Pouring rain and low temperatures don’t rhyme with cycling, but then again KTM’s invitation to see and test their products prepared for 2014 was one of those things you just can’t miss. The press camp held these days in Austria, the company revealed most of its 2014 plans, from which two particularly stand out: affordable quality carbon bikes and the lack of 26 inch mountain bikes.
The Austrian brand will celebrate an important milestone next year, namely 50 years since it was founded. The first model they mass produced was the Fleetwing, back in 1964, of which about 50.000 pieces were sold in the USA. Throughout the years, the brand had its ups and downs, but managed to sell last year just under 200.000 models. Also, sponsoring is a big part of their activity, KTM offering bikes for teams such as Bretagne Seche (UCI ProContinental), Tyrol Cycling Team (UCI Continental), KTM Stihl, and supporting the triathlete Franz Hofer. In addition, along with the Interspar shop chain, the company runs a CSR program.
26 inch no more
Rumors were launched about this happening, but no one took them too seriously. Until now, that is. Scott was the first brand to announce that some mountain bike models will no longer be available in the 26 inch version, but KTM pulled the biggest stunt now, when it announced that it will completely give up producing 26 inch wheeled mountain bikes. There wasn’t offered any particular explanation for this, yet it is only logical to assume that the 27.5 and 29 inch mountain bikes seem to be a much more fun and efficient option for these off-road machines.
Affordable quality carbon bikes
Carbon has been knowing for some years now an unprecedented development. However, there are two sides of the story when talking about this material: one reffers to the really performant bikes, that also choke your wallet, while the other is linked to the budget carbon bikes, that, quite honestly, have similar performances to top aluminum models. Therefore, KTM identified a potential niche, that of quality carbon bikes that have an affordable price, and came up with two models.
The first, KTM Aera, is a hardtail mountain bike with a monocoque frame that tips the scale at 1.150 grams (27.5 inch version) and 1.250 grams (29er). Designed to run with an 100mm suspension fork, the model also features a tapered head tube, maximum 180mm rotor size and a QR 135mm axle standard for the rear wheel mount. Besides that, the bended rear triangle and oval seat and chainstays increase stiffness and better absorb shocks caused by bumps. The retail price will vary from 1.699 to 1.999 euros vor the two different versions, the Comp and Pro.
For road enthusiasts, KTM prepared the Revelator 3300, a road bike specified with a 1.090 grams frame, paint included. Neither the groupset, nor the other components are bound to leave you in awe, as Shimano’s 2014 Tiagra parts are fitted on the bike, but at a closer look you can notice that the frame is the main idea, and top-value part of the Revelator 3300. The price of 1.499 euros may not grant the model access in the budget category, but KTM’s intention, to offer a quality carbon bike at a more human price, is a ticked box, as far as we’re concerned. We’ll come back with a more detailed article about this Revelator in the following days, as well as with one about the Aera.
The 50 years milestone that KTM will reach next year deserve a special edition model, and the manufacturer realised this, thus preparing the KTM Ultra 1964, a mountain bike that will not blow you off your feet, but that will be of good value judging by the under 1.000 euro pricetag.
The cycling apparel range will also get bigger for next year, KTM introducing 3 pairs of cycling shoes. One will be for road cycling (550 grams/pair), another for mountainbiking (750 grams/pair), while the latter is designed for outdoor activities involving biking, that have a more flexible sole, made out of Vibram rubber for better grip.