10 February, 2011

I tell a secret - Day

Odo 1111

Nice round number on the Odo. Well no, actually the opposite of round. Anyway that's not the reason for this post.

The secret that I alluded to recently is perhaps not so much of a surprise on reflection

In 2008 KTM announced an electric dirt bike and showed what looked like a slightly modified 125SX with an electric motor.  That's quite common for KTM with their two and fourstroke bikes of various capacities sharing as many parts as possible.  40 minutes at race pace, most details pinned down. Great specs but no actual rides for the press. It looked like a finished production bike and all that was left was integrating the electrics into the existing production line. KTM told us that it would be part of the 2010 model line up. Now in KTM speak a year's models are released in the middle (usually June or July) of the year before. So we expected to see the electric in about 10 months. July 2009 duly saw the 2010 bikes released, but no electric. Then there was an announcement in their annual report that 2010 meant 2010 and we would see it in the 2011 line up released in mid 2010.

Then in March 2010 they announced that it would be spun off as a separate line “freeride” and showed some rather disappointing prototypes that appeared to have grown from their freeride bicycle division rather than their motorcycles.

Much fanfare ensued surrounding these rather dismal offerings. (I'm a big KTM fan BTW and ride an EXC200 and was hoping for an electric version of the bike I already ride)

Unlike the initial offering there are no specs, no performance promises, just fancy graphics on the website (which is still up)

Phone calls to the largest dealer in Australia got little beyond nervous laughter.

Then … Nearly a year of silence.

Now the word has come from the distributors, the project has been shelved indefinitely.

That's it apparently. They say they're “waiting for battery technology to improve”. Which I take to mean they've given up.

So it joins the long list of great motorcycles that were never made. Bikes like the Yamaha RD750LC, Ducati Apollo, Kawasaki 750 square four twostroke and Norton rotary.

Seems a shame, but on the other hand the 2011 Zeros have just been shown and they include a street legal version of the X and MX.  Looks like everything we hoped for from the KTM but didn't get.

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