Opinion/Editorial

Wherefore Art Thou KTM RC390?

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KTM USA is going to have a mutiny on its hands if it doesn’t bring at least the KTM RC390 street bike to American soil, and we won’t even mention the KTM RC125 & KTM RC200.

Not only have bikes like the Honda CBR250R and Kawasaki Ninja 300 shown a lucrative market for small-displacement machines in the United States, but AMA Pro Racing’s recent announcement that it is considering a national racing class for ~250cc bikes should sweeten the pot for the “Ready to Race” brand.

Of course, KTM USA’s on-road segment management is umm…lacking…in its ability to bring the brand’s latest models to our shores. The KTM 1190 Adventure just recently made its way to US dealers, a full year after its arrival in Europe.







The KTM 390 Duke still hasn’t made its way to the United States, despite launching at the 2012 EICMA show as well. We were surprised to see the KTM 690 Duke make its way to our soil, though no word as to whether the pepped-up KTM 690 Duke R will do the same. Our fingers are crossed regarding the KTM 1290 Super Duke R.

With the orange bikes seen largely as an off-road brand here in the US, KTM USA has not only a tough sell to make to its dealers, many of whom could care less about having an RC8 R on their showroom floors; but the brand also has a tough battle to make with American street riders.

Other European brands have taken the American on-road market very seriously, with Ducati and Triumph offering a variety of competent and competitive machines that stack up well against KTM’s lineup.







Watching this video on the KTM RC390, it is plain to see that the Austrian brand’s problem isn’t product related — Americans view the RC as a serious road bike.

The problem isn’t one of marketing — Americans are just as enthralled with the latest KTM machines as any other marquees. That leaves only a couple areas that could be to blame — we’ll let you speculate on that.

Source: KTM













Jensen Beeler

Despite his best efforts, Jensen is called one of the most influential bloggers in the motorcycle industry, and sometimes consults for motorcycle companies, whether they've solicited his expertise or not.

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