February 12, 2007 Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM has consistently shown over 50 years that it can create fast, razor-sharp off-road motorcycles with qualities appreciated by the elite yet still evident to the ordinary rider. A better than average rider on a KTM steps up a class – from journeyman to expert, finding it’s possible to carry an extra few mph almost everywhere. There is nothing extraneous on the KTM – it’s uncompromisingly bare bones, just what you need to go fast. The company’s motorcycles have won world titles almost every year in every form of off-road competition, and apart from an ill-fated venture into MOTOGP, it has become competitive at everything it has attempted. The company went through a renaissance in 1992 courtesy of becoming insolvent, and the restructure conceived and built a framework for the future, forging a world class infrastructure to match its core expertise of designing and building no-nonsense, ready-to-race machinery. Over the last 15 years, the company’s average annual sales growth rate has been 21 percent with an even better growth in turnover of 25 percent. In that time, annual production has grown from 6000 to 85,000 bikes, the labour force has grown by a factor of ten and the Austrian marque is now the second largest motorcycle manufacturer in Europe. Its first ventures into roadgoing two-wheeled machinery such as the 950 Supermoto and 990 Adventure received global acclaim from the motorcycling press and sketches of a KTM Quad bike circulated last year. The company’s aspirations are seemingly a long way from fulfilled as it now intends to deliver the same purist, filterless riding experience to four wheels. The X-Bow is a four wheeled motorcycle track car for the road, air-conditioned to perfectly match ambient conditions – that is, when it rains, you get wet. Like most KTM fare, the X-Bow is ready-to-race – the suspension is designed to enable you to drive at ridiculous speeds safely. At less than ballistic speeds, it will be Spartan and uncompromisingly rigid. The sophisticated carbon fibre monocoque chassis probably weighs less than you do at around 70 kg, yet offers superb rigidity and safety. Built in cooperation with tradition-rich racing car specialist Dallara, the chassis is of an ilk currently reserved for use in Formula One and elite street sports cars. Through a new construction and production process, the development partners have created a method of mass producing the technology far more cost-efficiently than previously, cutting the traditional price from US$500,000 plus to less than US$100,000. The engine is a lightweight, compact four cylinder engine made of aluminium boasting the most modern engine technology: four valve technology, FSI direct fuel injection, high pressure injection valves, turbo charge, a smooth, adjustable intake camshaft and two balancer shafts. With this engine, the basic version of the KTM X-Bow will achieve 220 hp and a 0-100 km/h time under four seconds, but there will also be a version with 300 bhp at its disposal. All up, the car will weigh only about 700 kg. The EUR 40,000 basic version will make its first public appearance at the Geneva Motor Show next month and the first production run of 100 units will be available later this year.
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