I’ve owned several Sportsters and now own a KTM 300XC. Both are incredible bikes. I’ve had more fun on the Sportsters than any other bike I’ve owned. Neil, don’t be a hater. Sportsters have been used for more types of riding than any single KTM could imagine. Road racing, flat track, speed trials, drag racing, etc. A jack of all trades kind of bike.

      • goose says:


        Just FYI, the Sportster engine and frame designs are about 10 years old. Yes, the engine has roots going back many decades but it was redesigned in this century. The frame was completely redesigned.

        One thing that confuses a lot of non-Harley riders is how hard Harley works to make the bikes look unchanged. Side by side my 2006 Road Glide looks much like a 2012. When you look closer you find the only unchanged parts are the fenders, fairing and miscellaneous parts. Different wheel sizes, new frame (much stiffer), new swing arm (also much stiffer), new gas tank (+1 gallon of fuel), new transmission (5 speed sliding gear to 6 speed sliding dog design), heavily modified engine (improved cam drive, bigger oil pump, better oiling system, new crank, etc) and lots of other new parts. They just made the new stuff look like the old stuff, that is what Harley does.

        Many people are very happy riding their Sportsters. If you prefer KTMs that’s great, buy them. All I’m asking it to learn something about a subject before you post incorrect information.


    • Dave says:

      “ezpelata. this way he can be reminded he has ZERO business dictating price caps to anyone”

      The one motorcycle racing category with the fewest price caps (MotoGP) is dying. He’s doing the right thing.

      The TdF is only on in July. It’s classics season now. If TdF is a 3-week war, classics are 1-day brawls. Definitely worth searching/watching. 😉

  10. Tom says:

    Thumbs up to Katoom for still producing 2 strokes!

    • v says:

      There are plenty of factories “still” producing 2-strokes, but fortunately KTM also develops them, albeit slowely since they have very little competition. Yamaha doesn’t care (just put out the same old bikes( and the others don’t have the resources.

  11. RAD says:

    Cool video .
    Thanks MD .

  12. MGNorge says:

    Nice to see and hear what goes on behind the scenes now and then.

  13. Gronde says:


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