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Kronreif and Trunkenpolz Mattighofen (KTM) is an Austrian motorcycle brand known for manufacturing a wide selection of motorcycles for various motorcyclists. The motorcycle brand excels in creating iconic motorcycles for the adventure or dirt bike segment. Hence, KTM motorcycles provide a much-needed dose of recreation and adventure to off-road riding enthusiasts. Though KTM still has a long way to go before it can outperform the four Japanese motorcycle manufacturing giants, Harley Davidson, Ducati, and other popular motorcycle brands, it has a strong presence in the global motorcycle markets. The build quality, engine technology, power outputs, and reliability of KTM motorcycles have earned them a large fanbase. During its short production run of almost 31 years, KTM has produced some high-power, high-tech exciting motorcycles. Therefore, off-road enthusiasts can always rely on the brand to provide them with a new capable off-road two-wheeler that has equally reliable performance on asphalt. In this article, Viking Bags brings you a list of the ten best motorcycles that were designed and built in the KTM factory.
1. 10 Best KTM Motorcycles of All Time
KTM, an Austrian motorcycle brand, was established back in the 1930s. The motorcycle company riders know today was founded in 1992. The KTM Group includes different motorcycle companies running under the parent company, KTMAG. Primarily popular for its off-road bikes, KTM has also manufactured high-quality street bikes. However, the company's best motorcycles have always been dual-sport bikes with extraordinary off-road capabilities. These bikes have conquered some of the most challenging competitions, including MotoGP and Dakar Rally. The fact that the company prioritizes revolutionizing technology has earned it a place in the list of largest motorcycle manufacturers in the world. Here are the ten best motorcycles that helped KTM emerge as one of the leading motorcycle manufacturers.
Also Read: The Remarkable History of KTM
1.1 KTM 390 Duke
Photo Credit: @ktm
The KTM 390 Duke was introduced at the 2012 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan and was available for sale in the United States in 2015. At the heart of this KTM two-wheeler is a four-stroke liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine, the KTM 390 that makes this motorcycle a fast bike. The engine outputs help increase the fun factor of this bike. However, the power is manageable and novice riders can easily use the 390 Duke to improve their riding skills and eventually upgrade to a heavier and faster bike. It is worth mentioning that the KTM 390 Duke is one of the few small-engine road bikes that is suitable for new riders and is loved by experienced riders. From its razor-sharp handling, aggressive riding style, sporty feel, and bold aesthetics, every attribute of this motorcycle makes it worthy of its title, the Corner Rocket.
The KTM 390 Duke offers excellent fuel economy that helps reduce the fuel cost. As for other specs, the motorcycle features a six-speed transmission, an adequate suspension setup, an advanced braking system featuring supermoto brake mode and ABS, a TFT color display and rider aids. Make sure to check out the 2023 model of the 390 Duke at the official KTM website.
1.2 KTM 890 Adventure
Photo Credit: @ktm
KTM introduced the 890 Adventure for adventure seekers who demand a reliable two-wheeler for their off-road needs. The 890 Adventure is a mid-sized adventure motorcycle tailored to perfection for off-road use. The electronics and engine also make it competent on asphalt roads. The features of KTM 890 Adventure are designed bearing rider’s ensure safety, satisfaction, and comfort in mind. The bike is equipped with adjustable suspensions, windshield, anti-lock braking, rider aids and a traction control, the MTC. The MTC technology prevents loss of traction and checks wheel lifts and slips. Through its in-built technology, the bike detects power wheelies and ensures stability. The cornering ABS technology inspires confidence in motorcycle-enthusiasts. Perfected to provide the highest levels of control, safety and stopping power, it allows riders to enjoy high-speed rides no matter the terrain.
1.3 KTM 640 Adventure
Photo Credit: @motorcyclespecs
Introduced in 1998, KTM 640 Adventure was a capable dual-sport motorcycle that originally came with a single-cylinder 609 cc engine, adequate fuel capacity, 21-inch and 18-inch front and rear wheels respectively. In the next production year, the bike’s engine was upgraded to a higher displacement of 625 cc to allow it to generate higher power outputs. In 2004, a dual disc brake was installed at the front. Moreover, the bike received a couple of cosmetic changes in the same year, including a bright orange paint job and a lower fender. The KTM 640 Adventure may seem pale in comparison to latest KTM models boasting technologically advanced specifications; however, the bike does not need ABS, traction control, ride modes, etc to prove its performance on roads and dirt trails.
The 640 Adventure is class-leading when it comes to rugged terrain, harsh conditions, rough use, and unbridled adventure.
Though the brand discontinued the 640 Adventure after 2007, the bike is considered to be one of KTM’s best creations. The agility, off-road capabilities, weight-to-power ratio, and simplicity of this bike. The KTM 950 Adventure eventually replaced the 640 Adventure. But the riders who have experienced the impressive off-road performance, agility, and simplicity of the 640 Adventure, still prefer it over its upgraded replacement.
1.4 KTM 125 SX
Photo Credit: @rondsmarine
The KTM 125 SX emerged as an overachiever in the 125 cc racing category. This beginner-friendly bike has helped many riders discover their passion for off-road riding. The advanced technological features added in the newer models of the 125 SX has made it one of the most popular dirt bikes of all time.
The 125 SX is considered one of fastest and agile 125 cc two-wheelers. Anyone who wants to step into the competitive world of dirt bikes usually starts with the KTM SX 125. For riders who are not impressed by the simplicity of the earlier models, the brand has added a few upgrades in the newer models, such as an electronic fuel injection system (EFI), tool-free suspension, an electric starter, and hand-adjustable shock absorber. The lightweight frame and motor make it easy to handle the bike and ensure an enjoyable riding experience.
1.5 KTM 990 Supermoto R
Photo Credit: @visordown
The KTM 990 Supermoto R was launched after the discontinuation of the 950 Supermoto R motorcycle and was well-received by riders due to its improved power output, handling, and overall riding experience. In addition to its performance, the bike became an instant hit among motorcycle enthusiasts because of its aggressive looks and sporty feel. The 990 Supermoto R is essentially a dual-sport motorcycle optimized for better on-road capabilities. The bike features race-bike inspired suspension and braking setup. As a result, the 990 Supermoto R can also be used for race track riding. The feather-light nimble frame, a powerful 999 cc engine, excellent throttle response, and Continental Hypersports tires, and advanced braking system with ABS allow riders to convert twisties into private race tracks. Due to its versatility, the 990 Supermoto R has ruled off-road trails, twisties, and race tracks for almost five years. Launched in 2009, this high-performance all-rounder was discontinued in 2013.
1.6 KTM 1290 Super Adventure R
Photo Credit: @ktmlondonuk
The KTM 1290 Adventure R was designed to compete with other popular adventure motorcycles, the Honda Africa Twin and BMW R1250GS. Though the motorcycle could not outperform either of its competitions, the class-leading performance of 1290 Super Adventure across challenging terrain has earned it a place in the list of best adventure motorcycles. The bike is powered by an LC8 V-Twin engine that is lightweight, compact, and powerful. The liquid cooled engine generates an impressive 158 hp of horsepower. In addition, the 1290 Super Adventure boasts a six-speed transmission for smooth power delivery and acceleration, a 525 X-Ring chain drive, an electric starter, front and rear disc brakes with ABS, and a lightweight die-cast open-lattice swing arm. The braking system and suspension offer uncompromised control to riders who hit the dirt roads. The spoked wheels of the 1290 Super Adventure R feature robust aluminum rims. The bike is also equipped with a steering damper to ensure a comparatively smoother ride on extremely rough terrain. To ensure uninterrupted long-distance rides, the bike is equipped with a 6.1 gallon fuel tank. Moreover, the bike features comfortable ergonomics to offer a comfortable riding experience.
1.7 KTM Freeride E-XC
Photo Credit: @cycleworld
The KTM Freeride E-XC is one of the two electric dirt bikes that made it to the American motorcycle market. Being one of the fastest selling electric motorcycles in the United States, the Freeride E-XC might become the motorcycle that compelled riders to switch to clean energy. The bike represents the age of electric bikes with its state-of-the-art electric motor that can generate 18 kW of power. The adjustable front and rear suspension, Formula brakes, and quick change Lithium ion Powerpack with 3.9 kWh capacity allows this motorcycle to be extremely reliable on and off the roads. The bike is equipped with a single speed automatic transmission. The 12 hp horsepower at 4500 rpm and 42 Nm torque might not seem impressive to riders; however, the tractable power delivery and maximal torque generation at a standstill make this bike fun to ride. By eliminating the need of a gear shifter and a clutch, KTM Freeride E-XC has made riding a simple affair. Therefore, it is the perfect beginner bike and the future of motorcycling.
1.8 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo
Photo Credit: @motorcyclenews
KTM owes its success to its obsession for advanced technology. The 1290 Super Duke R Evo is the proof of the KTM engineers’ flair for engineering and technology. This naked motorcycle boasts a powerful 1,301 cc V-twin engine installed in a lightweight chassis. In 2017, the bike received the LC8 V-Twin engine, KTM’s most powerful to date. In 2014-2016 models had a less than desirable suspension setup. This was fixed in 2017, when the motorcycle received stiffer springs. The compression ration was also increased to 13.6:1 to lower the exhaust temperature, increase engine efficiency, and improve power outputs. The newer models also feature advanced features, such as cruise control, ABS, traction control with lean angle sensitivity, quick-shifter, and riding modes.
1.9 KTM 450 SX- Factory Edition
Photo Credit: @racerxonline
The KTM 450 SX Factory Edition was designed only for dirt trail riding and racing purposes. This premium bike is not street legal unlike other KTM motorcycles that are known for their dual capabilities. Powered by a 450 cc engine, the 450 SX factory edition is a lightweight agile bike with manually adjustable suspension. The four-stroke motor generates 55 hp of horsepower and 46.5 Nm of torque. These figures demonstrate that the 450 SX is one of the most high-powered bikes in its category. The high weight to power ratio improves handling of this already nimble dirt bike. In addition, the bike boasts a couple of high-tech features including traction control and engine mapping for aggressive off-road riding.
1.10 KTM 690 SMC R
Photo Credit: @cycleworld
Marketed as the Street Slayer, the KTM 690 SMC R is one of the best looking bikes KTM has ever designed. Through its performance and looks, the bike has raised the standards quite high for other motorcycles in its category. The 2023 model of the KTM 690 SMC R features a lightweight chassis, the signature single-cylinder 690 LC4 motor, fully adjustable WP Apex suspension, and sophisticated electronics. The lean angle sensor, ABS, rider aids, traction control, quick-shifter, and a cornering ABS is also added in this motorcycle to enhance rider experience. Whether you want to ride on smooth tarmac roads, mountainous roads, or off-road trails, the KTM 690 SMC R is engineered to handle a wide range of terrain.
2. Last Words
KTM is one of the most popular dirt-bike, dual-sport, and adventure bike brands in the world. Almost all of its bikes have a lightweight chassis, advanced electronics, and powerful motor to meet the demands of different terrain. Though designed for adventure, these motorcycles offer comfortable ergonomics for riders to fully enjoy their rides. Through its revolutionary motorcycles, KTM has proved on many occasions its knack for creating class-leading dual-purpose bikes that are as practical on city streets as they are on dirt trails.