New KTM Adventure 950


New KTM Adventure 950

Second attempt

After the first test balloon at last year’s Intermot, KTM will present the rally version of the LC8 at the Milan trade fair in September.

KTM CEO Stefan Pierer lets himself be carried away by a wave of success: “In three years you will see us in road racing.” Oops, like that? In the Superbike World Championship? “When you go out on the street, you have to compete with the best,” says the manager, but would like to stay on the carpet or, to be more precise, off-road until then. After an 18 percent increase in sales from 1999 to 2000, sales have now skyrocketed by 40 percent. In the last financial year, which ends exactly on the first day of sale of this MOTORRAD issue, around 45,000 motorcycles should have been sold ?? worldwide. So that things can go even steeper uphill, the new two-cylinder KTM, known in domestic use as the LC8, will finally come onto the market next year. However, it looks very different from the »concept study« (Pierer) that was exhibited at last year‘s Intermot trade fair. And which many viewers found to be too design-oriented.
What really puzzled the KTM bosses was a customer’s saying: “Oh, how nice, it reminds me of the Starck-Aprilia.” What was meant was the Moto 6.5 single-cylinder machine, not exactly a bestseller. Crush everything, the board ordered. And in-house designer Gerald Kiska, who as head of Kiska creative industries has been responsible for the innovative appearance of the KTM models since 1992, chased his people subito to the computer in order to tailor a slimmer, sportier and purpose-oriented dress for the two-cylinder. And that looks like the orange-colored Rally 950 (top right), with which a works team under the drivers Giovanni Sala and Fabrizio Meoni will try to finish as far ahead as possible in the 2002 Paris-Dakar Rally.
This competition version with additional tanks on the side at the rear will largely correspond to the later series machine in terms of engine and chassis. However, the Adventure 950, which is to be produced from September 2002, has two silencers running above and below the rear, while the additional tanks are of course omitted. The water-cooled 75-degree V2 is identical to the engine that was described in MOTORRAD 24/2000. The key data as a reminder: 102 HP at 8000 rpm, 942 cm3 displacement, two overhead, chain and gear-driven camshafts, four valves each, electronic injection, six-speed gearbox. What distinguishes the drive from the competing engines is its extremely slim design and its very low weight of 56 kilograms. This means that the ready-to-drive weight of the LC8 will be less than 200 kilograms. Essentially, the tubular steel chassis will also look like the model on display at Intermot.
After the market launch of the Adventure 950, things should move on quickly: in 2003, the street version called the Duke 950 will follow, until at the end a fully clad, super sporty two-cylinder would like to scare the Far Eastern and European competitors. “If we build a street motorcycle, you also have to go into racing. That is what customers expect from us, «says Stefan Pierer, giving the direction of the thrust.
The engineers are also working on the gradually due renovation of the LC4 single-cylinder, but the customers will have to be patient for a while. In any case, it won’t be a double cam motor. There will also be no motocross version of the new four-stroke 250 EXC in the near future. “Why should we compete with our successful two-stroke engine?” Asks Pierer. Or is the small four-stroke engine lacking potential?
Given the success across the board in a stagnating motorcycle market, it’s a for KTM in the past an important topic, namely the merger with another European manufacturer, off the table: »If I grow 40 percent, why should I team up with Ducati or another company ???

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