KTM has always been known for great Enduro and Cross Country bikes. But recently KTM has become very strong in the ultimate test; AMA Motocross and Supercross, thereby offering a production racer easily converted for dirt track racing.
Related to our featured bike, today most single cylinder dirt track racing machines for pro dirt track racing like AMA Pro Grand National Expert Singles, use modified production motocrossers similar to Ron Bevard’s KTM, but 450cc in displacement. AMA amateur classes, raced in long established “AMA Districts” across the country, allow up to 505cc’s in the largest displacement category, most senior dirt track competition is less stringent on displacement and era of bikes. You can bring up AMA rule books on-line and note their class structure detail, now even allowing for electric bikes!
Besides lowering the bike some, making gearing changes, installing a new pipe, the biggest alteration is moving to class required 19 inch wheels front and rear and using prescribed tire sizes, 27.5 x 7.5 – 19.
Ron Bevard’s machine incorporates very few changes from stock. Wheels and tires, a low aftermarket handlebar, Acerbis hand guards and an Arrow exhaust are most of the changes. This is important. Racing has become very expensive and it’s no fun competing against cubic dollars. Though some local racing organizations may be more open to tricked out expensive to build and maintain machines, much of AMA racing is tightly controlled to be competitive and affordable. Even the fuel source for pro racing is currently controlled by the sanctioning body!
While we are all familiar with red, yellow, blue and green motocross bikes (Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha and Kawasaki) orange bikes are more recent on the scene. KTM dates back to 1930’s as a manufacturer of motorcycles, bicycles and vehicle radiators. In 2021 they sold about 332,000 motorcycles of all types, a 23% increase over the previous year. The US has played a role. In America in 1978 the US subsidiary of KTM was founded in Lorain, Ohio, KTM North America, home of Penton Motorcycles. The rest of the story, of course, is that ten years earlier, John Penton formed the relationship with KTM in the mid-1960’s hoping to convince them to build a lighter, smaller machine for use in Enduro competition. Penton was a champion Enduro rider and knew what an Enduro machine should be. In 1968 the first Penton “steel tankers,” hit the trails and became highly regarded immediately. By 1978 Penton had sold his US distributorship to KTM. 1996 is the first model year for orange livery on KTMs.
Ron Bevard built this KTM dirt tracker and graciously loaned it for display at the National Motorcycle Museum. Ron has also loaned a great Yamaha XV920 Cafe Racer and a Yamaha TT500 Dirt Track Racer.
- Engine: Four-Stroke Single, Liquid Cooled
- Type: Single Overhead Cam, Four Valves / Cylinder
- Bore & Stroke: 95mm x 72mm
- Displacement: 510.4cc’s
- Compression Ratio: 11:1
- Ignition: Digital CDI
- Lubrication: Wet Sump
- Carburetor: Keihin MX FCR 39
- Starting: Kick (Electric, Aftermarket)
- Primary: Gear Driven
- Clutch: Wet, Multi-Plate
- Final Drive: Chain
- Transmission: 4-Speed
- Frame: Wishbone Down Tube, Steel Tubular
- Front Suspension: Cartridge Hydraulic Upside-down Fork, 11.8″ Travel
- Rear Suspension: Swingarm, Mono-Shock, 13.2” Travel
- Brakes: Brembo, 10.25″ Disk / 8.5″ Disk
- Wheelbase: 58.3 Inches
- Wheels / Tires: 27.0 x 7.0 – 19 / 27.5 x 7.5 – 19
- Weight: 235 Pounds, Ready to Ride
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