Quickly; name five mountain bike brands you can buy in South Africa? Bet you didn’t have KTM among those. Although it’s been available in the country for a few years, KTM is not a brand that most immediately think of. Yet. But the Austrian brand, famous in South Africa for its highly successful off-road motorbikes, is working on changing that.
Let’s roll back to the beginning to understand the brand’s heritage: KTM was a small car repair shop that was established in 1934 by Austrian engineer Johan (Hans) Trunkenpolz in the town of in Mattighofen. It was called Kraftfahrzeug (motor vehicle) Trunkenpolz Mattighofen (KTM). After the Second World War, Trunkenpolz began to produce his own motorcycles. The R-100 motorbike was built in 1951, the start of what is now one of the most successful motorcycle brands in the world. In 1953, businessman Ernst Kronreif became a shareholder and the name was changed to Kronreif Trunkenpolz Mattighofen (still KTM). Bicycle production began in 1964.
Fast forward to 2017 and KTM makes more than 300 000 bikes a year and is now the largest manufacturer of bicycles in Europe and a growing brand force globally, gaining traction in North America and other international territories, including South Africa.
What sets KTM apart from most other premium bicycle brands is that it makes KTM bicycles in Austria. Yes, the economies of scale for most of the world’s biggest bicycle brands have led to them using existing – or establishing their own – manufacturing facilities in the East. But KTM has stuck to its roots and continued to do R&D, design, testing and manufacture in Mattighofen. KTM bikes – made in Austria since 1964…
“As with most things, quality in their manufactured product is a high priority for Austrians. At KTM they like to have complete control of their bikes, right from design to manufacture to distribution for sales. It’s certainly quite an old-school mindset, but it shows in the exceptional quality and finishing of their bikes,” said Stephen Bunyard, Marketing Manager for MoreCycle, the importer of KTM in South Africa.
“KTM is a brand that’s built its success on adventure and competition. You just need to look at the Dakar race as well as the domestic off-road motorcycle racing to see how powerful the brand is in the category. They have the same approach to their bicycles and, as the custodians of the brand in the bicycle category in this country, we plan to ensure that it becomes a brand that’s closely associated to success, whether it’s a podium finish or a personal best,” added Bunyard.
KTM is being sold in South Africa through Cycle Lab stores currently. There are 15
models of mountain bike (six hardtail, nine full-sus), ranging from the entry-level Chicago for R9 499 up to the flagship R139 999 Scarp Sonic. To see the full range with South African pricing, click here: Cycle Lab/KTM Bikes.
KTM’s trademark colours are orange, black and white, a visually powerful combination on most of the brand’s mountain bike models. KTM has incorporated all the leading global technology on their bikes and offers variations of Shimano and SRAM drivetrains, ranging from basic 3×8 right up to the most advanced 1×12 and Di2 gearing options. The various models are also all very competitively – and comparatively – priced for the South African economy.
KTM bicycles have never really been marketed consistently in this country, but that is changing. It may not happen in the near future, but it won’t be too long before KTM will be among the top-five top-of-mind mountain bike brands available in South Africa.
For more information on KTM bikes internationally, visit KTM Bikes.